Trading technical data for sheet music and computers for musical instruments, the Jazz Propulsion Big Band at Jet Propulsion Laboratory served up its "Big Band Theory," instead of the "Big Bang Theory," last Thursday at NASA's Honor Awards at the lab.
These rocket scientists turned musicians played tunes such as "Fly Me to the Moon," "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "Orange Colored Sky."
The Big Band Theory features a 14-member brass section, three singers, a pianist and a 12- scientist rhythm section. All work for JPL and five of them have Ph.D.s.
Fittingly, they met through the Internet and have been performing since January, following a stint of playing Christmas tunes in the courtyard at the lab during the holidays.
They practice once a week at the lab and rumor has it the smartest music makers in the area get lots of requests from people who want to be part of the band.
Some of those receiving awards included people from the Mars Global Surveyor team. There are several La Cañada Flintridge residents in the band.