Make Music Winter, a free, outdoor music-making celebration on the winter solstice, returns this year on Saturday, Dec. 21 with joyful and dynamic participatory musical parades, performances and events in more than 30 U.S. cities. The all-day musical celebration on the shortest day of the year brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, musical abilities and styles to sing, play, march and dance their way across streets, parks and other public spaces. Make Music Winter is the cold-weather version of Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music occurring each June 21, the summer solstice.
In addition to the flagship event in New York City, where more than 11 participatory musical parades will be held across the five boroughs, the sweet sounds of Make Music Winter will be on parade in cities around the country. In Montclair (NJ), all of the performances will take place around new outdoor wall murals and feature music inspired by the art. At an ice rink in Land O’ Lakes (WI), a special “Music on Ice” celebration will provide frozen fun. In Chicago (IL) the festivities will include an event that kicks off with a tree lighting and features Christmas caroling, electric candles and children joining with kazoos.
Highlights of Make Music Winter 2019 will include:
- Bell by Bell is a lively and atmospheric parade in which participants receive color-coded handbells, one color per note. At the front of the parade, a team of conductors waves corresponding colored flags to lead the group in slowly moving music, written by a variety of composers. For example, when the conductors raise their red and green flags, everyone with red and green bells start ringing and so on for each color, creating a sonorous soundscape through the streets as people walk. Bell by Bell parades will ring out in communities around the country including New York City’s East Village and Southlake (TX).
- The Gaits: A High Line Soundwalk is an immersive, site-specific parade on NYC’s The High Line featuring commissioned compositions in which the wonders of everyday technology transform participants’ movements into musical improvisations.
- Percussion Parades, which are especially practical in cold weather, will be held in Provo (UT) and Salem (OR). Also, winter solstice drum circles will take place in Charleston (SC) and Macon (GA).
- Christmas Caroling Parades, inspired by the holiday season, will occur in Columbus (OH), Meridian (ID), New Haven (CT), Santa Fe (NM) and other cities. The parades aren’t just for singers – harmonica players, bell ringers, brass bands, and others are encouraged to join in by giving their own renditions of classic holiday songs.
Make Music Winter is presented by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance.
“Last year, Make Music Winter launched nationwide for the first time, and we were delighted that this new concept was immediately embraced by music-makers around the country,” said Make Music Alliance President Aaron Friedman. “This year, over 30 cities have already come on board to bring magical, musical events to their communities on Dec. 21, and we expect many more cities to join in the celebration.”
Elsewhere, at the Train Depot in Issaquah (WA), events will include a Christmas carol sing-a-long, a hootenanny sing-along, fiddle music and a blues hour. In Crystal Lake (IL), at Piano Trends Company Showroom, people will be encouraged to perform Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” on 10 showroom pianos tuned and ready. In Salem (OR), a “Yule Make Music” parade and pub crawl will headline the local celebration.
All Make Music Winter events are free and open to the public. Additional events will be posted at makemusicwinter.org in late November.
Follow the conversation: #MakeMusicWinter