November 14, 2022 I Event

Make Music Winter Returns This December

Participants in a past Make Music Winter event.

Make Music Winter (MMW), a free outdoor musical celebration with participatory parades, performances and events throughout the country, will return next month on the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21.

The annual event, happening on the shortest day and longest night of the year, welcomes people of all ages and musical abilities to celebrate the joy of making music with fellow community members. Since its start in 2011, Make Music Winter has become an outlet for music enthusiasts and their neighbors to meet up, learn a new skill, and march through public spaces while making music with bells, electric guitars, their own voices, percussion and more. The event has grown to include 35-plus cities across the nation each year.

In New York City, Make Music Winter events will ring in the holiday season across the five boroughs. In Manhattan, Patrick Grant and Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars will play with other mobile musicians in “Standing Still” at noon in Herald Square, followed by the evening procession “Winter Luminaria with Tilted Axes” through Sasaki Garden set aglow with lights in a partnership with NYU Faculty Housing Happenings. In Brooklyn, Flatfoot Flatbush will feature dancers, fiddlers and pickers parading down Flatbush Avenue playing old-time tunes while flatfooting, a form of percussive dancing from Appalachia. In Queens, the second annual Queensboro Music & Dance Festival will showcase live music and dance from many of the borough’s cultures, teaching basic dance moves and providing handheld percussive instruments so that spectators can join in. And in the Bronx, the Melrose Parranda will join MMW for the eighth consecutive year, bringing this Puerto Rican caroling tradition to different “casitas” and community gardens in the neighborhood, led by notable Bronx musicians including Jorge Vázquez, Matthew Gonzalez and Bobby Sanabria.

Make Music Winter’s signature Bell by Bell program will also return nationwide for MMW 2022. It will feature the world premieres of new compositions by Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Glenn Kotche of Wilco. In eight cities on Dec. 21 — including Astoria, Oregon; Auburn, California; Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin; New London, Connecticut; Salem, Oregon; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; and New York — an event leader will distribute dozens of color-coded diatonic bells to the crowd. At the front of the group, a team of conductors will wave corresponding colored flags to lead the group in slowly moving music by the composers, creating a sonorous, atmospheric soundscape. No one needs to be a musician in order to join in. At the New York performance, Chase will perform as one of the conductors.

In Auburn, California, and Long Beach, California, as well as in Boston and Chicago, participants can allow The Resonant Path to melt away the past year’s frustrations. Each city will present a path lined with gongs, continuously played over the course of an hour, creating a natural crescendo and decrescendo as participants walk past, enveloped in waves of sound.

Additional Make Music Winter events will take place in Altoona, Pennsylvania; Clatsop County, Oregon; Federal Way, Washington; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Land O Lakes, Wisconsin; Los Angeles; Macon, Georgia; Montclair, New Jersey; Mystic, Connecticut; Ossining, New York; Polk County, Oregon; Salem, Oregon; and Tucson, Arizona.

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