OTTAWA, CANADA – Last time Chris Hadfield went up in space in 2001, most of them were infants. In 1995, during his first mission, none of them were even born. Hundreds of elementary school students at an Ottawa school, however, sang enthusiastically along with his music — and along with thousands of other students throughout Canada — during a nationwide performance May 6.
See the video of the event below:
The 860 children at St. Emily Catholic School added their voices to the throng as Hadfield led a rendition of “Is Somebody Singing” from the International Space Station.
Ranging in ages between 4 and 12, the students at this school spent six weeks practicing in their individual classrooms before performing together for the first time.
Music is a big part of the school’s life. There are regular masses and liturgies. Some of the older students have their own bands and do performances. Saint Emily also hosts local bands in Ottawa, including Junkyard Symphony.
But this performance was something different. Hadfield, Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson and others reprised the January premiere of the song and invited every school in Canada to take part. Some sang directly with the live broadcast. Others assembled on front lawns, or in gyms, to sing at their own pace.
“We all listened to [the song] and thought it as a great way for the school to come together as a community,” said Roisin Philippe, a kindergarten teacher at Saint Emily who co-organized the school’s performance. Several teachers brought their own instruments — guitars, harps, and the like — to the performance. Others handed out tambourines.
Teachers took the opportunity to integrate the performance into the school’s curriculum where possible. Jenny Ng, who teaches Grade 1, would show students some of Hadfield’s videos (such as how to brush one’s teeth in space.) Others downloaded the sheet music to distribute to the class and teach them how to read music.
The performance is an initiative of the Canadian Broadcast Corp.’s Music Monday. It was the last live event with Hadfield, who currently commands Expedition 35, before he returns to Earth.
Hadfield and two of his crewmates — Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko — are scheduled to come back May 13.