My Unsilent Night

As Much Holiday Cheer as Possible

Friday, December 17, 2010 - 02:58 PM

So, Christmas caroling is great, a personal fave, but in my experience doesn't go over half as well as, say, Karaoke. Enter Phil Kline's Unsilent Night, a holiday tradition involving hundreds of revelers carrying boomboxes blasting parts of an ambient, festive, twinkly, wintry score created by the composer in 1992.

Played traditionally by audio cassette on portable boomboxes, Kline has made versions for CD and mp3. "But," he says, "there’s something about the twinkling, hallucinatory effect of a warbling cassette tape that I enjoy."

Last year I had the privilege of attending this unbelievably fun and festive event. They actually blocked off St. Marks Place for our band of giddy participants, and several people lay down in the middle of the street to let the full, ultimate surround effect literally wash over them. Of all the holiday activities in which I have participated (and boy howdy is that a lot) this is among my favorite. There's something amazing about hanging out with a bunch of like-minded strangers and actually making some art.

Have you participated in Unsilent Nights past? Are you planning on attending? This year, Q2 will be collecting your stories and images from Unsilent Night gatherings around the world. You can get more info on participation right here.

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Comments [4]

Michael Meltzer

I appreciate WQXR's attempt to palatably edit an exchange that should never have been necessary, but again, my main point was my second sentence.

Dec. 28 2010 04:39 PM

Nicholas and Stanley, first, I am a Nadia zealot, since WNYC, maybe the John Cage 24'33" project. As for our wonderful Miss herself, have no fears. She has guts, and, as I saw on another forum, enough of her own gruff to keep anyone else at bay.

Dec. 25 2010 01:16 PM
Stanley Moon

Your main point in your takedown of Ms. Sirota is that "classical music is not popcorn." Rather pseudo-profound, wouldn't you say? Your disagreement with Nadia amounts to an overall invalidation of her experience of music and the way she expresses it.

Dec. 24 2010 08:02 PM
Michael Meltzer

I am sure that Ms. Sirota is a very talented person, or she could not think of the things she does. But, she is always trying to separate the effect of music from the music itself or its content, to abstract the musical experience above and beyond.
It is true that when you are sitting in a movie theater munching popcorn, it is the self-gratifying motion of hand-to-mouth and the habit of doing it that are important, the taste of the popcorn disappears in short order and is not important.
Classical music is not popcorn. Most of us are there for the content. Content is what we experience and is our reason for listening. Simple.

Dec. 18 2010 01:08 PM

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