WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Phil Kline's walking symphony experience, "Unsilent Night" returns again to the Berkshires on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.
"It's like a Christmas caroling party except that we don't sing, but rather carry boomboxes, each playing a separate tape or CD which is part of the piece," said Kline in a press release. "In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system."
This free community event starts at the '62 Center on the Williams College campus and will end at the Williams Inn.
Participants collectively create the event by walking in a group with boomboxes, bluetooth speakers, and other amplified audio devices.
"We are thrilled that Unsilent Night composer Phil Kline will join us in person and lead the event in Williamstown, one of more than 40 events being performed around the world this December," said event co-producer Michelle Daly.
Children and adults of all ages are invited to join in this family-friendly event. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly, bring a flashlight or lantern, bring a boombox, phone, Bluetooth speaker, or other creative amplified sound device.
According to a press release, since its first performance in 1992, this 45-minute work has grown into a worldwide annual communal event that has become an essential part of many winter holiday celebrations. First produced in North Adams in 2014, Unsilent Night has become an addition to the Northern Berkshire winter event calendar.
Taking a new route every year, for the 2021 iteration, the route is being designed by Williams College sound design students with input from the event organizers to explore the cavernous echoes and reverberations of the Williams College campus and surrounding area. The walk begins promptly at 6:00 p.m., but participants are encouraged to join us beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the '62 Center for Theater and Dance. The event route leads through the Williams College campus before meandering down Spring, and ending at the Williams Inn, where you are invited to stay for dinner.
New this year, in addition to the move to Williamstown, prizes will be awarded in three categories:
BEST LIT - will be awarded to the person or group most festively lit up;
BEST LOUD - will be awarded to the person or group with the most creative amplified audio set-up; and
BEST OVERALL - will be awarded to the person or group who best combine the festive and sonic elements of Unsilent Night.
A limited number of Kline's vintage boomboxes and tapes will be available for use on a first-come, first-served basis. All participants are encouraged to think creatively about sound amplification, bring their own boomboxes or other sound-making devices, and to prepare a cassette tape, CD, or download the mp3 or Unsilent Night app before arriving. The tracks are available at www.unsilentnight.com/download
After a COVID pause in 2020, this seventh installment in the Northern Berkshires is organized and produced by Michelle Daly of Daly Arts, Todd Reynolds, Isabelle Holmes, Brad Wells of Williams College, Sandra Thomas, MASS MoCA, Nico Dery, and the City of North Adams Office of Tourism and Community Events with support from the '62 Center for Theater and Dance at Williams College and the Williams Inn.
This event is supported in part by a grant from the Cultural Council, the Mass Cultural Council, the Fund for Williamstown, and the Williams College Music and Art Departments.
Unsilent Night was first composed and performed in 1992 in Greenwich Village, NYC. A studio recording, with Bang on a Can, was made in 2001 and is available through Cantaloupe Music