Make Music Winter, a free, outdoor music-making celebration held each December 21 and featuring 15 participatory musical parades across New York City that bring communities together, today announced its updated schedule of events. The all-day musical celebration on the winter solstice brings out New Yorkers of all ages and musical ability to sing, play, march and dance their way across streets, parks, plazas and other public spaces across the five boroughs. Make Music Winter, which launched in NYC in 2011 and is expanding nationwide with 30 US cities participating, is the cold-weather counterpart to Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music occurring on June 21, the Summer solstice.
Make Music Winter’s innovative projects transform New York’s cityscape for a single day and have become a hallmark of the holiday season. Make Music Winter in NYC is presented by The NAMM Foundation and produced by Make Music New York.
Highlights of 2018 Make Music Winter in NYC will include:
Characters of the Dance (Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, Lower East Side)
– Composer-conductor Andrew Bolotowsky leads an acoustic Baroque concert presenting flute music by Handel, Rebel, Vivaldi/Rousseau, and Cuperin during which costumed models will gesture with early ballet steps representing different “characters.” The audience and passersby will be invited to imitate a step or two as they take on the role of a character. The program will end with a sing-along of carefully selected Christmas Carols led by “Santa Claus.” The program is presented in partnership with Spring Studio (aka Minerva’s Drawing Studio).
Queens Second Line Swing (Corona Plaza to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Corona, Queens)
– Singers, jazz instrumentalists and dancers of all skill levels are welcome and encouraged to join this participatory New Orleans-style second line parade featuring rambunctious, soulful songs from Roz Nixon’s musical “Dedication to Louis Armstrong.” Leading international Jazz vocalist Antoinette Montague will lead the Dixieland-swing-march and the second line will feature a stellar brass ensemble that includes saxophonist Patience Higgins and trombonist Frank Lucy. The second line will perform classic Armstrong call-and-response standards such as “Saints Go Marching In,” “Basin Street Blues” and “You Rascal You.” Lyric sheets will be available. This program is produced by Roz Nixon Entertainment.
Winterize (Brooklyn Botanic Garden)
– The fifth iteration of a special participatory performance of Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise, created by Chris Herbert, returns to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Baritone and rising star Tobias Greenhalgh will lead the performance, which migrates throughout newly restored sections of the Garden, stopping at locations that reflect the vivid imagery of Wilhelm Miller’s poetry and Schubert’s music. Audience members will provide the musical accompaniment via hand-held radios that emit the original musical accompaniment.
Winter Solstice Procession: Will Epstein in Collaboration with Kenny Wollesen (Madison Square Park)
– This piece, conceived by Will Epstein and performed in collaboration with Kenny Wollesen and his group, was created to be a ritualized induction and celebration of Arlene Schechet’s work. The performers will communicate with each other from varying distances in the park, blending in with sounds of the space as well as playing through them. Undulating in and out of proximity with each other, the musicians will become part of the park while simultaneously transforming the landscape into something out of the ordinary. Traversing the familiar pathways of the park and into the installation area, they syphon the energy around them and meld it with their own sonic force, wrapping it all around the space and highlighting it as a truly special and unusual retreat. The program is produced by Madison Square Park Conservancy.
Solstice Soul Train (Uptown Grand Central community plaza and along East 125th Street)
– Back by popular demand! Put some soul into your holiday season by hopping on board the Solstice Soul Train and getting ready to party! The “trains” consist of musicians that will circulate along the sidewalks of 125th Street between Fifth Avenue and Lexington Avenue, making stops along the way as popular shops and cultural organizations throughout the East Harlem neighbourhood. Stay tuned to MakeMusicNY.org and Uptown Grand Central for additional details as participating performers and host venues “hop on board” to lead this family-friendly evening of music, soul, dancing and kids activities. This program is produced in partnership with Uptown Grand Central.
4:32 pm (sunset)
Flatfoot Flatbush (Flatbush Avenue through Prospect Heights)
– Dancers, fiddlers and pickers will parade down Flatbush Avenue playing old-time tunes while flat footing, a form of percussive dancing from Appalachia. Participants will learn the fundamental steps of this rhythmic dance form and have a chance to practice with the Flatfoot Flatbush String Band! Led by members of the City Stompers and the Make Music New York Porch Stomp festival organizers, Flatfoot Flatbush traverses Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, along vibrant Flatbush Avenue, with dozens of stops along the way to play, dance and sing. The fun will continue at an after-party featuring music and dance sets by the Wild Goats and the Flatfoot Flatbush Band. This program is produced by Nick Horner and Theo Boguszewski in association with the North Flatbush Business Improvement District and made possible with support from M&T Bank, Con Edison and New York Road Runners.
Kalimbascope (Columbus Circle and through Central Park) – In this “Public Participatory Sound Installation,” composer/conductor J.C. King will lead a procession of players plucking kalimbas – an evolution of the African mbira, or thumb piano. The instruments are then gently amplified through the “Kalimbascope,” a mobile live-sound system that transforms the emissions of the ancient folk instruments into clouds of sparkling harmony and tropical ambience in an inclusive action of presence, abstraction, meditation and catharsis.
