Observatory’s musical odyssey

SIDMOUTH’S Norman Lockyer Observatory hosted some out of this world music provided by Teignmouth and Ivybridge Community Choir.

Founded by, and named after, the astronomer who discovered helium by observing the sun’s spectrum, the observatory off Salcombe Hill Road had never hosted an event quite like this.

The singers performed their musical director’s science oratorio Powers of Ten - from Quark to Cosmos. This increasingly well-known sequence of songs in all styles from jazz to classical, pop to rap, is a journey through the universe. Solos performed by Mavis Sharp, Gaelle Hammond and Julian Clutterbuck received especially warm applause from the enthusiastic audience.

Singers and audience members had a tour of the observatory and planetarium show before the performance. The observatory laid on a sumptuous interval feast, with desserts and cakes contributed by choir members. Some members stayed on to observe Venus shining in the west as dusk fell, followed by the International Space Station passing overhead.

Professor Herbert MacGregor from the University of Exeter was “amazed” by the performance. He said: “I never imagined songs about science could be so tuneful and catchy, especially when they contain so much accurate scientific information.”

The Observatory’s Carol Boote was “absolutely delighted” by the whole evening.

“The music was wonderful, the atmosphere was electric, and the whole event went off like clockwork,” she said.