Unsilent Night, now in its 27th year, is the broadcast of composer Phil Kline’s electronic holiday composition in public by the public. Think of it as a modern take on caroling.
For the flagship New York City presentation of Unsilent Night, participants gather at the arch in Washington Square Park. Phil Kline loans out a few vintage boomboxes from his personal collection, and cassette tapes and CDs of the tracks are offered for those bringing their own. Of course, for those with a penchant for modern devices, Mp3 tracks can be downloaded in advance.
Once everything is organized, the procession sets off on an hour-long trek through the East Village. Each participant plays one of four distinct tracks simultaneously to create the layered, ambient score. The event concludes under the giant elm in Tompkins Square Park.
One of the best things about this event is that many participants opt to dress up. Sporting santa hats and reindeer antlers, draped in battery-powered holiday lights, or just wearing crazy hats–the mood is festive and the outfits match at this unique holiday event.
Unsilent night has also grown in popularity over the years. Versions of the event have been held in 124 cities and on 5 continents and counting.
If you are looking for general information, alternate locations and dates, or are interested in hosting your own Unsilent Night, you can find that here.
You can also read about our experience at 2017’s Unsilent Night here.