Looking for Musicians and Volunteers for Make Music Upper Perk 2021!

Planning for 2021 Make Music Upper Perk has begun!

The music festival, always free and always open to the public, will be held on Monday, June 21st, 2021. Online musician registration opened on February 1 and continues through April 20, 2021.

Gather your friends, dust off your instruments, and sign upanyone and everyone of all ages and abilities is invited to participate – students, amateurs, professionals, and everyone in between – all musical genres are welcome (but do keep it family friendly).

Our current plan is to hold the 2021 event entirely outdoors, at different spaces throughout the Upper Perkiomen Valley. We will, as always, rely on best public health practices to make our final determination as to what form Make Music Upper Perk 2021 will take this June, and what guidelines must be followed.

Last year taught us how to hold a virtual music festival and still remain free and open to the public – and as a result we garnered a world-wide audience and were able to include musicians who formerly had been part of Make Music Upper Perk but have since moved out of the area. Because of the positive response we had from last year’s audience, concerning a music event that in many ways was more accessible than ever, we do plan to do our best to livestream some of the music performances on the Make Music Upper Perk Facebook page (no Facebook account is needed to view this page).

Of courses, an event like this can’t happen without community support, and many volunteers! Volunteers will be needed regardless of what form MMUP takes in 2021, whether in person, virtual, or a mix of both. We will not be holding any in-person meetings until late spring, so please sign up for information concerning volunteer opportunities. Go to the online volunteer registration form to let us know how you might be interested in helping out this year, before, during, and after June 21st .

We invite everyone to  be part of our ninth year celebrating music in the Upper Perkiomen Valley; all day, all free, and all open to the public. Make Music Upper Perk (MMUP) is a free event organized by volunteers with musicians who are not compensated and a public that is not charged. Make Music Upper Perk is co-sponsored by ValleyArtScene and Grace Note Piano Studio. MMUP is a non-profit 501c3 organization. Donations are gratefully accepted.

Donate with PayPal

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“The Show Must Go On,” and Traveling Around the World (without leaving home)

Theatre is still happening at North Penn High School, and the students are not only insisting that the show must go on, but showcasing their creativity and ingenuity in an original production sharing their perspective on the times in which we find ourselves – Breathing Through Covid!

Beginning with school closing on March 12, the production is alternately a frank, funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming chronicle of what our “kids” are thinking and feeling and experiencing. And it’s FREE!! (Though donations will be gratefully accepted by buying a ticket online.

North Penn High School Theater and Thespian Troupe 5464

Streaming days/dates/times and more information about the production can be found at www.npenn.org/theatre. To watch the show, Breathing Through Covid, just follow the links below.

If you live in the North Penn Community, you can also watch the show on Comcast 28 and Verizon 29 at the same days/dates/times above.

Traveling has always been one of my favorite things, and staying within a 30 mile radius over the last eleven months has left me longing for a change of scenery.

So, I’ve spent the last few weeks soaking up the sights and sounds of London and Glasgow, Auckland and Paris, India and the South Pole – all through the wonderful work of books I found on my shelf, unread until this year. If you are looking to travel, while safe and warm in a comfy chair, with a cup of tea or hot chocolate (or maybe a glass of wine or mulled cider), here are a few recommendations;

London, England – The Word is Murder, Anthony Horowitz

Glasgow, Scotland – The Riverman, Alex Gray

Auckland, New Zealand – When We Believed in Mermaids, Barbara O’Neil

Paris, France – Paris by the Book, Liam Callanan

India (historical/mystery) – The Widows of Malabar Hill, Sujata Massey

India – A Burning, Megha Majumdar

South Pole – South Pole Station: a novel, Ashley Shelby

Japan – A Midsummer’s Equation, Keigo Higashino

Books can be purchased online, through the usual suspects, and through local independent bookstores.

In our area, Let’s Play Books in Emmaus, PA and Towne Book Center in Collegeville, PA both have excellent books on hand and will be happy to order anything they don’t have in house – they also offer curbside pickup (as does the local library!)

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Take an Art Walk this Weekend! (and check out what else is happening, from a safe social distance)

This is a great time to go on an art walk; enjoy the beautiful weather and appreciate art on display, all while social distancing and following recommended guidelines.

