Students eager to share space with Canadian astronaut

By: Carmen Solana-Martin

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 12:32 pm

Banded Peak School music students Coy Neumeister, Sonya Urbanowicz, Cyrus Urbanowicz, Thijs van Lankvelt, and Ahneke van Lankvelt, prepare to perform the song ‘I.S.S.’ with schools across Canada as part of the Music Monday celebration May 6.
Banded Peak School music students Coy Neumeister, Sonya Urbanowicz, Cyrus Urbanowicz, Thijs van Lankvelt, and Ahneke van Lankvelt, prepare to perform the song ‘I.S.S.’ with schools across Canada as part of the Music Monday celebration May 6.
Carmen Solana-Martin

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The skies will come alive with the sound of music as students in Bragg Creek join with students from across Canada to sing simultaneously with a Canadian astronaut in outer space.

At 11 a.m. mountain time May 6, all 270 Kindergarten to Grade 8 Banded Peak School students, accompanied by the school’s Grade 7/8 concert band, will perform the song ‘I.S.S.’ (Is Somebody Singing), as part of the Music Monday celebration.

Music Monday, a national event founded by Coalition for Music Education, brings together thousands of students, teachers, musicians and parents from across Canada to celebrate music education by performing the same song on the same date and time.

This year, the Coalition for Music partnered with the Canadian Space Agency, and Canadian astronaut and musician Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson who co-wrote the song ‘I.S.S.’ for the Music Monday event.

As part of the event, Hadfield will do a live podcast and performance from space at 11 a.m. mountain time.

Banded Peak School students, teachers and parents will gather in the school gymnasium at 10:30 a.m., listen to Hadfield’s live podcast at 11 a.m., and then perform the song.

“This is a chance for the entire school to get together with a common goal of music,” said Banded Peak band director and music teacher Lynn Fischer. “My students will perform parts of the song in French, Spanish and sign language.”

Hadfield launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station last December and in March became the first Canadian to command the space station.

Fischer and her students have watched Hadfield’s YouTube videos and podcasts from space, and sent him messages via twitter as part of their music curriculum this year.

“Some of our favourite podcasts have been about how to make a peanut butter sandwich, keep fit in space, and clean up a mess in space,” said Fischer.

Fischer said communicating with Hadfield has not only connected her students to an astronaut, but it has inspired their interest in science.

“They are getting an excellent education by learning about music and space,” she said.

Grade 6 student Coy Neumeister said participating in Music Monday means the world to his class because of their love of music.

“It will be a phenomenal time,” said Neumeister.

Grade 3 student Sonya Urbanowicz added, “It’s a once in a lifetime chance to talk to someone in space and to connect to music in space.”

Her students will be excited to perform on May 6, said Fischer.

“We are going to have lots of goose bumps knowing that many voices are singing at the same time, and knowing we’re performing with the rest of the country,” she said. “We are all doing this together.”

Grade 3 student Ahneke van Lankvelt, said she likes the song ‘I.S.S.’ because if its message of empowerment.

“I think it’s a pretty cool song, it has a great tune, and I really like it,” she said. “It’s encouraging because it’s telling us we can do anything we want if we just put our minds to it.”

Fischer said Hadfield serves as a great role model for her students.

“He wants to inspire children to have confidence in their abilities, and to do what they want to do,” she said. “I really encourage people to look at the website and check out all his podcasts.”

Fischer is inviting parents and the public to attend Banded Peak School’s performance May 6.

The Coalition for Music Education launched Music Monday in 2005, and since its inauguration, the annual event has grown to include more than 600,000 participants across Canada in 2012.

For more information about Music Monday visit


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