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Make Music NWCT

Make Music NWCT

by Joseph Montebello

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council has raised our consciousness about the extraordinary arts colony that exists in this part of the state.

Under the management of Executive Director Amy Wynn, the council works with both the public and the arts community. It serves as a source of cultural information for its 25-town service area. By promoting and assisting artists at every level it has consistently boosted the arts community.

“As a service organization our primary mission is to make sure that the cultural offerings in this region are well known and made as accessible as possible,” explains Wynn. “We are a hub for all things cultural in the region and circulate information about events, resources, guidance and direction. If we don’t have the answer we know where to get it.”

Now the group is expanding into the music arena. On Thursday, June 21st, the first annual Make Music NWCT, a extraordinary mix of outdoor musical events, will take place. France first held a Fête de la Musique in 1982, and the event has now gone international, held on the same day in more than 800 cities on 120 countries. Scheduled to coordinate with the celebration of the summer solstice, the idea is to create a new kind of musical holiday in every imaginable venue: from street corners and parks, to rooftops and gardens, store fronts and even doorways.

“I had no idea such an event existed,” explains Wynn, “until Adriane Jefferson, Arts Program associate and Special Programs coordinator for the Connecticut Office of the Arts, brought it to my attention. We immediately agreed to do it because it fits in so well with our arts programs.”

While the concept of coordinating dozens of musicians and venues may seem daunting, Wynn says that it has not been as much work as one might imagine. The Make Music Organization provided tools, materials and guides as well as a public relations firm. It was simply a matter of getting the word out.

“As this is our first year, we are focusing just on Litchfield County, although we’ve extended the geographical location to include Avon and Sherman,” said Wynn.

Musicians of all ages and genres, both amateur and professional, are invited to sign up to perform free concerts. At the same time, the word has gone out to anyone and everyone who may have a venue to offer—be it a storefront, park, porch or sidewalk.

For instance, in Torrington there are a number of unique places available: The Music Shop on McDermott Avenue is offering its huge indoor venue as well as the front porch; Studio 59, a former church on Barber Street, is hosting several groups. Even the doorway of radio station WAPJ is being offered for performances, as is the corner in front of Five Points Gallery. There are dozens of such places available everywhere from Kent to Norfolk and towns in between as well.

So, whether you want to perform a concert, sing one song, or play a 20-minute piece of music, it’s yours for the asking. By the same token, the venue operator may request a particular kind of music.

“It’s an ideal situation,” says Wynn. “Artists and venues must agree to the length of the performance during the matchmaking process. But after that the performer has complete artistic control. Our job is to approve the match once it’s been made.”

And the artist is not limited to one performance. There are groups who will be using two to three towns to perform. It is the kind of exposure that is hard to come by.

To date there are 35 acts signed up giving a total of 70 performances in 15 towns at 25 different venues. Some of the acts included are former state troubadour Thomasina Levy performing on the dulcimer at numerous locations throughout Litchfield County. Other performances include The RAMA Saxophone Quartet, Wildcat Creek, The Liddie Big Band, Doug Mahard, Two Old Guys, Robert Fullerton, Soul Pilot, Bob Becker, Dave Kenna, and Cygne.

“Since this is the first year that our region and state is participating and as we join hundreds of other cities around the world, we hope to start off strong, with people of all ages singing from rooftops and joining jam sessions in parks, along with other larger events in every town,” said Wynn. “This day is less about good or bad and more about sharing the experience and community. We anticipate a lot of great music in the Northwest Hills on June 21st. My wish is that everyone takes the day off so that they can soak up some of the incredible music happening around them.”

For further information please click on the link below, visit info@artsnwct.org or call 860-618-0075.

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