Make Music Appleton

Make Music Appleton


Make Music Day Appleton 

Make Music Day Appleton is an annual event celebrated worldwide as part of the Fête de la Musique. The Fête de la Musique is a festival that takes place in over 1,000 cities in more than 120 countries on the summer solstice, which falls on June 21st each year. This day is set aside to celebrate music in all its diverse forms and encourages people to come together and play free public concerts.

In the United States, Make Music Day is presented by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the Make Music Alliance. This year, on Friday, June 21st, 2024, Appleton will host a variety of events at various locations in the heart of our beloved city, along College Avenue. 

Make Music Day Appleton is open to anyone and everyone! All ages, skill levels, and musical categories are welcome to participate in this exciting event. The range of events that have been featured in previous years is diverse and extensive, from Ghanaian bucket drumming to ukulele jams, early childhood music programming to a blues workshop. All events are welcome and celebrated.

If you’re interested in leading an event or volunteering for Make Music Day Appleton, don’t hesitate to reach out to Claire Klaver for more information. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your musical talents, learn from others, and make new connections in the community. 

How did Make Music Day begin?

It all started 40 years ago in France.

In 1982, France’s Ministry of Culture dreamed up an idea for a new kind of musical holiday. They imagined a day where free, live music would be everywhere: street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, store fronts and mountaintops.

And, unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone would be invited to join and play music, or host performances. The event would take place on the summer solstice, June 21, and would be called Fête De La Musique. (In French, the name means both “festival of music” and “make music!”)

Amazingly enough, this dream has come true. The Fête has turned into a true national holiday: France shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over. Almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique.

Four decades later, the holiday has spread throughout the world and is now celebrated in more than 120 countries. In the U.S., the presenting sponsor is the NAMM Foundation.


Make Music Day Appleton Schedule

All events will take place in downtown Appleton on College Ave.

In the case of inclement weather (rain, humidity, heat, etc.), events will move indoors so we can keep the music going!

11:00 – 11:30 | Family Music with Ms. Karli @ Heid Music

Interactive music making for families & focused for kids ages 1-5

11:00 – 12:00 | Indigenous Rattle Making @ Building for Kids

In collaboration with First Nations Outreach, Inc. you’ll be making a Turtle Rattle out of household items that our young ones can take home with their family. We will also be sharing the significance of the Turtle in the Indigenous Culture. A singing performance will follow with additional engagement from the audience. Free with admission to the Building for Kids is an Indigenous rattle making workshop.

11:05 – 11:50 | Introduction to Mariachi @ Houdini Plaza

Learn about and experience mariachi singing and guitar.

11:30 – 12:15 | Roomful of Pianos @ Heid Music

Repertoire will range from classical to rock, with a special tribute to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for its 100th anniversary, featuring a unique multi-piano arrangement for an unforgettable experience.

11:30 – 12:30 | Dance Workshop with Moulin Rouge Cast @Appleton YMCA (Don’t need to be a member to participate but please register with the link below)

A cast member from Broadway touring production of Moulin Rouge will be leading a group through a dance workshop with moves from the show.

12:00 – 1:00 | Bluegrass Jam with Debbie Wagner @ Heid Music

Join us for a Bluegrass Jam session with Debbie Wagner, where you’ll learn to play without sheet music (Chords: G, C, D, A), embrace jam etiquette, and connect with fellow musicians, whether you play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bass, ukulele, or sing—come jam, sing along, or enjoy the live music! Bring a capo, chair and get ready to jam!

1:00 – 5:00 | Instrument Petting Zoo @ Heid Music

Explore and play a wide variety of musical instruments at the Heid Music Instrument Petting Zoo, open to all skill levels. With guidance from Heid Music Sales Specialists, enjoy a fun and educational experience with brass, string, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

1:00 – 5:00 | Open Mic @ Heid Music

Join us for Make Music Day at our Open Mic Extravaganza from 1pm to 5pm, where musicians of all styles and skill levels can showcase their talents in a supportive environment. All instruments and genres are welcome—enjoy diverse performances, connect with local musicians, and celebrate the spirit of music and community in 10-minute time slots.

1:00 – 4:00 | Guitar Restring & Care Overview @ Heid Music

Join us anytime from 1-4pm to learn more about care for your guitar and there is a limited supply of strings from Elixir Strings with a complimentary guitar restring from Heid Music.

1:00 – 1:45 | In Harmony Workshop @ Fox Cities PAC – KC Theater

Step into a world of inclusive music-making with us! Music therapists from Expressive Therapies and a quartet from the talented Fox Valley Symphony are partnering to offer an interactive experience for all ages and abilities. Discover the therapeutic joys of music while unleashing your creativity, whether you’re a seasoned musician or a newcomer. Together, we’ll explore endless musical possibilities and create harmonies that resonate with your soul.

1:00 – 1:30 | Bucket Drumming @Houdini Plaza

Join us for an exhilarating bucket drumming event during the Appleton Make Music Day celebrations, featuring the energetic and talented Jack Mutschler. This fun-filled session invites participants of all ages and skill levels to explore the rhythmic world of drumming using everyday buckets.

