If all the astral forces — including satellite transmitters — line up just right, Innisfail students will sing along with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson this morning.
Some 150 students from the Ecole John Wilson Elementary School, along with 65 young musicians from Innisfail middle school and high school, will meet in the middle school gym at 10:30 a.m. — with their collective fingers crossed.
If all goes well, a live Wi-Fi feed will allow the youngsters to see and hear, via the Internet, Commander Hadfield strumming his guitar on the International space station.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Robertson and a Toronto school choir called The Gleeks will be singing a song co-written by the pop star and the astronaut, called I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing).
And the Innisfail students will sing along, as part of this year’s Music Monday.
Hundreds of Canadian school children, as well as those in the U.S. and other countries, will also be joining their voices in song, with the goal of “filling the skies with music.”
“The students are so excited.
‘This has really got them hooked on space,” said John Wilson elementary music teacher Jill Asmundson, who has been tying music and science together for the past month.
During every music class in April, her kindergarten to Grade 4 students have watched short YouTube videos of Hadfield trying to live a regular life in zero-gravity.
“He’s shown them how to make peanut butter sandwiches in space … how to sleep in space, how to clip your toenails in space … it’s absolutely fascinating.”
Her music student have also been learning the words to I.S.S. with the goal of singing it on this year’s Music Monday, an annual day of celebrating music sponsored by the Coalition for Music Education.
This year’s theme song contains the lyrics: ‘So sing your song, I’m listening, out where stars are glistening, I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon. …” Asmundson said this imagery particularly appeals to younger student, who have asked her questions such as “Will (Hadfield) really be listening?”
While Asmundson’s classes have participated in previous Music Mondays (last year’s event featured a theme song by Canadian singer Luke Doucet), none have created as much buzz as this one with the involvement of Hadfield (through the Canadian Space Agency) and the CBC.
“The kids are so interested,” said Asmundson, who noted the first Canadian to walk in space is also a photographer and musician, as well as a scientist.
“He’s a real Renaissance Man” who has a great rapport with young people.
The Innisfail elementary students, who are also writing about space and discussing it in other classes, will be dressing up as planets, stars — and maybe even aliens — for Monday’s sing-along.
If the signal for Hadfield’s live feed doesn’t work in the gym in the morning, Asmundson said her students will still sing his song at 10:30 a.m. and she will replay the video to students in her music classes in the afternoon.