The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) featured special guest stars during the one night only performance of “The Galaxy’s Greatest Hits” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Star Trekcast member George Takei, former astronaut Charlie Duke, jazz singer and songwriter Kurt Ellingand musician James Morrison all made appearance in the MSO’s moon landing celebration. The event took place Oct. 14 at the Chicago Symphony Center.

“The Galaxy’s Greatest Hits” was the internationally acclaimed orchestra’s Chicago debut, a specially curated performance conducted by Benjamin Northey. Guests were invited into another world as the symphony performed favorite space classics from Star Wars, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, Star Trek, Apollo 13 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Video and HD images of space served as a backdrop for the orchestra’s performance, while the hall was transformed with atmospheric lighting.
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Best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise, in the television series Star Trek, George Takei was the host of the evening, enlightening the audience with Star Trekmemories.Charlie Duke spoke about his experiences as anastronaut, retired U.S. Air Force officer and being thetenth and youngest person to walk on the moonas Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972.Grammy Award-winning Chicago jazz star Kurt Elling performed “Come Flywith Me” and James Morrison performed his popular song “Stardust”.

“Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to make its Chicago debut and to commemorate a monumental moment in history” said Managing Director Sophie Galaise. “The 50thanniversary of the moon landing is a global milestone and we look forward to bringing people together to celebrate in a unique and exciting way that will be a feast for the eyes and ears.”
Australian businessman Anthony Pratt, a long-time supporter of the MSO, marked the 50-year moon landing milestone with a donation of 50 tickets to some of Chicago’s most promising young musicians, giving them the opportunity to experience this special event.“This support will allow the best and brightest of Chicago’s young musical community to discover Australia’s pre-eminent orchestra while recognizing one of the most significant moments in American and world history,” said Mr Pratt, owner and executive chairman of Visy/Pratt Industries, which operate hundreds of packaging factories in Australia and the U.S., including the Midwest.