1:30 – 2:00 | Exploring the music of Trinidad – Steel Drum/Jumbie Jam Fun @ Heid Music

Join us to celebrate and discover the music from the Caribbean Island of Trinidad! Together with Chris Kuborn & Marisol Kuborn, we will take a journey to learn how the amazing Steel Drums or Steel Pans came about. Starting with bamboo sticks, called Tamboo Bamboo to what is known today as Steel Pans! You will get to learn and play along with us on Tamboo Bamboo and a smaller Steel Pan called Jumbie Jams! Use of Jumbie Jams courtesy of Panyard & The Building for Kids.

2:00 – 2:45 | Harmonica Workshop 101 @ Heid Music

Harmonica Workshop 101 with Lee Nimmer and Michael Twombly, and Rob Burkham. Experience multiple styles of harmonica, straight harp and cross harp. Lee and Michael will cover the basics of chords, scales, rhythm, and leads. See a disassembled harmonica and learn the history behind the one instrument that you can not see while playing!

2:00 – 2:45 | Dragon Legacy Workshop @ Fox Valley PAC – KC Theater

Traditional Chinese Dance with long sleeves- Lu Zhang
Chinese Folk Dance with fans- Fox Valley Ladies’ Dance team
Chinese Flute- Roger
Waist Drum – Jianhua Cheng
Authentic Chinese dance – Min Huang

3:00 – 3:45 | Flowerpot Music @ Heid Music

Flowerpot Music, an innovative composition by acclaimed composer Elliot Cole and under the direction of percussionist Peter Ferry, showcases the unlikely yet enchanting sounds of flowerpots. Lead by percussionist, Jonathan Leahy.

3:00 – 3:45 | IndUS Workshop @ Fox Valley PAC

Join us at the IndUS Workshop for an immersive experience in traditional Indian dancing, where participants of all ages can learn and enjoy vibrant dance forms. This enriching workshop celebrates the rich cultural heritage of India, offering a unique opportunity to connect with the rhythm and grace of Indian dance

3:00 – 3:45 | Drum Making Workshop @ Building for Kids

Join us for an exciting drum-making workshop during the Appleton Make Music Day celebrations, led by the creative and skilled Beth Vanderloop. This hands-on event invites participants of all ages to craft their own unique drums using a variety of materials.

4:00 – 5:00 | Uke Jam @ Houdini Plaza

Join us for a delightful uke jam session during the Appleton Make Music Day celebrations, led by the talented Katie DeNure. This joyous event invites ukulele enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to come together and strum along to their favorite tunes. Katie, renowned for her warm teaching style and musical expertise, will guide participants through a variety of songs, providing tips and techniques to enhance your playing.

5:00 – 5:45 | Sing (or Play!)-A-Long Showcase @ Houdini Plaza

This singalong (or play-along!) showcase will be hosted by Jennifer Harlee, and will feature many well-known hits. Bring your instrument or your voice and join in the fun!


Live Music at Make Music Day Appleton!
Live Music at Make Music Day Appleton!

Come and celebrate Make Music Day Appleton with us on Friday, June 21, 2024, and be a part of this exhilarating event! We welcome everyone to join us, regardless of their age, skill level, or music preference. Keep yourself informed of the latest happenings by frequently checking back.

Make Music Day Appleton has featured a diverse range of performers over the years, with solo artists, bands, interactive music-making sessions, and jam sessions all making an appearance. Musicians of all ages and skill levels have participated, representing various musical genres such as rock, jazz, classical, and folk. This event provides individuals with a fantastic opportunity to showcase their musical abilities, learn from others, explore new musical possibilities, and make connections within the community.

This year’s event promises to be even better than before, with more programming and opportunities for people to participate. Regardless of whether you’re a musician, a music enthusiast, or just looking for a fun way to spend your day, Make Music Day in Downtown Appleton is a must-attend event! Keep an eye out for updates on the schedule of events so that you don’t miss out on anything.

Makey Makey Class at Make Music Day Appleton 2022
Makey Makey Class at Make Music Day Appleton 2022

Thank You Make Music Day Appleton Partners!

The partners of Make Music Day Appleton work together to create a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Heid Music, Lawrence University, Appleton Area School District, Fox Valley Performing Arts Center, Appleton Downtown Inc, Mile of Music, and Willems Marketing are all dedicated to providing the best possible programming for this wonderful day. They bring their expertise in music education and performance, venue access and equipment, and promotional support to ensure the event’s success. Working tirelessly together, they create a vibrant and engaging event that showcases the beauty and power of music in their community. Thank you so much Make Music Day Appleton Partners! Make sure to visit the partner websites and support Downtown Appleton.


We are always looking for individuals who want to support music in our community!

Are you a musician with performance ideas, a teacher who would like to share music education, a venue that would like to provide space for music, or have questions about Make Music Day Appleton? Feel free to reach out to us!

Interested in leading an event? Click here!