For many, Central Park conjures up images of woodlands, meadows, and lakes. But some people associate the park with something else, drum circles, saxophonists playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to children, and diehard hippies strumming out Beatles songs. On June 21, there will be even more street musicians in the park though. Or perhaps we should call them lake musicians.
Each year on the first day of summer Make Music New York takes to the streets with over a thousand free open air musical performances. When we say music, we’re talking anything and everything: funk, punk, jazz, you name it. The festival is showing Central Park some love too, bringing two classical concerts to The Lake, five folk music performances at The Great Hill, traditional Indian music at The Dairy, three free for all concerts that anyone can join, a string orchestra, and a French hip-hop concert by IAM.
At 7:30am and 8:15pm, six trombones standing on opposite sides of The Lake will face their conductor situated in a boat in between them to play Canadian Composer R. Murray Schafer’s Music for Wilderness Lake. At 5pm, a 144 singers will perform Schafer’s 50 minute piece Credo which was intended to be sung by twelve separate but coordinated choirs. As if that wasn’t spectacular enough, the will do this while sitting in boats on The Lake. The Lake is found in the center of the park at 72nd Street. If you need more help, check out our map of the park.
At 11:00am, singer/song writer Cynthia Goddeau kicks things off, guitar in hand with an hour set. Then at 12 noon, singer Elaine Romanelli, who’s been compared to Sarah McLachlan, switches things up when she steps behind the piano. Later at 2:00pm, Joe Miller brings some country flair to his folk music in an acoustic guitar and vocals set. Immediately after at 3:00pm, coffeeshop and bar veteran Paul Tabachneck will share covers of his favorite pop-rock songs and some originals of his own. Finally at 4:00pm, The Folk Music Society of New York and NYCStreetsingers shares an hour and a half of old fashioned folk goodness. The Great Hill is found on the West Side of the park at 104th Street. If you need more help, check out our map of the park.
Never Too Late To String
The New York Late Starters String Orchestra claims The Great Hill at 6:30pm to perform chamber music. Their chamber orchestra is comprised of amateur adult performers who discovered their passion for music later in life. Stop by and hear this unique group comprised of players from 18 to 80 years of age give an hour and a half concert. The Great is found on the West Side of the park at 104th Street. If you need more help, check out our map of the park.
That Time You Performed In Central Park
Throughout the day there are three “mass appeal” concerts. In other words, anyone can join one of these concert if they want to. At 4:00pm, flutists will gather at Wollman Rink (approximately where 63rd Street and Sixth Avenue would be) for a two hour concert of prepared pieces with sightseeing performances. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org. At 6:00pm, you can bring a harmonica to Stranger’s Gate (106th Street and Central Park West) even if you’ve never played one before in your life. After a quick harmonica lesson, everyone will perform in an interactive concert. Contact Jia-Ye He at email@example.com to sign up. Lastly, at 7pm, accordionist Melissa Elledge will lead an all-accordion performance of “In C” (1964) by Terry Riley which anyone may join at Dalehead Arch (64th Street on the west side of the park). To sign up, and get sheet music, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need more help, check out our map of the park.
Journey Through India
Experience India in front of a Swedish Cottage with ensembles directly from India. Featured performers include vocalist Falu and group at 4:00pm. At 5:30pm, Jin Won, Woman of Tabla from Taalika, followed by Taalim Tabla Trio/men of Tabla (Kaumil Shah, Michael Lukshis, and Archit Krishna) Lastly, at 6:45pm the Hindustani Vocalist Samarth Nagarkar. If you need more help, check out our map of the park.
Summer Stages Makes Music Again
Maybe it was planned or maybe it was serendipity, but it just so happens that French Hip-Hop group IAM is performing at Rumsey Playfield (in the center of the park below 72nd Street) at 7pm. The group incorporates the sounds of Ancient Egypt, Africa, China, Japan, India and American music. They’re recent album, Paid in Full, was called “the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time” by Rolling Stone. If you need more help, check out our map of the park.
You might be tempted to say something like “only in New York” but Make Music NY happens simultaneously with similar festivities in over 500 cities globally. If you feel like doing more than just watching, MMNY is looking for some volunteers for the day to help row singers into location, hand out programs and other such things. You can email email@example.com if you want to volunteer.