Heritage Planetarium premiers a new laser show

Do you remember the original four members of the band KISS? Have you listened to the lyrics of Queen over and over looking for their meaning? Do you wear an AC/DC T-shirt under your clothes?

If so, then the Heritage Planetarium has a laser show for you. Laser Vinyl surveys classic rock music spanning three decades choreographed to an array of laser and immersive art.

“This is an exciting program that will certainly take a lot of people back,” said Thomas Webber, director of the facility. “Folks have been asking for a program like this for some time.”

Produced in cooperation with Audio-Visual Imagineering, Laser Vinyl features the latest in laser and digital programming techniques, creating spectacular effects set to classic rock songs from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

Some of the artists listed in the set are Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Journey, Kansas and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Webber says Laser Vinyl is not for everyone. It is rated a five out of five for visual and audio intensity. While the facility always uses radio-edit versions of songs in their concert lineups, Laser Vinyl is very busy and loud and may not be suitable for youger children.

Showtimes for Laser Vinyl are Friday February 1 and Saturday Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and parking is free. “What a great way to kick off Superbowl weekend, pardon the pun,” Webber said.

This program is the third to be released that was programmed completely under the new state-of-the-art equipment installed at the facility last year. “The new colors and brightness of the laser are fantastic,” said Webber. “And the experience of a laser show has quadrupled with this new digital technology.”

The Heritage Planetarium was closed for eight months during 2006 and 2007 renovating and upgrading its equipment. When it reopened in January 2007 it was the only facility like it in the world.

Webber said the addition of laser shows has been a big asset to the facility. “People who might not otherwise visit a planetarium come for a laser show and then return for an educational planetarium program,” he said.

In addition, it provides another activity for teachers who have driven a long way to visit the facility.

Although the laser shows have been a success at the planetarium, Webber points out that the primary goal of the facility is space and science education. Laser shows are “just icing on the cake,” he said.

The Heritage Planetarium regularly serves schools and the community from Blount, Knox, Anderson, Sevier, Hamilton, Roane, Union, Grangier, Jefferson, and Cumberland Counties. To schedule a private show for your school, church, scouts, or other organization, call 865-984-8548 or visit www.heritageplanetarium.org for more information.

The Heritage Planetarium is located at 3741 East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville.

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