by Hannah Santisi
Make Music Day is an international celebration of music. It originated in France as Fête de la Musique, and has grown its origins to include over 800 cities in 120 different countries. Hannah Santisi, Peter Slowik, and Credo Music were so excited to include Cleveland in the Make Music festivities this year!
Plastic trombones, viola da gambas, and guitars, oh my! Those were just a few of the instruments that helped fill Cleveland with music on Make Music Day, June 21, 2016. When my Oberlin Conservatory viola professor and I began planning Make Music Cleveland in September, we were excited to bring the international celebration of music to this arts destination, but we didn’t know what to expect or how many people would be involved. As I worked on completing my Oberlin College and Conservatory’s double degree program that fall, Mr. Slowik and I continued to plan this day of music, creating lists of local venues at which we hoped to showcase music on June 21st.
Because it was our inaugural year in Cleveland, much of our work was spreading the word about this one-day international event. Make Music’s mission is to inspire people of all genres, ages, and levels to participate in the beauty and joy of music-making, to share their love of music through a free and public concert. Our job was to act as the catalyst in Cleveland to inspire over 50 concerts on Tuesday, June 21st. With the help of interns, we hit the ground running in January, contacting local schools, churches, and musical groups to spread the word about Make Music Cleveland. Our most exciting connection during that month was with Pastor Jonathan from Lakewood Baptist Church, who collaborated with us to create a Make Music Cleveland festival at his church.
With the excitement of one large event planned (and a coincidence of good timing), we worked with the Cleveland Indians to organize four pre-game concerts and the National Anthem at Progressive Field during their home game on June 21st. We communicated with the local hospitals to create concerts at their facilities. Planned performances at Cleveland landmarks, such as Progressive Field, 5th Street Arcades, and Edgewater Park, helped us gain momentum, and people started talking about Make Music. People began making profiles on our software and organizing their own concerts. Soon, Mayor Frank Jackson proclaimed June 21, 2016 Make Music Cleveland Day and we were ready for the big day!
Fortuitous timing created the perfect day for Make Music Cleveland Day! After a huge Cleveland win (Go Cavs!) on Sunday, the city was excited and ready to celebrate with some music on a gorgeous day. Make Music Day started with a fun viola duo in Tappan Square; then, the festivities shifted to a performance piece at Edgewater Park. After, participants made some noise with Conn-Selmer’s colorful plastic trombones, which were played by young and old at many locations through the day. Music traveled the streets with stops at Cleveland-based institutions such as MetroHealth, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Cleveland Institute of Music, The Music Settlement, and Progressive Field, as well as front porches, local churches, and small coffee shops. Make Music musicians also made history on June 21st, with the first performance of SousaPalooza in which over 50 brass, wind, and percussion players took part in celebrating the marches of John Philip Sousa. By the end of Make Music Day, 75+ concerts were performed in the Cleveland area, touching over 20,000 people with a variety of instruments and sounds! MMC was in its inaugural year, and we are so pleased with the concerts created, but we can’t wait for more movement and talk next year about this very exciting event!