Corona Season: Beauty Revealed is the name of the outdoor exhibit at Hellertown’s Borough Authority Park, that opened in September and continues through Sunday, October 18. The Community Art Walk includes mosaics, sculptures, chalk drawings, photography, and paintings created by individuals, groups, and families over the last few months. Free, family friendly, and open to the public; take a walk around the park next to the pool (Durham Street and E. Depot Street, Hellertown, PA).

The submission guidelines were as follows:

The artwork should represent how your household found joy during quarantine or what brought you light and hope in the midst of this dark season.

Each household or quarantine group may submit one piece.

The artwork should be constructed with consideration given to wind and rain.

All forms of art are welcome, but must be family-friendly and able to be displayed in an outdoor environment. You are encouraged to consider creating on a large scale to suit the outdoor space.

from Saucon Source – Community Art Walk to Brighten Borough Authority Park

Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem opened this week, with some major changes for 2020, beginning with being held completely outdoors and spread out at the SteelStacks (instead of inside closed warmed tents). There are crowd limits, so buying tickets in advance is the best way to be sure of getting into Christkindlmarkt this year (It’s also cheaper to buy your ticket online!) Online tickets for each day end at midnight the day before. This year’s event will be held Thursdays through Sundays, now through November 29, 2020 (closed on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26).

As always, there will be artisans and vendors, from nearby and far away (and German nutcrackers, pyramids, and smokers, of course), though this year autumn themed items and an Oktoberfest ambience will on hand during October, while St. Nicholas will wait to make his appearance until November 7, 2020.

According to the official siteThe jolly, old man will be on hand for special story times and socially distanced photos on Saturdays, while Sundays will feature new virtual “Cooking with St. Nicholas” events for families via Zoom.

FACEMASKS ARE REQUIRED INDOORS AND OUTDOORS (except for when eating or drinking). Live music has also been promised!

DeSales University is presenting a prerecorded live production of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It this weekend. The play will be streamed Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, 2020 – tickets per viewer must be purchased online – the link and password will be good for 24 hours after purchase.

DCP Theater hosts The Covid Cabaret in their parking lot this weekend, Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11 at 2 p.m. (rain dates the following weekend).

FAQ’s for COVID Cabaret 

Q:  Are reservations required?

A:  Reservations are not required.
Q:  What are the seating arrangements for COVID Cabaret – do we stay in our cars?

A:  Patrons will park on the cast/crew side of the parking lot (the smaller of the two parking lots).  Parking attendants will assist them.  Patrons should bring lawn chairs. They can set them up and sit in the patron parking lot.  We request that you and your group socially distant yourself(ves).  The stage will be located at the far side of the patron parking lot.  There will be a sound system.  Patrons will have access to DCP Theatre’s restrooms.

Q:  Can patrons bring snacks/drinks to the show?

A:  Patrons are invited to bring their own non-alcoholic drinks and snacks of their choice.  DCP will be offering snacks and drinks for a donation (no set amount).
Q:  What if there is bad weather?

A:  A decision about whether the show is being postponed will be made by 6am the day of the performance.  Postponement information will be posted on our website:  http://www.dcptheatre.com.
Q:  How can we donate?  Will cash only be accepted?

A:  Cash is preferable, but we will have a computer available to accept donations via credit card through our website.
Q:  Is the Cabaret ‘family friendly?’
A:  Absolutely!  There will be a variety of musical performances, skits and monologues.
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Local (Virtual) Music Festivals


Summer is usually filled with music festivals, near and far. Thankfully, there are still music festivals, free and ticketed, going on in 2020. However, nearly all of them have gone totally virtual. On the plus side, lots of music can be enjoyed without driving any distance or sitting out in the hot sun (and with easy access to your refrigerator and favorite snacks and beverages).

Make Music Upper Perk tookplace on June 21st, as always, but unlike other years, you can go back and enjoy all the performances at any time, as all the videos – pre-recorded and those who performed live on June 21st – are still available online, still free and still open to everyone! Check out who played, by musician or by set list.  The music can be found on Facebook – Make Music Upper Perk page and YouTube – Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020 channel.

