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Make Music


Group of 3 child musicians perform with an adult guitarist surrounded by smoke and cool lighting.

What is Make Music Hartford?

Make Music Hartford is a part of the international Make Music Day movement which brings free, community-wide, outdoor musical celebrations to hundreds of cities worldwide! Every year, the celebration is held on June 21, the summer solstice, in more than 1,000 communities around the world.

Make Music Hartford will feature musicians of all abilities and music from any genre. Sidewalks, parks, front porches, and public spaces throughout the city, as well as virtual spaces, will become stages for local musicians to perform and for all to enjoy. Everyone is invited to participate in this international day of music by performing, providing an outdoor space, appreciating, or volunteering. It’s all for the love of music!

Make Music Hartford is brought to you by the Greater Hartford Arts Council as part of our mission to be a catalyst for the arts.


Make Music Hartford 2022

Make Music Day was founded on the notion that music has the power to bring people together. In times joy and hardship, both active and passive participation in music is healing and celebratory.

Community came together to make music on June 21, 2022

2022 Spotlight Events: 


Were you in marching band in school or do you play a brass or woodwind instrument? Get together with a group of friends and strangers to play the music of The March King, John Philip Sousa!  You won’t want to miss being a part of the band or seeing the performance! 

Time: 6pm – 7pm
Location: Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT
Conductor: Dan D’Addio

Bucket Drumming Lessons: 

Learn basic rhythm patterns and make music with buckets. Drummer Jimmy Gavagan will lead lessons.   

Drumsticks and buckets will be provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own to make the group bigger. Anyone is welcome to participate. No drumming or musical experience necessary! Drumstick and bucket giveaways! Promark drumsticks generously donated by D’Addario

Time: 2pm – 3pm
Location: Barbour Street Branch of Hartford Public Library, 261 Barbour Street, Hartford, CT
Leader: Jimmy Gavagan

Basses Loaded 

Enjoy the low sounds of multiple upright bass players gathered together. Bassist Matt Dwonszyk will arrange music for upright bass players in a sight that will be worth seeing and hearing.  Celebrate the centennial of jazz bass legend Charles Mingus for the 2022 return of Basses Loaded.

Time: 3pm-4pm
Location: Old State House
Lead Musician: Matt Dwonszyk 

Hip Hop Workshop with Blessings Divine: 

Write a song and build an instrumental track with Blessings Divine. Blessings Divine is a conscious Hip Hop MC, musician and dancer. A rapper known for his insightful and uplifting messages, he continues to reach a universal audience with his rhymes. 

Time: 3pm – 3:45pm
Location: Albany Branch of Hartford Public Library, 1250 Albany Avenue, Hartford, CT
Leader: Blessings Divine

Latin Music and Dance Lessons 

Dance or learn to dance alongside the sounds of the Nelson Bello Quartet. Live Latin music with plenty of room for dancing. Free dance instruction by Nector Garcia. All are welcome! No dance experience needed to participate. Not ready to dance? You can still enjoy the music! 

Time: 2pm – 3pm
Location: Park Street Library @ the Lyric, 603 Park Street, Hartford, CT
Lead Musician:
Nelson Bello
Dance Instruction: Nector Garcia

Steel Pan Drum Lessons 

The sounds of the islands are coming to Make Music Hartford! Learn the basics of how to plan steel pan drums. No experience needed! With beginner steel pan drums generously loaned by Panyard, you’ll be jamming in no time! Everyone is welcome to take a lesson and experience the beautiful sounds of the steel pan drum.  

Time: 2pm – 3pm
Location: Downtown Branch of Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford, CT
Leader: Kelvin Griffin

Take A Drum Ride: 

The entire audiences get their hands around BOB BLOOM’s huge cargo of conga, djembe, doumbek, tubano, and bongo drums to launch rock & roll and salsa songs with high-octane beats. Everyone plays. BB’s participatory drumming has rollicked with lots of people at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and at the First Night Celebrations in Hartford, Westport, Worcester, Providence, and Boston  

Time: 2pm – 3pm
Location: Dwight Branch of Hartford Public Library, 7 New Park Avenue, Hartford, CT
Leader: Bob Bloom

Musical Improv Social: 

Come by the studios from 6pm to 10pm to learn fun musical improv games and to jam out together using different instruments! Make Music Day is about more than just the appreciation of music, it aims to empower people to make it themselves. So don’t be shy, this will be a laidback and supportive environment, perfect for trying something new! 6 to 7 will be social hour and free range of any instruments. At 7 we will warm up and get into musical games and improv. We’ll end with a jam and people are welcome to chill as long as they’d like. For instruments we will have a piano, bongos, maracas, 2 guitars, a ukulele, a harp, 2 xylophones, a violin, and a looper. Come try something out!

