Where No One Has Gone Before

by John Riggio

Phoenix. Cassini. New Horizons. If these names don't mean anything to you, you may not be keeping up with current events. They are the names of some of the spacecraft presently zooming towards and around their destinations: Mars, Saturn, Pluto, The Kuiper Belt, and beyond. They are sending transmissions back to earth that we might have a better understanding of the cosmos.

The year is 2008, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and your students can sing about it! (Check out the sidebar about NASA on page 69.) "Where No One Has Gone Before" celebrates our drive to learn, grow, and understand by focusing on modern day space travel and space exploration. It also dares to dream of a time when we'll travel to the stars ourselves.

We've given the song a high energy rock style and lots of spacey sound effects to transport your students to the destinations they sing about. Pay attention to dynamics (the piece builds from mezzo forte to forte), as well as the accents in the section from bars 17 to 20. Measure 21 takes on a more ethereal, sci-fi feel as the lyrics speak of flying "out there." As you'll hear on the recording, our singers become more legato here, and the optional divisi is a nice touch. With a driving rhythm section, the pick-ups to measure 29 begin our chorus, and the whole thing repeats back to measure 5, then finally on to the end where there is another optional divisi. (The first time at measure 5 is mezzo forte, on the repeat it's forte.)

As a performance tip, create a backdrop that looks like nighttime on a distant world, or perhaps a starry night on earth. Dim the lights and have a slideshow of pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and various spacecraft that have traveled through our Solar System. Use pictures from the Moon landings, Mars landings, Saturn's rings, the Space Shuttle, etc. And have a blast! (Images on the NASA and Hubble sites can be legally used for education purposes. See MusicK8.com for links.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.