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Unsilent Night

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:38

Remember the days when it wasn’t uncommon to see somebody outside with a boombox on their shoulder. It seems a bit distant from what we see on the street now, where everybody’s inside their own earbuds, lost in their own private soundtrack. But The Music Gallery is taking us back to the boombox age when music was shared, when they bring Unsilent Night to Toronto this Friday.

Unsilent Night is a sort of sound sculpture composed by New York’s Phil Kline, and it’s meant to be both played and heard by a crowd, always around Christmastime. Since 1992 it’s become a yearly ritual, and every year it happens in more and more cities. But it’s as much a community performance as it is a piece of music. David Dacks of The Music Gallery explains:

The route you’ll be taking on Unsilent Night winds its way around The Music Gallery’s neighbourhood – don’t be surprised if you hear these orchestral strains on the streets and alleys of Chinatown or in the spaces of the AGO or OCADU. And of course, the sound will change depending on the environment- traffic noises, echoey interiors, the sounds of pedestrians, they all contribute to the strange wonder of Unsilent Night. You may even hear the sounds of a few disgruntled citizens lamenting the extra urban noise – that all becomes part of the piece. And the walk will end up right back where it started, which is what David is most looking forward to:

But the night’s not ending there – one of our very own JazzFM alumni, former Jazzology student Lydia Persaud, and her astounding a cappella trio The O’Pears are performing inside the Music Gallery for a post-Unsilent Night fundraiser. And in keeping with the emotional, haunting quality of what just happened outside, they’re adding a bit of a darker, more emotive feeling to their songs. It’s also a bit of a special night for Lydia, who’s always wanted to play at The Music Gallery, a venue known for its dedication to creative music:

It’s all going to make for a very special holiday night, whether you celebrate Christmas or just want to enjoy a wintry evening with a twist. And it’s gentle enough for all ages – all you need is something that will play an mp3 or CD or cassette – yes, cassette – and The Music Gallery will supply the tracks. Doors are at 7 p.m., and it’s FREE. The O’Pears concert begins at 9 p.m., and as it’s a fundraiser, it’s pay what you can, though The Music Gallery suggests $20. Find out more at

And for more information about the O’Pears and their upcoming performances, visit And here’s a little sample, their performance of Golden Boy:

And here’s a video of Unsilent Night’s 20th anniversary performance in New York:


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