Make Music Day comes to Cedar Rapids June 21

On Sunday, June 21, the first day of summer, the city of Cedar Rapids will be filled with live music, as Legion Arts coordinates the first annual MAKE MUSIC DAY CEDAR RAPIDS.

MAKE MUSIC DAY, the wild and wonderful mix of free, outdoor music-making, returns to the United States for its 10th year, with more than 20 cities participating. The Cedar Rapids debut is being coordinated by Legion Arts, the artist-run nonprofit that programs CSPS Hall with visual art, music, dance, theater and film.

MAKE MUSIC DAY CEDAR RAPIDS will go from sunrise to sundown on the longest day of the year. Festivities kick off with live music performances at 6 am at The Tree of Five Seasons (1st Avenue and 1st Street SE). The 30-minute event will include:

  • Jonny Lipford performing morning songs on a Native American flute;
  • Chanters from St. George Orthodox Church singing several morning hymns from the Orthodox Christian tradition;
  • Paddy Puthige and Bright Sky performing a morning raga from the Hindu tradition.

The day will wrap up with a closing campfire sing-along at 8 pm, at the NewBo City Market (bring your singing voice and/or favorite instrument).

Other events include a live music lineup at the Artisans Sanctuary in Czech Village and an Instrument Petting Zoo, 11 am- 4 pm, at The Firehouse next to CSPS (all ages are invited to play, touch and experiment with an array of new musical instruments).

Dozens of locations around the country will host Mass Appeals, bringing together massed groups of the same instrument for participatory, inclusive performances. Just show up to participate. Cedar Rapids highlights include:

  • Mass Appeal Ukuleles, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, NewBo City Market: Ukulele players of all levels and experience are invited to participate in a group ukulele event. Local musician and actor Tim Arnold will lead the group with some songs and a jam session. Sponsored by Kala Ukulele.
  • Mass Appeal Guitars, 1:30-2:30 pm, NewBo City Market: Local guitarist Brook Hoover will lead a group lesson and jam session for players of all levels. Brook will teach some basic tips before a guitar jam-out with the aid of songbooks provided by Guitar World’s Acoustic Nation.
  • Mass Appeal Harmonicas, 3:30-4:30 pm, NewBo City Market: Free harmonicas and harmonica lessons (first come first served). Local blues musicians Fred Jones and Bob Gleason will lead the group through the basics of how to play harmonica, followed by a Harmonica Jam. Sponsored by Hohner.

A full schedule can be found at

Special maps and apps are available for wayfinding, calendar-making and reminders at the website.

In addition to listening, there are many ways to take part. Musicians and venues are invited to register their own concert in advance at (June 17 deadline). Or, anyone can show up June 21 to join participatory events like the ones listed above.

MAKE MUSIC DAY began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, and has since spread to over 700 cities in 120 countries, from San Diego to Syracuse, Buenos Aires to Belgrade and Bangalore. Completely different from a typical music festival, MAKE MUSIC DAY is open to anyone who wants to take part, enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend. From classical to folk, hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock, music of all kinds is performed on streets, sidewalks, porches, plazas, parks, and gardens on the longest day of the year. In 2014, over three thousand concerts were held across the U.S. for MAKE MUSIC DAY.

“Cedar Rapids joins an impressive list of cities around the world participating in this unique and cool event,” said Legion Arts Executive Director F. John Herbert.  “We hope this will be the first of many years of Make Music Days for Cedar Rapids and that people will take the opportunity to hear some life music or make some of their own.”

“In an age of solitary amusements, the rapid growth of MAKE MUSIC DAY celebrations around the country speaks to a powerful urge to share in this most joyous of communal activities,” said Aaron Friedman, founder and president of the Make Music Alliance. “We invite you to join us in a wonderful day of concerts in streets, parks, plazas, and other public spaces on the first day of summer, June 21.”

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