“Through his 21 years as an astronaut, three space flights, 2600 orbits of Earth, Colonel Chris Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions and infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humanity first walked on the moon. He has been called the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong.”
-from the Symphony Nova Scotia program notes about Chris Hadfield’s “Symphony in Space” event with the symphony at Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax.
You can’t help but be amazed by Chris Hadfield. He has been a test pilot, engineer, astronaut; first Canadian to walk in space; commander of the International Space Station. And he is an accomplished singer-songwriter. It seems as if there is nothing he doesn’t excel at.
As he performed his songs and told numerous stories, you heard a warm, articulate man sharing his experiences with the audience–so modest and down to earth. The symphonic backdrop was a wonderful complement to his songs, some of which were co-written by his son, Evan, and his brother, Dave. There was also “Is Somebody Singing,” written with Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, as well as version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” with lyrics modified “so the astronaut doesn’t die.” Hadfield was happy that his music hero gave his blessing to the song before his death.
Perhaps the most entertaining song of the concert came during the encore, when Hadfield sang “In Canada”—a sing-along number filled with in-jokes about what it is to be Canadian. “We pronounce the letter ‘R’ like we’re pirates on a ship. We’ll drive two thousand miles, on a summer camping trip,”
Photo tip: According to Hadfield, when taking photos in space you get the best results shooting straight down at Earth, even though your eye may be constantly drawn to the horizon.