Time: 6pm – 10pm
Location: Sea Tea Comedy Theatre, 11 Asylum Street Suite 402, Hartford, CT
Leader: Sea Tea Improv



Make Music Hartford 2022 Sponsors

Your support makes programs like Make Music Hartford possible.

Interested in becoming a sponsor for Make Music Hartford? Contact City Administrator

Make Music Hartford is a program of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is to be a catalyst for the arts and promote an equitable arts ecosystem in Greater Hartford.

Help us make events like Make Music Hartford possible. The Arts Council produces Make Music Hartford with the support of the City of Hartford, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.



Special thanks to the volunteer photographers who helped capture Make Music Hartford in photos and videos: 

  • Denis Semenyaka
  • Dana Lynne Montanari
  • Ron White
  • Ray Shaw
  • Andres Calixto
  • Dwight Hatch
  • Evan Thomas
  • Haley Comstock
  • Heather Martin
  • Joseph Engberg
  • Steve Carlsberg


Scott’s Jamaican Bakery: Faces of #MakeMusicHartford

June 19, 2019

“We bake with love” is the motto for Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery. What more could you ask for in a longtime local business? For over 40 years, the Scott family bakery has been a staple in capital region cuisine with what started with one flagship bakery that expanded into three total branches. It only made sense toContinue Reading »

Nelson Bello: Faces of #MakeMusicHartford

June 17, 2019

Nelson Bello has certainly made the rounds. As an alumnus of both the original Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and a student of Jackie McLean, Nelson has made a career out of collaborating. In addition to being an active recording artist, he serves as both accompanist and bandleader in several groups in the regionalContinue Reading »

Kirk Woodard: Faces of Make Music Hartford

June 16, 2019

If you’ve made it out to Black-Eyed Sally’s for a Jazz Monday, chances are you’ve seen Kirk play. If you’ve attended events with a jazz trio, your chances are even higher. Essentially, Kirk is one of Hartford’s go-to drummers for all things jazz. Having just graduated from The Hartt School’s inaugural Master of Music inContinue Reading »

Older Entries »


Hartford Courant:Sounds of summer: Hartford’s Make music 2019 celebration had the city singing” (June 21, 2019) 

WTNH: Make Music Hartford Bigger Than Ever ” (June 20, 2019) 

Hartford Courant:Make Music Hartford Celebrating the winter solstice with parade, concerts, drink specials at area bars” (December 17, 2018)

National Make Music Winter Press Release: Make Music Winter to Expand Nationwide This December 21” (October 17, 2018)

Hartford Courant:Hartford Joins Global Make Music Day with Concerts Around the City” (June 21, 2018)

Hartford Courant:Music to Fill the Streets as Connecticut Joins Global Make Music Day” (June 18, 2018)

USA Today:Where to Celebrate Make Music Day Across the Country” (June 15, 2018)

Patch:Free Concerts Set for Make Music Day in West Hartford” (June 15, 2018)

Billboard Magazine:Make Music Day To Return This Summer With More Than 4,500 Concerts” (April 4, 2018)

Rolling Stone:‘Make Music Day’ Plots 4,500 Free Events, Concerts Nationwide” (April 3, 2018)

National Make Music Day Press Release:Make Music Day 2018 Returns On Thursday, June 21” (March 28, 2018)

Hartford Courant:Connecticut to Join Global Make Music Day” (March 14, 2018)

WILI 95.3 FM, Windham Arts Radio Review: Interview with Aaron Friedman of the Make Music Alliance (February 28, 2018)

Make Music Alliance: “Media Resources



Amanda Roy playing the drums.

Get in touch with us…

Amanda Roy
Director of Community Impact
Greater Hartford Arts Council