A dazzling ‘illumination and sound experience’ is coming to the Hatch Shell

The visual creation will be on display for a month on the Esplanade starting Jan. 22.

"Hatched: Breaking Through the Silence" debuts on the Esplanade on Jan. 22. MF Dynamics

The Esplanade may not have been able to host its annual July 4 fireworks in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the Hatch Shell will soon welcome a new socially distant light and sound show.

Starting Jan. 22, the Esplanade Association will present “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence,” a four week “illumination and sound experience” created specifically for the Hatch Shell by Boston-based artist/composer Maria Finkelmeier of MF Dynamics.

“This year the Esplanade was as essential as ever before to the physical health and mental well-being of our visitors,” Esplanade Association executive director Michael Nichols said in a press release. “‘Hatched’ will provide a safe, open-air destination for people and their families to experience art while enjoying the tranquil beauty of the Esplanade in winter.”

Visitors to the Hatch Shell can enjoy “Hatched” daily from 5 to 9 p.m. until Feb. 21, with the 15-minute show restarting every 20 minutes — at :00, :20, and :40 each hour.

A rendering of “Hatched: Breaking Through the Silence” as seen from the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge.

The projection-mapped visuals recall much of the Hatch Shell’s musical history, with “geometric shapes of musical instruments as kaleidoscope pieces, human hands magically tapping, scratching, and creating beats on the surface itself, and colorful animations accentuating the Shell’s Art Deco form.”

Along with the visuals, viewers can use their mobile devices to tune into a soundtrack synchronized to the visuals composed by Finkelmeier and recorded by local musicians.

Besides “breaking through the silence” of a wintry Esplanade, Finkelmeier said that “Hatched,” which was built by a team featuring predominantly female-identifying artists and directors, is an opportunity for underrepresented communities to “break through” and “share their skills, vision, and voice.”


“Creating ‘Hatched’ for one of my favorite pieces of architecture in the city has been a huge honor,” Finkelmeier said in the release. “When I think of the Hatch Shell, I envision gorgeous music, community, and a love for my city. Memories of concerts, walks, and bike rides along the Esplanade come to mind. With ‘Hatched,’ my team and I are elated to create a new type of expression that brings original music, visuals, and new technology to the iconic structure, encouraging viewers to form a new memory of the space — a memory that will carry us into the New Year and beyond, celebrating creativity, resilience, and joy.”

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