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About Make Music Chicago

Lloyd Palmiter and a guest conductor lead the Rise and Shine Orchestra in Daley Plaza

On June 21, 1982, the Fête de la Musique launched in Paris as a free and spontaneous celebration of music during the summer solstice – the longest day of the year – embracing music of every style and musicians of all ages and abilities. In the past 30 years, the infectious, all-inclusive spirit of the Fête de la Musique has spread to 500 cities across the globe making the Fête de la Musique the world’s largest single day music celebration.

Africaribe performs during the Street Party

In 2011, at the request of French Consul General Graham Paul, Rush Hour Concerts inaugurated Make Music Chicago, bringing the Fête de la Musique to Chicago, and bringing Chicago into the global musical phenomenon.

Make Music Chicago welcomes musicians of all ages and skill levels – beginners, amateurs, professionals, teachers, students, and marquee artists – who perform side by side in neighborhoods from Hyde Park to Evanston, Humboldt Park to Lake Shore Drive, Lincoln Square to the Loop. Every performance is free and open to the public.

Joe Filisko leads the Harmonica Blowout

Genres include classical, opera, show tunes, rock, country, folk, blues, gospel, jazz, electronic, and an array of international styles. Audiences gather in public spaces and historic landmarks, in Loop lobbies and along sidewalks, in grand cathedrals and in the streets to listen, dance, sing, and play along. Throughout the day, 98.7WFMT (Chicago’s only all-classical radio and web-streaming station) features live broadcasts from multiple venues. In 2013, more than 150,000 people experienced free music making at 40 sites across the city. More than 500 listeners attended the two-hour Grand Finale at St. James Cathedral, which featured artists from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and renowned chamber ensembles. The festivities moved outdoors to the St. James Commons as audiences enjoyed family, international, and interactive programming on three stages into the night.