As the sun rises at what annually is its most northerly point on the horizon, sound artist Eric Leonardson will be performing Dean Rosenthal’s experimental music-theater piece, Stones/Water/Time/Breath at Sherwin Avenue Beach in Rogers Park. This sunrise performance will kick-off Make Music Chicago, a day of 200 free concerts and audience participatory events at over 100 venues throughout Chicago and neighboring communities on Tuesday, June 21.
Presented by Rush Hour Concerts with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks, Make Music Chicago is part of the international music holiday, Fête de la Musique, which takes place annually on the first day of summer in more than 700 cities around the world. On Tuesday, in addition to Chicago, Rosenthal’s Stones/Water/Time/Breath will be performed in 10 other cities.
Nearly every musical style will be represented in Make Music Chicago. House music will be the staple at DJs at the Midway, curated by Taigo Onez, in Hyde Park, 1130 Midway Plaisance North, 10am-10pm. Afro-Latino and roots-rock-inspired dance music of ESSO (El Sonido Sonic Octopus) will take place at the Humboldt Park Boathouse, 6-9pm. The Chicago-based Brazilian percussion ensemble Bateria Quilombola will perform on the 606 Bloomingdale Trail, 1801 N. Albany Ave., 7:30-9pm. Chicagoan Ernest Dawkins will be playing jazz in the South Loop, at Anderson Park, 2-4pm.
Several of Chicago’s leading orchestras will offer free performances, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Grant Park Orchestra. Other Chicago ensembles will also participate, including a joint performance from Gaudete Brass and Axiom Brass.
Make Music Chicago will also feature a special Rush Hour Concert with Grammy-award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich at St. James Cathedral, 65 E Huron, 5:45pm. Two-time Grammy Award-nominated Mexican folk musicians Sones de Mexico Ensemble will also be performing Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico, at Harold Washington Library’s Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 12:15-1:15pm.
There will also be numerous opportunities for the public to participate in the festivities, starting with Leonardson’s sunrise performance of Stones/Water/Time/Breath mentioned above. Audience members will be invited to participate by using stones to create rhythms, solos, cycle patterns and percussive sounds on the water.
Band players can join in Sousapalooza, at Daley Plaza, noon-1pm, where Richard Fischer, Director of Bands at Concordia University-Chicago, will conduct marches by John Philip Sousa. Bluegrass harmonica players can head to the Welles Park Gazebo in Lincoln Square for the Harmonica Blowout, 1:30-2:30pm. Old Town School of Music teacher Skip Landt will be on hand with free harmonicas provided by Hohner.
Orchestra players can bring their own instruments and join the Rise and Shine Orchestra at Daley Plaza, 1-3pm, where Lloyd Palmiter leads musicians of all ages and abilities, alongside members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. After a one hour rehearsal, an actual performance will take place from 2 to 3pm.
Drummers and percussionists will congregate at Mozart Park in Logan Square for the Rhythm Revolution Drum Circle, 7:00-8:00pm. Musicians are invited to bring their own percussion instruments or use one that’s provided.
Singing will not be left out of Make Music Chicago. The Great American Songbook Play and Sing-along will take place at the Welles Park Gazebo in Lincoln Square, 2:30-3:15pm, and At Sea Shanty Sing-along will take place at the Chicago French Market in the West Loop, 131 N. Clinton St., 6-7pm.
Players of battery-powered instruments can join in on an open-door, experimental concert at the Comfort Station in Logan Square, 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave., 5:30-9:30pm. For ukulele enthusiasts, the Aloha Center Chicago in Lincoln Square, 1626 W Lawrence Ave., is hosting Kanikapila Jam, 6-7pm. Chicago’s Lanialoha Lee will lead an island-style ukulele play-along for all ages and experience levels.
Make Music Chicago offers many events geared toward families and children. The Lucky Trikes children’s chamber band will hold a read and sing-along for young children at Maggie Daley Park, 11-11:34am. The Chicago Folklore Ensemble will present Folktales & Traditional Music From Around the World, which is part of Ravinia’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs, in Little Village, 5:30-6:30pm. The Merry Music Makers lead a sing-along for children ages 6 and under in Rogers Park, 10-10:45am.
The Schools-Out Jam will feature musicians aged 16 and under celebrating summer and the last day of school in Uptown, 6:30-7:30pm. Children familiar with the Suzuki Method for Music are invited to join in playing popular tunes with the Merit School of Music’s Suzuki program and other Chicago Suzuki programs in the West Loop, 5-6pm.
See a complete and up-to-the-minute list of Make Music Chicago events, including all play- and sing-alongs, or download the Make Music Day app for iOS or Android. Programming is subject to change.