Merry melody: Music parade marches through Brownsville

music parade
Solstice songs: The annual Make Music Winter festival will feature Flatfoot Flatbush, where participants will play fiddles and dance a traditional Appalachian foot dance.
Make Music Winter

The season marches on!

A musical holiday parade will strut through Brownsville on the afternoon of Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year. The Be Merry Music Parade — one of three Brooklyn events in the citywide Make Music Winter celebration — will be the first of its kind for the neighborhood, according to its organizer. 

“This will be the first time that the community will be the audience and we’re performing for them,” said Manuel Larino, from the Brownsville Community Justice Center, the group hosting the event. “In other parades, people are invited to walk in the procession. This is going to be more similar to the Macy’s Day Parade, where people are watching from the sidelines and singing along.” 

The mile-long procession will feature eight musical acts, cheerleaders, and elected officials, all marching from Rockaway Avenue near Pitkin Avenue to the Marcus Garvey Clubhouse on Chester Street and Dumont Avenue, Larino said. 

Several acts — including DJ Collaborative, an all-girl group of disk jockeys, and Sounds of Brownsville, the Justice Center’s own music collective — will perform on floats equipped with stages and microphones. Between those floats, marching bands will play Caribbean music, and a choir singing holiday favorites will bring up the rear. 

Another float, decked out with Christmas decorations, will blast the streets with a snow machine, turning the route into a winter wonderland, said Larino.

At the end of the route, which snakes from Rockaway Avenue to Mother Gaston Boulevard and back again, attendees will find a holiday market full of vendors, give-aways, and more performers. 

The Brownsville parade is one of three Brooklyn events happening in partnership with Make Music New York — a group that organizes free, outdoor music events on the winter and summer solstices. Larino said that the Brownsville group has hosted stationary music events during the summer event for the past three years, and is excited to join the winter tradition.

“We’ve enjoyed the practice of the summer solstice and just the thought of having the parade and connecting the community in that way was exciting,” he said. 

The other two events are the Flatbush Flatfoot, where dancers and fiddlers progress down Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights while doing a stompy Appalachian dance, and the Kensington Plaza Sing-Along, where attendees can belt out their holiday favorites with local musician Deirdre Rodman Struck.

Be Merry Music Parade [along Rockwell Avenue between Pitkin and Dumont avenues in Brownsville, www.makemusicny.org]. Dec. 21; 11:30 am–1 pm. Free.