The night will be ‘unsilent’ during a holiday ‘party’ on New Haven’s streets

In what has become a New Haven holiday caroling tradition, individuals will process through the city streets carrying boom boxes as part of a performance of Phil Kline’s “Unsilent Night” on Thursday, Dec. 9.

The event, which debuted in New Haven in 2007, is free and open to all ages. It is sponsored by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

” ‘Unsilent Night’ is an outdoor, ambient music piece for an infinite number of boom boxes,” explains Kline, who will lead the procession. “It’s like a Christmas caroling party except that we don’t sing, but rather carry the music, each of us playing a separate track that is a ‘voice’ in the piece. In effect, we become a city-block-long sound system! I think it succeeds so well because the modest ambition, to have a party, becomes universal so easily at this time of year. It’s dark and cold and everyone is stressed out. And here’s this free, low-key thing that makes the air vibrate in a way that’s wonderful, relaxing and invigorating all at once. It’s been a pleasure to watch it take place in New Haven for the last few years.”

Kline’s “Unsilent Night” is a symphony for bells featuring four musical parts. It is been performed worldwide as part of holiday tradition in cities ranging from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia.

The procession will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Yale Bookstore, 77 Broadway, where participants will be able to pick up the music and enjoy refreshments. The procession will leave promptly at 6:15 p.m. and will wind its way through various city streets and through the New Haven Green (where a holiday tree is decorated). Participants will return to the bookstore, where they will have the chance to meet and greet Kline at 7 p.m.

Individuals are encouraged to bring their own boom box or music player with speakers that will play a CD or MP3. A limited supply of boom boxes will be available to participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Phil Kline is an innovative musician, who is as comfortable with the rock world as he is in the conservatory,” says Mary Lou Aleskie, executive director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. “We are excited this event has become a holiday tradition here in New Haven, just as it has in New York City and elsewhere in the world.”

For more information, call the festival’s holiday hotline at 203-498-3727 or send e-mail to unsilentnight@artidea.org. Participants who R.S.V.P. for the event will be entered to win two free tickets to the 2011 festival.

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