nationwide initiatives

Every summer, the national Make Music Alliance creates projects that bring together Make Music Day cities from across the country.  Explore below to see which projects Make Music Chicago will be joining.  Please contact us at if you are interested in taking part in one of these projects.


Music on June 21 can come from anyone, anywhere, and anything – even flowerpots.

Flowerpot Music, written by award-winning composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry, is a composition for an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument – the flowerpot! Bell-like tones are passed from performer to performer in improvised gestures called “blooms” that sweep through the group. The piece is written in simple prose, and can be performed by non-musicians and musicians alike.

Groups around the world will assemble on June 21st, with safe social distance, to premiere a special version of the piece “Flowerpot Music: Make Music Day book.  Sign-up here


Artists around the world are invited to the second annual global song swap! Learn a song by another artist, and hear yours covered in return. Songwriters and composers of all styles and walks of life are invited to participate.

In early June, participating artists will be paired together, carefully selected based on the registration form. They’ll have two weeks to learn their partner’s song, and make it their own, before sharing their videos on June 21st!  

Starting May 1st, go to to register.  Registration closes on May 31st.  

To hear a sample of last year’s covers, including one by Chicago’s own Sarah Coco, go to


Since 2011, Make Music Chicago has pioneered the “Sousapalooza” – an invitation for hundreds of brass, wind, and percussion players to come together and sightread the music of The March King, John Philip Sousa.

After a couple of years off during the pandemic, Sousapaloozas will return in 2022 in cities around the U.S. Download the music, bring your horn, and join the band!

Sample Sousapalooza Repertoire (click to download):

El Capitan
Fairest of the Fair
Hands Across the Sea
Liberty Bell March
Rolling Thunder
Semper Fidelis
Stars and Stripes Forever
The Thunderer
Washington Post March


For Make Music Day 2020, 50 songwriters were invited to capture the stories of ordinary people from around the country and write a song about them in a single day. On the morning of June 21st, each songwriter video-chatted with one interviewee for an hour. In the afternoon, they wrote a song inspired by their conversation. That evening, they did a second video-chat with the interviewee and gave a live, private performance of the song they wrote.  To see these performances, go to

For 2021, An American Song welcomes Illinois composer Michelle Isaac as she tackles this unique songwriting challenge.


For the third year, in celebration of Make Music Day, the Make Music Alliance is hosting a composition contest for composers aged 13-21.

In 2021, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of May 31 – June 1, 1921, young composers are invited to write a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the massacre by B.C. Franklin, and submit it by May 31st.

A panel of distinguished judges, including composers Hiroya Miura and Trevor Weston, composer/conductor Francisco Núñez, and soprano Talise Trevigne, will provide feedback and select 3 winning pieces.

These pieces will be professionally recorded by baritone Christopher Herbert and released online for Make Music Day on June 21st. Winning composers will also receive a free copy of Finale music notation software, courtesy of Make Music Inc.

For entry details and deadlines, go to


Window Serenades share the joy of live music with isolated elderly people, bringing solo musicians or small groups to play outside nursing home windows for those who request a song.

Created as a socially-distanced program in 2020 to provide safe musical performances during a global pandemic, Window Serenades is becoming an annual Make Music Day tradition, relevant for anyone who is isolated and needs live music in their life.

To see last year’s participating musicians and residences, go to

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