A new partnership between CBC Music, the Coalition for Music Education and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will take the annual Music Monday celebration of music education to new heights – with a little help from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. A veteran of two space shuttle missions, Hadfield is scheduled to blast off this December for a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), during which he will become the commander of the spacecraft – a first for any Canadian.
In addition to being an astronaut, Hadfield is also an accomplished musician and songwriter, and while on the International Space Station, he will collaborate with multiple Juno Award winner Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies fame to write and premiere a brand new song in time for Music Monday 2013.
Hadfield says he can’t wait to try collaborating on a song while in space. “I want to record as much as I can on orbit,” he told Robertson, when they met for the first time at the CBC studios.
“Just so you don’t have any technical troubles, I should probably be up in the ISS, because you’ve got a lot of science stuff you’ve got to deal with,” Robertson offered.
“That makes sense. And the guitar’s out of tune up there, you could bring some strings!” Hadfield answered.
Kidding aside, the two have discussed details of how they can communicate during the songwriting spaceflight, and the underlying sentiment of the song.
“The message I would like to weave into this is the miraculous nature of what human beings are capable of,” Robertson said.
“I agree. It’s all about overcoming limits – that’s what drew me into being an astronaut,” said Hadfield. “I tell the kids all the time – in space, you’re a superhero: you can fly, you could lift a tall building with one hand. But if you want to get there – or wherever you want to be – you need to set your goals high and be prepared to work hard.”
Both say they can’t wait to hear their song being sung by school kids all across Canada.
“CBC Music has been proud to support Music Monday for the past several years. This year we are thrilled to have the rich partnership further expanded to include the Canadian Space Agency and astronaut Chris Hadfield as well as the Barenaked Ladies,” said Mark Steinmetz, Director of CBC Music. “We are delighted to co-commission with the Coalition the first song to be premiered simultaneously in Space and on Earth, and it is a thrill to have the song be a driver in helping celebrate the role of music in the lives of Canadian children.”
“Music Monday exists to celebrate the galvanizing power of music and to highlight the importance of protecting quality music programs in our schools,” says Coalition for Music Education Executive Director Holly Nimmons. “We are so very delighted with this partnership with the CBC and the Canadian Space Agency, and the prospect of this collaboration literally taking the spirit of Music Monday into space aboard the International Space Station to spread the word about the importance of music making for young people everywhere.”
Music Monday is celebrated on the first Monday of May each year as students and teachers take their music programs outdoors and into their communities, performing the same song at the exact same time, uniting the entire country in song.
Over the coming months, Hadfield and Robertson will craft music and lyrics for the official Music Monday song for 2013. CBC Music will produce a series of videos of the collaboration progress, giving music students and fans an inside perspective on their songwriting partnership as it unfolds – with Hadfield in space and Robertson here on Earth – as well as insights on Hadfield and Robertson’s musical backgrounds and influences.
The finished song will be premiered on all platforms on CBC (CBC Radio One and 2, CBC TV and cbcmusic.ca) in 2013, and will be performed by hundreds of thousands of students across Canada on Music Monday, May 6, 2013.
This year’s theme song for Music Monday, “Tomorrow is Coming,” was written by Juno Award nominated, Canadian Folk Music Award winning artist Luke Doucet. Co-commissioned with CBC Radio 2, “Tomorrow is Coming” is available on iTunes, with proceeds going to support the work of the Coalition for Music Education.