Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
January 28
2—3:30 p.m.

There are countless music festivals around the globe—from Coachella in California to Bahidorá in Mexico. But did you know that the miniature but mighty kazoo has its very own festival right here in Pittsburgh?

Celebrating the diminutive musical instrument in all of its buzzing glory, the 11th annual KazooFest will set up shop at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s main branch for an afternoon of joyous sounds.

“Pucker up and party” as you ring in National Kazoo Day—yes there’s such a thing—and celebrate the birthday of iconic German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Ready to practice your doos, whos, rrrrrs and brrrrs? Pick up an easy-to-play kazoo as you animate the library’s quiet reading spaces on a gloomy January afternoon. You can even decorate your very own kazoo and make a carrying case to take the musical fun home.

The free all-ages festival will kick off with an introductory lesson exploring the art and science of kazoo playing. Its unmistakable buzzing sounds and unique timbral qualities are created when a player hums, rather than blows, into the kazoo. A type of membranophone—instruments that modify human voices via vibrating membranes—kazoos are played professionally in jug bands and comedy shows, and by amateurs around the world.

Next, join the lively kazoo orchestra as CLP librarians lead the audience in an interactive musical program featuring classic tunes such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Happy Birthday to Mozart.” The ad hoc kazoo ensemble will learn to play a variety of classical ballads, patriotic marches, pop favorites and even some audience requests.

Dubbed “America’s Official Musical Instrument,” the first kazoo was displayed at the Georgia State fair in 1852 and was patented by inventor Warren Herbert Frost on January 9, 1883.

Looking for more events? Check out our Top 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in JanuaryTop 9 family events in Pittsburgh this January and our 17 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in 2017 feature stories.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...