NEW YORK – Dec. 2, 2020 – Make Music Winter, a free celebration with exuberant and participatory musical processions, performances and virtual events in twenty U.S. cities on Monday December 21, announced its complete schedule today at makemusicwinter.org.
Since 2011, people of all ages, musical abilities, and backgrounds have met up for Make Music Winter to promenade through public spaces and play music for bells, electric guitars, percussion, and more. It’s a joyful, socially-distanced, and safe way to ring in the winter solstice, and celebrate the end of a long, wearying year. Make Music Winter is the cold-weather counterpart to Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music occurring each June 21, the summer solstice.
“This has been an unpredictable and difficult year for so many,” said Aaron Friedman, President of the Make Music Alliance. “Despite it all, we can still count on music to bring us together and help us get through it. We are grateful and excited to see Make Music Winter continue for its 10th anniversary year.”
In addition to the flagship event in New York City, where over a dozen programs will be held in neighborhoods across the city, Make Music Winter celebrations will take place in Boston (MA), Briarcliff (NY), Chequamegon Bay (WI), Columbia (SC), Columbus (OH), El Paso (TX), Federal Way (WA), Hartford (CT), Hawai’i, Islamorada (FL), Land O’ Lakes (WI), Long Beach (CA), Milwaukee (WI), Montclair (NJ), Ossining (NY), Portland (ME), Santa Fe (NM), and St Louis (MO). Over 375 percussion instruments will be donated nationwide by Rhythm Band Instruments for use in fourteen cities.
Live and In-Person Events
Make Music Winter’s outdoor celebrations, with participants spread out at a safe distance, are among the rare in-person events still viable in this disrupted holiday season.
In New York, NY, Make Music Winter will include a world premiere by composer Pete Wyer, an immersive choral installation entitled “For Love and Only for Love: Letters to New York,” to be presented with The New York Botanical Garden. Visitors are invited to explore the NYBG’s Native Plant Garden, at their own pace and socially distanced, as the prerecorded music – performed by choirs of up to 72 voices projected over 24 independent speakers – inspires reflection on themes of love, gratitude, acceptance, and our connection with nature during the pandemic. Because the Garden is closed on December 21, the program will debut on the weekend of December 19-20, will run through January 10, 2021, and is included with any NYBG timed-entry ticket.
Other live programs in New York on December 21 include: “Harmonicas in Solidarity,” a participatory project from NYU Faculty Housing Happenings led by Dr. Dave Schroeder and residents of Washington Square Village; “Bell by Bell,” featuring handbell compositions for beginners, at Elizabeth Street Garden; “Flatfoot Flatbush,” a Brooklyn parade celebrating percussive music and dancing from Appalachia; and “Ukulele Caroling,” a festive holiday-themed performance in the West Village. Additional community-led and family-friendly events will be held in the neighborhoods of East Harlem, Melrose, Kensington and St. George.
Outside of New York, in-person events will take place around the country.
- Montclair, NJ returns for its fourth Make Music Winter, with a musical parade through Montclair Center, and free music on the lawn of the First Congregational Church. Masks from Montclair Mutual Aid and percussive instruments from Rhythm Band Instruments will be provided.
- In Columbia, SC, “Make Music Olympia: Winter Edition” is a tractor-led musical parade through the Olympia neighborhoods featuring a bevy of local musicians, Miss Gamecock 2020 and Santa. The parade will begin at the Granby Grill parking lot (612 Whaley Street) at 4:00 pm, and end back at the Granby Grill patio with karaoke featuring Miss Lady, secret special musical performances, and a poetry reading by Andrew Choate.
- In Land O’ Lakes, WI, Make Music Winter will feature a drop-in outdoor event from 1:00 – 3:00 pm where participants will gather around a campfire in the snow, and shake sleigh bells along to a playlist of local musicians who have contributed audio tracks of themselves playing holiday music.
