Make Music Chicago celebrates free daylong, citywide music event

Chronicle Media


Make Music Chicago will feature 200 performances and participatory events across 100 locations in more than 40 Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs .

Make Music Chicago will feature 200 performances and participatory events across 100 locations in more than 40 Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs .

Make Music Chicago, a completely free musical celebration across Chicago, returns for its sixth annual event on the first day of summer and longest day of the year, June 21.

Presented by Rush Hour Concerts, Chicago joins more than 700 cities across the world celebrating free music as part of the international music holiday, Fête de la Musique, annually held on the Summer Solstice.

This year, Make Music Chicago is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks and other Chicago cultural partners with the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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.

Under the helm of Artistic Director and lauded pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, with the support from Executive Director Kitty Rothschild, Make Music Chicago will feature 200 performances and participatory events across 100 locations in more than 40 Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs from sunrise to sunset with performances at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square, Maggie Daley Park and Pritzker Pavilion plus the Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago Symphony Center, Daley Plaza, Lyric Opera House, Lincoln Park Zoo, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Old Town School of Folk Music and over 30 Chicago Park District sites and many others.


Make Music Chicago will feature performances at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square, Maggie Daley Park Pritzker Pavilion,Chicago Riverwalk, Symphony Center, and many more locations throughout the city.

Make Music Chicago will feature performances by music-makers of all ages, abilities and musical tastes, including amateurs and professionals.

Make Music Chicago highlights include free performances from Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Grant Park Orchestra and Lyric Opera’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; a joint performance from Gaudete Brass and Axiom Brass; a special Rush Hour Concert with Grammy-award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich; two-time Grammy Award-nominated Mexican folk musicians Sones de Mexico Ensemble; more than 10 play-along events including the Rise and Shine Orchestra with members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra; numerous family events including the Suzuki Play-along for kids and the return of Pianos in the Parks. For a complete and up-to-the-minute list of events, including all play- and sing-alongs, visit or download the Make Music Day app for iOS or Android. Programming is subject to change.


Make Music Chicago 2016 Highlights

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 newly developed public spaces to highlight the importance of accessibility to music and music making. Music makers of all ages are invited to join these participatory events using their own instruments or those provided.


  • Stones/Water/Time/Breath: Participatory Sunrise Performance: sunrise-6:30 a.m. 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 10 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.


  • Sousapalooza: noon-1 p.m.; Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington Street)

Richard Fischer, Director of Bands at Concordia University-Chicago, leads players through the classic marches of John Philip Sousa.


Harmonica Blowout: 1:30-2:30 p.m. The Welles Park Gazebo in Lincoln Square (2333 W Sunnyside Avenue)

Old Town School of Music teacher Skip Landt leads a bluegrass harmonica play-along for all ages with free harmonicas provided by Hohner.


  • Rise and Shine Orchestra: 1-3 p.m. Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.)

Lloyd Palmiter 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 1:00-2:00pm with performance taking place from 2-3 p.m.


  • Great American Songbook Play and Sing-along: 2:30-3:15 p.m. The Welles Park Gazebo in Lincoln Square (2333 W Sunnyside Ave.)

Midwest folk band Three for the Road leads a sing and play-along of songs from the Great American Songbook to the 1970s.


  • +9v: A Community Concert for Battery Powered Instruments: 5:30-9 p.m. 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.


  • Uke Jam: 6-7 p.m. Aloha Center Chicago in Lincoln Square (1626 W Lawrence Ave.)

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.

  • Sea Shanty Sing-Along: 6-7 p.m. Chicago French Market in the West Loop (131 N Clinton St.)

Chicago Sea Shanty Sing invites everyone to join a participatory sing-along of sea shanties and maritime themed pub songs.

  • Rhythm Revolution Drum Circle: 7-8 p.m. Mozart Park in Logan Square (2036 N. Avers Ave.)

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.

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- Aug. 1. Pianos will be located at Mozart Park in Logan Square (2036 N. Avers Ave.), Loyola Park in East Rogers Park (1230 Greenleaf Ave.), Hamilton Park in Englewood (513 W. 72nd Place), Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park Ave.), Washington Square Park in Near North (901 N. Clark St.), Calumet Park in Eastside (9801 S. Ave. G) and Indian Boundary Park in West Ridge (2500 W. Lunt Ave.).

