WILLIAMSTOWN — Get your boomboxes and Bluetooth speakers ready! Phil Kline’s walking symphony experience, ‘Unsilent Night’ returns to the Berkshires on Thursday, Dec. 9.
The community-friendly production, a much-anticipated winter event in Northern Berkshire since it was first performed in North Adams in 2014, was first composed and performed in 1992 in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. Participants collectively create the event by walking in a group with boomboxes, Bluetooth speakers, and other amplified audio devices playing the 45-minute work, which, since its inception, has grown into a worldwide annual communal event.
The free event starts at the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance on the Williams College campus and will end at the Williams Inn on Spring Street.
A limited number of Kline’s vintage boomboxes and tapes will be available for use on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly, bring a flashlight or lantern, bring a boombox, phone, Bluetooth speaker, or other creative amplified sound device (the louder the better), and to prepare a cassette tape, CD, or download the MP3 or Unsilent Night app before arriving. The tracks are available at unsilentnight.com/download.
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 p.m., but participants are encouraged to gather, 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 Street and ending at the Williams Inn.
“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,” co-producer Michelle Daly said in a release.
New this year, prizes will be awarded in three categories: Best Lit to the person or group most festively lit up; Best Loud to to the person or group with the most creative amplified audio set-up; and Best Overall to the person or group who best combine the festive and sonic elements of “Unsilent Night.”
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, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, Nico Dery, and the City of North Adams Office of Tourism and Community Events with support from the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College and the Williams Inn.
This event is supported in part by a grant from the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, the Fund for Williamstown, and the Williams College Music and Art Departments.