Today! Make Music Day plays opening notes of summer

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It's Port Townsend's first official Make Music Day, and the morning, afternoon and evening are jam-packed with music-making events around town.

More than 30 performers are playing at 15-plus venues on Wednesday, June 21 as part of a worldwide event, offering music and participatory events that range from quiet and intimate to raucous gatherings. Everyone from the community is invited to join in the celebration.

“It's fantastic,” said Songwriting Works director and event organizer Judith-Kate Friedman of how the community has embraced the idea of participating in the global music-making event that welcomes the first day of summer.

“It has really got to the heart of what people in our town care about.”

Activities include concerts, jam and improv sessions, musical-theater sing-alongs (tap dancing optional) and music lessons and instrument giveaways taking place at venues ranging from concert spaces to front porches, backyard patios, street corners and pocket parks (see schedule on page B3).

Everyone from professional musicians to people who have never picked up an instrument or sung out loud are invited to participate by listening, learning and making music together, said Friedman.

And it's for all ages. “We're looking at probably a 70-plus-year range among the performers and the participants,” said Friedman.

HONORING ANDY MACKIE

At the center of the event is a 4 p.m. harmonica blowout in honor of the late Andy Mackie. “He would be right at the center of this if he were still alive, so we're putting him at the center in memory,” she said.

Mackie championed music in the entire Olympic Peninsula region. “He made sure that every child in every family he ever came into contact with had music,” said Friedman, noting that Mackie often had harmonicas in his pockets to give away.

“Andy represented the spirit of our community.”

Eighty harmonicas are to be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, and those who already have harmonicas are invited to join what organizers hope will be the biggest harmonica get-together in town.

In addition to the full schedule of events, spontaneous sounds are encouraged. Buskers are invited to find their favorite spot and strike up the music, and music lovers are encouraged to invite friends to their front porch or backyard. That's how the international Fête de la Musique (the first Make Music Day) began, after all, said Friedman.

In the event of rain (there are music lessons scheduled outside at Crossroads Music), there are to be tents, but so far the day is expected to be a sunny first day of summer.

For up-to-date day-of information, stop by headquarters at the Cotton Building (607 Water St.), which opens at noon, or visit

makemusicday.org/porttownsend.

KPTZ-FM also features an event overview with Larry Stein on the air 10:30 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, and apps with schedules can be downloaded at tinyurl.com/ybc3u7ez or

tinyurl.com/yao9xkxw.

Songwriting Works is producing this year’s event in collaboration with project partners Crossroads Music, Port Townsend Visitors Center, Centrum, Key City Public Theatre, The Boiler Room, the Andy Mackie Music Foundation, and a growing number of musicians, local business hosts and volunteers

Make Music Day-PT is made possible with support from the Port Townsend Arts Commission and an anonymous contributor. Donations are welcome to support this year’s festival and make this annual event a new community tradition. People are also welcome to donate musical instruments they no longer use, or to volunteer.

Nationally, Make Music Day is presented by the NAMM Foundation, cosponsored by C.F. Martin & Co., Alfred Music, Hohner and other businesses. The event is coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance in New York City.

“We thank all of our partners,” said Friedman, “and we want to thank everyone who's come forward to offer their homes, their organizations, their hearts and their music.”

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