Tonight I went with Inge and Milton Rider to a concert in Dell Hall of the Long Center by the Austin Symphony with former astronaut Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew and the Conspirare Symphonic Women’s Chorus.
We arrived early because parking was at a premium due to several events there at the same time. It was nearly sundown but I took a few photos anyway before we went inside.
Before the concert there was a Q&A session with Col. Drew. He is a very well educated and experienced man with BS degrees in physics and astronautical engineering, as well as an MS degree in political science. He has logged more than 3,500 hours’ flying experience and has piloted 30 types of aircraft. In 2000 he was selected by NASA as a mission specialist; he has logged more than 612 hours in space on Endeavor and Discovery missions. These are very impressive accomplishments for a man not quite fifty years old.
The orchestra first performed Claude Debussy’s “Nocturnes” in three movements, which includes a chorus of sixteen female voices. The music is very soft. With it, Debussy became a role model for other early twentieth century composers.
In the second half they performed Gustavus Holst’s “The Planets, Suite for Large Orchestra, Opus 32” in seven movements, each of which is a unique portrait of the planet’s astrological association, not necessarily its physical characteristics. The work does not include Earth nor Pluto; it was written a decade before Pluto was discovered. Along with the music there was a visual presentation of actual photographs taken of the planets and some of their moons, as well as some graphical depictions.
Such a wonderful way to end the week!