Preview: Make Music Chicago Celebrates the Solstice on Friday

As the sun rises at what annually is its most northerly point on the horizon, sound artists and Rogers Park residents Eric Leonardson and Deirdre Harrison 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 over 200 free concerts and audience participatory events at over 100 venues throughout Chicago and neighboring communities this Friday, June 21. For the 9th year in a row, Chicago residents of all ages and musical abilities will participate in this free, DIY celebration. Hosted by the International Music Foundation and led by Artistic Director Kuang-Hao Huang, Make Music Chicago is part of the worldwide music holiday, Fête de la Musique, which takes place every June 21. Chicago will join over 800 cities in 120 countries around the world. Kuang-Hao Huang is the ARtistic Director of Make Music Chicago. Photo by Ellio Mandel. Kuang-Hao Huang is the Artistic Director of Make Music Chicago Photo by Elliot Mandel. Last year’s event was marred by near continuous rainfall. This year organizers are stressing that, while several events will be cancelled because of rain, many events will still take place rain or shine. Several venues are indoors, and accommodations have been made to move some of the outdoor events into sheltered spaces. A complete list of all events with rain policy can be found here. The venues themselves include parks, streets, concert halls, coffee houses, store showrooms, and other sites throughout Chicago. Several established groups, ensembles, and soloists will be performing, with nearly every musical style represented. There will be many opportunities for people to sing-along, play their own instruments, and learn how to play instruments. Several neighborhood venues will have performances all day. In South Loop Steve Poindexter of Jackers of the Midway will be hosting deejay house music, techno, and disco from noon – 9:00pm at Fred Anderson Park. In Hyde Park the International House will feature performers of world, Indian, east Asian, Middle Eastern and Arab music from 11:00am – 4:00pm. Farther south, the Jackson Park Field House will host classical music performed by Music in Urban Schools Inspiring Change (MUSIC Inc), as well as opera, choral music, and musical theater by Lyric Opera Stage Artists and the South Shore Opera Company from noon - 8:00pm In Lincoln Park, the DePaul University concert hall will have chamber ensembles, solo pianists, jazz, and folk performers, from noon – 8:00 pm. Café Brauer at the Lincoln Park Zoo will host several performers offering country, folk, soul, jazz, bluegrass, and gospel music from 11:15am – 4:00pm. Then, the Lyric Opera Orchestra will perform classical, jazz, and opera. Kuang-Hao Huang enjoys himself at Make Music Chicago. Photo by MMC Staff. In downtown, Grant Park will host classical performances at the Pritzker Pavilion, where the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra will perform 11:00am – 1:30pm and 6:30 - 8:30pm. There will be several music making opportunities at various points of the river walk during rush hour. Make Music Chicago offers the public dozens of free music lessons and play-alongs around town. They include just about every type of instrument, including guitars, harmonicas, ukuleles, kazoos, and various arrangements of percussion. There will also be sing-alongs, and the Pianos in the Parks program will offer piano lessons to anyone at Meyering Park, 11:00am - noon. The Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra will offer a side-by-side, play-along rehearsal from 3:00-5:00pm and a play-along performance from 6:00 – 7:00pm in Humboldt Park. A complete line-up of lessons and play-alongs can be found here. For a complete up-to-the-minute list of events, including rain accommodations, check out the Make Music Chicago Schedule.
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Louis Harris

A lover of music his whole life, Louis Harris has written extensively from the early days of punk and alternative rock. More recently he has focused on classical music, especially chamber ensembles. He has reviewed concerts, festivals, and recordings and has interviewed composers and performers. He has paid special attention to Chicago’s rich and robust contemporary art music scene. He occasionally writes poetry and has a published novel to his credit, 32 Variations on a Theme by Basil II in the Key of Washington, DC. He now lives on the north side of Chicago, which he considers to be the greatest city in the country, if not the world. Member of the Music Critics Association of North America.