MAKE MUSIC CHICAGO Celebrates 7th Year of Free Day-Long, Citywide Music Event

Press Release

Make Music Chicago, a city-wide musical celebration under the helm of the International Music Foundation, returns for its seventh year of completely free concerts in public spaces on the first day of summer, Wednesday, June 21. Chicago joins more than 750 cities across the world celebrating free music as part of the international music holiday, Fête de la Musique, which has been held on the Summer Solstice for the past 35 years.


Make Music Chicago celebrates everyone’s ability to make music. Throughout the day, music-makers of all ages, abilities and musical tastes – amateurs and professionals alike – gather in Chicago’s public spaces to play and sing live music of all genres.

Led by Artistic Director and lauded pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, Make Music Chicago will feature 170 performances and participatory events across 65 locations in over 30 Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs from sunrise to sunset with performances at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square, Maggie Daley Park and Pritzker Pavilion plus Navy Pier, the Chicago Riverwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Cultural Center, the 606 Bloomingdale Trail and over 25 Chicago Park District sitesand many others.

Make Music Chicago highlights include a nation-wide event “Lift Every Voice: Musicians Rising For Racial Justice”organized by Boston-based Play for Justice featuring musicians from the musical Hamilton, members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Chicago Philharmonic and more, the Chicago premiere of an interactive choral presentation The Gauntlet by Forte Chicago and a performance of Weave Trees mixing live music, dance and textiles by Synapse Arts.Additional highlights include numerous play-along events including the Rise and Shine Orchestra featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sousapalooza featuring the Great Lakes Navy Band, Harmonica Blowout and Uke Jam, numerous family events including the Suzuki Play-along, the return of Pianos in the Parks and performances by Ragtime innovator Reginald Robinson, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and more. For a complete and up-to-the-minute list of events, visit or download the Make Music Day app for iOS or Android. Programming is subject to change.

Pre-Event Performance

Make Music Chicago will also present a free, live pre-event performance during the lunch hour on Friday, June 16 from 12:30 – 1:30pm at 353 N. Clark located in downtown Chicago. Concert will preview Cheryl and the Dynamics’ Make Music Chicago concert.

Make Music Chicago 2017 Highlights

Lift Every Voice: Musicians Rising for Racial Justice: 11:30am and 5:00pm

Chicago joins Make Music Day celebrations across the country for performances of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and George Walker’s Lyric for Strings. Quartets across the country will perform these two works simultaneously at 11:30am and 5:00pm CST, including 11 quartets in Chicago. Each ensemble in Chicago will perform at a different location at 11:30ambefore all coming together for a collective performance 5:00pm at Wrigley Square in Millennium Park led by conductor James Setapen. The evening concert will also include a special performance of Patti Garvey’s arrangement of J. Rosemund Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by three-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Darius Brooks.Two American Pulitzer Prize winning composers — one white and one black — Barber and Walker both used their artistic platform to tap into the broad range of emotions shared by humanity. By uniting these two works, Lift Every Voice seeks to memorialize victims of hate crimes while acknowledging that we are more united in our common humanity than we are differentiated by our race, ethnicity, gender, class or religion. A full list of artists and locations for Life Every Voice Performances at 11:30am is below:

o    Avalon Quartet – Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park Ave.)

o    Chicago Philharmonic String Quartet –  Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut St.)

o    Chicago Sinfonietta String Quartet – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (300 E. Randolph St

o    Civic Orchestra of Chicago String Quartet – St. James Cathedral (65 E. Huron St.)

o    Fulcrum Point New Music Project String Quartet – DePaul Concert Hall (800 W. Belden Ave.)

o    Volta String Quartet – International House (1414 E. 59th St.)

o    String Quartet from the musical Hamilton –  S.E. corner of Madison & Dearborn

o    KAIA Quartet – WFMT FM Studios (5400 St. Louis Ave. and broadcast live on 98.7WFMT)

o    Merit School of Music String Quartet – Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 N. Clark St.)

o    Picosa – Grace Central Church (10216 Kitchner St. Westchester, IL)

o    Roosevelt University CCPA String QuartetSolti Garden, Jackson & Michigan

Synapse Arts: 12:00-6:30

Loyola Park in Rogers Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)

Weave Trees is a dance with grand textiles that hang from trees. Viewers are invited to stroll through the seven dancers as they weave, swirl, and knit more than 2,000 feet of satin. Accompanied by live piano and cello, the 30-minute piece repeats four times throughout the day.

