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Make Music City of the Week: Davis CA

Teenage horn players outside in Davis CADavis, California first launched Make Music Day in 2017, when the publisher of The Davis Dirt decided to bring this international celebration to her small, progressive city. Over the last few years, Davis’s senior centers, arboretum, food coops, train station, art centers, breweries, museums, post office, and music stores have all embraced Make Music Davis and hosted musical events.

This year, community radio station KDRT has taken the lead and is laying the groundwork for a fantastic day of music making. Their Earth Day Sing Out last month, with songs made by local musicians in honor of Earth Day, shows the station’s community building spirit, with a taste of what’s to come on June 21!

Check out the Make Music Davis website here.

Six National Projects (& more to come)

Solo singerLast month, we announced that Make Music Day was on for June 21, despite this year’s challenges.

And why not? Make Music Day is an invitation for everyone to make music anywhere — an idea that’s as important as ever. Around the country, musicians and organizers heeded the call and have developed creative, new, socially distanced ways for anyone to join Make Music Day 2020.

Today we are excited to preview six of these initiatives: Bash the Trash, Flowerpot Music, Global Livestream, #MySongIsYourSong, World’s Smallest Marching Band, and Young Composers Contest.

And we’ll have six more to come next week, and many more details — watch this space!

Young Composers Contest

Photo of a wet road by Flickr user juliek1967

In celebration of Make Music Day, and of all the young composers stuck at home this spring, Make Music Alliance is hosting a composition contest for composers aged 13-21.

Young composers are invited to write a short, 3-minute piece for SATB vocal quartet, set to William Carlos Williams’s timely poem “By the road to the contagious hospital”.

A panel of distinguished judges, made up of composers David T. Little, Ellen Reid (recipient of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music), Christopher Tin and conductor Anna Lapwood, will provide feedback and select three winning pieces and seven honorable mentions. Then all ten pieces will be professionally recorded by the all-star Make Music Quarantet, and released online for Make Music Day on June 21st.

The submission deadline is May 18th – full details are available on our website.

(Are you over 21? Be a mentor and share the contest with students and young friends!)

Make Music State of the Week: Wisconsin

A jam on the porch at Few Street Block Party.The Badger State has long stood out for its large, passionate Make Music Day celebrations. Six Wisconsin cities, from populous Milwaukee to minuscule Land O’ Lakes, took part last year on June 21.

In 2020, Arts Wisconsin and its partners (the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Wisconsin Public Radio, and Wisconsin School Music Association) have raised the state’s Make Music Day to an unprecedented scale. Fifteen communities, including most of the major cities, are now organizing for Make Music Wisconsin, with still more coming on board for 2021.

Click here for the full statewide details!

Make Music Day 2020

Dear friends,

We hope this finds you safe and healthy.

Like all of you, we are grappling with the huge impact COVID-19 is having around the world, and in our daily lives. As we plan for Make Music Day on June 21, 2020, we don’t know if public gatherings will be feasible at that date, or if everyone will be “social distancing” and stuck at home.

Despite this uncertainty, we wanted to let you know that Make Music Day will still be happening on June 21. Unlike traditional music festivals, Make Music Day is an open invitation for everyone to make music anywhere and everywhere. We hope to be taking over the streets with music on June 21, but if we can’t, we invite you to join one of the online Make Music Day initiatives that will take place no matter what.

  • Live From Home Challenge: Record a musical performance at home on June 21, and tag three friends to challenge them to respond with their own performances.
  • Online Music Lessons: Teachers around the world will be offering free, online lessons for a variety of instruments on June 21.
  • Street Studios: Be part of a completely improvised music creation session. Record any sound or musical material on June 21st and upload it to one of the “Street Studio” producers, then watch the producer’s livestream as they incorporate it into a musical track created on the spot, using only the submitted materials.
  • Bands Undercover: Individuals or bands sign up to cover each other’s original music, and live stream their performances to each other in a unique musical exchange on June 21.
  • Young Composers Contest: Composers between the ages of 13-21 are invited to submit short, original compositions for choir by June 1st. A panel of renowned composers will give their feedback on all entries, and will select one winning piece to release on June 21 to the world in a professional performance.
  • Global Livestream: a day-long video stream on June 21 will show the rich diversity of live Make Music Day events around the world.

