Listening Under the Stars
Image: John Baird

Stories, it seems, are right for night time listening. I think we must be hard wired for the experience. Could it be the millennia of gathering around the campfire?

Well, I'm not a big camper, but I do teach a class called Sound & Story, and we had the good fortune to craft an evening of listening under the twinkling stars – of the planetarium, that is.

For one evening in April, thanks to Matt Linke, Planetarium Director of the UM Museum of Natural History, the Milky Way was ours for the asking.

Stillness and wonder are what moves through many of the pieces my students composed. With its suggestion of nighttime expanse, the planetarium gave us the rare opportunity for quietude and collective listening.

Under the night sky – even a facsimile of it – stories and sounds reach deep into the expanse of the unknown. There is a quiet that settles in. Imagination takes flight.

Imagine leaning back into the cozy benches of the planetarium, and gazing deep into the cosmos, to hear …

...a dream

Untitled   Jana Hawkins-Andersen
This piece is based on a dream that I had about a year ago. I often remember my dreams but I was particularly intrigued by the vivid imagery in this dream. In an effort to explore this experience, I made this piece.

...a wish

Earthrise   Jeff Waraniak
For the vast majority of us, when we look at the night sky, we’re looking out. I wish I could have been one of the early astronauts— one of the first to see the earth as an outsider looking in.

...some expert speculation

I Know it Wasn’t an Airplane   Juliet Hinely
Few people seem to be neutral on the topic of aliens. In this short sound piece, an elementary school alien expert relays his encounters and opinions on extraterrestrials.

...a constellation come to life

Orion   Hannah Hillier
A modernization of the constellation Orion, this piece attempts to transform the identity of widely recognizable figure in the night sky by making him more human, making him one of us.

...or a lullabye turned inside out.

Lull   Eliana Gershon
I was inspired by a lullaby’s ability to transport the mind into a dreamlike state. Clarity dissipates as you drift to sleep, but even the final traces of a lullaby can ease you into the still of the night.

The title for our program? And still, it moves ("Eppur si muove") is our nod to Galileo who is said to have spoken these words after being forced to recant his belief that the earth moves around the sun.

If you want to recreate the experience, click the image below to download a .zip file containing the full, 27 minute program and notes. Close your eyes and imagine leaning back into the cozy planetarium benches. Or better yet, download the program onto your iPod, grab a blanket, and lay down under the night sky on a summer's eve. Don't forget to bring a friend or two.

Click here to download the complete program






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