The public is invited to celebrate International Make Music Day June 21 by joining a group of folks at Coolidge Park to take part in Flowerpot Music and play a flower pot.
Flowerpot Music was created by celebrated composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry. Its purpose is to welcome interested people to join in a guided experience of making beautiful sounds with flower pots. It is not necessary to read music nor to have a musical background.
Flowerpot Music is designed to feel almost like playing games and can be performed successfully by first-timers or by professionals, said organizers.
In Chattanooga, this event will be led by composer and UTC professor Dr. Jonathan McNair as a part of Make Music Chattanooga. Flowerpot Music will take place from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, June 21, in Coolidge Park (near the stage), and is free and open to the public.
Flowerpot Music will begin with a safe, socially distanced session in which Dr. McNair will introduce and coach the group on the simple instructions published by the composer. Participants will be able to make a reminder notecard (provided) to help them remember what comes next. Dr. McNair, whose music has been performed across the USA and internationally, has made music with flower pots occasionally since 1983, including a work choreographed by Ballet Tennessee in 2012 for the centennial of composer John Cage. He has also used flower pots in workshops with children.
Interested persons can find event pages on Facebook and Eventbrite, which have easy links for pre-registration. Immediately following Flowerpot Music will be the Summer Solstice Jam, also near the stage in Coolidge Park at 8 p.m.
For those without a flower pot, stainless steel mixing bowls can be used instead and can have a lovely sound. The leaders will also have a few flower pots and bowls on hand for interested participants who need to borrow one.
The flower pot must be empty, clean, and not cracked. The simpler the shape, the better. Second, a percussion mallet is helpful. For this event, mallets will be provided for participants, courtesy Vic Firth Percussion company. (Or, if you have your own mallets, bring a medium yarn mallet). Third, the pot needs to be small enough to be held with one hand, or to sit securely on a flat surface on a wheelchair or other surface. Glazed (fired) pots have the clearest sound, but unglazed terra cotta pots between three and eight inches in diameter are fine.
Since the 1940s, numerous musicians have explored the sonic possibilities of terra cotta and glazed ceramic pots. Some of the composers who have written for flower pots include Carlos Chavez, Frederick Rzewski, Tan Dun, So Percussion, Caroline Shaw, Jonathan McNair, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Dave Hollinden, and Elliot Cole, among others.
Flowerpot Music is one of over 30 Make Music Chattanooga events happening on Monday, June 21. A full schedule of events is available here: www.concerthopper.com/makemusiccha.