Family Concerts

Make Music Chicago includes multiple Family Concerts throughout the day, including at the Maggie Daley Park’s Concessions Plaza (337 E Randolph), Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (5480 S. Kenwood Ave.), Piotrowski Park in Little Village (4247 W. 31st St.) Winnemac Park in Rogers Park (5101 N Leavitt St.), Clarendon Park in Uptown (4501 N. Clarendon Ave.) and Mary Bartelme Park in West Loop (115 S. Sangamon St.).

Maggie Daley Park:

  • The Lucky Trikes: 11-11:45 a.m.

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.

Hyde Park

  • Marsha’s Music Fam Jam: 10-10:45 a.m.

Little Village

  • Chicago Folklore Ensemble: 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Ravinia’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY Education Programs presents the Chicago Folklore Ensemble in “Folktales & Traditional Music From Around the World”.

Rogers Park

  • Merry Music Makers Sing-Along: 1-10:45 a.m.

The Merry Music Makers lead a sing-along for children ages 6 and under.

  • Fiddle Tunes Jam: 6-8 p.m.

Fiddle Club of the World Chicago Chapter in partnership with Old Town School of Music presents a fiddle play-along jam session for all ages and experience levels.


  • Schools Out Jam: 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Young musicians aged 16 and under celebrate summer and the last day of school.


  • Sones de Mexico lunchtime program at Harold Washington Library’s Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (400 S State): 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Chicago’s premier Mexican folk ensemble and two-time Grammy Award-nominated artist, Sones de Mexico Ensemble present “Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico”.

West Loop

  • Suzuki Play-along: 5-6 p.m.

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.

Rush Hour Concerts at Make Music Chicago: 5:45-6:15 p.m.

St. James Cathedral (65 E. Huron): This year’s Rush Hour Concert’s Summer Concert Series will feature a performance from Grammy-award-winning violinist and Stradivari Society recipient Augustin Hadelich with Make Music Chicago Artistic Director and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang at the serene and historic St. James Cathedral in River North. Rush Hour Concerts offers high quality live chamber music every Tuesday evening after work, beginning with a pre-concert beverage reception at 5:15 p.m. in the cathedral foyer, followed by a 30-minute concert at 5:45 p.m.

Pre-Event Performance at 353 N. Clark: Make Music Chicago will also present a free, live pre-event performance during the lunch hour June 17 from noon-1 p.m. at 353 N. Clark located in River North. Preview performance will feature classic blues and ’70s rock from The Full Circle Blues Band, who will also perform during Make Music Chicago at McGuane Park in Bridgeport (2901 S Poplar Ave.) from 7-8:15 p.m. June 21.


Additional Make Music Chicago Sites and Events


McGuane Park (2901 S. Poplar Ave.): 9:30 a.m.-8:15 p.m.


A mix of traditional Chinese opera, blues, punk, country, indie-rock and more with performances by the Chinese American Cultural & Art Academy, 168 fitness team, Bodom, Famous Unknown-USA, Drew Richelle Gawron, The Sweeps, The Mawgs and Full Circle Blues Band


Osterman Beach (5800 N. Lake Shore Drive): 7:30-9:30 p.m.

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.

Gold Coast

Steinway Gallery (900 N Michigan Ave.): 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Steinway Gallery of Chicago hosts a day of piano music featuring Bow & Hammer, violinist Sara Su Jones, Susan Merdinger, Katrina Sudman and pianist Ilya Friedberg with violinist Hyewon Yang

Hyde Park

Midway Plaisance (1130 Midway Plaisance North): 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

DJs at the Midway – House DJs curated by Taigo Onez

Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park Boathouse: (1400 N. Sacramento Ave.): 6-9 p.m.

Afro-Latino & roots-rock-inspired dance music of ESSO (El Sonido Sonic Octopus) 7-8 p.m.

