By SYLVIA BENAVIDEZ
June 24, 2021
Although it was a cool 65 degrees with grayish skies in Albion on Monday, musicians came out to play various instruments from 5-9 p.m. in honor of Music Day, as Fête de la Musique is known in English. Toward the beginning of the event there were six locations with musicians playing various instruments. Spots opened and closed as handfuls of people listened to the musicians, with about three stations closing out the evening.
“Informally, I would say we have about six places with power available. I like the informality of it. It’s music by the people not choreographed, not organized, not cajoled, not paid for, just people out making music,” said Jim Stuart, owner of Stirling Books & Brew and one of the informal organizers. Stuart, Kelly Kidder, and Cliff Harris helped either spread the word or provide technical assistance.
Initially started in France in 1982 to allow amateur musicians in Paris to perform for free in public, the celebration has spread throughout the world to encourage anyone to make music in the streets.
Free concerts are also performed in many of the countries celebrating Fête de la Musique. Wonderful tunes could be heard from musicians playing a variety of instruments in Albion, an accordion, a ukulele, horns, electric pianos to name some.
Kidder was involved with Fête de la Musique in Albion from the start. “At the time, about 15 years, they were hoping to introduce it to America. It seemed like a good community-building event.
It gave a chance for musicians to play for the love of playing and not for monetary gain.”
On a Fête de la Musique website created by the Sister City committee in 2014, it is stated that the event sprung from the French sister city relationship with Noisy-le-Roi and began in 2005.
Reactions from some store owners explain why they are involved in sharing music with the Albion area by having performers in front of their establishments. “Music is great, and to see C, who is Kelly’s youngest student, come and perform is like extra special,” said Ramona Kidder, co-owner of Dickerson Music, speaking about her husband, Kelly Kidder, also owner of Dickerson Music and C. Wisz, his student.
“I was really excited to set up a pop-up stage,” owner of the Yellow Bird Chocolate Shop Jenny Risner-Wade said. She prepared for Walk the Beat students to play in front of her store as well as her daughter, Ukulele player and singer Ann Wade. She mentioned the French sister city relationship and was glad that the day of music continues. “We do creative fun stuff in Albion all the time,” Risner-Wade added.
Photos by Sylvia Benavidez except as noted. Photos and story copyright, The Recorder.
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