December 9 @ 5:30 PM| Free
Shenandoah New Music
Join us in this holiday tradition with Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night and parade through the Old Town Winchester Walking Mall with boom boxes and mobile devices as new-music carolers! Meet us in Vibrissa Beer (10 N Kent St, Winchester, VA 22601) at 5:30PM for special instructions and help downloading the app or accessing the music. The group will begin walking promptly at 6PM and the experience lasts approximately 45 minutes; please dress warmly for the outdoor caroling event.
How to Participate
Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night is the result of many individuals simultaneously playing Kline’s tracks on CD, mp3, or mobile devices—creating a roving swarm of music throughout the city streets. Bring a mobile device with portable speakers or boom box. We will provide CDs. Visit unsilentnight.com to learn more and download the mobile app or tracks in advance.
About Unsilent Night
Unsilent Night is an original composition by Phil Kline, written specifically to be heard outdoors in the month of December, always as a free event. It takes the form of a promenade in which the audience becomes the performer (each participant gets one of four tracks of music that they play simultaneously), walking a carefully chosen route through a city’s streets.
It started in winter 1992, when Phil had an idea for a public artwork in the form of a holiday caroling party. He composed a four-track electronic piece that was 45 minutes long (the length of one side of a cassette tape), invited some friends who gathered in Greenwich Village, gave each person a boombox with one of four tapes in it, and instructed everyone to hit PLAY at the same time. What followed was a sound unlike anything they had ever heard: an evanescence filled the air, reverberating off buildings and streets as the crowd walked a pre-determined route, creating a mobile sound sculpture different from every listener’s perspective. “In effect, we became a city-block-long stereo system,” says Phil. The piece was so popular that it became an annual tradition, and then an international phenomenon.
While technological advances and a mobile app (Android and Apple) allow the piece to now be played through a multitude of devices, Phil Kline originally designed the piece to incorporate the unreliability, playback delay, and quavering tones of cassette tapes. “Today most people use digital audio players, so I make the audio available in that format as well—but there’s something about the twinkling, hallucinatory effect of a warbling cassette tape that I enjoy,” he says.
The studio recording of Unsilent Night, which layers all the tracks, is available on Bang on a Can’s Cantaloupe Music label.