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TPR Community Orchestra celebrates Make Music Day with Terry Riley's 'In C'

About 30 people showed up to play "In C" on June 21, 2024 at TPR.
Kevin Barton
About 30 people showed up to play "In C" on June 21, 2024 at TPR.

In June, TPR put the call out to our community to have some fun playing together on Make Music Day, a worldwide celebration of performance that happens every year near the summer solstice. We were delighted when 30 musicians showed up at our downtown studio on June 21 to perform composer Terry Riley's landmark piece, "In C," which turns 60 this year.

Riley, who also celebrated a birthday this month (he turned 89 on June 24), wrote the piece in 1964 for any number of players, of any instrumentation. "In C" is a set of 53 musical phrases, and to play the piece, the ensemble begins in unison with the first phrase. Then on to the next, and so on and so on… but it’s up to each performer how many times they repeat a phrase before moving on to the next one. So each performance of "In C" sounds slightly different, and can last as long or as short as the performers like. (Ours runs about 25 minutes.) Throughout, a steady pulse of two C notes on piano or tuned percussion keeps the beat.

Thank you to all of the performers, young and old, who took some time out of their schedule to make music with us here at KPAC 88.3 FM! Playing music is fun, but it’s always best when you can play music together, isn’t it? We look forward to another great project for Make Music Day next year.