Make Music CHicago

Make Music Chicago, a completely free musical celebration across Chicago, will be returning for its fourth annual event on the first day of summer and longest day of the year,Saturday, June 21. Celebrating the ability of everyone to participate in music-making, Make Music Chicago brings together people of all ages and backgrounds - amateurs and professionals alike - to perform live music of all genres in public spaces. If you're looking to experience live music, this is one of the summer's top don't-miss events. 

This year, you'll find music in every corner of the city - at more than 60 sites - including Avondale, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Edgewater, Englewood, Evanston, Gold Coast, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Jackson Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Loop, River North, South Loop, Streeterville, West Loop, Wicker Park and Woodlawn. The Grand Finale takes place in the historic St. James Cathedral (65 E. Huron Street at Wabash) in River North, followed by an outdoor party at the St. James Commons.
For families, Make Music Chicago includes multiple family-friendly concerts throughout the day, including at Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 N. Clark St.), Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Park (909 W. Armitage Ave.) and Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.).
  • Lincoln Park Zoo: Quintet Attacca's "Peter and the Wolf": 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Woodwind ensemble Quintet Attacca perform their interactive "Peter and the Wolf" show where different characters of the story are represented by different instruments.
  • Old Town School of Folk Music: 12 - 2 p.m.: Youth Music Program Saturday Jam and Busking performances
  • Daley Plaza: Suzuki Play-Along: 2 - 3 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," led by members of the Chicago Consortium of Community Music Schools.
  • Taylor Park (Bronzeville): IMW Allstars: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: The IMW All-Stars, a group of talented young musicians ages 11-17 from Intonation Music Workshop, Chicago's premier youth pop band, perform their best repertory.
  • Providence St. Mel Choir: 1 - 2 p.m.
  • Suzuki Play-Along: 2 - 3 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," led by members of the Chicago Consortium of Community Music Schools.
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    A complete list of performance sites can be found at, but here are some of the highlights:

    Play the PlazaMake Music Chicago invites anyone and everyone to "Play the Plaza," beginning in the morning at Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.). These fully participatory events welcome all orchestral, choral and concert band musicians of any age. "Play the Plaza" opens with the Rise and Shine Orchestra and continues with two popular lunchtime events returning from prior years, the Solstice Sing-Along and Sousapalooza. The "Play the Plaza" continues in the afternoon with a concert by the Providence St. Mel Choir and a family-friendly Suzuki Play-Along.

    Rise and Shine Orchestra: 10 - 10:45 a.m.Lloyd Palmiter of Quinlan & Fabish Music Company leads musicians through vibrant orchestral music (rehearsal begins at 9:00 a.m.). Special guests include Chicago Symphony Orchestra members Nisanne Howell, Blair Milton, Paul Phillips, Barbara Queen, Brant Taylor and Cynthia Yeh.

    Solstice Sing-Along: 11 - 11: 45 a.m.Bill Chin, Artistic Director of the Oriana Singers, leads fans of musical theater through some favorite show tunes.

    Sousapalooza: 12 - 12:45 p.m.Richard Fischer, Director of Bands at Concordia University-Chicago, leads players through the classic marches of John Philip Sousa. Special guests include Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin. Anyone who ever played a band instrument is encouraged to join in.

    Organ CrawlThe Make Music Chicago Organ Crawl returns for a second year in a row, featuring midday performances on the organs of three historic churches.
    • St. James Cathedral: 11 - 11:30 a.m. / Performance by David C. Jonies
    • St. Chrysostom Episcopal Church (1424 N. Dearborn Street): 12 - 12:30 p.m. / Performance by Richard Hoskins
    • Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut Street): 1 - 1:30 p.m. / Performance by Thom Gouwens

    Grand FinaleThe day's events close with the Grand Finale, including a free two-hour concert event as part of the Rush Hour Concerts Summer Concert Series from 5 - 7 p.m., at St. James Cathedral (65 E. Huron St.), featuring:
    • Stradivari Society violinist Paul Huang with pianist Jessica Osborne
    • Project Inclusion Quartet, composed of pre-professional musicians from Project Inclusion, a joint venture of the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Grant Park Music Festival
    • Singers from the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center
    • Euclid Quartet
    The Grand Finale continues outdoors in the new St. James Commons on Wabash at Huron with the Jazz Institute of Chicago's Jazz Links Youth Ensemble, 7 - 7:45 p.m., followed by renowned harmonica performer and teacher Skip Landt leading an all-age Harmonica Jam with free harmonicas generously donated by Hohner, Inc., 8 - 8:30 p.m. The celebration closes with an appearance by the Bucket Boys, 8:30 - 9 p.m.
    Over 100 Make Music Chicago events take place throughout the day, so for a complete and up-to-the-minute list of events, visit Programming is subject to change.
    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and commenters and do not reflect the views of Choose Chicago.