July 2017 – There is music in the air, and the city’s streets came alive with song at the annual “Make Music New York Festival” which returned for its 11th season.
The melodic passions and amazing talents of New Yorkers – Both amateur and professional – resonated from dawn to dusk at performances in public spaces, parks, plazas, community centers and historical sites.
This year, the “Make Music Festival” celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of American music icon Ella Fitzgerald. A mobile piano bar traveled through the streets of Harlem where New Yorkers had the opportunity to sing their favorite Ella songs! The van stopped at such famed venues as Red Rooster, Ginny’s Supper Club and Shrine and it concluded its journey at the jazz museum of Harlem.
The tour kicked off at the famed Apollo Theater on 125th street. This cherished New York venue played a major role in Ella’s life.
Fitzgerald’s expansive body of work embraced swing, be-bop, traditional pop, jazz and blues. To this day, many popular singers are influenced by her. Ella sold over 40 million records, won 13 Grammy awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of the Arts.
In addition to her performances at the Apollo, Ella had deep connections to New York City, performing regularly in clubs and on concert stages. At the “Make Music New York Festival” Ella’s fans honored her with their own renditions of her most popular songs.
Jazz greats who lived in New York City such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra – Just to name a few – all performed with Ella on stage and in recordings. Ella Fitzgerald gave her final concert at Carnegie Hall in 1991, but here in New York City, her music lives on!