- Also in Wisconsin, Make Music Chequamegon Bay will host a special, outdoor handbell event on the shores of Lake Superior in Wikdal Park (Washburn, WI). Everyone is invited to gather at 4:00 pm (socially distanced of course) to play 3-4 songs on handbells and celebrate the “longest night and shortest day.”
- In Islamorada, FL, a series of concerts organized by local musician Molly Murphy will spread out across the island, with “treasure maps” to help audiences find all of the events.
Window Serenades make up another national highlight of this year’s Make Music Winter. On December 21, musicians will share the joy of live music with isolated older adults during the darkest days of the year, bringing solo artists or small groups to play outside nursing home windows for those who request a song.
In Boston, MA, the Unlikely Strummers ukulele band will perform window serenades at several area nursing homes and assisted living centers. Hartford, CT will organize a “Buckets & Bells” performance for nursing home residents. Milwaukee, WI and Briarcliff / Ossining, NY will join forces to collect virtual window serenades from local musicians and share them with residents in each city for Make Music Winter. And in England, small groups of volunteer musicians in Ilkley, UK will play carols and Christmas songs outside of care homes, nursing homes and housing facilities for elderly people (organized by Musicians Coronavirus Action Ilkley).
- In El Paso, TX, participants will come out of their homes at 5:30 pm and partake in a city-wide performance of “Jingle Bells” with any instruments (or a cappella), and will livestream or record their performances for a later compilation. Short performances by local music institutions will also be released on December 21 for Make Music Winter.
- Portland, ME and Santa Fe, NM will collaborate in a “Live-Streamed Songwriter’s Showcase.” Participants will perform their best songs and share their personal thoughts on the importance of making music. A fun and interactive discussion between musicians from these states will also compare and contrast local music and song writing from two completely different areas of our country.
- Virtual program highlights for New York, NY include an online performance of Handel’s Messiah; “32 for Third,” a program of Beethoven’s piano sonatas as performed by the students, faculty and friends of Third Street Music School Settlement; “Points of Seeing,” an online presentation of recent work by Make Music Winter favorites Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars; and a deep dive into Early Music with “Pilgrimage,” including a lecture and group performances of vocal repertoire that was sung on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in medieval times.
- In Hawai’i, the Make Music Day team is launching two video contests. Participants are invited to post a rhythmic video for Make Music Winter, using donated Vic Firth drumsticks and any other instruments, with a grand prize winner receiving a $500 Best Buy gift certificate. Alternately, participants can create a video of their favorite Christmas song using a ukulele, with one winner chosen to receive a standard Kamaka Ukulele.
- The Lions Club in Federal Way, WA is sponsoring Make Music Winter by asking singers and instrumentalists around the state to record upbeat tunes on December 21 dedicated to the children, families, and caregivers at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA.
- In Hartford, CT, music videos featuring local musicians and the characters of Night Fall Hartford will premiere on the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s social media channels for Make Music Winter.
- Stanton Sheet Music in Columbus, OH will host a “Share the Most Music - Make Music Day Watch Party” on their Facebook page all day starting at 10:00 am, showing virtual videos created by community and professional musicians.
- In Long Beach, CA, the Jazz Angels bands (for musicians aged 11-17) will be playing holiday favorites online for Make Music Winter.
- And in St. Louis, MO, M Strong Studio is hosting a virtual performance event for area teachers and students, streaming on December 21.
All Make Music Winter events are free and open to the public. Complete details are available at www.makemusicwinter.org. Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, events are subject to change. Make Music Winter is presented by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance.
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About Make Music Winter
Make Music Winter is a free, outdoor musical celebration held each December 21 that turns audiences into music makers. Make Music Winter began in New York City in 2011; last year it spread to 40 cities across the country. With a diverse array of talent and themes, Make Music Winter transforms cityscapes with musical parades on the winter solstice. Make Music Winter is presented by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance. For more information, please visit www.makemusicwinter.org.
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,400 members. The Foundation’s mission is to advance active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.