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A Great Big Giant Summer Sing-A-Long: Featuring “Sing to A Plant” Stations and Opera-Matic’s Giant Inchworm Parade 


A Great Big Giant Summer Sing-A-Long: Featuring “Sing to A Plant” Stations and Opera-Matic’s Giant Inchworm Parade
Wednesday, July 18th
Hours: See schedule below
Where: See schedule below
Cost: Free!

Musical Direction by Mark Messing, cofounder of Mucca Pazza and spectacle art group Opera-Matic. Presenting the bicycle-powered spectacle of Opera-Matic, the gospel of the Historic Pilgrim Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir, the song stylins’ of 6 year old rapper Hadiya, the theatrical talent of Nicholas Davio, the country soul of Al Schorsch, the street corner opera of Richard Blakeney, the fire dancing of Pyrotechniq, picnic fare from Chicago food trucks, and more! Bring a picnic, a friend, and your enthusiastic voice! FREE! Part of the Conservatory Campfire Council Ring Series.


Calling All Singers! Our Plants Need Your Voices!


Join us for a giant public sing-a-long and parade at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Mark Messing, composer and musical agitator, working with Garfield Park Conservatory staff and singers from throughout Chicago, has come up with original songs for this evening, culled from the Garfield Park Conservatory’s unique plant collection. This evening, songs will be sung to the Sacred Fig tree in the Palm House, the 300 year old Cycads in the Fern Room, the Trumpet Tree gracing the Aroid House, and the Saguaro Cactus in the Desert House. Come join us in this joyful exercise.


Additional activities on the roster for this evening include making moss microphones, planting your own plant to sing to, and participating in a good old fashioned sing along at the end of the evening. Join the fun, sing along, and visit all the “sing to a plant” stations, posted both in and around the Conservatory.


This fun evening culminates in a giant public serenade to the giant Amazonian lilies floating in the outdoor lily pond. Art group Opera-Matic bring their people-powered spectacle to the backyard of the Conservatory for an Inchworm Parade, and Urban Fire Masters Pyrotechniq prepare and perform fire in honor the evening’s final serenade. Come bring your best singing voice and your enthusiasm- no need to carry a tune; you will be in the good hands of some of Chicago ’s great song leaders. This is a very special event, not to be missed. See schedule of activities below.



Pre-Sing-A-Long Activities


4:00 pm – 7:45 pm

Design a Fantasy Moss Microphone to Help You Sing to
some of the Conservatory’s Star Plants

(Outdoor Play and Grow Garden)

4:00 pm – 7:45 pm


Plant Your Very Own Plant to Sing to At Home
(Outdoor Play and Grow Garden)

4:00 pm – 7:45 pm


Make a Grass Blade Puppet to Carry In the Inchworm Parade (Outdoor Play and Grow Garden)

5:00 pm – 7:45 pm


Learn How to Build a Fire, using Marshmallows & Pretzels
(On South Lawn near Fires)



Sing-A-Long Schedule


6:15 pm – 7:30 pm

Visit all 8 “Sing to a Plant” Stations throughout the Conservatory at your own pace, where song leaders will lead you in special songs created just for this evening’s event.

Song styles include opera, gospel, rap, country, musical theater, and more! Song leaders include Opera-Matic’s Mark Messing, multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Davoi, 6 year old rapper Hadiya, street corner opera singer Richard Blakeney, Pilgrim Baptist Sanctuary Choir Director Arnold Sevier, and more!

Sing to the following special plants:

• The Sacred Fig in the Palm House

• The 5 Magnolia Trees in Horticulture Hall

• The Trumpet Tree in the Aroid House

• The Guiana Chestnut Tree in the Children’s Garden

• The 300 year old Male and Female Cycads in the Fern Room

• The Saguaro Cactus and Skeleton in the Desert House

• The Sweet Plants in Sugar from the Sun Room
   (Vanilla Orchid, Chewing Gum, Cinnamon Tree, Bananas)

• Bees and Worms, The Plant Helpers in the Outdoor Urban
  Demonstration Garden

7:15 pm – 7:30 pm


Fire Preparations by Urban Fire Masters Pyrotechniq
(In Front of the Tropical Lily Pond)



Serenade Parade


7:30 pm - 7:45 pm

Song Leader Procession to Blue Stone Terrace

7:45 pm – 8:00 pm


Opera-Matic Leads a Giant Inchworm Puppet Parade to the Amazonian Lilies (Children Accompany Inchworm with their own Grass Blade Puppets)

8:00 pm – 8:15 pm


Sing-A-Long Serenade to the Amazonian Lilies
(Led by Mark Messing)

8:15 pm – 8:45 pm


Old Fashioned Campfire Sing-A-Long
(Led by the evening’s song leaders)

8:45 pm – 9:00 pm


Fire Performance by Urban Fire Masters Pyrotechniq
(In Front of the Tropical Lily Pond)