Montclair Make Music Days
June 21-23, 10 a.m.-midnight

Presented by the NAMM Foundation, coordinated by the Make Music Alliance. For more information, visit Free.

For Montclair Local

For the fifth year in a row, musicians will take it to the streets and other everyday spaces around town as they participate in Montclair Make Music Day, a music and arts showcase event that seeks to meld commerce, art and pedestrians through the gift of free music. This year, Make Music Day will be three days long.

The event is part of the global initiative Fête de la Musique, which originated in France in 1982. Held annually on June 21, Make Music Day takes place in 800 cities across 120 countries. In the U.S., more than 65 cities will participate.

The event typically takes place on the June 21, to coincide with the summer solstice — the longest day of the year. In Montclair, that long day will last for three.

June 21 is also the day of Montclair High School graduation, so expanding it to three days will allow more people to participate, according to Montclair Make Music Day Coordinator Greg Pason.

In addition to extra days, the event will recognize newly-graduated seniors with serenades from School of Rock Montclair and Terry’s Serendipity Cafe on their way to the Project Graduation buses.

Montclair Make Music Day

Co-organizer Madeleine St. Jacques, said the once-small event at 73 See Gallery, 73 Pine St., in 2014, has snowballed into this year’s lineup. There will be dozens of musicians from all walks of life and levels, she said. St. Jacques’s band Palmarosa will perform at East Side Mags, 7 South Fullerton Ave., on Thursday, June 21.

The kickoff to the Make Music Days will be Thursday morning, June 21, at 9:30 a.m. with a parade at Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield St. Montclair’s youngest residents are invited to participate in both the parade and a jam session in nearby Anderson Park immediately following.

Montclair Make Music Day
On May 22, the Town Council issued a proclamation making June 2-23 Montclair Make Music Days. COURTESY MONTCLAIR MAKE MUSIC DAY

Some participants were recruited by the Make Music Day organizers, but some venue owners opted to curate their participation themselves. Owners of Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q & Pizza, at 64 Chestnut St., did just that. “They have musicians in there all the time,” St. Jacques said. “This [event] is a great way for them to get to book musicians that otherwise maybe wouldn’t have a chance to play.”

As the 2013 president of the now-defunct Montclair Arts Council, Meg Beattie Patrick is familiar with what comprises the moving parts and behind-the scenes efforts for events like this. “I know what it takes and what they’re doing, this effort, is enormous,” she says. Past participants like Scott Massarsky of Scott and the Tiny Instruments have been so taken with the event that they will not only perform, but also be involved behind the scenes. “Greg has said this is not a festival as much as an opportunity for Montclair to come together through music and community. Anybody can play. Anybody can offer their space, so it could be a cleaner’s or a salon,” Mussarsky said.

Montclair Make Music Day
Scott Massarsky of Scott and the Tiny Instruments will volunteer as well as perform this year. COURTESY MONTCLAIR MAKE MUSIC DAY

To increase participation, Montclair Makes Music hosts a “mass appeal,” which calls on the community to get involved by joining in and singing together. This year’s mass appeal will take place at East Side Mags, and the song will be The Clique’s “Superman,” which was covered by indie legends R.E.M.

St. Jacques said she hopes people at Montclair Make Music Day will enjoy the musics and venues too. “It’s a great way for people to hang out and enjoy themselves,” she said.