The all-day musical celebration on the shortest day of the year brings together New Yorkers of all ages, musical abilities and genres to sing, play, march and dance their way across streets, parks, plazas and other public spaces citywide, on the Winter Solstice.
Now in its seventh year, Make Music Winter is the cold-weather counterpart to the Make Music New York annual flagship event each 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 is presented by The NAMM Foundation and produced by Make Music New York.
All Make Music Winter events are FREE and open to the public.
Here are highlights of the Make Music Winter schedule:
Bell by Bell – Artist Tom Peyton will hand out 96 color-coded bells to the crowd gathered in Tompkins Square Park – one color per note. As the ensemble makes its way through the streets of the East Village, a team of conductors waves corresponding colored 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.
Flatfoot Flatbush – Dancers, fiddlers and pickers will parade down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights section playing old-time tunes while flatfooting – a form of percussive dancing from Appalachia, led by Nick Horner and Theo Boguszewski. Participants will learn the fundamental steps of this rhythmic dance form and have a chance to practice with the Flatfoot Flatbush String Band. The parade will make dozens of stops along the way to play, dance and sing, ending with an after-party featuring music and dance by the Wild Goats and the Flatfoot Flatbush Band.
Gaits: A High Line Soundwalk – Gaits is an immersive, site-specific composition by Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson and Cameron Britt in which the wonders of our everyday technology transform participants’ movements into musical improvisations. Upon arriving at the base of the Gansevoort Stairs of the High Line, participants will download a free smartphone app and connect their phones to small, wearable speakers. The app captures GPS coordinates and velocities to trigger a variety of twinkling metallic sounds, electric guitar chords, dulcimer notes, water splashes, car horns and applause, empowering marchers to make music while interacting with their environment and fellow participants.
Kalimbascope – Composer J.C. King will lead a procession of people playing the kalimba – an evolution of the African mbira – through Madison Square Park. The plucking of this handheld folk instrument is amplified by a rolling speaker, creating a gentle, reverberating soundscape as the sounds play off of buildings and other city structures. Marchers will circle the park’s central Oval Lawn and Whiteout, a newly commissioned public art project by artist Erwin Redl that’s comprised of hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a discrete, white LED light. All are encouraged to bring their own kalimbas, and kalimbas will be available for the first 25 participants to borrow.
Melrose Parranda – The Bronx Music Heritage Center will lead a parranda – the Puerto Rican tradition involving processions of carolers – in the Melrose section. Based in the music of plena and other holiday songs from Puerto Rico, the parade will make stops at different casitas – the little houses that evoke those on the countryside in Puerto Rico – ending at the casita renowned for its musical legacy, Rincón Criollo Centro Cultural, aka “La Casita de Chema.” This year’s parranda pays tribute to Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico by opening with poetry by Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez, followed by the island’s national anthem, “La Borinqueña.”
Pilgrimage – Headlamp-clad singers walk along Riverside Park while intoning medieval melodies once sung along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine serving as the destination. Singers of all skill levels are invited to join and no rehearsal is necessary.
For the first time, Make Music Winter is expanding beyond New York City with celebrations planned in Montclair (NJ), Ossining/Briarcliff (NY), Chattanooga (TN) and Muskogee (OK). Find additional information ils on the Make Music NY website.