Jeffery Glover kicked off a day-long musical celebration in Meadville with one song lyric that seemed to fit the day perfectly.
As he sang, "Walk with me, Suzy Lee, through the park and by the tree, we will rest upon the ground and look at all the bugs we found," the scene from those lyrics played out right there in Diamond Park.
Glover was the first musician to kick off Meadville's second annual Make Music Day that included events in various locations all day Thursday, which was the first day of summer. He, his guitar and a couple speakers entertained people in Diamond Park. His repertoire included the song "We're Going to be Friends" by Jack White, which brought visions of summer despite the lyrics that mention going to school.
The summer breeze and the tunes coming from the gazebo even distracted Meadville Mayor LeRoy Stearns from any official duties in which he may have been involved.
"What a beautiful day," Stearns said. "It's perfect for the first day of summer."
The 35-year-old celebration of free, live music takes place on the summer solstice in more than 750 cities spread across 120 countries. On the longest day of the year, the festival takes music out of the bars, clubs and concert halls where access is so often restricted and puts it on the streets for all to enjoy — and participate in.
So it was in the streets of Meadville.
Not far from Diamond Park the summer solstice was observed by a group of folks at Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville. Rev. Robin Landerman Zucker and Amelia Carr co-led the earth-centered celebration.
Four elements including earth, fire, air and wind were brought into the circle of people gathered in the garden behind the church. The object of the ceremony was to set up the circle to establish a place on Earth, bring in the elements and join the circle, according to Carr.
"May the circle be unbroken," Carr said.
Zucker led as she drummed, sang and guided those gathered in meditation.
Drumming was a popular activity throughout the day as it was offered at Indigo Boutique & Botanica and the Green Shoppe on Chestnut Street. The activity moved outside as Chestnut Street was blocked off from about 5 to 7 p.m.
Families picked up drums and a variety of percussion instruments as they tried to mimic each other's rhythms. It seemed inevitable that a cha-cha-cha would work its way into the music-making.
Shane McClymonds took part and watched as young budding drummers tapped and scratched the tops of the instruments. McClymonds, a 12-year-old self-proclaimed semi-professional percussionist, brought some of the instruments to the event.
McClymonds said he "wasn't sure where he'd be without music." He plays an assortment of drums in the band at school. He's also playing the character "Ugly" in the production of "Honk" at Meadville's Academy Theatre.
The band Touch of Grey kicked off the Chestnut Street music-making. The band members encouraged everyone walking by to join in or take over.
"It's all about everyone making music today," they told those in attendance.
The day-long event concluded at night with a Solstice Party at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex Community Garden. The party included tours of the gardens, rock painting, a bonfire and more musical merriment.
Lorri Drumm can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.