Pasadena’s Singing Scientists Spread Post-Holiday Cheer—From Here To Mars

Singing rocket scientists take on holiday choral classics for one night only. How about a choral version of Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science”?

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to finally see a gang of rocket scientists drop their lab coats and perform an angelic rendition of “O Holy Night,” you’re in luck. On January 7, the Pasadena Symphony Association kicks off 2014 with Epiphany, a Choral Celebration of Winter, featuring Pasadena City College’s Donald Brinegar Singers in concert with Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Chorus. The JPL Chorus of singing scientists was formed in early 2012, in partnership with the Pasadena Symphony Association, and is comprised of nearly fifty JPL employees—scientists, engineers, administrators, and software developers—who happen to be talented at singing in addition to crunching numbers and solving equations.

The free concert takes place at Pasadena City College’s Westerbeck Recital Hall and will feature seasonal classics such as “Still, Still, Still” and “O Holy Night” as well as works composed and arranged by JPL Chorus members. In addition to the musical prowess of its employees, Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is also known for its contributions to science, which include landing the Curiosity rover on Mars in August 2012. 

Featured composers and arrangers from the JPL Chorus include William M. Owen, Jr., who has worked on NASA space missions from Voyager to Deep Impact, and Todd Barber, who in addition to arranging “O Holy Night,” has worked as mission operations engineer for Galileo, Cassini, and Deep Space One. No word on whether JPL “mohawk guy” Bobak Ferdowsi is among the singers.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a choral version of Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.”

What: The Pasadena Symphony Association’s JPL Chorus and the Donald Brinegar Singers
Where: Pasadena City College’s Westerbeck Recital Hall
When: January 7, 8 p.m.