Make Music Chicago: Our Guide For Navigating The Day's Can't Miss Acts

06/20/2011 05:15 pm ET | Updated Aug 19, 2011
  • Erin Chan Ding

For more than 10 hours starting Tuesday morning, musicians from all over the city will gather in various public places to sing and play jazz, classical, gypsy, rock, world and folk music. Inspired by France's Fete de la Musique, which also takes place on June 21, Chicago joins more than 460 cities around the world when it hosts its citywide demonstration of aural art, called Make Music Chicago. Because the performers will often be playing at the same time, we've made it more manageable by planning a walking route that will take you to catch six diverse Make Music Chicago acts. It ends with the finale at the St. James Cathedral Plaza, where you, too, becoming a Make Music Chicago performer by joining the rest of the audience for a rendition of "Sweet Home Chicago."

11 a.m. Start your day near the lake when the MAVerick Ensemble pairs their experimental classical sounds with the sand of Oak Street Beach. Founded in part by William Jason Raynovich, the MAVerick Ensemble melds strings, clarinet, voice, flute, violoncello and guitar with classical yet contemporary, futuristic melodies.
Oak Street Beach, 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive

12:30 p.m. From Oak Street Beach, walk a few blocks south to the shops at 900 N. Michigan. While you're there browsing at MaxMara and feasting on Teuscher Chocolates, look for 1/2 Mad Poet, which calls itself "one part The Who, one part The Donnas and one part totally unpredictable." Expect the fun,"feminista" duo of Anita Chase and Sheela Reddy to rock out with their guitars, infusing the Gold Coast with their untamable energy.
900 N. Michigan Ave.

2 p.m. Saunter over to the Seneca Playlot Park, located across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art, and catch Tisa Batchelder and Gregg Ostrom as they bring folk music to the playground. Batchelder has been teaching toddlers in the Wiggleworms classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music for more than a decade, and Ostrom is on the administrative staff at the school.
Seneca Park Playlot, 228 E. Chicago Ave. (Chicago Ave. and Mies Van Der Rohe Way)

3 p.m. Head toward the lake a few blocks toward Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine for an afternoon jolt of gospel music. The Providence-St. Mel Choir, composed of students from the school, has won acclaim all over Chicago and the state. Its members perform annually at the Joffrey Ballet's run of "The Nutcracker," and they should be bringing a stirring vocal repertoire to Streeterville on Tuesday afternoon.
Robert E. Lurie Research Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 E. Superior Street

4:30 p.m. Walk north to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to catch talented kids from the Suzuki-Orff School of Music perform their best renditions of Mozart's sonatas and Beethoven's overtures. Based in West Town, the Suzuki-Orff School of Muic partners with more about a dozen schools all over the city in addition to giving private and group instruction.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 251 E. Huron Street

5:45 p.m. - 9 p.m. Gather at St. James Cathedral for the grand finale of Make Music Chicago, where free performances both inside and outside of the church building will go on for the entire evening. Performances inside the impressive, stained glass-decorated cathedral building include a concert of works from Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, as well as music from the Ryan Opera Center Duo and the Euclid String Quartet. Outdoor performers blanket four separate stages at the St. James Cathedral Plaza and include Guitar Fire, the Jason Seed Stringtet, the Lito and Phil Gypsy Jazz Duo and Soulphonetics.
St. James Cathedral, 65 East Huron Street