If there’s one thing at which Chicago excels, it’s festival season. Chicagoans love their outdoor shindigs. And ones where they can bring every last member of the family? Those more than make up for slogging through seemingly endless months of slush, dibs and sub-zero temps.
Make Music Chicago is no exception. As part of the worldwide Fête de la Musique, Chicago joins more than 700 cities in celebrating the longest day of the year by proving that music-making is for everyone. This wildly popular event is completely free for musicians and audiences alike, thanks to Rush Hour Concerts, the Chicago Park District and Mayor Emanuel’s Night Out in the Parks. More than 200 events are lined up all across town for Sun., June 21, and here’s a mere smattering of them.
337 E. Randolph St., 4-5 p.m.
You know what Dad really wants for Father’s Day? To download an app called Susync, sing along with OperaModa vocalists as they travel from assigned starting places in the city and end up on the Maggie Daley Park’s Lawn Valley South to finish out the eight-part choral arrangement of “Call Your Dad,” which can be downloaded in advance, along with sheet music and practice tracks. Think of it like a really loud, really map-happy treasure hunt
Any city park can have installation art, but spectacular parks let you play the piano.
During open park hours June 21-July 19, pianos can be found at Berger Park (6205 N. Sheridan Rd.), 63rd Street Beach (6300 S. Lake Shore Dr.), Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.), Seneca Park (220 E. Chicago Ave.), Eckhart Park (1330 W. Chicago Ave.) and Washington Square Park (901 N. Clark St.).
During Make Music Chicago, play-along concerts will be performed at all park locations, including Washington Square Park’s jam from 2:30-4 p.m., which features the Newberry Library’s early 20th century catalog of American sheet music. “Camptown Races,” anyone? (And considering that one of us named her daughter after a particularly lovely version of “Oh, Susannah,” the sing-along for that selection is a must-do.)
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave., 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Need more island in your lifestyle? It won’t be hard to convince your kids to trade Welles Park’s splash pad for some sweet hula moves once they hear the ukuleles twanging at the gazebo. Bring your ukes, bring your voices – heck, bring your grass skirts – and say aloha to a concert led by Hawaiian Lanialoha Lee. Playbooks provided!
And there’s loads more on the docket taking place in more than 20 neighborhoods, from sun-up to sundown. So really, there’s only one question remaining – where do you plan to start?
For up-to-the-minute listings, visit makemusicchicago.org.
Keely Flynn is a Chicago playwright, freelance writer, and blogger living with three young children, an extraordinarily tolerant husband, and two cats who just try to make it through the day without being ridden like ponies. Check out her personal blog, lollygagblog.com.
See more of Keely's stories here.
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