The Gauntlet: 11:45am-12:00pm

Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall (78 E. Washington St.):

Forte Chicago will perform the Chicago premier of The Gauntlet, composed by Sxip Shirey.

The Gauntlet is a 15-minute interactive choral presentation where the audience is encouraged to walk between the singers. Forte Chicago is an ensemble of women who use comedy, spectacle, and improvisation to push the boundaries of operatic entertainment. Forte Chicago will also present numerous surprise pop-up performances throughout Chicago. Follow Make Music Chicago on social media to see where they’ll be on June 21.

Play-Along and Participatory Events

Make Music Chicago is proud to present multiple play-along, sing-along, jam sessions and participatory events throughout Chicago’s noted landmarks, physical assets and public spaces to highlight the importance of accessibility to music and music making. Music makers are invited to join these participatory events using their own instruments or those provided.

  •         Stones/Water/Time/Breath: Participatory Sunrise Performance: 5:30am-6:30am

Sherwin Avenue Beach in Rogers Park (1205 W. Sherwin Avenue)

Sound artist Eric Leonardson leads Dean Rosenthal’s internationally recognized, experimental music-theater piece Stones/Water/Time/Breath, which will be performed in ten cities on Make Music Day and invites all to follow a set of performance steps to create original work using stones to create rhythms, solos, cycle patters and percussive sounds on the water.

  •         Rise and Shine Orchestra: rehearsal; 9:40-10:30am

Wrigley Square, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph

Rob Calhoon leads musicians through vibrant orchestral music. All ages and abilities are welcome to bring their own instrument and play-along with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Rehearsal runs from 9:00-9:40am with performance taking place from 9:40-10:30am

  •         Great American Songbook Jam: 12:00- 2:00pm          

Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N. Lincoln Avenue)

Skip Landt leads a sing and play-along of songs from the Great American Songbook

  •         Ursa’s Majors and Minors Sing-and-Play-along: 3:00-4:00pm

The 606-Park 567 (Milwaukee & Leavitt)

Join Ursa’s Majors and Minors, a collection of string players including guitars, banjos, fiddles, upright bass, ukulele, and accordionist for a play and sing-along of the American songbook. All ages and ability levels welcome. Repertoire includes familiar folk and country favorites and numerous popular tunes with easy to learn choruses.

  •         Sousapalooza: 4:00-4:45pm

Wrigley Square, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph

The Navy Band Great Lakes will lead players through the classic marches of John Philip Sousa.

  •         Fiddle Tunes Jam: 6:00-8:00pm

The Welles Park Gazebo (2333 W Sunnyside Avenue)

Jam session led by the Fiddle Club of the World Chicago Chapter in partnership with the Old Town School of Folk Music

  •         Rhythm Revolution Drum Circle: 7:30-8:00pm

Mozart Park in Logan Square (2036 N. Avers Avenue)

John Yost of Rhythm Revolution™ hosts a community drum circle open to all ages. Musicians are invited to bring their own percussion instrument, or use one that’s provided.

  •         New Music Jam with Paula McKearnan: 8:30-9:30pm

Old Town School of Music (4544 N Lincoln Ave):

A play-along event of soul, rock and folk music. Open to all ages.

Pianos in the Parks

Make Music Chicago returns Pianos in the Parks, offering access to pianos located throughout Chicago’s public parks. Sponsored by Night Out in the Parks with pianos generously donated by Keys 4/4 Kids, Pianos in the Parks gives any Chicago park visitor the opportunity to play music during open park hours, June 21- August 1. Pianos will be located atLoyola Park in East Rogers Park (1230 Greenleaf Avenue), Buttercup Park in Uptown (4921 N. Sheridan Rd), Kelvyn Parkin Hermosa (4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.), McKinley Park (2210 W. Pershing Rd.), Hamilton Park in Englewood (513 W. 72nd Place), Washington Square Park in Near North (901 N. Clark Street), and Calumet Park in Eastside (9801 S. Avenue G).

Pianos in the Park also includes a rare solo performance from Ragtime innovator and MacArthur “Genius Award” recipientReginald Robinson at the McKinley Park Fieldhouse Veranda on June 21 from 7:30- 8:00pm

Family Concerts

  •         Wiggleworms in Welles: 10:00am-12:00pm

The Welles Park Gazebo (2333 W Sunnyside Avenue)

Experience Old Town School’s early childhood music classes for kids 4 years and younger and their parent or caregiver.

  •         The Lucky Trikes: 11:30am-12:15pm

Envision at Kruger Center in Andersonville (4919 N. Clark St.)

