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Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night kicks off Cambridge Winterfest

Music will bellow and festive lights will illuminate the downtown core on Friday night

Cambridge Winterfest officially gets underway on Friday night with Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night walking tour.

The event, which features over 30 light installations throughout the downtown accompanied by the American composer's music, begins a month long schedule of holiday festivities in the city.

Festival organizer Leanne Bond is excited to showcase all the work that has gone into planning the walk, which is in it’s 14th year.

“Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night started in 2008,” Bond said.

“In 2007, a staff member heard about the event on CBC radio in an interview with Phil Kline and thought it would be a great event to put on. The community can expect a fun night with great memories.”

More than just a stroll through the core, attendees can expect elaborate light shows, art, music and live entertainment along the route.

It’s a chance for the community to come together to kick off the holiday season, Bond says.

“This is an all-ages event, open to anyone,” she said.

“This is about community and giving everyone the opportunity to come out and enjoy some time together, see some art and enjoy music as we kick off the first of several Winterfest events.”

With the city putting an emphasis on revitalizing the downtown core with projects like the urban alleyways, Downtown Cambridge gift cards and multiple new businesses, the walk is a chance to showcase all that the area has to offer.

“The Downtown Cambridge BIA is also a proud sponsor of the event and local businesses will remain open late so that festival goers can shop or grab a bite to eat,” Bond said.

“We encourage everyone to take some time to browse and shop for that special holiday gift.”

This year will hold extra significance as Cambridge is the only Canadian city to host the event.

It will also be the first to put it on, with 37 cities across France, Germany, Ireland and the United States to follow.

Kline composed Unsilent Night specifically to be played outdoors in December, and this year marks the event's 30th anniversary with a flagship performance in New York City on Dec. 18 when Kline will lead a "massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village."

“I think of it as a gift,” Kline told CambridgeToday via email.

“I wrote it to be a kind of caroling party, like the kind I remembered from my childhood in Ohio.”

He’s humbled by the way it has taken off and is bringing joy to so many around the world.

“On those winter nights when the sky seemed infinite, cold, and lonely, we could get together, make music and be warm,” he wrote.

“I'm grateful that it travels to places I've never been and that I still get to do it every year with my friends here in New York. It's a gift for me, too.”

For more information on the event visit