It’s International Make Music Day!

June 21st is International Make Music Day! This holiday began in 1982 when France’s Ministry of Culture dreamed of a musical holiday. A day where free live music would be everywhere; street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, store fronts and mountaintops would all be filled with the sound of music. And thus, Fête de la Musique, was born. A festival featuring free concerts in locations all around the city of Paris. Since then, the festival has become an international phenomenon. Make Music Day is now celebrated in more than 700 cities in 120 countries, including China, Germany, Greece, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Performers of any age and skill level are encouraged to join in on the music-making. The only caveats for these festivals are that the concerts must be free to the public, and all performers are to donate their time free of charge.

In North America

Twelve years ago, the Fête de la Musique crossed the Atlantic with the debut of Make Music New York. The event began as a grassroots initiative by a team of volunteers and quickly became a city-wide event. Today, around 5,000 New York musicians perform in more than 1,000 free outdoor concerts every year. The festival was so popular in New York that it soon spread throughout North America. In 2019, 85 North American cities organized free concerts at 1,862 locations. All on a single day.

Locally, the closest Make Music Day festival is located in Cincinnati. Last year, Make Music Cincinnati held concerts in over 100 locations throughout the city.

2020 Festival

Due to the threat of COVID-19, Make Music Day will look a little different this year. Make Music is exploring new ways to continue the tradition of making music, while also following all the appropriate guidelines. One of the ways they are doing this is by changing their Sousapalooza event (an invitation for hundreds of brass, wind, and percussion players to come together and sight-read the music of John Philip Sousa), to the World’s Smallest Marching Band. In this event, individual brass and wind players will parade through cities, by themselves, playing band repertoire to people listening from their homes or workplaces.

The organization is also encouraging musicians to utilize social media, and post videos of themselves making music. “In this time of social distancing, music’s powerful role to bring us together as a community is more important than ever,” said Make Music Alliance President Aaron Friedman. “While physical public gatherings may not be currently accessible, we can still stay connected and celebrate music with people around the world on June 21.”

Are you a musician? It’s your time to shine! You can participate in Make Music Day by posting a video or going live on social media with the hashtag #MakeMusicDay

Still honing your music skills? We have a book for that!



October 9th with Kevin Stonerock

As we continue to celebrate small towns and rural life with the Crossroads exhibit at the Dillsboro Public Library, we invite you to join us for a musical program presented by Kevin Stonerock.

Kevin Stonerock

You don’t want to miss this! 

Kevin is an Indiana singer, songwriter, and storyteller. A prolific writer and student of history, Stonerock  has developed six one-man dramatic characterizations which have been performed more than 3,500 times. He also wrote, directed and appeared in The Point In Time, an outdoor music/drama which ran for seven summers in Carrollton, Kentucky and Plum Creek Anthology,  which is presented annually in Vevay, Indiana. He appeared at the Aurora Public Library in June of 2019 and entertained the audience with stories and songs of riverboat travels.

Stonerock’s easy-going performance style has been described as “having a conversation on the front porch with an old friend”. With original, roots-oriented “Americana” songs, Stonerock’s music bridges the gap between folk, country and rock and roll.

Kevin will be performing at the Dillsboro Public Library on October 9th at 6:30 pm.

Remembering Pete Seeger

Folk musician Spook Handy will be returning to the Library District for a performance at the Aurora Public Library on September 13, 2018. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and is free for everyone in the community. The performance will focus on the use of music to build and nurture community and will highlight the songs of Pete Seeger.

Spook Handy performed alongside Pete Seeger at festivals and concerts more than 50 times from 2003 – 2013 learning firsthand many of Pete’s songs and the stories behind them. Even more, he learned who Pete Seeger was and what he stood for. Spook is now traveling throughout the U.S., Canada and soon Europe with his “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour, keeping alive Pete’s tradition by sharing a few songs by Woody Guthrie (Pete’s most notable mentor), plenty of songs by Pete Seeger and a healthy handful of new songs Spook wrote under Pete’s tutelage.

Spook’s 2016 album, “Pete Woody & Me – Keep the Flame Alive,” held the No. 3 position on the International Folk Radio Charts for two months with his original songs reaching as high as No. 2. Recorded with his backup band “The Seed Planters,” the CD is more than just a tribute to Pete. It is a work that, as John Weingart of WPRB Radio says, “certainly rests on the shoulders of the past but is unmistakably steeped in the present.”

Spook hopes the concert will demonstrate that the tradition of singing songs with social value is alive and well TODAY!!  “While the concert will have a nostalgic quality to it, it will also present a look at the world we live in today and the world we can create for tomorrow.”

Bring your friends and family to enjoy this celebration of how music can change the world!

Build a Better World with Bi-Okoto!

Calling all teens! Join us at the Aurora Public Library on Thursday, July 6 at 6 p.m. for a one-of-a-kind teen program with Bi-Okoto!

Bi-Okoto is a professional African drum and dance ensemble, and the only one of its kind in the tri-state area. They will be here to teach a music workshop to teens, those who are ages 13-18.

No registration is required for this program! You don’t want to miss it!

Let’s Get Moving!

As our summer of “On Your Mark, Get Set . . . Read” winds down, we have a great program planned for families at the Aurora City Park Pavilion. Joanie Calem will be leading us in music and movement for our Final Party on July 20th at 11 AM.


Her program “If You Can Walk, You Can Dance, If You Can Talk, You Can Sing”, is right on theme for a program that has worked to encourage all members of our families to stay active. We will enjoy participating in interactive games, dances, stories and songs from around the world.

Movement and music have both been shown to be critical for both brain development and success in school. Both are highly recommended as part of “Every Child Ready to Read”, a research-based approach for increasing the preliteracy skills that children need to be successful as they begin their formal education. Singing helps children identify word sounds and syllables, and fosters a love of word play. It has also been shown to be an effective way for kids to learn to calm themselves when frustrations arise. The links below will provide more information on the importance of movement and music.

See you all at the park!

Songs From the Soul


Virginia Rep on Tour (formerly Theatre IV) will be back in Aurora with a public performance on Thursday, February 18th at 1 PM. The show will be in the Aurora City Park Pavilion and is free to everyone in the community. “Songs From the Soul”, a musical narrative of African-American History will be a perfect way to celebrate and learn during Black History Month. The Aurora Public Library District has never hosted this show before, but we’re very excited to hear music ranging from spirituals to jazz to the blues, and even hip hop!

When you leave the performance with your toe tapping and your fingers snapping, head down to the library to check out our resources on types of music and on African-American musicians. Carnegie Hall also has a terrific web page called “A History of African-American Music”. You can listen to samples of music from all the different styles of the past 300 years. Here are some of the resources we have at the library:

The History of the Blues : the roots, the music, the people : from Charley Patton to Robert Clay, written by Francis Davis. This is a companion volume to the PBS series.

Jazz Makers by Alyn Shipton

jazz makers

Moving to Higher Ground: how jazz can change your life by Wynton Marsalis

higher ground

Blues Journey by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers.

blues journey

Some of our local school classes will get a chance to attend one of the Theatre IV performances, so here are some resources that may be better for younger children:

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald, by Roxane Orgill


Jazz by Walter Dean Myers


Mahalia Jackson: gospel singer and civil rights champion by Montrew Dunham


And last, but not least: When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the creation of hip hop by Laban Carrick Hill

the beat