This read and sing-along for young children features story time with live classical and improvised music performed by the award-winning children’s chamber band The Lucky Trikes.

  •         ShaZah: 3:30-4:15pm

Buttercup Park in Uptown (4921 N Sheridan Road)

Shanta and Zahra (ShaZah) love to explore eastern and western instruments, folk songs and vocal traditions near and far. They form the nucleus of the ensembles Classic Black, Sitarsys, and Freedom Song Leaders. Both performers have appeared in festivals, museums, colleges, schools, and libraries across the country and abroad.

  •         Suzuki Play-along: 5:00-6:00pm

Mary Bartelme Park (115 S. Sangamon St.)

Kids of all ages familiar with the popular Suzuki Method for Music are invited to join in playing popular tunes such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Go Tell Aunt Rhody, along with the Merit School of Music’s Suzuki program and other Chicago Suzuki programs.

  •         Ukelele Jam with Lanialoha Lee: 6:00-7:30pm

Aloha Center Chicago in Lincoln Square (1626 W. Lawrence Avenue)

The Aloha Center Chicago’s Kanikapila Jam lead by Lanialoha Lee leads an island style play-along for ukulele players of all ages and experience levels.

  •         +9v: A Community Concert for Battery Powered Instruments: 4:30-7:30pm

Comfort Station in Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Avenue)

An open-door, experimental concert that invites music makes of all ages to play-along using battery powered instrument including synthesizers, circuit bent toys, keychains and more.

  •         Harmonica Blowout: 6:15-7:00pm

McKinley Park Monument (3700 S. Western Ave.)

Joe Filisko will lead a harmonica play-along. Hohner will be giving out free harmonicas for all who want to participate.

Additional Make Music Chicago Sites and Events


McGuane Park (2901 S Poplar Avenue):

5:00-7:15pm Music in Urban Schools Inspiring Change: Young and vibrant student musicians spreading joy through dynamic performances that will connect with all ages

7:15-8:30pm The 37th St Blues Band: Classic Blues & 70’s Rock


Osterman Beach (5800 N Lake Shore Drive): 7:30 – 10:00pm

The Chicago Parks District in partnership with the French Consulate of Chicago hosts “Films on the Lake” featuring film screenings and performance from Edgewater Singers. The series will kick off on June 21 with a screening of The Young Girls of Rochefort.

Berger Park – Waterfront Café (6219 North Sheridan Rd): 8:00-10:00pm

Jazz vocalist Christy Bennett

Gold Coast

Newberry Library/Washington Square Park (60 West Walton Street):

1:15 – 2:15pm French horn choir Chicago Horn Consort present classical, jazz, rock and pop hits.

4:30-5:00pm Dynamic, interactive story times with live improvised music and original songs from The Lucky Trikes

5:30-7:00pm Performance from Windy City Winds, who specialize in a wide repertoire of light classical works for band, orchestral transcriptions, Broadway medleys, film music & marches. Concert includes the Chicago Premiere of Spring Dances composed by Dakota Pedersen, winning of MakeMusic and the American Composers Forum’s contest for young composers, aged 13-21.

Hyde Park

International House (1414 East 59th Street):

5:00 – 5:30pm Jeff Wichmann performs on the koto, a Japanese plucked string instrument

5:30 – 6:00pm Jia Senghe performs on the shakuhachi, a traditional bamboo flute of Japan

6:00 – 6:30pm Classical pianist Rena Slavin

6:30 – 07:00pm Sox & Sax, an interactive program of adult puppets and jazz with Nitsana Lazarus and John Wesley

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Zoo: Park Place (2001 N Clark St): 10:30am – 3:00pm

Performances from Music in Urban Schools Inspiring Change, The Artist Formally known As Vince James Brinkmann, The Lucky Trikes

Lincoln Park Zoo: Cafe Brauer Patio (2001 N Clark St): 11:00am – 5:00pm

Performances from David Dilsizian, Jay Schraub, Robinlee Garber, Mike Felten, Zeke Costo, Mark Sotira/Unplugged

DePaul University Concert Hall: (800 W. Belden Ave): 11:30am-7:30pm

Performances from DePaul Community Music Students, Origin Brass Quintet, CBASO Quartet, Sara Su Jones, violin; Dennis Moore, piano

Lincoln Square

The Welles Park Gazebo (2333 W Sunnyside Avenue):

12:00-1:00pm Delta blues and American folk performer Vincent Yetsko.

