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Make Music City of the Week: Kansas City

Charlie Parker's hometown of Kansas City, the United State's only UNESCO City of Music, is known worldwide for its role in the development of swing, blues, and jazz.

This year, with leadership from the city's Parks and Recreation department, Make Music Kansas City joins the June 21st party for the first time! Highlights include a Lyric Opera performance in Dunbar Park, Undercover Bands at Knuckleheads, and Musication Station (inspired by Mark Stewart) with a Fish Box Xylophone that up to 8 players can use at the same time, plus other "no experience required" instruments.

Learn more at their website!

Make Music Artist of the Week: Mark Stewart

Guitarist Mark Stewart, best known as Paul Simon's music director and a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, is a frequent Make Music Day participant, marching in New York's Tilted Axes electric guitar parade or leading a Mass Appeal guitar play-along in Union Square.

But Mark has a parallel passion as an instrument builder, using found objects to design instruments that everyone can play. Over a video call with Make Music Day organizers in January, he shared examples of his work including the Whirlycopter, Big Boing, the Schonbeck collection he's assembled at Mass MoCA, and many more.

Already Mark's work has inspired several new Make Music Day projects, including one coming this summer to Kansas City!

Song Swaps: #MySongIsYourSong and Global Folk Challenge

Songwriters and composers of all kinds are invited to join Make Music Day's 2nd annual global song swap, called #MySongIsYourSong.

Sign up to learn and perform a song by another artist, and hear one of your original songs covered in return! Just register by May 31st at makemusicday.org/songswap. Partners will be carefully matched and introduced the first week of June, then will share their video performances on June 21.

Don't write your own music? Don't feel left out! You're invited to join the Global Folk Challenge and share a folk song from your country, and in exchange, learn and perform a different folk song submitted by another participating musician. Sign up by May 14th at makemusicday.co.uk/global-folk-challenge.

Make Music State of the Week: New Mexico

Just before his retirement last year, Senator Tom Udall learned about Make Music Day and decided it was high time that New Mexico joined the party.

Thanks to outreach from his office, word began to spread and Make Music Las Cruces launched in 2020. This year, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Gallup are all starting new Make Music celebrations – not to mention neighboring El Paso TX – putting over half of the state’s population within the Make Music Day footprint.

Musicians from this ancient and enchanting state will be featured in many Make Music Day projects this year – stay tuned!

Young Composers Contest

For the second year, the Make Music Alliance is excited to offer a composition contest for composers aged 13-21.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of May 31 – June 1, 1921, young composers are invited to write a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the massacre by B.C. Franklin.

A panel of distinguished judges, including composers Hiroya Miura and Trevor Weston, composer/conductor Francisco Núñez, and soprano Talise Trevigne, will provide feedback and select three winning pieces, which will be professionally recorded by baritone Christopher Herbert and released online for Make Music Day on June 21st. Winning composers will also receive a free copy of Finale music notation software.

The submission deadline is May 31stfull details are available on our website.

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

Make Music Now in 90+ U.S. Cities

After the isolation and stress of the last year, we can’t wait to get back together and make music again… and we are not alone!

A record 90+ U.S. cities have announced they are celebrating Make Music Day on a large scale in 2021, from Houston to Gig Harbor and everything in between.

New chapters have launched this year in Alabama, California, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, bringing the holiday to even more of the country, and joining over 1,000 international Make Music cities.

Find a celebration near you!

Winter is here! Make Music on Monday

Make Music Winter is almost here, with ten new cities joining to provide a musical winter solstice on Monday, December 21!

Check out the full schedule at to find new Window Serenades for isolated elderly people in Ventura County CA and Elk Grove CA, a “Soul Food Christmas” performance in Denver CO, a pop up holiday performance in Bellevue TN, and 30+ more socially-distanced and virtual events around the country to ring in the season.

Just visit makemusicwinter.org, and then join a music-making event near you!

Make Music Winter on December 21!

We are delighted to announce this year’s national schedule of 30+ free, participatory, and socially-distanced music events on the winter solstice, Monday, December 21!

Make Music Winter‘s outdoor celebrations, with participants spread out at a safe distance, are among the rare in-person events still viable this holiday season. Highlights include a world premiere choral sound installation at the New York Botanical Garden in New York, NY; musical processions in Montclair, NJ; a tractor-led musical parade in Columbia, SC; and sleigh bell and hand bell events in Land O’ Lakes, WI and Chequamegon Bay, WI.

Around the country, musicians will also share the joy of live music with isolated older adults through Window Serenades in Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Milwaukee, WI, and Ossining, NY, bringing solo artists or small groups to play outside nursing home windows for those who request a song.

And in the virtual realm, musicians will stream a citywide performances of “Jingle Bells” in El Paso TX, perform a collaborative songwriter showcase in Portland, ME and Santa Fe, NM, enter music video contests in Hawai’i, and perform Beethoven piano sonatas in New York, NY.

Look for all of these, and many more, at makemusicwinter.org.

And then join a music-making event near you!

Winter Window Serenades

Window Serenades share the joy of live music with isolated elderly people, bringing solo musicians or small groups to play outside nursing home windows for those who request a song.

Created to provide safe, socially distanced performances for Make Music Day on June 21, Window Serenades are just as relevant for Make Music Winter, reaching those who are away from their families during the darkest days of the year.

We have created a new Window Serenades Handbook (pdf) to help plan a serenade near you. It’s an easy and enormously gratifying project.

Download the handbook and register your event here!

Citizens Band Radio

Photo: CenterPoint Arts

Your ensemble can be the talk of the town for Make Music Winter in a new project called Citizens Band Radio.

On December 21, each member of your band will ride shotgun in a slow procession of cars, listening to a local community radio station, sheet music taped to the dashboard. At the appointed time, the station will broadcast a piece from your band’s repertoire. Using the radio as a click track, band members will stick their horns, tambourines, amps, and other instruments out the car windows and give an unforgettable, synchronized performance for people on the street or stuck in traffic.

If you and your band are interested, we will help you make this happen. (You can also organize Citizens Band Radio events for musicians on boats, or playing from neighboring rooftops or balconies.)

Fill out this form and we will be in touch right away!