Bethlehem’s Musikfest is also going virtual this year, starting on Friday, July 31, 2020. There are a limited number of sets that will be performed live at the SteelStacks, however due to very limited seating, reservations are required and most are sold out. See the entire lineup on their site, where you will also find links to the free streaming concerts.  The music begins at noon on Friday, July 31, 2020 and continues through Sunday, August 9, 2020. You can get ‘Fest Food to Go; “During Musikfest 2020, patrons can walk up and order from any or all of these vendors. Onsite beverages, as well as Musikfest merchandise like the popular collector’s mug, will also be offered.” Hours for the walkup food service at PNC Plaza are July 31 and Aug. 3-7 from 4-8 p.m., and Aug. 1-2 and 8-9 from noon-8 p.m. The Handwerkplatz is online this year, as well – check out the online artisan village starting on Thursday, July 30, 2020. You can also download a Zoom Musikfest background, if you want to add to the illusion of being there.

Virtual Familienplatz

As part of the family fun at Musikfest, Crayola is partnering with ArtsQuest for a Musikfest coloring contest featuring the official Musikfest 2020 poster artwork created by artist and illustrator Doug Boehm. The coloring contest is one of the many visual arts activities being offered this year as part of the virtual festival.

As part of the Musikfest poster coloring contest, Crayola and ArtsQuest will be offering daily prizes featuring Crayola products, as well as one grand prize awarded at the end of the festival.

In keeping with its family focus, Musikfest has also developed free Take-Home Art Kits that families can pick up to engage in art activities during the festival. The art kits can be picked up at the Banana Factory daily Aug. 3-7 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition, the ArtsQuest Visual Arts Team is developing a series of daily videos that will teach families how to create artwork based on common objects found around the home. Videos will be posted starting July 31.

All this, and more information, can be found at https://www.musikfest.org/lineup/virtual-familienplatz/

The 59th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival is scheduled for August 13 – 16, 2020. The Philly Folk Fest has always been held just down the road from the Upper Perk Valley, in Schwenksville, but this year the drive is even shorter, as it will all be held online (even the campgrounds!)

The Philadelphia Folksong Society has partnered with Mountain View Staging, with over 20 years of streaming excellence, to present the 59th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival as a fully digital interactive musical experience, complete with multiple stages/streams of curated music, fully integrated chat features, campfire open mics, zoom campsites, craft show, food and merchandise tents, and above all else: the invaluable sense of community and connectivity that comes from the shared experience of enjoying music together.

While this is still a ticketed event, the tickets are lower in price than they have been in many years – with some as low as $25 for a day pass, $75 for the entire weekend.

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Music Schedule for Sunday, June 21, 2020 – Virtual Make Music Upper Perk!

Here it is!  The long-awaited Virtual MMUP 2020 schedule we have been working on for the past few months.  Thanks to all the volunteers who have worked behind the scenes to help us get to this point! And thanks to all the musicians who bring the music and make this possible!


As you may recall, June 21st is Fete de la Musique (Make Music) around the world.  As always, we are celebrating music with our 8th Annual  Make Music Upper Perk, but this year……it is Virtual.   Remember, as always, MMUP is put together by volunteers, all musicians are volunteers, and you get to watch for free!

What time does it start and end?  The music will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will go till about 11 p.m. EST.  We have Livestreams (at the top of the hour), we have Recordings (on the half hour), and as always, we have a huge variety of musical genres, abilities, ages, and instruments involved.

Where to watch?  To see both the Livestreams and the Recordings, go to Facebook – Make Music Upper Perk.  (You do not need a Facebook  account, you can just scroll down the page to see the videos and posts, and tell Facebook “not now” when it prompts you to create an account.)   To watch recorded sets, go to You Tube – Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020.

Who can see this?  The beauty of Virtual MMUP 2020 is that anyone can watch it anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection and a computer, tablet,  or smart phone.

Can’t watch all day long on June 21st? You can return to the day-long musical festival after June 21st, to see what you may have missed.

How to find which artists are featured when?  For more information about specific artists or sets, check the Musicians at Virtual Make Music Upper Perk page.

We hope we will be together again next June 2021. We hope you will be able to enjoy your help creating this event, once again.  In the meantime, stay safe, stay well.

Enjoy the music!  And again, please pass this along to everyone you know, far and near.