4:00pm -4:45pm Old Town School of Folk Music: Kids String Band

5:00- 5:30pm Old Town School of Folk Music: Community Choir

Old Town School of Music (4544 N Lincoln Ave):

8:30-10:00pm Latin folk music with Paito y los Gaiteros de Punta Brava

11:00am – 12:30pm and 7:15pm – 9:00pm Old Town School Adult Student Showcases presenting Rock, Funk, Americana and Bluegrass music.


Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall (78 E. Washington St.): 12:15-6:00pm

Dame Myra Hess Concert: Christopher Bell leads the Grant Park Music Festival’s Apprentice Chorale and the Project Inclusion String Quartet in a program of music by Cole Porter, Libby Larson, Joseph Throughout the day, there will also be performances from Music in Urban Schools Inspiring Change, Sara Su Jones (violin) and Dennis Moore (piano), The Pippins plus, who will present a concert of acoustic music devoted to the works of experimental music pioneer Pauline Oliveros.

O’Briens Riverwalk Café (45 E Riverwalk South): 6:00-8:00pm

Original, lyric driven songs that are a warm and soothing blend of jazz, folk, and soul music from Robinlee Garber

Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall (430 S. Michigan Avenue): 11:00am – 3:00pm

Performances from Devin Clara, Origin Brass Quintet, and Sara Su Jones (violin) and Dennis Moore (piano)

Millennium Park

Maggie Daley Park: Concessions Plaza (337 E Randolph): 11:00am-3:00pm

Music from Singer-songwriter Karen Salmon, traditional Celtic duo piobagusfidil and Latin Funk band Subele

Millennium Park: Pritzker Pavilion (201 E Randolph St): 11:00am-9:00pm

Open rehearsal and concert with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. Rehearsal runs 11:00am- 1:30pm with the concert to follow at 6:30- 9:00pm


Dvorak Park (1119 W. Cullerton): 7:00-8:00pm

Performance from Subele, a new Latin Funk band from Chicago that is fusing their sounds with Hip-Hop, Disco, Soul, Jazz, Blues, House, and Dance.


680 North Lake Shore Drive Lake Lobby (680 North Lake Shore Drive):

12:00-12:30pm Angelica Zhang, classical flute, piano     

12:30-1:30pm The Sweet Maries           

Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Americana / Bluegrass  The Sweet Maries are Amy Shoemaker and Susie Lofton. Amazing harmonies, acoustic folk originals and covers.

1:30-2:00pm Lincoln Park Flutes           

The Lincoln Park Flutes performs classical music of a variety of styles, including majestic, operatic, mysterious, and playful selections.                                                                                                                                                                                              

South Loop

Fred Anderson Park (1629 S Wabash Avenue):

12:00-12:45pm Music in Urban Schools Inspiring Change                       

Young and vibrant student musicians spreading joy through dynamic performances that will connect with all ages

4:00-6:00pm Vincent Yetsko                             

Delta blues and American folk

6:00-7:00pm Sid Yiddish And His Candy Store Henchmen          

Sid Yiddish And His Candy Store Henchmen catatonically captivates audiences with conductible washes of atonal sonance harmonic improvisation

7:00 -9:00pm The Radium Isotope Band plays New Orleans, Bossa, Gypsy Jazz music and more.

West Loop

Chicago French Market (131 N Clinton Street): 9:00am – 7:00pm

Live musical performances from David Dilsizian, the Haymarket Opera Company, Karen Salmon and The Pippins, plus food from over 30 local artisan purveyors

CME Center (10 S. Wacker): 12:30-1:30pm

Medieval and Renaissance a cappella choral music from Court & Country

About Make Music Chicago

Celebrating the ability of everyone to make music, Make Music Chicago is completely free for musicians and audiences alike.  It is inspired by Fête de la Musique, a national musical holiday in France.  Since its inaugural year in 1982, Fête de la Musique has become an international phenomenon taking place every June 21. In the past, over 750 cities took part in 120 countries worldwide – including Germany, Italy, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Australia, Vietnam, Congo, Cameroon, Fiji, Colombia, Chile, Nepal and Japan – easily making it the largest music event in the world.  Make Music Chicago is part of a national group of “Make Music” cities that includes New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia. Make Music Chicago is presented by the International Music Foundation.

About International Music Foundation

The International Music Foundation (IMF) is dedicated to presenting free high-quality classical music performances and music education experiences in the Chicago metropolitan area for people of all ages and degrees of musical awareness so they can experience how music enriches life. IMF offers the following programs and educational experiences: Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Do-It-Yourself Messiah, Live Music Now!, Make Music Chicago, Rush Hour Concerts and professional ensemble educational residencies. For more information, visit

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