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Students’ singalong reaches for the stars

Some of the younger students at Campus View Elementary School stumbled through the verses of the first original song recorded in space Monday morning.
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Campus View elementary school students pack the gym for a singalong with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Some of the younger students at Campus View Elementary School stumbled through the verses of the first original song recorded in space Monday morning.

But the volume in the gym rose when they reached the chorus:

“So sing your song I’m listening; out where stars are glistening / I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon / If you could see our nation from the International Space Station / You’d know why I want to get back soon,” the 430-strong student body sang together.

But Campus View wasn’t alone: They were among hundreds of thousands of students across the country who planned to join a singalong with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

“It’s quite amazing how they organized schools across Canada to sing that song at the same time,” said Grade 4 student Grace McIndoe.

Hadfield co-wrote and recorded the song in February with Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson. He participated in the singalong to raise awareness about the importance of music education in Canadian schools and in our lives.

Performing the song I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) was part of Hadfield’s final live link before returning to Earth. “Since it was the first song recorded in space, I respect that, because I think he did a good job,” McIndoe said.

Unfortunately, Campus View could not broadcast the live link with Hadfield due to technical limitations. Instead, they played the original video recording that moves between Hadfield in space and Robertson performing on Earth with a choir.

That didn’t seem to bother the kids.

“It’s really fun to have the on-Earth and the away-from-Earth feeling,” said Grade 5 student Nairn Payne-Bryan.

Owen Marcovitz, Grade 3, was among more than 15 kids who accompanied on recorder from the front of the gym. “We haven’t done much with the whole school,” he said, “so it was quite exciting.”

Marcovitz is considering doing a project on Hadfield and the singalong for his science class, since they are studying space right now.

Music teacher Jody Onuma spent about one month teaching the song to more than 400 students in 19 classes.

“Even the young ones can join in,” Onuma said. “They may not know all the words, but there are parts that they can really sing along on.”

Onuma said she liked the fact that Hadfield took a guitar into space — making the point that you don’t have to be a famous pop star or symphony performer to enjoy making music.

“Wherever life takes you, you can always have music as a hobby to get you through things in life,” she said.

asmart@timescolonist.com

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