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NORMAL – Music made at Uptown Normal this weekend with roots that reach far around the world.

The city’s free Make Music Normal festival returned Friday to pre-COVID attendance levels, according to Normal Civic Arts Manager Adam Fox. He said it was great to be back at full capacity, adding “it was absolutely wonderful.”

He estimates that more than 5,000 people made it to the first day of the event. Friday features local rock bands such as Bury Thy Wicked, Great Value Jesus, and The Recombinants. Dexter O’Neal and Funk Yard performed funk music, and Peoria Rhythm Kings also sang blues that night.

Gary Muhammad of Straight Answer Jazz Trio played guitar Saturday afternoon at Make Music Normal in Uptown Normal.

Saturday afternoon the crowds grew just hours after the rain stopped. Fox said a truly depressing morning turned into a beautiful afternoon, which then led to a wet and depressing night. The show stops early at 7pm. Saturday due to ongoing weather-related safety concerns.

“That’s Central Illinois weather,” he said.

But that didn’t stop bands and music fans from taking advantage of the sunny day. Paddy’s Favorite Sons features Irish folk songs, young rockers with Sad Rat play punk, and the Straight Answer Jazz Trio features smooth guitar licks and keyboard jumping.

Mike Gardner plays keyboards with the Straight Answer Jazz Trio on Saturday at Make Music Normal, at Uptown Plaza in Normal.

Fox said organizers saw audiences truly enjoying returning to the summer’s live music events.

“People seem very, very happy to have that option back and we are very happy to be able to provide it,” he said.

One of the patrons who made an unplanned stop on Saturday at the Brandon Cattle and The Branding Irons shows was Hayden Cseve. He said he came from Gibson City to shop at Graham Cracker Comics in Uptown Normal, and didn’t expect to be at a music festival.

Cseve says Brandon Cattle and The Branding Irons have different sounds and you can really feel the bass.

Donna DeBose of Normal is digging the Straight Answer Jazz Trio set. He said their second piece made him feel energetic and calm, but also rhythmic and warm.

DeBose loves how jazz melodies are repeated, but also improvised “because it takes you on a journey,” he says.

Donna DeBose, front right in blue, claps to music from the Straight Answer Jazz Trio on Saturday at Make Music Normal in Uptown Normal.

He adds that improv usually leaves you satisfied, and agrees that it’s also unique.

Todd Willoughby, from Normal, watches the Sad Rat show with his son, Joe Willoughby. The father said the band had a good 1960s vibe with a psychedelic sound.

He also said that he was glad they had a live music event in town. Willoughby said he moved here three years ago and was looking into what events the Twin Cities had provided.

“It’s amazing,” he said, adding that he planned to stroll around the festival and explore.

Forty bands were scheduled to play the event, although several did not perform due to inclement weather problems. Fox said organizers would book the bands again at the Normal Theater or the Connie Lake Amphitheater.

“We’re going to make sure Make Music Normal 2 and Make Music Normal 3 happen at some point so all those acts get a chance to perform in front of everyone,” he said.

Brazilian beats

People of all ages become immersed in the rhythm of Bloco Gavião’s Afro-Brazilian percussion workshop, which was moved to the third floor of the Children’s Discovery Museum because of the morning rain. Read also : The 5 best summer music festivals to travel to in 2022. The family is refreshed in samba reggae dancing and drumming, plus maculele stick beats.

Instructor Mark Becker says the Bloco Gavião class is an outreach program from the Capoeira Angola Center in Mestre João Grande, which is based in Urbana.

Mark Becker, in blue, beats drums with Denis Chiaramonte, second from right, at the percussion workshop Saturday in Uptown Normal.

Becker said they did a simple choreography, adding that both samba reggae and maculele are distinct manifestations of Afro-Brazilian.

“One of the things I love about him is the welcome of everyone,” he said, adding that he lived and studied in Brazil and was also welcomed into their traditions.

“It just welcomes people from all backgrounds, and I’ve always really appreciated that,” Becker continued.

He said they really liked Saturday’s workshops, because it was fun working with kids who loved them.

From left, Elis Artz, Amelia Corbin, 8, from Bloomington, drumming together at the percussion workshop Saturday at Uptown Normal, along with Avery Lake, 9 and Rylan Lake, 6, both from Villa Grove.

“The highlight for me is always seeing the excitement that people go when they hear the music,” Becker said. “It’s almost instantaneous – you can see the look on their faces.”

What makes Afro-Brazilian music different from the standard concert hall experience, he says, is audience participation.

“Participation is a way of showing respect, and showing interest and support for the musicians,” Becker continued. “It’s great for people to clap, dance and participate.”

Noeli Anderson, front left, raps and dances with a maculele stick during Saturday’s Afro-Brazilian Percussion workshop at the Children’s Discovery Museum as part of Make Music Normal. Shown back center in red is her husband Paul Anderson.

Married couple Noeli and Paul Anderson, from Normal were given maculele sticks, and then joined to play drums and dance in circles.

Noeli Anderson, 76, hails from the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. She said she met her husband on a blind date in San Francisco. Her husband added that they had been married for 52 years.

What he loves most about his music is how lively it is. He also said “it makes you want to dance.”

So when Noeli Anderson was given the maculele stick, he said he had to participate.

Paul Anderson, 78, is a retired ISU professor, and says he has taught at the University of Brasilia for more than 4 years.

“We’ve seen it, we love it, we love it, and that’s why we came here,” he said of the percussion workshop.

What he likes most about her: “The surprise. It keeps going.”

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Photos: Demand for vinyl records still on a high note

Freshly printed vinyl records are produced on a stamper at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tennessee. The advent of the compact disc almost killed record albums. On the same subject : West Branch’s music program wins national honor. Four decades later, with a resurgence in record album sales resulting in double-digit growth, producers are rapidly rebuilding the industry to keep up with sales that hit $1 billion last year. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Ricky Riehl inspects finished vinyl records for physical defects before they are packaged at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hockey chip-shaped lumps, called “biscuits” and made of heated vinyl pellets, are fed into a press to be molded into vinyl records at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The mix of colored vinyl pellets that will be made into records is stored in the trash at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. Colored pellets are used alone or in various combinations to create colorful records in addition to the traditional black of vinyl. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Thane Adolf dumps black vinyl pellets into a machine that will shape the pellets into hockey chip “biscuits” to make vinyl records at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Workers operate a record-setting machine at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tennessee (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Workers operate a record-setting machine at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Excess vinyl falls into the trash after being shaved from the edges of a freshly printed record at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. The excess vinyl will be re-ground and used to make more albums. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mechanical engineer John Arrington weighs biscuits made from heated vinyl pellets as he calibrates one of the machines that make biscuits at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. The biscuits are then printed into LPs. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Elijah Lindsay loads finished vinyl records into a shipping box at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. Record makers are rapidly rebuilding the industry to keep up with sales that hit $1 billion last year. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Ricky Riehl inspects finished vinyl records for physical defects before they are packaged at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Sara Aulidge, left, and Abbey Peterson pull a stamp, made of nickel and used to press vinyl record albums, from a high storage row for future orders at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Abbey Peterson, left, and Sara Aulidge pull a stamper, made of nickel and used to press vinyl record albums, from a high storage row for future orders at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Artwork components such as cassette sleeves, booklets, and cardboard jackets are stored in a warehouse at the United Record Pressing facility in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Call Brendan Denison at (309) 820-3238. Follow Brendan Denison on Twitter: @BrendanDenison

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