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Space Jam

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

THERE IS ONLY one degree of separation between Chris Hadfield, commander of the International Space Station, Ed Robertson from the Barenaked Ladies and me.

This story begins at the fifth annual Winter Folk Camp a couple of weeks ago at YMCA Camp Wanakita.

Betty and the Bobs were the instructors and performers at this year’s camp. Betty and the Bobs is an outstanding group of people who each have successful individual performing careers, and they gather two or three times a year to perform together.

At folk camp there were seven weekend-long workshops taught by Betty and the Bobs including finger picking, songwriting, fiddle playing, playing well together, playing the blues and ukulele. One of the “Bobs” was unable to make the weekend, so Tom Leighton was asked to fill in. He taught the choir workshop and the people in the class loved him. He is one of the most enthusiastic people you will ever meet. On the stage he played the keyboard and accordion together at the same time (with the rest of the Bobs) and they rocked.

The energy on the stage was unbelievable. Tom, when he isn’t performing, is a teacher at the Wexford Collegiate for the Performing Arts in Toronto. He recently did the choir arrangement for the Wexford Gleeks who sang with Chris Hadfield and Ed Roberston in the first ever space-to-earth music collaboration.

The song, “ISS” (Is Somebody Singing) was officially commissioned by CBC Music and the Coalition for Music Education for the upcoming Music Monday celebrations (the annual initiative championing music education on May 6).

Music Monday celebrations began in Canada in 2005 and the idea has spread around the world to “fill the skies with music.” The project encourages people to take their music to the fields and the streets the first Monday in May.

“Music Monday is to celebrate the galvanizing power of music in Canada and demonstrate how that power is rooted in school music programs. We want to create an event that can be used as a platform to inspire public celebration, awareness and discussion every year,” the Music Monday website reads.

On Music Monday many schools/communities across Canada pause to create a musical moment (Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m. eastern standard time) and sing one piece of music. This year the students will sing Is Somebody Singing. I look forward to participating in Music Monday myself, perhaps with my ukulele. For more information on this great project you can check out or go to YouTube and check out Chris Hadfield.

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