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“Make Music New York” to Go Virtual in the Time of COVID-19

Make Music New York, the one-of-a-kind festival of music made by and for New Yorkers and held each June 21, will return for its 14th consecutive year despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, organizers announced today. In response to the pandemic, Make Music New York has developed creative virtual and social distanced ways for anyone to join in the daylong musical free-for-all and flagship event of Make Music Day in the U.S., which is being held in over 85 cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Vermont, Wisconsin and Hawaii. Make Music New York will further showcase the power of music to inspire, uplift and connect people during these difficult times.

The modified 2020 music-making celebrations in the Big Apple will predominantly feature an extensive, engaging lineup of virtual online concerts, group performances and music lessons for all to enjoy. Make Music New York will also present a select series of live-from-home solo concerts in which music will ring forth from porches, stoops, balconies, yards, garages and windows across all five boroughs, all while adhering to social distance and public safety guidelines.

“Our mission has always been to include and celebrate the talent of local musicians of all backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations, physical capabilities and skill levels that, taken together, reflect New York City’s remarkable creativity and diversity,” said Make Music New York Executive Director James Burke. “This summer solstice, we will also exalt the city’s resolute spirit and the unique power music has to heal and rejuvenate.”

First launched in France as Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day is observed by hundreds of millions of people today in over 1,000 cities spanning 120 countries. Promoting the natural music maker in all of us, the celebration is an open invitation for everyone to make, share, teach, learn, explore and experience music on the longest day of the year and the official launch of summer. Make Music Day is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance. 

Highlights of Make Music New York 2020 will include:

•        #Summer Solstice Singalong Song – A winning song chosen by New Yorkers will be sung by the entire city at 7pm sharp to kick off the nightly chant in honor of frontline workers. All performers should use the hashtag #SummerSolsticeSingalongSong.

•       Mozart’s Requiem – Conductor Douglas Anderson and producer Melissa Gerstein return with a production of Mozart’s masterwork in recognition of these unprecedented times. The program will be synchronized and performed virtually beginning at 12pm and will be dedicated to the memory of those lives lost to COVID-19.  Instrumentalists and vocalists are encouraged to register by sending an email to MaskedMusicians@gmail.com, where participants can dedicate their performances and share testimonials to loved ones.

•       Porch Stomp – A scaled-back version of the annual folk festival will feature social distanced sing-alongs led by folk musicians across Brooklyn from their homes which will culminate with all participants singing the same song “together” at 7pm. (Note: Porch Stomp’s annual, daylong, live music festival on Governor’s Island has been rescheduled to an autumn date TBA)

•       Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, “Touchy Subject” – The world premiere of “Touchy Subject” is inspired by the “touch starvation” experienced by all during the current self-isolation. Over one dozen musicians will add their tracked and/or instrumental parts to a MIDI demo that will be assembled in studio by composer Patrick Grant. A complimentary video, produced by Peppergreen Media and the NYU Film School, will be created using footage from contributing musicians that includes their unique home stations and documents their individual creative processes. 

•        # Music, Me and My Kid – Since Make Music New York falls on Father’s Day this year, dads are invited to livestream a home concert performed with their child or children while using the hashtag #MusicMeAndMyKid. Performances of original or cover songs are welcome, and families are encouraged to perform longer sets if interested.

•        Joe’s Pub Virtual Block Party – To celebrate Make Music New York for the 11th consecutive year, Joe’s Pub Live! From the Archives will unveil a specially created video featuring performers from the series’ storied history at 8 pm

•        32 for Third, Part 1 – Students and teachers from the Third Street Music School will give six straight hours of live-streamed performances of Beethoven sonatas from 12pm – 6pm

•        Songs for Our City – Envisioned and produced by the Times Square Alliance, Songs for Our City is a songwriting challenge commissioning new original music from Broadway actors and composers in response to the pandemic. Nearly 30 artists will share original songs in a series of concerts that will be livestreamed for free to the public throughout the early weeks of June, with a culminating finale on June 21 as part of Make Music New York.

•       25 x 12: Live Online Lessons – Music teachers from across the globe will offer 12 straight hours of free, online group lessons for 25 different instruments, at a range of levels from beginning to advanced. All lessons will be available via Zoom conference.

•       Mass Appeal Harmonicas – Join Make Music New York’s always popular group play-along under the direction of virtuoso Jiayi He. Players of all skill levels, from beginner to pro, are welcome to join, and 25 x 12 harmonica lessons will take place earlier in the day.

•        Bash the Trash – Educators from Bash the Trash Environmental Arts will teach participants how to create instruments from found objects on which to play either “Ode to Joy” or “Baby Shark”

•        Flowerpot Music – Written by award-winning composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry, “Flowerpot Music” is a composition for an unlikely but beautiful instrument: the flowerpot! Performances by over two dozen groups around the world, including NYC, will be livestreamed continuously for over 8 hours.

•        Global Livestream – An all-day video stream showcasing the rich diversity of Make Music Day events taking place around the world!

•        Live at Home Challenge – Musicians will be invited to post a musical performance from their home on June 21, and tag three friends to challenge them to do the same

•        #MySongIsYourSong – Individuals or bands can sign up to cover each other’s original music and livestream their performances to each other using the hashtag #MySongIsYourSong

•        Track Meet – Teams of four musicians will race against the clock to create brand new original tracks in a creative relay using the virtual audio workstation SoundTrap.  At the end of the day, each team’s track will be published online for everyone to hear. 

•        Young Composers Contest – Winning pieces in a national juried contest in which composers ages 13-21 wrote and submitted a short 3-minute piece for a vocal quartet will be released online after being professionally recorded by the all-star Make Music Quarantet. 

All Make Music New York events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform may register at MakeMusicNY.org. A full schedule of events will be posted on the website in mid-June.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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