The Windy City Whistles With Summer Songs

music festivals chicago head over heels

Every summer, Chicagoland offers things to do and see. There’s also a lot to hear thanks to the following music festivals and theatrical musicals.

The melodies begin on the fourth of July with the Grant Park Music Festival’s annual Independence Day Salute at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park at 6:30 pm. Christopher Bell conducts as the Grant Park Orchestra performs patriotic anthems including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and the Armed Forces Salute featuring Mary Stolper on flute.

The holiday concert is part of Festival HD, a series of multimedia events featuring live performances accompanied by video projections on the giant Millennium Park screen. Also slated for this series is the 80th anniversary screening of “The Wizard of Oz” (July 10 at 8 pm) with live musical accompaniment and “The Flight of the Bumblebee” (Aug.14 at 6:30 pm).

In addition to providing world premiere commissions and a Visiting Masters series, the Grant Park Music Festival presents CenterStage (June 23, July 7, Aug. 11) which are free Sunday afternoon recitals where audience members sit onstage in the enclosed Jay Pritzker Pavilion to enjoy an intimate experience with music.

Seventy-six Trombones and a host of other memorable show tunes are featured in the Tony Award-winning musical “The Music Man” (June 29 – Aug 4). Meredith Willson’s ode to Americana comes alive via Goodman Theatre’s new production directed by Mary Zimmerman.

The pop songs of the 1980s girl band The Go-Go’s are featured in “Head Over Heels” (July 1 – Aug. 25) based on “The Arcadia” by Sir Phillip Sidney. In the Chicago premiere presented by Kokandy Productions, musical director Kyra Leigh re-creates hits We Got the Beat, Our Lips Are Sealed, Vacation, and more. “I can’t imagine a better way to spend the summer,” says Artistic Director Derek Van Barham of the musical comedy which performs at Theater Wit.

In honor of his 90th birthday, a musical tribute to American composer George Crumb will be hosted by the Music Institute of Chicago during its 31st Chicago Duo Piano Festival at Nichols Concert Hall. The July 14 Gala Opening Concert includes his Makrokosmos III: Music for a Summer Evening with pianists Fiona Queen and Louise Chan. The July 19 Duo Piano Extravaganza Concert includes excerpts from Crumb’s Makrokosmos IV: Celestial Mechanics with pianists Chan and Susan Tang.

Rosemont residents and visitors are invited to interact with Pop-Up Pianos located throughout the Village of Rosemont. Thanks to its Mural Initiative and Heavenly Pianos in Arlington Heights, eight uprights painted by artist Rahmaan Statik (and students from Triton and Oakton Community College) will be on display through Sept. 30.

In Evanston, Northwestern University presents Lunch on the Lake concerts, starting with a “Soul 2 The Bone” performance (July 10), followed by a free screening of “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson as part of its Summer Cinema series. The concerts take place at noon on Wednesdays through July 31 on the east lawn of the Norris University Center. Complimentary watermelon, and picnic blankets are provided courtesy of Coca-Cola.

Photo of “Head Over Heels” cast by Collin Quinn Rice, courtesy of Kokandy Productions

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to serve as Arts & Culture Editor on our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.