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NASA teams with Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale for out of world experience

Nasa Symphony

The Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale will kick off its new season entitled “Musical Milestones” on Oct. 17 with a performance at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster.

The orchestra’s longtime conductor and artistic director David Newby will lead the musicians through a program commemorating the 200th birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, and the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The 8 p.m. concert, “New Frontiers,” starts with a performance of Aaron Copland’s enduring classic, “A Lincoln Portrait,” accompanied by a presentation of historical photographs and drawings marking highlights of Lincoln’s life and subsequent events inspired by his leadership during the turbulent Civil War era. The piece will be narrated by Dr. Jackie L. Fisher Sr., president of Antelope Valley College.

Next, the audience will be treated to the whimsical sounds of Camille Saint-Saëns fantasy suite, “Carnival of the Animals.” With musical stylings evoking characteristics of animals such as lions, tortoises, kangaroos and various birds, this popular work is a particular favorite of music teachers and children. 

The evening concludes with a presentation of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” accompanied by striking imagery from some of the world’s most powerful space telescopes and other NASA planetary science missions. The video and still imagery have been provided by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

“Planning for the 2009-10 concert season was underway last spring, when the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing was approaching, and our board of directors was discussing how we might commemorate that musically in some way,” said Lisa Kinison, AVSOMC publicity director.

“Around that time, (NASA Dryden media relations specialist) Alan Brown contacted us regarding images that NASA had available for concerts featuring “The Planets.” We thought this was a wonderful idea, and something that the A.V. community would enjoy. Alan brought a team of media professionals to one of our board meetings, and they’ve helped us coordinate a great program.”

In addition to providing video and still imagery that will be projected behind the orchestra during “The Planets,” NASA Dryden will have an exhibit in the Lancaster Performing Arts Center lobby that will depict NASA Dryden’s contributions to the historic Apollo moon-landing program and the current Constellation program, as well as the space telescopes and exploration missions from which the visual images accompanying “The Planets” were obtained.

The stunning imagery that will accompany the four sections of “The Planets” being performed – Mars, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter – originated from images transmitted back to Earth from NASA’s Mariner Venus Mercury mission, the Magellan mission to Venus, the Mars Global Surveyor, the Mars Rovers, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cassini-Huygens mission.

Tickets for the Oct. 17 concert are priced at $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for students. $10 discount tickets are available for military, Department of Defense, aerospace and school district employees, with employee ID presented at the LPAC Box Office, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd.,  (661) 723-5950.  The LPAC lobby will open at 7 p.m.

(Note: Historical photographs accompanying the performance of A Lincoln Portrait contain images that may be inappropriate for young children.)