February 24th was the final launch of the Discovery shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center. I was there with Carole and two good friends from Dallas. We started our day at 4:00 a.m. for the 4:50 p.m. launch. After clearing security, we were bused to a causeway several miles from the launch pad. We had a perfect viewing angle of Discovery and the enormous rockets that would power her through the Earth’s atmosphere and into space. During the hours leading up to the countdown we set up cameras and just soaked in this historic view of one of man’s most dramatic achievements. With only one second to go, there was a momentary pause in the countdown, and then it happened. The solid-fuel rocket ignited and in just seconds both shuttle and rockets were totally enveloped in a white smoky cloud. Magically, the shuttle and rockets slowly emerged from the cloud, first slowly and then accelerating quickly. This was all accompanied by a thunderous roar and shaking of the earth, completing the majestic experience.
THE MUSIC LOVER AND SINGER
The music-lover in me was attending a concert with a fifty thousand-piece orchestra and chorus. It was truly an experience to behold and one I will never forget. The singer in me was reminded of the similarities and differences between the lift off of Discovery and hearing a highly trained singer. Both areas include specialized areas of science. Both areas also begin with dreams, an active imagination and the courage to enter into previously unknown areas. But, while mastery and understanding of all systems were necessary for Discovery, there is still a wonderful mystery that accompanies the singing process. Some of that mystery is acoustical in nature and some of it is due to the spiritual and emotional elements involved.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line for me is that I was privileged to attend the Discovery launch on February 24, 2011. I’m equally privileged to play the most unique instrument in the world: The human voice. I hope you are enjoying yours.