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Syracuse natives behind documentary showing at Most

Sound enginneering for "The Artist and the Astronaut".jpg
Bill Muench
A laptop shows the webpage for "The Artist and the Astronaut" while Todd Hobin's son Brett Hobin engineers sound for the film in the background.

A new documentary directed and scored by Syracuse natives is getting a one-time showing at the Museum of Science and Technology Friday evening. Directed by former local resident Bill Muench, "The Artist and the Astronaut" tells the story of the unlikely romantic pairing between a civil rights activist and a space voyager. The film also features a soundtrack composed by local musician Todd Hobin.

The film follows the separate and eventual united paths of Pat Musick, the "artist" and Jerry Carr, the "astronaut."

Muench, who met the couple after moving to Vermont and wanted to recount their journey, said the two followed different journeys but witnessed many of the same societal issues. On the ground, Musick encountered challenges around women's rights, and fought against race relations and discrimination against Native Americans.

While up in the air, Carr saw some of the same issues.

"Jerry was exposed to all those things as he was literally flying jets and flying into space," Muench says.

Despite being an accomplished astronaut, Muench said Carr remained humble about his own achievements and wrestled with his perception of life and evolution.

"He grew from a cold warrior to someone who is really starting to understand the big picture and that we all have to get along on this earth," he said.

Carr died during the pandemic, but Musick, his wife, is now 96 years old.

The documentary also captures how America still struggles with many of the same societal and environmental concerns that Musick and Carr became aware of decades earlier. Muench said the issues of race, Native American relations, plus environmental sustainability still have not been resolved. It's important to understand "that this earth is the only we've got and we've got to take care of it," he said.

With time being such a crucial element of the storytelling, the sounds of music had to match the film's narrative. Todd Hobin, the film's composer and a local musician, provided the soundtrack for the film's travel through the decades.

Bill Hobin is on the keyboardd and son Brett Hobin is engineering a recording at the soundboard.jpg
Bill Muench
Film composer and local Syracuse musician Bill Hobin is on the keyboard working alongside his son Brett Hobin, who is engineering a recording session for "The Artist and the Astronaut" on the soundboard.

Hobin said his longtime love of music meant he always had the right musical piece for each moment.

"If somebody said, 'Yeah play some acid music from 1968 the Vietnam Era', Oh, I got it, no problem," Hobin said.

Hobin even brought in local legend Joanne Shenandoah to feature the plight of Native Americans. She recorded a track with Hobin and Irv Lyons and provides the voice of an "authentic, real, Native American."

To see this film directed, produced, and composed by locals to the Syracuse area, one scheduled showing of "The Artist and the Astronaut" is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Most in Armory Square.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.