Winter Luminaria with Tilted Axes (Sasaki Garden in Washington Square Village through Greenwich Village and back)
– Composer Patrick Grant and Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, in partnership with NYU Faculty Housing Happenings, will present an evening of innovative musical performance featuring a procession through Greenwich Village that begins and ends with a solstice soundscape in honour of Sasaki Garden set aglow with enchanting lights. The evening’s musical commission is titled “Cold Moon Consort” in reference to 2018’s winter solstice and the December full moon occurring within the same day. Arrive at Sasaki Garden at 5 pm and receive a small flashlight to participate in the spectacle and illuminate the performance route.
Bell by Bell (Astor Place Plaza through the East Village)
– Artist Tom Peyton and friends will lead this popular community parade through the East Village. Participants are each given a colour-coded hand-bell that plays a specific note. As the ensemble wends its way through the streets of the neighbourhood, a team of conductors wave corresponding coloured flags in time with a series of specially curated compositions, prompting participants to collectively contribute to sonorous, atmospheric soundscapes that intensify as the group learns to work and play together. The parade will also feature additional hand-bell music compositions from composers Eric Beach, Dan Edinburg (The Stepkids), Nat Evans, Eric Frederic, Army Garapic, Robert Honstein, Matt Marble and Alex Waterman. The parade will begin at Astor Place Plaza, head east and then conclude at Two Boots Pizza (corner of Avenue A and East 3rd Street), where participants can warm up with free slices and soda courtesy of the restaurant.
Pilgrimage (Riverside Park)
– Under the guidance of conductor James John, Director of the Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, headlamp-clad singers will walk a route along Riverside Park while singing medieval melodies once sung on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Early music songs include selections from “Cantigas de Santa Maria,” “Llibre Vermell de Montserrat” and “The Coventry Carol.” Singers of all skill levels are invited to join. No rehearsal necessary.
5:45 PM The Gaits: A High Line Soundwalk (The High Line, Gansevoort Street entrance)
– Gaits is an immersive, site-specific parade featuring commissioned compositions by Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson and Cameron Britt in which the wonders of everyday technology transform participants’ movements into musical improvisations. Paraders will attach their smartphones to small, wearable speakers and use a free app that captures the GPS coordinates and velocities of their movements to trigger a variety of twinkling metallic sounds, electric guitar chords, dulcimer notes, water splashes, car horns and applause – empowering marchers to effortlessly make music while interacting with their environment and each other. This program is produced in partnership with Friends of the High Line.
Melrose Parranda (Melrose section of the Bronx)
– The Bronx Music Heritage Center will hold their annual parranda – the Puerto Rican tradition involving processions of carolers – throughout the Bronx’s historic Melrose neighbourhood. Based in the music of plena, and other holiday songs from Puerto Rico, this festive parade will make stops at different casitas – the little houses that evoke those of the Puerto Rico countryside – including El Coquí, Jardin de la Roca, Latinos Unidos, and Rainbow Casito – and conclude at the casita renowned for its musical legacy, Rincón Criollo Centro Cultural, aka “La Casita de Chema.” This program is produced by the Bronx Music Heritage Center, We Stay/Nos Quedamos Committee, Inc., Asociación Huerto y Cultura the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Bronx Culture Collective.
The Mobile Hallelujah (Verdi Square, Jefferson Market Garden, Union Square and in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
– In this participatory choral program, producer Melissa Gerstein and conductor Douglas Anderson team up to bring Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” – from his Messiah oratorio, the oldest continuously performed piece of classical music – out of the concert hall and onto the city streets. Prior to Dec. 21, participants can access a free, specially crafted sound file to download to their smartphone at MakeMusicNY.org. Then, on the day of the parade, singers will descend on one of four popular locations across Manhattan and gather into vocal groups (soprano, alto, tenor and bass). Wearing a single earbud to hear the sound file, which includes an orchestral introduction to set the tempo and pitch, singers and their conductors will then synchronize the start of the performance and make their way among the crowds. To the surprise of bystanders, a seemingly spontaneous outburst of the famous choral piece will unfold in their midst, while performers revel in the joy of creating a unique, full-throated version of the choral masterwork.
Ukulele Caroling (Washington Square Park)
– Calling all ukes! Players of all skill levels are welcomed to join the first-ever winter solstice gathering of ukuleles in a Village parade launching from Washington Square Park. The evening will feature classic holiday and repertoire tunes for the ukulele and is suitable for players of all ages.
Renegade Parade by HONK NYC (Culminating in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island)
– The team behind HONK NYC, which brings street band music and spectacle to audiences citywide, will lead a pop-up parade as it moves from location to location, switching bands, instruments, transportation methods and vibes along the way. The parade will begin in Queens and end in Staten Island’s St. George neighbourhood.
All Make Music Winter events are free and open to the public. For additional information, please visit the following website.