606 Bloomindale Trail (1801 N. Albany Ave.): 7:30-9 p.m.

Chicago- based Brazilian percussion ensemble Bateria Quilombola

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Zoo: Park Place Café: noon-4 p.m.

Jay Schraub, Mike Pecucci, Mister E. Machine

Lincoln Park Zoo: Cafe Brauer Patio: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

David Dilsizian, Evan Cauble-Johnson, Jeff Brown, Mike Felten, Mark Sotira/Unplugged

Lincoln Square

The Welles Park Gazebo (2333 W Sunnyside Ave.): 1:30-8:30 p.m.

Tony Scarimbolo and members of the Barndance Company: 4:45-5:45 p.m.

Chicago Philharmonic Brass: 6:30-8:30 p.m.



Chicago Symphony Orchestra (220 S. Michigan Ave.)

Performance by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble: 1-2 p.m.

Performance by Civic Orchestra of Chicago Chamber Ensemble: 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Lyric Opera House (20 N. Wacker) 5:30-5:45 p.m.

A short concert with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center in partnership with Chicago Voices.


O’Briens Riverwalk Café (45 E Riverwalk South):

Opera On Tap Chicago: 1-2 p.m.

Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall (430 S. Michigan Ave.): 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Yepez, EStrella Piano Duo, Sara Su Jones, Marie Alatalo and the all-female Pianissimo! Chicago’s Premier Piano Ensemble.

Millennium Park

Maggie Daley Park: Cancer Survivor Garden (337 E Randolph) 11 a.m.-noon

A performance of “Shimmer,” a piece by Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for 16 cymbal players, led by Zildjian cymbal artist Doug Perkins and Friends.

Pritzker Pavilion (201 E Randolph Street) 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Open rehearsal with Grant Park Symphony Orchestra featuring Storm Large of Pink Martini fame singing classics from the Great American Songbook from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Mahler’s Sixth Symphony from 3-5:30 p.m. Festival docents will also lead a talk back from 1:30-3 p.m.

Wrigley Square (Randolph Street & Michigan Avenue) 1:15-2 p.m.

Joint performance with Gaudete Brass and Axiom Brass



Dvorak Park (1119 W. Cullerton): 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Guest DJ’s provide non-stop music throughout the day plus DJ lessons providing instruction and access to equipment


LACUNA Chicago (2150 South Canalport Avenue): 4-10 p.m.

Chicago Loud 9, Jia Senghe, Shame Shame Shame, Mr. Constant and The INterior Project


Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.), free admission for Illinois residents on Tuesdays

Chaz Hearne (on the Plaza): 11 a.m.-noon

Matthew Shelton (on the Plaza): 1-2 p.m.

Open rehearsal with Eighth Blackbird (inside museum): 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Tuesdays on the Terrance with Josh Berman Trio: 5:30-8 p.m.


South Loop

PianoForte Studios (1335 South Michigan Ave.): noon-1 p.m.

Live Broadcast of ‘DCB Jazz with Barry Winograd on WDCB 90.0FM featuring performances from The Steve Rashid Trio

Fred Anderson Park (1629 S Wabash Ave.): 2-4 p.m.

Famed jazz saxophonist and Chicagoan of the Year Ernest Dawkins performs in this popular Chicago park location named after Chicago jazz great and saxophonist, Fred Anderson.


West Loop

Mary Bartelme Park (115 S. Sangamon St.): 6-7 p.m.

Performances by students of Merit School of Music

Chicago French Market (131 N Clinton St.): 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Live musical performances from Mister E. Machine, V3NTO Brass Trio and North Carolina’s Crossflame Youth Choir and Orchestra, Immediate Family and more plus food from over 30 local artisan purveyors

Ovation (2324 W Fulton St.): 8-10 p.m.

Chicago-based violin & piano duo Bow & Hammer joins Ovation and a surprise culinary guest to host an after-party with free music and food.

Western Suburbs

Veltway (6815 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn): 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Live music along the stretch of Roosevelt Road known as the Veltway at Fitzgeralds, Autre Monde, The Friendly Tap and WIRE with performances by Ian Leith, Loren Middleton, The Revue and more.


— Make Music Chicago celebrates free daylong, citywide music event —