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Two Chord Uke Jam at Virtual Make Music Upper Perk!

Betsy Manning, long a favorite at Make Music Upper Perk, and a member of the Philadelphia Main Line Ukulele Meetup Group, has found a way to hold a ukulele jam online, and will be offering one on Sunday, June 21st as part of Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020Pre-registration is required if you want to be in on the Zoom call and part of the public jam that will be livestreamed on Facebook on Sunday afternoon. If you want to strum along without a wider audience (or just watch and enjoy the music), just follow the Make Music Upper Perk Facebook link on June 21st, 2020.  If you are not a member of Facebook, you can still watch the show – just ignore Facebook’s request to sign in or create a new account!

The Ukulele craze is going strong, but it’s more than a fad. The Ukulele is easy, fun, and exciting. It is said, no one can be sad if they’re holding a ukulele, and we have found this to be true!

The Philadelphia Main Line Ukulele Meetup Group is one of the largest and most active ukulele jam groups in the USA. Established in 2011 we have grown to nearly 1000 members strong and provide our members with many opportunities to play & learn ukulele in group settings and online.

For Make Music Upper Perk, PMLUG invites everyone to join us in a FREE Online Jam, perfect for beginners! We’ll be playing easy Two Chord songs, suitable for all ages.

So, grab your uke, tune it up, and join us!

Pre-Registration required. 

Betsy Manning has also provided some pre-recorded music on video that will be broadcast online as part of Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020. Check back later for the complete schedule and to learn when you can hear and see the pre-recorded sets, as well as livestream performances that will be taking place online from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, 2020!

Betsy Manning is a visual artist who fell in love with the Ukulele in 2015. She previously sang doo wop with The Del-Vals and barbershop with Ringing Hills Chorus.

She leads jams for the Philadelphia Main Line Ukulele Meetup Group and offers free-skill building workshops.

“The uke is an inviting, easily accessible instrument for ‘kids’ of all ages. In Philadelphia Main Line Uke and other jam groups, we make music for the joy of it. I believe in removing barriers to playing and enjoying the craft. It’s free to join, and a good playable uke can be purchased for a reasonable price.

“That signature ‘ukulele smile’ can’t be beat! I get to see that every time I have the honor of helping new players with their first chords. They say no one can be unhappy when they’re playing a ukulele, and I’ve found this to be true.”

Betsy enjoys playing and sharing many styles and eras of music, including comedy, pop, torch songs, show tunes.

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Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020!

Following in the illustrious footsteps of the Metropolitan Opera, and the Berks Jazz Festival, among others, Make Music Upper Perk will be going virtual on Sunday, June 21, 2020. This year, unlike other years, folks from all over the country, and all over the world, will be able to watch and hear the musicians at Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020!

We invite everyone to watch and be part of our eighth year celebrating music in the Upper Perkiomen Valley; all day, all free, and all online on Facebook and YouTube!



Why decide now about June 21st?

If MMUP has to go virtual, then we need to start working on it now, letting musicians, venues, and volunteers know our plans, and to allow time to handle the technical issues (time for the musicians to record and time for MMUP to set up the new schedule and technology needed).

Why decide to go virtual? Why not hold it as usual on June 21st, or hold it as a modified event (e.g. only outside venues)?

Some venues, volunteers, and musicians, have already informed us that due to COVID-19 they will not be able to participate this year, as they originally planned. We have every reason to believe this would be an issue for many people the closer that we get to the date of the event.

At many of our outdoor venues, the audience members would still be very close together (e.g. Mario’s Pizza and Frozen Treat). If it were to rain, the option to go indoors might not be an option, due to space and possible ongoing physical distance restrictions.

When will there be music? Will any of it be live?

The music will still be made on Sunday, June 21st, and hopefully many of the performances will be live, and scheduled so as not to overlap! This year, unlike other years, folks from all over the country, and all over the world, will be able to watch and hear the musicians at Make Music Upper Perk! Another added bonus is that this year you won’t have to miss any of it or worry about running from one venue to another before your favorite act leaves the stage, since the recorded music and the livestreams will stay on the Make Music Upper Perk Facebook page and YouTube – Virtual Make Music Upper Perk 2020 channel – past the time they are posted!

