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Queens Chronicle

Welcome the start of summer with music

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:30 am

You won’t need to get out your favorite MGM film to see people singing and dancing on the streets this summer.

The annual Make Music New York festival which welcomes in summer with scores of free musical performances scattered throughout the streets and parks, is coming to dozens of locations in Queens.

On June 21 thousands of musicians, professional and amateur alike, will spend the longest day of the year performing almost every genre imaginable throughout the city.

“From 10 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages, creeds, and musical persuasions — from hip-hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens,” MMNY boasts on its website.

Now in its seventh year, MMNY is one of over 500 festivals around the world that usher in the summer with a day of music. The goal is to “eventually expand to the point where, as with Halloween, New Yorkers will organize themselves largely without prompting,” its website says.

Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District will host concerts at two pedestrian plazas under the No. 7 train. The plaza at 40th street and Queens Boulevard will showcase saxophonist Forbidden Donut between 2 and 4 p.m. At 3 p.m, a two-piece band called History will perform music that combines blues, gospel, rock and soul at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard, followed by indie rock duo The Occident at 5 p.m. and the all-male a cappella group Ten and Change at 6:30 p.m.

Started in 2000, Ten and Change has 12 members but boasts an alumni list of over 50. They have performed in places all over the city, including Shea Stadium and at last year’s MMNY festival.

“Make Music New York celebrates the first day of summer with free music all over the five boroughs and it’s a great way for us to reach new fans and introduce more people to a cappella music,” member and social media and website manager Josh Springer said.

“With NBC relaunching ‘The Sing-Off,’ a cappella is making a comeback, and Make Music New York is the perfect festival to showcase what a cappella is all about,” he said.

In a city where the price of show tickets can be sky-high, the accessibility of MMNY is a welcome change.

“I hope that we really activate the space under the 7 train for a day,” Sunnyside Shines Director Rachel Thieme said. “We really want people to come out and enjoy the music in Sunnyside, and we hope that it activates the commercial district.”

Other venues include the Queens Library at Broadway in Astoria, Athens Square Park in Astoria, McKinley’s Children’s Garden in Jamaica and the Post Office in Jackson Heights.

Musician Roberto Buscarsi is scheduled to perform in seven different spaces, starting at 10 a.m. in McKinley’s Children’s Garden. He will then travel to Astoria, Elmhurst and finally Sunnyside, where he will perform under the No. 7 train and at Cafe Marlene.

Performances in Ridgewood include musicians from Joe Fuoco’s Music Center playing from 4 to 8 p.m. at the 71st Avenue Triangle and a show at Venditti Square that will welcome bluegrass, folk, indie, gypsy, blues and gospel musicians starting at 2 p.m.

In addition to the registered performances, the festival’s program called Mass Appeal gives people the opportunity to join one of 22 mass musical groups. These groups are open to musicians with any and all experience, and range from attempting to have 100 saxophonists play at the same time, to bands consisting only of gongs, harps or double-reed instruments.

More information on how to join these mass groups, as well as a complete list of all the festival’s performances organized by location and genre, can be found at makemusicny.org.

‘Make Music New York’

When: Friday, June 21, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Various locations

Tickets: Free, makemusicny.org

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