British Columbia

'Rocket Man': Astronaut Chris Hadfield performs with Victoria Symphony

Famed astronaut Chris Hadfield performs classic space songs, as well as some originals, alongside the Victoria Symphony.

Famed astronaut Chris Hadfield performs space tunes alongside the Victoria Symphony

Chris Hadfield sings David Bowie's "Space Oddity" atop the International Space Station. (Chris Hadfield/YouTube)

In space, no one can hear you sing — unless you're Commander Chris Hadfield.

The famed astronaut spent 166 days in outer space while sharing its wonders with the world through social media. Chief among his fascinating films is his rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity that's since amassed millions of views online.

"Music ... is just fundamental to being a human being," he said. "[And] that doesn't change when you leave earth."

Now, Hadfield is bringing his combined passion for music and the cosmos to Vancouver Island, where he's performing a wide array of songs alongside the Victoria Symphony that are meant to share the rare experience of space flight.

The show is aptly titled Rocket Man with Chris Hadfield

The power of music

Hadfield isn't a musician by trade — but it's been a major part of his life. The commander has fronted several bands, and can even recall the moment where he realised how integral music is to the human condition.

"I played in a Celtic band for many years, and I remember once [when we were] up on stage playing. There was a little one, she just learned to walk — maybe she was 14 months.

"She was dancing — and she couldn't help herself. She didn't know how to talk yet. She had no idea what dancing was. But she knew when this music was playing that it required a response — it moved her.

"I was just watching that thinking just how unavoidably necessary music is — no matter what age you are."

Hadfield says music predates language, and recorded history, and in fact, the oldest instruments ever discovered date back 42,000 years.

Rocket man

Hadfield says music offers a snapshot into a moment in time, with each song influenced by an artist's unique interpretation of his or her surroundings and affections.

"Songs don't come into existence magically — they're just one person's expression of an emotion or a thought."

His performance with the Victoria Symphony will include famous space tracks immortalized by pop culture, but also songs he wrote and recorded on the space station, as well as tracks he wrote with his family. Images and graphics of the cosmos will also be projected to accompany the sounds.

Chris Hadfield speaks during at The National Air Force Museum of Canada Foundation's Fall gala in Trenton, Ontario, on Friday Oct. 21, 2016. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

"Hopefully people will come away having enjoyed the music, but also [leave] thinking about [space] a little differently. When they look up and watch the space station go over, [I hope they] just think about the reality of what it's like for the six people up there, and where it's taking us in the future.

"It's all just my best effort, in a way, to tell a very unusual and new story."

With files from CBC's All Points West