Is it still free?

Yes, Make Music Upper Perk will always be free and open to the public. While one will have to have an internet connection of some type, the Facebook MMUP page will be open to the public (no logging in or Facebook account needed), and the YouTube app and website are also open and free to the public.

All pre-recorded music will appear on both sites. Music that is livestreamed will most likely only be available on Facebook.

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Near and Far, Arts Online

Bread and Roses – as much as we need food for our bodies, we need art for our souls, especially in difficult and stressful times. Every day brings more news, and more news of how the arts community is opening their (virtual) doors and inviting everyone in.

Ralph Pagano has been a part of Make Music Upper Perk for several years now, as a solo act, and as part of a duo, playing guitar and singing folk, rock, and Americana music- originals and covers. But you don’t have to wait until the first day of summer to hear him play again. This Friday, April 3, 2020, he will be part of Celebrating First Friday in SouthSide Bethlehem, live on Facebook, along with Kendal Conrad, and Carlos Barata, from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Martin Guitar is offering a live series of concerts, Jam in Place, featuring their favorite artists giving acoustic performances from home (currently scheduled at various times in the afternoons, from now through April 7th).

I’ve watched productions from the National Theater in London in movie theaters, but now we can all watch National Theater at Home – for free! A different stage production will be available to watch online on YouTube each week, beginning at 2 p.m. EST today, Thursday, April 2, 2020. Each show may be viewed for free on YouTube for one week. The first show going up is the comedy, One Man, Two Guvners, featuring James Corden in his Tony Award winning role.

Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6,000 from his fiancée’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers.

Holed up at The Cricketers’ Arms, the permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple.

Folger Theater in D.C.  is also using YouTube to broadcast their 2008 production of Macbeth, free from now through July 1, 2020.

Shakespeare’s chilling Scottish tragedy is realized by Emmy-winning magician Teller (of Penn & Teller) and Helen Hayes Award-winning director Aaron Posner as a startling, supernatural show brimming with magic, mayhem, and madness.

Fans of Cezanne will appreciate tonight’s talk, courtesy of Princeton Art Museum, Painting the Mountains: Cezanne’s Rock and Quarry Canvasses, Thursday night, April 2, 2020, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Held in conjunction with the exhibition Cézanne: The Rock and Quarry Paintings, join us live online (via Zoom at https://princeton.zoom.us/j/547377102) as a panel of scholars considers Paul Cezanne’s interest in rock formations in relation to emerging ideas about geography and geology in nineteenth-century France. Speakers are Faya Causey, independent scholar, and Goran Blix, associate professor, French and Italian, Princeton University. Moderated by Associate Director for Education Caroline Harris.

https://princeton.zoom.us/j/547377102, (when prompted, click to sign in as “attendee”)

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Kickstarter Campaign Update

We know people are stressed, we know people are having trouble figuring out their new daily routine. We are, too. While we are still planning for this year’s Make Music Upper Perk, we are also keeping watch on the news and trying to make informed decisions. We don’t know what the situation will be like on June 21st, but for now, we are going ahead with the idea that we will be able to be out and enjoying music performed by our wonderful local musicians.

Kickstarter also understands that these are confusing times, and so they have extended everyone’s project for 7 days. Our new deadline to raise $900 is midnight April 6th. We are only 2/3 of the way there – Kickstarter is an all or nothing fundraiser, meaning if we don’t get $900 in pledges, we get nothing. If you can spare $10, $25, or more, please donate to this community funded, all volunteer, event. If we have to cancel this year’s event, any and all money raised will be put towards Make Music Upper Perk 2021 – Monday, June 21st, 2021.

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MMUP 2020 Status Report!

We have decided to optimistically move forward in planning MMUP 2020 hoping that by Sunday, June 21st, we will be able to gather together again. We will reassess as time goes on and keep you informed.

Any funds raised during our Kickstarter campaign (DEADLINE March 31), will be used for 2020, or saved for 2021 Make Music Upper Perk – Monday, June 21, 2021 – if not.

Musicians can still register for this year’s event (DEADLINE April 20th).

We are postponing our plans to have a new t-shirt design this year, but you can look forward to that in 2021!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and on this blog for unfolding information.

Take care, and keep making music!

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