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Make Music Downtown Montpelier on June 21

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Make Music Day, 2023. Photo by Jolynda Burton.
By Jolynda Burton

The Montpelier Make Music Day is back in 2024. It’s happening June 21 downtown. And for the second year the Monteverdi Music School is hosting it. 

Last year, our small but mighty community music school had never taken on something like that before, and as the day got close I wondered if we had bitten off more than we could chew. 

With a downtown event grant and the encouragement of Montpelier Alive, we put up four stages across the city where musicians of all genres, backgrounds, and ages were invited to play for 20 (or fewer) minutes for the public — all in the name of celebrating the joy of music. 

In a city that values engaging community, supporting downtown, and coming together, it should be no surprise that Monteverdi Music School’s first Montpelier Make Music Day was a smash — so much so that we now refer to it as Monteverdi’s first ANNUAL Montpelier Make Music Day! 

In 2023, we heard music from Bach to Bo Diddley, and artists’ originals to centuries-old traditional music. It was so inspiring to see how music moves people to play, to sing, to dance, to learn, and to listen. The event was at the heart of what Monteverdi is all about. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better fit for us if I’d tried. 

Make Music Day is scheduled for the summer solstice, June 21, this year, which happens to fall on a Friday (or Friyay, as my kids say). Monteverdi will put up stages at city hall park and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library lawn. In addition to those two, Naive Melody Instrument Exchange plans to host performers at its State Street store. 

At each stage, local musicians — aspiring, professional, and everyone in between — sign up in advance to perform with or without a basic sound system. It is possible that walk-up musicians will be able to play, too, but pre-registered musicians will have first dibs. 

It may help the hesitant performer to know they won’t be alone: the entire globe will be behind them. World Music Day, which started in France more than 40 years ago, is now in more than 120 countries. In Vermont, with the backing of Big Heavy World — an organization that preserves and promotes Vermont-made music — a coordinated version of the event has been happening for eight years. 

Sign up to share your music at monteverdimusic.org/makemusicday. If you’re more of a behind-the-scenes kind of person, join in and volunteer to help answer questions, move amps around, and more; email info@monteverdimusic.org to volunteer. 

I didn’t play in 2023 because I was too busy running around making sure things were working, talking to neighbors, and taking pictures. This year, though, I made sure to gather my band — Tiny Heart Explosions — so we, too, can enjoy 20 minutes of music making alongside everyone else. Can’t wait to see you there, Montpelier!

Jolynda Burton is the Education Director at the Monteverdi Music School located at 46 Barre Street in Montpelier.

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