Make Music Day St. Louis is back
21 June, 2021
Make Music St. Louis is bringing our community together for a day of FREE music performances for Make Music Day 2021 on June 21. First held on the summer solstice of 1982 in France, Make Music Day (or Fête de la Musique) is an international festival in which anyone and everyone is invited to perform or host performances at locations throughout the city. In 2020, the annual celebration moved online, but this year it’s in-person!
In 2017, the second year of Make Music Day St. Louis, we had the chance to chat with Make Music St. Louis’ founders Nika Leoni and Kathy Favazza. Read the interview to learn more about the annual celebration.
Can you tell me about Make Music Day?
Nika Leoni: Make Music Day is a worldwide holiday. It started in Paris, France in 1982 when government officials decided to make it a citywide holiday. They announced that all musicians could come out and play wherever they want – they blocked the streets, they blocked the traffic, they blocked the space for performers – and people loved it so much that they started doing it annually. The event grew and Make Music Day started spreading all over Europe. Nine years ago it came to New York City. Our friends at Make Music New York started a U.S.-based Make Music Day Alliance and started recruiting cities around the United States to participate. Today, 35 cities in the U.S. participate along with over 700 cities worldwide.
How did Make Music Day St. Louis get its start?
NL: I knew nothing about St. Louis before [I moved here], and it is such a cultural, vibrant city. I asked Kathy if she had heard of Make Music and I said “We have to do it here!” St. Louis has so many festivals, but you have not had Make Music Day. We started seriously working on establishing the event [here] back in February 2016.
KF: Out of that [one event] was born Make Music St. Louis, because we had this amazing day with over 50 performers and 17 performances with just over a couple months of operation. That response was amazing! We started asking “What else can we do?” So Make Music St. Louis developed as an umbrella organization for Make Music Day. The idea now is too to bring incredible performances from all genres within the theme of Make Music, which is all encompassing – beginners, professionals and everything in between and involve all genres of music.
NL: And to specify on Make Music Day itself, it’s a music festival; it’s a day of celebrating music. It’s open to the public, it’s free to the participants and the audiences, and it’s all-inclusive. Anyone can participate, all they have to do is register with us, and we help them match their performances with venues that also register with us. In addition, anybody can organize performances wherever they like – in their back yards, on sidewalks, in their living room, in parks.
KF: So then we thought that we should bring and educational opportunities for younger performers throughout the year. In fact, we’ve already had Metropolitan Opera Artists from New York come to perform in St. Louis. We also had one of the performers conduct a master class for young opera singers in our community. We really want to enrich the community education wise and musically and culturally.