What better way to celebrate the official arrival of summer than with a day of outdoor music that takes place throughout the city? That's the idea behind Make Music Chicago, which is part of an annual global celebration that brings free concerts to more than 750 cities all over the world on Wednesday, June 21. This year, the festival features more than 175 performances taking place at 65 locations in Chicago—from experimental music at Sherwin Avenue Beach in Rogers Park to hip-hop and DJs in Calumet Park, near 100th Street.
You can find a complete list of concerts at the Make Music Chicago website, but if you need some recommendations, we've found six shows that are worth your time on the first official day of summer.
Rise and Shine Orchestra
Wrigley Square in Millennium Park, 9–10:30am
Kick off the morning with classical tunes led by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Guests can bring their own instruments and play along—rehearsal goes from 9 to 9:40am, with a performance from 9:40 to 10:30am.
Lift Every Voice: Musicians Rising for Racial Justice
Various locations, 11:30am
Quartets all over the country will simultaneously perform two pieces that pay tribute to victims of hate crimes. In Chicago, at least three groups will take part, including Hamilton musicians (at the southeast corner of Madison and Dearborn), members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (at St. James Cathedral) and the Chicago Philharmonic (at Fourth Presbyterian Church).
Loyola Park, noon–6pm
Experimental ensemble Synapse Arts presents Weave Trees, a performance in which seven dancers weave and knit 2,000 feet of satin, accompanied by live piano and cello music.
Wrigley Square in Millennium Park, 4–4:45pm
Bring your own instrument and join the Navy Great Lakes Band in a tribute to the patriotic marches of composer John Philip Sousa.
+9V: A Community Concert for Battery Powered Instruments!
Comfort Station, 4:30–7:30pm
Logan Square community space Comfort Station hosts this evening jam session, which invites anyone with a battery-power instrument to show up and join in.
McKinley Park Fieldhouse Veranda, 7:30–8pm
Ragtime pianist (and the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Award") Robinson turns in a solo performance on a public piano located in McKinley Park.
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