More details for each of these initiatives will be announced soon. (Do you have other ideas? Just reply to this email and let us know.)

In this time of social distancing, music’s powerful role to bring us together as a community is more important than ever. While physical public gatherings may not be currently accessible, we can still stay connected online and celebrate music.

Of course, we still hope to come out together in public on June 21 — in the coming weeks, look for announcements from your local Make Music Day coordinators with updates. But above all, we are committed to supporting the health and well-being of the public during this challenging time, and will follow the guidance of government health departments to make sure everyone stays safe.


Make Music Alliance (U.S.)
Make Music Day UK
Make Music Australia
Fête de la Musique Deutschland
Confederation of European Music Industries (Italy)

PS: if you are stuck at home in the coming weeks or months, post a video of yourself making music with the tag #makemusicday and we will share it.

PPS: Wash your hands!

Today is Make Music Winter!

Make Music Winter is finally here, taking place in 40 cities around the country. Be sure to check out the events happening near you on the winter solstice, and join in on the conversation with #MakeMusicWinter.

MM Winter Spotlights: New Cities

Litchfield, CT

For Litchfield‘s first Make Music Winter event, Charym Yoga will host a Sound Healing March They are offering 3 free sessions of music and sound healing which will be followed by a community parade and yogi caroling. Participants are encouraged to bring their mats, instruments, and voice to this celebration!

Tucson, AZ

On Saturday, Make Music Winter comes to Tucson with multiple musical opportunities. There will be performances by Flutes for Vets, Native American winter solstice music, a variety of piano and guitar instrumentalists, ukulele tunes, and 15 local youth rock bands. A truly diverse lineup with music to intrigue a variety of interests!

Santa Fe, NM

The Candyman hosts Santa Fe‘s first Make Music Winter celebration from the fire pit on their porch, with free hot cocoa, apple cider, and light fare. All participants will receive a free rhythm shaker to play while singing along with classic Christmas carols led by The Candyman’s music teachers. Warm your hands, heart and voices on The Candyman porch!

40 Cities Celebrating Make Music Winter on Dec. 21!

Make Music Winter – the cold-weather counterpart to Make Music Day – hits a milestone this year with winter events in 40 cities on December 21st, arguably becoming one of the top “40”s in the world (after Days and Nights, Acres and a Mule, WD-, Ounces, and American Top).

See the latest national press release to see how other cities are celebrating, and be a part of the conversation with #MakeMusicWinter.

MM Winter Spotlights: Big Plans

Salem, Oregon

In organizing Make Music Winter for the second time, Make Music Salem has been thoughtful about including people of all ages.

On December 21, in the late afternoon, they will host a parade for families and kids that will burst with sound as participants sing and play bells of all types: hand bells, wind chimes, cowbells, and more.

Later on that day, the solstice celebration will continue at a pub crawl for Salemites aged 21+, with musicians performing at various downtown restaurants and bars.

Montclair, NJ

Montclair‘s third Make Music Winter not only brings music to the streets, but also highlights the community’s fantastic new public art.

The celebration will start in the early afternoon with a winter solstice parade through the Montclair Mural Project. The parade will make stops for musical selections at five murals along their route.

After adding new musicians along the way, the event will end at Cool Cat Music for a free indoor concert.

How To Make Music Winter

Fall is in full swing! If you are thinking about leading a participatory Make Music Winter event on December 21st, now is the time to start planning.

Want to start small? See how Southlake TX’s MusicMaker Arts Center coordinated “Bell by Bell” last year in a local market, for about 40 people to make music together.

Thinking a bit bigger? Crystal Lake IL’s Piano Trends Music organized a caroling parade ending in the city’s historic theater in 2018, and are building on their success with a ukulele camp and more for local singers this year.

Looking to do something unique? Land O’ Lakes WI has announced a “Music on Ice” program where people will play harmonicas, maracas, and tambourines — while ice skating!

And to further spark your imagination, check out our handbooks explaining how to lead an Electric Guitar Parade, Pilgrimage, Flatfoot Flatbush, Bell By Bell, and Winterize.

We would love to hear what you are doing! Please email about your plans, so we can begin supporting your events and spreading the word.

(PS — No, you do not need to live in a “Lake” city in order to participate.)