BENNINGTON — Musicians of different abilities and ages brought some beats to Price Chopper on Tuesday as part of Make Music Day, a worldwide event celebrated locally by the Vermont Arts Exchange and its supporters.
The holiday was launched in France in 1982 as Fete de la Musique, according to the organization’s website; today, it has participants in more than 1,000 cities in 120 countries.
The VAE, and its amateur and professional musical partners and friends, met briefly for an impromptu practice in the store parking lot around noon.
Then, the marchers — armed with drums, shakers, xylophone, rattles and a ukulele — took to Price Chopper’s aisles to bring some musical accompaniment to shoppers’ and employees’ day. Many looked on with amusement, with some even joining in, drumming and chanting. To the delight of the marchers, an employee in the butcher shop took a turn on a drum. Many customers recorded the show on their phones. Occasionally, someone covered their ears.
The marchers incorporated what they saw into their chants, including repetitions of “Ultra beer,” “butter,” “sushi” and “shaving cream.”
When the procession moved on, a manager of Price Chopper thanked the group for the performance, saying the customers loved it.
The makeshift band then took to the area in front of Walmart, in the same plaza. Matthew Perry, executive director of Vermont Arts Exchange, asked any passersby to join. Some did, while others declined.
When asked about the group’s lack of self-consciousness, Perry said, “I think I lose that, the older I get — I just don’t give a care, and it’s a good experience for me, because it just gives me more confidence to do something like this.”
Along for the ride, in a big purple hat with leopard-print trim, was Perry’s son, Jack, almost 11. Also making a family activity out of the event was Brian DeAngelo, a musician from Bennington, there with his two children, Lanna, 9, and Jasper, 7, and his wife Cara, who is pregnant.
“You know when you look down into the water, sitting on the dock, you look down into the water, you see a bubble of air coming up to the surface, eventually it pops — well, it’s another one of those bubbles. The only difference is that it is in the brain, and is an idea,” Brian DeAngelo said when asked about the idea to make chants out of grocery items.
On a ukulele was Kristina Cerrone, a local musician, and using a shaker was artist MaryJane Sarvis, of Shaftsbury.
“The rhythm of life is really important,” Sarvis said.