By Eric Dundon
When the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra hosts its final live watch party of SoundLab at 10:30am CDT, Saturday, February 27, the hosts and SLSO oboist Phil Ross will be joined by a special guest, NASA astronaut Col. Bob Behnken, a St. Louis native.
SLSO SoundLab—an online educational programming resource for classrooms and families that launched last month by the SLSO—explores the intersection of music, science, and technology through a four-part series of videos and activities. Since launching to educators in December 2020 and families in January 2021, SoundLab has reached more than 20,000 children ages 6 to 12 across the United States and on three continents.
Throughout February, the SLSO has held watch parties for each of the four episodes of SoundLab on Zoom, with one episode viewed each Saturday morning at 10:30am CDT. The watch parties are hosted by SoundLab host Alicia Revé Like and student participant Imogen Degenhart, with guests including SLSO musicians, composers, and educators.
Access SLSO SoundLab here.
Behnken’s appearance on the February 27 SoundLab watch party coincides with the theme of the fourth episode of SoundLab: The Golden Record. The Golden Record was a collection of sounds and music representing an array of cultures that was sent into space aboard two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977.
Behnken, a St. Louis native and graduate of Pattonville High School, will talk about his career as a NASA astronaut and answer questions from watch party participants. He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000 and is a veteran of two space shuttle flights. He has logged more than 700 hours in space and more than 37 hours during six spacewalks. He served as NASA’s Chief Astronaut from July 2012 to July 2015.
Space is limited for the February 27 watch party of SLSO SoundLab. Participants may register here.
Eric Dundon is the Public Relations Manager for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.