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Bell weather: Winter music festival rings up Dumbo • Brooklyn Paper

Bell weather: Winter music festival rings up Dumbo

With bells on: At the “Bell by Bell” outdoor music event on Dec. 21, 70 crowd members will ring color-coded bells while traveling through the streets of Dumbo.
Photo by Louise Wateridge

They will jingle all the way!

A roving music parade will ring bells and ding-dong its way through the streets of Dumbo, as part of the Make Music Winter festival on Dec. 21. The city-wide extravaganza offers a rare chance for folks to hear outdoor music during the chilliest time of the year, said one organizer.

“When it gets to be winter you kind of don’t think about just stumbling across someone playing music somewhere,” said Dave Ruder, a coordinator for the annual event. “But the fact that you can just walk around and access this music event is really unique.”

The day will feature five events across the borough, and the newest addition to this year’s Brooklyn program — the crowd-participation event “Bell by Bell” — will ring good cheer to listeners for blocks around.

Organizers will distribute 70 color-coded bells, with each color representing a single note. Then, as the crowd moves from the Dumbo Archway to Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, five conductors at the front of the parade will wave colored flags to signal the bell-ringers to give a chime — when the conductor waves a red flag, for instance, everyone with red bell will jingle it.

But there will be no traditional “Jingle Bells” or “Chorus of the Bells” — instead, a group of songwriters have crafted melodies that Ruder describes as “beautiful contemporary classical percussion music.”

Make Music Winter tested the bell-ringing concept in Manhattan last year, and brought it to Brooklyn once it had gone off smoothly. Four other music events will also take place in Brooklyn that night: The bike parade “Blink” will ride through Prospect Park, with cyclists to ringing their bells when prompted by lights on the leaders’ helmets. Those with antsy feet can break out their best moves when “Flat Foot Flatbush” swarms the Flatbush streets, and a kalimba ensemble will play the African thumb pianos while parading through Bushwick. A crew of vibrant singers, dancers, and drummers will travel through Williamsburg for “Parranda,” a Caribbean holiday celebration.

“We’ve been working hard on this for a couple of months,” said Ruder. “It’s really gratifying to be out there on the 21st and see everyone participating.”

“Bell by Bell” starts at the Dumbo Archway (Anchorage Place between Pearl and Plymouth streets in Dumbo). Dec. 21 at 6 pm. Other events at various places and times on Dec. 21. See www.makemusicny.org for details.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.

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