Wherever we live, whatever our beliefs, we all look up at the same moon. And for the rare few humans who have gone further and actually set foot on this celestial body, they all trained on the same grounds. In this first instance, as Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind, 600 million people across the planet stopped to watch this moment unfold. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landing, Listen Local Huntsville presents the Music from the Moon songwriting contest. Open to musicians worldwide, the competition offers $10,000 cash, a recording session at FAME Studios, a ToneWoodAmp and more for winners. For local musician Sean Golightly, he decided to focus on Flag’s role with his entry, “Where We Stood.” With help from singer/violinist Hannah Prizznick and filmmaker Rene Rivas, the final recording and music video is audibly and visually stunning. The video was shot on location at Cinder Lake where NASA tested the moon rovers.
Golightly gives us an inside look at his creative process:
"Aside from the allure of the winnings—which include monetary gains and recording opportunities that could significantly advance my musical career—I was compelled by the emotional demand of the contest itself. Investigating my feelings about the moon landing, I found that, to me, it represented a high-water mark in the human story that we have noticeably receded from in the decades that followed. It feels unreal, and deeply sad, to think that the same society that walked among the stars and saw the whole earth as a small blue marble could stray again into the base trappings of greed and divisiveness that characterize our current era. "Where We Stood" was thus written as a reminder, a song of hope, reflecting on our history as evidence that, when we work together, we can overcome the new, seemingly impossible challenges that bear down on us day by day.
"This significance of shooting video at the Cinder Fields rests in Flagstaff's local history. In preparation for the Apollo missions, NASA scientists deemed the volcanic cinders of northern Arizona the most analogous to the surface of the moon and thus the most appropriate place to test the lunar rovers. I thought, given the theme of the contest and the lyrical content of "Where We Stood," it would be visually poetic to film the song in the place that served as a stand-in for the actual moon. During the opening scenes of the video, we also included historical photographs, some shot in the same location, to provide context. Most notably, these include photos of the rover tests, the rocket launch and, my personal favorite, the smiling faces of the "human computer" women scientists that were recently depicted in the book and film Hidden Figures.
"Vast and uncommon, the cinder fields proved a perfect location for shooting video. The open black cinders create an unobtrusive setting that highlights the performers, while the looming mountain and ponderosa pines in the backdrop frame the scene in serene, natural beauty. A strange land, like a melding between an alien moonscape and fertile earth, the cinder fields were as challenging as they were beautiful. High winds and unpredictable weather threatened the success of the production at various times, but the resiliency of the cast and crew, as well as the clean simplicity of the video concept, cut through the obstacles to produce "Where We Stood.""
Like the video on YouTube to vote for the song.