Beatbox n Shakuhachi
Thanks to those who dropped by last Thursday evening for U of T’s Open Telescopes night, especially the guys who offered up some beatboxing while I played my Shakuhachi!
After the free public lecture that took a whimsical look at debunking various doomsday scenarios of some meteorite or other slamming into planet Earth in the year 2012, everyone was pretty pumped to get a glimpse of Saturn and these distinctive rings – you might even be able to make out Titan as a tiny speck just off to the left of our solar system’s second largest planet in this image taken with my Lumix 3 camera through one of the two 1950’s era massive scopes.
Along with members of Urban Flute Ensemble, I enjoy providing music every month as visitors excitedly ascend the final stairs to the uppermost floor of the McLennan Physical Labs Building near College and St. George Streets and queue up in the darkened, domed viewing rooms.
As one visitor commented, hearing my Shakuhachi playing in the background this last time provided half of the ambiance as they waited in line, the sounds of my traditional Japanese flute combined with the excitement of the evening causing them to forget where they were and get lost in the moment: mission accomplished!
For a little audience participation, I noticed a few guys hanging out who had some beatbox sounds going as they waited for their parents to finish looking through the telescopes, so I suggested that we try a little beatbox ‘n’ flute, you know, a la Greg Patillo! You can hear how hard it was for them to keep a straight face, but we had some fun rocking out in the reverberant space.
Open Telescopes takes place on the first Thursday of very month, and has definitely become a popular all ages event. Having partnered up with U of T for almost two years now (playing for Timbits I might add!) what was initially one of Toronto’s best kept secrets has morphed into a multi-generational and multi-cultural event with almost 200 people showing up – there’s nothing like peering skyward and reminding ourselves just how massive and mysterious the known universe is to unify humanity!
Urban Flute in one guise or another will be there at the next Open Telescopes scheduled for Thursday, April 1st, and if you can’t wait that long, there’s an open house Earth Hour 2010 where you can enjoy panoramic views of a darkened downtown Toronto and look through the telescopes if the weather cooperates.
For more information, check out U of T’s Astronomy and Astrophysics website here.