World Music Day, or Fête de la Musique

Jun 20 2024

World Music Day
World Music Day, or Fête de la Musique Fête de la Musique, or Faites de la Musique, Music Day, Make Music Day, or World Music Day. That is worth celebrating! Music to my ears! This day of musical celebration began in France in 1982. According to Wikipedia, Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture of France, and Maurice Fleuret planned the first Fête de La Music. They had found that most French school children knew how to play an instrument, so the idea was to encourage everyone to play, listen and join in the appreciation of music. In France, everyone was encouraged to get outside to play music. All concerts on this day of musical celebration were to be free of charge and all people were encouraged to play. By 2023, the festival was celebrated all over the world, making it a truly International World Music Day. World Music Day 2024 will be held, as it always has been on June 21, usually coinciding with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, a day when we have more daylight for playing music than any other day of the year (however, 2024, the solstice in on the 20th, not the 21st!). A perfect day for music.

Music is joyful, moving, profound. It can bring us to tears, it can bring us to our feet, make us stand and cheer and make us jump and jive. Music is ephemeral. We may not understand how or why it moves us - we just know that it does and it has for centuries. We connect with music from all cultures and from all centuries. It is an abstract language that requires no translation. We understand it, we feel it, and we share in its humanity. We listen to it alone, with our eyes closed, maybe dancing as though no one is watching. We listen to it on a crowded dance floor in a release of tribal proportions. We listen in concert halls breathing in the majesty of an art form so inconceivably conceived in the mind of the composer. And we listen with rapture and welling tears as our children perform their first concerts. We listen to birds, buzzing bees and other random sounds as they create their own rhythms of life. Music is universal. We don’t all love the same music, but most of us love some music.

Think of times in your own life when music has grabbed hold of you.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand”, by the Beatles. I have no words.

When “Sweet Caroline” is played at Boston Red Sox games, or “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is played at Liverpool football matches - everybody joins in!

The scene in Casablanca when a rousing “La Marseillaise” hushed out the Nazis singing the German National Anthem

Or the joyful sound of the Sesame Street jingle.

But for pure heart pounding majesty, listen to Beethoven’s “Ode to Freedom,” from his 9th Symphony, performed to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Christmas 1989, just a few weeks after East and West Germany were finally united.