An Orchestra Will Take Over This Aviation Museum

University of Stuttgart Academic Orchestra.

 We’re not sure how this will work. Or why it is happening. But we’re sure it will be great.

On September 21, from 3 pm to 5 pm, the University of Stuttgart Academic Orchestra will take over all five main galleries at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

The plan is for the Orchestra to divide into five separate chamber groups and station themselves in the aviation and space galleries on both the Museum’s East and West Campuses.

Each group plans to play selections by composers including Mendelssohn and Weber to celebrate aviation, space, history, and science.

Here’s the program:

Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Quintet for clarinet and strings in B-flat major, Op. 34.
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1947): String octet in E-flat major, Op. 20.
Joachim Raff (1822-1882): Sinfonietta for winds in F major, Op. 188.
Plus arrangements for brass ensemble.

The Museum performances are part of a North American tour by the Stuttgart, Germany-based orchestra, and are free with admission to the Museum of Flight.

Museum of Flight No Stranger to Music

Seattle Opera Dress Rehearsal at Museum of Flight

This isn’t the first time a music production has taken over the Museum of Flight.

During the pandemic, the Seattle Opera was scheduled to present a performance of “Flight.” The three-act opera was written in 1998 by composer Jonathan Dove and librettist April De Angelis and has been performed around the world.

Here’s the story of the opera:

An omniscient air traffic controller watches over a departure lounge bustling with relentlessly cheerful flight attendants, an excitable couple on vacation, a mysterious older woman, and a diplomat and his expectant wife, all of whom must spend the night to wait out a storm. At the heart of the show is the Refugee, a character inspired by Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris for almost 18 years.”

The pandemic meant that Seattle Opera could not perform the show live. But rather than pass on the opportunity to present it, the Seattle Opera teamed up with Seattle’s Museum of Flight and filmed the opera there.

LaGuardia Airport has a cool new water show

We may be staying home but airports are still rolling out fun services, amenities, and cool attractions.

The latest is a state-of-the-art water feature in New York at LaGuardia Airport Terminal B.

It looks like an upside-down water fountain. But this fountain has a suitcase full of tricks.

The 25-foot-tall installation is designed by the French company Aquatique Show and features two large concentric rings and a 4,000-gallon circulating water system.

There are 450 programmable nozzles on the rings which allow water to fall in patterns or in a curtain onto which shapes, images, and themed shows can be projected with lasers.

LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which manages this new terminal at LGA, has shared these two videos of New York-themed water shows.

One features arts and entertainment in New York; the other celebrates iconic New York sites.

Travelers won’t have to see these same shows over and over; new shows are promised for holidays and to mark special events.

LaGuardia Airport’s new 25-foot-tall water feature is an impressive and welcome addition to the new terminal.

It is a far cry from Singapore Airport’s 7-story tall Rain Vortex, but a wonderful amenity we’d love to see in more airports.

Pottery spinning in PHL Airport; Pigs flying from STL Airport

PHL re-ZOOMs artist demo series

Stuck at the Airport is a big fan of the live music, art, and performance programs offered by airports around the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to much of that great in-terminal entertainment over the past six months.

But as the holidays roll around and travelers return, cautiously, to the skies, some airports are getting creative about bringing back live art and music.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), artist demonstrations are back via Zoom.

In the debut program, local ceramic artist Ruth Easterbrook was in her studio for a pottery demonstration Zoomed into the airport.

During the virtual demo, Easterbrook chatted with passengers about how to throw pottery on the wheel, answered questions, and took suggestions from the in-terminal audience about what to make next: a mug, plate, or pitcher.

And, of course, she also posed with passengers for selfies.

PHL promises more visual arts demonstrations over the holidays. So this may be the next big airport thing.

At STL Airport, pigs fly

Passengers may be staying home but cargo is still flying. And that is helping save the bacon for many airports.

At St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), for example, cargo operations are climbing, with livestock now added to the mix.

STL reports that this week approximately 200 breeding pigs set out from the airport for Viracopos International Airport located near Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Their ride: a Boeing 747-400F.

STL is working with multiple operators throughout the Midwest to use its USDA-approtved Export Inspection Facility as an option to ship livestock. And more shipments are being discussed for early 2021.     

So, yes, in this crazy 2020 pigs do fly.

Airport songs for safety

Like other airports around the country, Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is keeping the facilities clean.

The airport is also using signs and floor stickers to encourage passengers to remember to keep their distance and wear face coverings.

Now, SJC is also getting even more creative with getting those messages out.

The airport has enlisted Santa Cruz-based singer/songwriter artist Nick Gallant to write and record three original songs to remind passengers and employees what they can and should do to keep things safe.

The ditties are catchy.

And you’ll have plenty of time to learn them by heart. Each song is being played throughout the Airport’s terminal buildings once an hour on a 20-minute cycle.

Give a listen:

FlySJC · SJC Go Somewhere Safely

Why play safety songs in an airport?

“By now our travelers and employees know what they need to do to keep each other safe while traveling,” said SJC Assistant Director of Aviation Judy Ross, “So the challenge for us was to find a unique, engaging way to remind everyone to stay vigilant.”

Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) isn’t the first to have safety songs to remind passengers to pay attention to the rules.

Way back in 2011, Montana’s Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) was running a video of a local band named The Singing Sons of Beaches to remind passengers of the rules and routines required at the TSA checkpoint.

The “bonus reminders” aren’t always songs.

Over the years McCarran International Airport Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas has enlisted celebrities to create instructional reminder videos as well.

LAS has the airport amenity of the week

McCarran International Airport (LAS) has lots going for it.

Besides being in Las Vegas.

McCarran has a liquor store in the bag claim area. It has an aviation museum in the terminal. It has vending machines that dispense everything from cupcakes and Legos, to artist-made souvenirs and – sign of the times – hand sanitizers and masks.

McCarran International Airport also has about 1200 slot machines.

But those have been shut down for weeks along with all the casinos in town.

But now that the city’s lockdown has been lifted, the slot machines at LAS airport are turned back on.

So we will declare this our Airport Amenity of the Week!