A Whopping Seventeen Concerts Will Take Place in Central Park this June 21st

harmonica concert in central park

Anyone can join in this harmonica concert, even Mike Bloomberg

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.

Lake Music
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.

Hill Folk
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 [email protected]. 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 protected] 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 [email protected]. 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 protected] if you want to volunteer.

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Last Central Park Summer Stage Concert for 2011

Summerstage Free Concert

Summerstage Free Concert

Wednesday, September 21st at 7pm, Rumsey Playfield will host four R&B sensations: Jagged Edge, Melanie Fiona, Chris Walker, and Force MDS. This will be the last free concert in Central Park for the year. The event is un-ticketed so you’ll want to get there early to get a good spot. We’ve put together some videos for you so you can check out some of the artists that are performing:

Jagged Edge has sold over 8 million records, won countless awards and gained impressive nominations while solidifying their place in R&B history with hit singles such as, “He Can’t Love U,” “Let’s Get Married,” “Promise,” and “Where the Party At.” With catchy lyrics and hypnotic beats; numerous albums, including A Jagged Era, J.E. Heartbreak, and Jagged Little Thrill, have held spots at the top of the Billboard charts.

Melanie Fiona shares her passion for music with her debut album, The Bridge which is a collection of soulful songs that highlights her retro sound and combines the traditions of classic soul with modern music R&B stylings. Several of her singles have climbed the charts, including “It Kills Me,” which peaked at number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop Song Chart.

Chris Walker has been active in the music industry since his days as R&B/Pop songstress Regina Belle’s musical director. During his tenure, Belle noticed his fine voice and encouraged him to produce his debut, First Time, which yielded two Top Five R&B hits, “Giving You All My Love” and “Take Time.” His follow up album, Sincerely Yours further established his career. With the recent release of his newest single, “I Got That Love,” R&B fans can be sure that Walker’s sultry, mid-tempo grooves are here to stay.

The Force M.D.s began their climb to fame by singing and dancing on Greenwich Village street corners and the Staten Island ferry. Among the first R&B vocal groups to intermix catchy doo wop-affected consonances with hip-hop beats, the Force M.D.s’ versatile mix of credible urban savvy with smooth showbiz pleases both b-boys and traditional soul fans.

Concert Details:
SummerStage is located right off the 5th Avenue and 72nd Street entrance to Central Park in New York City. Enter at 69th and 5th Avenue. Admission to all free performances (not benefit concerts) is on a first come, first-served basis, no tickets required. Depending on the show, chairs may or may not be placed on the field. Depending on the show, bleacher seating may or may not be available. E-mail [email protected] for questions concerning specific shows. SummerStage Gates open 90 minutes prior to showtime on weekends and benefit concerts, 60 minutes prior to showtime on weekdays. Shows will not be cancelled in the event of rain. Shows will be cancelled, however, in the event of lightning for the safety of the audience and the performers. Food and beverages are available to purchase at all shows. Menu items include burgers, hot dogs, vegetarian sandwiches, Heineken, Amstel Light and wine. At the free shows, food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. However, glass bottles, coolers and alcohol are not permitted. And yes, the Summerstage support staff will search bags on entry. For more info, you can call (212) 360-2777.

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