Song: On To Mars
©2004 Bob McNally
I am a member of the Mars Society, the world's largest and most influential space advocacy organization dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the planet Mars.
I was fortunate enough to be able to join a 2 week crew rotation at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), an on-Earth analog of a Mars base, located in the Utah desert. As one outcome of that adventure (and it was an adventure!), I composed the song On To Mars for the Society's Rouget de Lisle song competition at their annual convention, so-named in honor of the composer of the stirring French national anthem, La Marseillaise.
I am happy to say On To Mars became co-gold medal winner. Rather than a Mars anthem per se, it is an anthem to the human drive to strive, to explore, and to search for new homes. Mars being only the most recent of a long line of such efforts.
The Strumstick figures importantly in the composition, as you can hear. That is why I am writing this blog post, as an example of how the Strumstick can add a delightful color to recordings of other instruments. For me, the Strumstick parts in the song echo a sense of our earliest musical instruments as we expanded from Africa across the continents; from floating logs to clipper ships to sleek jets and rockets to the stars. The sound of the Strumstick here also arouses in me a plaintive longing which feels to me like the yearning to go over the next hill, the next ocean, on to Mars and beyond.
I hope you like the song, it is about all striving, Mars in particular but not just for Mars. It is about the indomitable human spirit. These are days that call for that spirit, I hope the song raises yours.