In Tune With the Community

Across the city, in streets, parks, and plazas, on rooftops and in gardens, music flowed through Federal Way, Washington, on the summer solstice this year.

The Federal Way Lions were leading their city’s Make Music Day, a one-day global celebration of the international language of music.

It’s particularly fitting in Federal Way where the public school district is rated the fifth most diverse in the nation, and the public high school is the second most diverse in their state. More than 100 languages create a melody in the schools on any given day.

Make Music Day was started in France in 1982 to promote the natural music makers in all of us, and it has spread to more than 100 countries and 80 U.S. cities.

The purpose is to bring people together, says Lion Jan Barber who led her club’s first year to take part in the celebration. “The project was intended to build harmony through the universal language of music. Federal Way has over 105 languages spoken in its schools, and so we created a fun event to celebrate diversity and culture on the first day of summer, with music, dancing, and art.”

The celebration reimagines cities, towns, and states as stages where every kind of musician, young and old, amateur and professional, comes out to perform, to teach, to inspire.

In Federal Way, the opening flag ceremony was presented by the Sons of the American Revolution. Lion Dan Harrington from the Auburn Noon Lions Club played a trumpet medley, and the Washington Diamonds Drill Team created a parade and taught bucket drumming. Federal Way Lion Gaylen Floy, active in the King County Council of the Blind, taught free lessons in blues harmonica, and local libraries provided activities, including instrument-building classes and beginning ukulele.

The Federal Way Lions gave away drumsticks and harmonicas for learners of all ages.

Performances and classes covered a variety of music genres including big band, rock, choral, blues, jazz, barbershop, swing, ukulele, and more.

“Music builds community. We intentionally included youth, special needs children, and the nonprofit ‘Music Mends Minds,’” says Barber. “This was not just performances; it included participation as we taught bucket drumming, Jazzercise, eastern swing, and blues harmonica.”

There was even an instrument petting zoo.

Plans are already underway for a repeat in 2020.