This upcoming December 21st happens to be the winter solstice. If you’re wondering what to do during the longest night of the year, you can join the Make Music Winter 2019 Festival as they turn the New York City landscape into a musical parade to celebrate the solstice. Now in its eighth year, the festival will turn audience members into music makers in this free, outdoor musical celebration from 5:30 to 7pm.
While Make Music Winter 2019 includes several solstice events happening all over the city. This includes a singing pilgrimage on the Upper West Side. Walk along Riverside Park while singing medieval melodies such as “Cantigas de Santa Maria,” “Llibre Vermell de Montserrat”, and “The Coventry Carol.” These echo the songs once sung on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. While there is no rehearsal, the celebration welcomes singers of all skills and vocal range.
Upper West Siders can meet up at the West Park Presbyterian Church at 165 West 86th Street and depart from there promptly at 6pm. The pilgrimage ends at St. Michael’s Church at 225 West 99th Street. Headlamps and scores will be distributed to the first 25 singers who show up. Of course, everyone is encouraged to bring their flashlights and can download the score here.
James John will be conducting and guiding musicians and vocalists that evening. John is a professor of music and director of the choral activities at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College-CUNY, where he conducts the Queens College Choir, Vocal Ensemble, and Choral Society.
RSVP to this free event here!
Now in its 13th year, Make Music New York is the only music festival that proudly describes itself as for the people and by the people. “We are a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission celebrates the musician in all of us, connects New Yorkers to their communities and with each other, brings bold new artistic creations to life, unites diverse communities in a spirit of celebration and energizes the shared social spaces that make NYC a cultural capital,” their website describes.
The organization’s music festivals aim to empower people of all ages and musical abilities to take center stage in public spaces such as plazas, parks, and sidewalks to share their skills and passions through live performances.
Are you interested in other winter solstice events on the Upper West Side? Check out the 40th Winter Solstice at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.