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A musical celebration of science:
Lyrics created from the words of scientists & teachers, performed as songs with live experiments.
A musical celebration of science: Lyrics created from the words of scientists & teachers, performed as songs with live experiments.
81 backers pledged $6,596 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Science Fair is opening at last. I've interviewed the scientists, I've created the libretto, I've commissioned the composers, and I've built a papier-maché volcano. Now it's time to see some results!

As many of you already know, Science Fair is the culmination of a multi-year residency at HERE Arts Center in New York City. This fully-staged, theatrical presentation of my two-woman show (myself and pianist Erika Switzer) includes lyrics by well-known scientists and writers, including an astronomer, a chemist, a particle physicist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer, and a middle school science teacher. The show will include live demonstrations of basic scientific concepts that shape our understanding of the world, familiar classroom experiments elucidated and illuminated, slideshows with illustrations by comic artist Maki Naro, and even a wearable model of the solar system. All while singing!

Your generous support can help us in many ways. Although we have the warm and enthusiastic support of the HERE family, and a grant from the Matisse Foundation, we still don't have enough money to fully fund a theatrical production. With your help, we can pay the following amazing people closer to what they deserve for their hard work and creativity:

Our four composers, Matthew Schickele, Renée Favand-See, Stefan Weisman, and Conrad Cummings, who have accomplished the heroic task of setting a Very Large Array of scientific language to song, and should be properly compensated.

Our stage director, Lisa Rothe, whose interest in science has already lead her to create an opera about Ada Lovelace (mathematician daughter of Lord Byron who is considered the grandmother of computer programming); also our set and projection designer, Caite Kemp, and our lighting designer, Lucrecia Briceno.

Our piano movers and tuners, who will deliver and care for a baby grand that has been generously loaned to HERE for the run of the show.

Our costume designer, who is...well, me! I need your generosity to buy the materials needed for the aforementioned wearable model of the solar system; also some hats: one that looks like the sun; another that holds the moon on its orbit.

And then there's the papier-maché volcano, with obligatory baking-soda and vinegar. And the strawberries from which we will extract DNA. And the molecular models. And the sound spectrograph. And...

Performances at HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue (at Dominick Street), in the DOT (downstairs), running for two weeks: 

Wednesday, April 13, Friday, April 15, Saturday, April 16 at 7pm; 

Sunday, April 17 at 2pm; 

Wednesday, April 20, Friday, April 22, Saturday, April 23, at 7pm; 

Sunday, April 24 at 2pm

Risks and challenges

Our Science Fair Project: What do we get when we combine two common but mysterious elements, Opera and Science? My hypothesis: Science + Opera = Entertainment. However, the hypothesis is controversial. Smaller studies have already shown that the byproducts of this reaction can include amusement and wonder. At this stage of study, we need a large cohort of volunteers ("The Audience") to explore the question further. If you have a known sensitivity to Opera or Science, please consult your arts advisor before embarking on a viewing of Science Fair.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name in the program as a generous supporter of Music and Science.

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    Your name in the program as a generous supporter of Music and Science.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Your name in the program as a supporter of music and science, plus a thank you card featuring a Maki Naro comic created for Science Fair.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your name in the program as a supporter of music and science, a thank you card featuring a Maki Naro comic created for Science Fair, plus an audio download of bonus musical material.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Sponsor a planet. The first 8 (or 9!) patrons to give $150 or more will have their name in the program as the sponsor of one planet in our model of the solar system. Pick your planet—unless someone gets there first!
    Also includes a link to download bonus musical material and a Maki Naro thank-you card.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Two tickets to opening night, April 13, and the reception to follow (or another performance if you are unavailable on the 13th),
    plus a download of bonus musical material, a Maki Naro thank-you card, and your name in the program as a supporter of music and science.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Commission a song from Matthew Schickele!
    Your name in the program and online as the patron of a Matthew Schickele song from Science Fair, and a signed, framed manuscript page dedicated to you from Matthew and Hai-Ting.
    Matthew's songs for Science Fair include:
    "The History of the Universe to Scale," "The Amazing Atom," "The Phases of the Moon," and "Libration."
    Also includes a Maki Naro thank-you card and a download of bonus musical material.
    Can also include 2 tickets to a show date of your choosing.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Commission a song from Renée Favand-See! Your name in the program and online as the patron of one of Renée's songs for Science Fair, and a signed, framed manuscript page dedicated to you from Renée and Hai-Ting.
    Renée's compositions for Science Fair include "Natural Phenomena," "Harmonic Overtones," and "Our Solar System."
    Also includes a Maki Naro thank-you card and a link to download bonus musical material.
    Can also include 2 tickets to a show date of your choosing.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Commission a song from Stefan Weisman!
    Your name in the program and online as the patron of one of Stefan's songs for Science Fair, and a signed, framed manuscript page dedicated to you from Stefan and Hai-Ting.
    Stefan's songs include "The Canon" and "Life," both with texts by acclaimed science writer Natalie Angier.
    Also includes a Maki Naro thank-you card and a link to download bonus music material.
    Can also include 2 tickets to a show date of your choosing.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Commission a song from Conrad Cummings!
    Your name in the program and online as the patron of Conrad's song "Strawberry DNA," and a framed manuscript page dedicated to you from Conrad and Hai-Ting.
    Also includes a Maki Naro thank-you card and link to download bonus music material.
    Can also include 2 tickets to a show date of your choosing.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Sponsor the piano! A baby grand has been donated by PianoPiano for the run of the show, but we need the funds to have it moved and tuned. Your generosity will cover these expenses! We'll put your name in the program as the Patron of the Piano, and supporter of science and music
    Also includes a Maki Naro thank-you card and a link to download bonus musical material.
    Can also include 2 tickets to a show date of your choosing.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    A private concert by Hai-Ting and Erika, for you and invited guests, at a venue of your choice. Songs from Science Fair, or from the standard repertoire. (Details to be worked out in person. If you want this concert to happen more than 100 miles from New York City, we would ask you to provide transportation and housing!)
    Also, of course: your name in the program, a Maki Naro thank-you card and a link to download bonus musical material.
    Can also include 2 tickets to a show date of your choosing.

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Funding period

- (29 days)