As part of its program “A Thousand Years to Live,” Westminster Choir explores the earth from the dark of space on Christmas Eve 1968, as it performs “Yes, it’s beautiful” from Kile Smith’s The Consolation of Apollo. This complex and multi-layered work takes its text from the conversation of the Apollo 8 astronauts as they turn their craft and see the earth for the first time:
Borman: How’s that steam pressure, Bill?
Anders: It isn’t even boiling yet. Yes, we just started.
Borman: Here it comes!
Borman: Oh boy!
Lovell: Get a good shot of her?
Borman: Yes, see it?
Lovell: Well, keep the camera there. Keep the camera.
Anders: Here it comes. Here it comes. But you’re not on yet.
You got it . . . you got to do something. Pitch up or yaw.
Borman: Yaw right?
Anders: Yaw right.
Lovell: Oh, Jesus . . . Houston, Apollo 8.
Anders: Roll her a little e bit. Roll her a little bit to the . . . to the right.
Lovell: Here, you want me to fly it just to coma a…
Anders: That one’s got it, the roll. Yes, yes. It’s the roll that’s got it.
Roll right, if you can.
Lovell: We’re rolling
Anders: Come on, gang.
Lovell: We’re going to radial out. Are we…you got her coming up?
You see her, Frank?
Borman: Yes, it’s beautiful.
Listen to NASA’s recording of their conversation.