Keeping Denton Musical

Published on: Tue, Jan 08, 2019

A lawn of double basses, ukulele classes, Twilight Tunes and more mark first Denton Make Music Day

No matter the time of day, you can catch buskers playing solo on the sidewalk (toss a dollar or three into their instrument cases), join the jam session on Saturday mornings on the Square; or have a glass of wine with your jazz at Steve’s Wine Bar. But for the first time in Denton, all of those music makers and their sounds joined in harmony on June 21, 2018, when International Make Music Day reached the city limits of Lil’d.

Make Music Day is an annual event where artists around the world unite to bring music to their communities on the longest day of the year.

This event came to Denton thanks to a duo of music-loving Dentonites: Julie Glover, economic development program administrator for the City of Denton and Richard Gore, owner of Pender’s Music Co., with the help of the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau, Denton Main Street Association, and Texas Woman’s University Department of Music and Theatre. About 700 of Denton’s finest music makers came together for the day of events surrounding the Denton Square.

Make Music Day began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, and has since grown into a nonprofit organization that assists more than 800 cities worldwide as they hold their own Make Music Day celebrations. Glover and Gore heard about the event, and realized it fit perfectly with Denton’s acclaimed music scene.

“There’s just such a wonderful city staff that supports music here,” Gore says.

Gore grew up in the business of music. His music shop, Penders, is an iconic stop for music newbies and veterans. Gore doesn’t take that reputation lightly. He discovered Make Music Day through fellow members of the National Association for Music Merchants.

All it took was a call to Denton’s “Music Woman,” (Glover), who led the charge in 2018 to Denton being recognized as a Music Friendly Community by the Texas Music Office. When she got Gore’s missive, Glover realized that Make Music Day, should it be successful, would bolster Denton’s certification from the Texas Governor’s Office. She, with Gore’s help, put together a small, yet determined Make Music Day committee to bring the noise to Denton’s Courthouse-on-the-Square.

And successful it was.

“Everyone just smiled all day,” Glover said. “It was hot, and I was out there all day, but it was fun. I learned to play several chords on my ukulele that I didn’t know before,” she added, noting the day’s contagious good energy.

A performance by the UNT’s Bradetich Double Bass Master Classes students set the tone for the day as the event began bright and early June 21. The group “Basses Loaded” − a conglomerate of 60 young bassists − kicked off the celebration with a performance that was both fun and punny.

But the event wasn’t just reserved for experienced musicians. Throughout the day, Dentonites joined in on mass ukulele and harmonica lessons, a giant drum circle and a boomwhacker bonanza − with many instruments provided by the teachers and musicians in attendance.

Some Dentonites even made their own instruments. SCRAP Denton invited guests to make castanets out of recycled materials, so they could be used during the day and after, showing that anyone − and anything − can be a music maker.

The day ended with a Twilight Tunes show, a springtime Thursday  staple  in  Denton.  Organized  by  the  Denton Main Street Association, this concert series highlights local performers in free shows on the courthouse lawn.

With an overwhelmingly successful 2018 event in the books, Glover and Gore are already looking ahead to next year, where Make Music Day in Denton will continue to get bigger and better. Potential changes include expansion beyond the square and an online matchmaking feature for live music acts and venues. June 21, 2019 can’t come soon enough.

“We hope that anybody who wants to make music will feel like they can be a part of it,” Gore said. “I think we see in our world today that the more harmony we create as people, the better the world will be.”

Make Music Day

Friday, June 21, 2019

Courthouse on the Square Lawn

Free admission

More info: