Sound Sculpture aims to rock the holidays
By Erin Crowell
We live in a time where music is kept privately, stored in iPods and mp3 players the size of a stick of gum, audible only to the listener via earbuds or soundproof headphones.
But on Monday, December 21, participants will take off the headset and play the music proudlyand loudlyin cities all over the world, as part of the 18th annual Unsilent Night Holiday Sound Sculpture.
Traverse City and Lansing are the only Michigan cities participating in the community event where members carry boomboxes, laptops and other means of group-friendly portable devices to create a menagerie of sound unique to each listener, depending on where they are in the crowd.
Left Foot Charley, the winery located on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons (formerly the Northern Michigan Asylum), will host the Traverse City event, starting at 7 p.m.
The walk will start and end at the winery, with a route that circles Building 50 the structure topped by towering red spires.
Were going to take a lot of video because this is a really unique place for the event, says Bryan Ulbrich, winemaker and owner of Left Foot Charley.
Ulbrich says the dynamics of the old asylum structure will reflect the sound and contribute to the change of each listeners perspective.
As unusual as it may seem, there is structure to the event. The music Unsilent Night, written by composer and sound sculpture visionary Phil Kline, is described as sounding like a winter wonderland of shimmering sleigh bells, chimes and grand chorales.
Upon signing up, registrants are directed to the link information for downloading a certain part of the song.
Ulbrich encourages people to sign up early so they can receive a CD or link to the download.
Originally started in New York City, the event draws crowds of up to 1,500 participants that walk from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park.
This month, Traverse City joins Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Vancouver (among others) as the newest members totaling 45 participating cities on three continents.
The event has grown in popularity, and it was only a matter of time before Northern Michigan caught on.
I was driving to work last year and heard about it on NPR, says Ulbrich. I thought what a perfect idea for the Village.
After the walk, participants may enjoy free hot cider and cookies, with available adult beverage purchases at the bar.
The Unsilent Night Holiday Sound Sculpture will happen on Monday, December 21, at Left Foot Charley Winery, located in The Village, on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. Meet at the winery at 7 p.m. The walk starts at 7:30 p.m. and lasts approximately 40 minutes. Bring your own portable device including laptops, boomboxes, iPod docks and any other sound blaster. Sign-up at leftfootcharley.com or call 231-995-0500. For more information on the international event, visit unsilentnight.com.