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Good vibrations fill the air on Make Music Day

Ally Spongr

The first day or summer and longest day of the year is being filled with public performances of live music in the second annual Make Music Western New York. The free all-day event includes attractions at around 30 locations in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Jamestown. Make Music Day, which is celebrated on June 21 in 750 cities worldwide, is presented in Buffalo by the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York.

“It’s a time when everyone and anyone is invited to play music for free,” said Natalie Brown, an associate of the initiative and coordinator of Make Music Day. “It can be as elaborate as a large stage somewhere or your front porch at your house.”

From noon until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, musicians from Infinity Visual & Performing Arts took their music to the streets of Jamestown. The Community Music School of Buffalo also held a percussion performance in the afternoon, followed by harmonica lessons in Canalside from Rick Nicotra of the WNY Blues Society. At night, participating musicians are experimenting with the acoustics inside a grain elevator at Silo City.

In addition to curated performances, Make Music Day has installments for public participation, like instrument demonstrations and music lessons. People were encouraged to come and play their own music during the event. Inclusion of all ages and skill levels is a tenant of Make Music Day locally and globally.

“Some things are spontaneous, like the harmonica play-alongs. People aren’t going to really expect it unless they noticed it online somewhere,” Brown said. “That’s going to be quick little mini-lessons. 'Hey, do you want to play harmonica?' (We) give them a harmonica. They can learn a couple notes and then they get to take that home.”

Credit Ally Spongr
People playing harmonicas at last year's event.

Some of Western New York’s most iconic sites were also included in the festivities. From 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., the Peace Bridge is being lit up orange, the official color of Make Music Day. Niagara Falls will be lit up at 10 p.m. for fifteen minutes.

With so many events and locations, organizers suggest a bit of pre-planning for the best experience at Make Music Day. 

Brown said, “We want people to look at the schedule, plan out your day, find a couple of cool spots—and it’s all free, so it’s really a great opportunity to see some local talent and visit some interesting venues.”