MoonStrike with Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate and Matthew Detrick — Corn Dance

Crossover Media
3 min readSep 25, 2022

Houston Texas based ‘Apollo Chamber Players’ have released their sixth studio recording; ‘Moonstrike.’ The Azica Records album title track is the 19th commission of Apollo’s 20 by 2020 multicultural initiative, a new work by Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Mr. Tate has created music and narration depicting the very colorful American Indian legends around the subject of the moon. Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate is here with us to discuss Moonstrike, and is joined by Apollo Chamber Players founder and violinist Matthew Detrick………..listen to the podcast

American Indian legends have a tendency to take twists and turns within the narrative. Traditional tales about the Moon often involve trickster characters and competitions for ownership of this precious object.

Scored for string quartet and narrator MoonStrike involves three diverse American Indian legends and includes traditional songs. Jerod,

The piece is bookended with an arrangement of a Calusa Corn Dance. For Southeast Indians, the Green Corn Dance took place during the annual, fall Harvest Moon.

The inspiration behind the Apollo players came from the work NASA has been doing over the decades. Matthew Detrick has always been fascinated with space exploration and as a kid dreamed of being an astronaut, and his primary goal as a kid was to be the first person to play the violin in space. Matthew has been working on curating a space-themed program to honor the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

Moonstrike narrator is astronaut John Herrington, a good friend of JIT and also a member of the Chickasaw tribe. Mr. Herrington was selected as a Mission Specialist NASA’s sixteenth Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Also known as STS-113, the shuttle Endeavour was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in 2002, with a mission to deliver structural support for the Space Station’s radiators. During this mission John Herrington performed three spacewalks which are commemorated on the reverse of the 2019 Saca-gawea dollar coin. John’s late-wife, Margo Aragon-Herrington, had always wished for Jerod and John to collaborate on a project such as this, one which would bring these American Indian astrological stories to life. It was no doubt serendipitous that Matthew reached out to Jerod for this project. MoonStrike is aptly dedicated to the memory of Margo Herrington.

The album artwork for MoonStrike was created by award- winning Chickasaw multimedia artist and designer Dustin Illete-wahke Mater, whose works are featured in the permanent collect of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). He commented “As a visual artist, one of the tools I use for inspiration and my storytelling ideas is music. The performances and compositions on this album filled my imagination with wide vistas, plateaus & the shell carvings of my Muskogean ancestors. The Ledger Art portraits celebrate this uniquely American Indian art form and honor the wonderful artists of MoonStrike.”

The MoonStrike commission is very unique. There is nothing else out there like it, especially for chamber ensemble instrumentation. The closest comparison I can think of is Prokovief’s peter and the wolf.) Jerod, tell us about your process in taking texts such as these and creating music for them?

Produced by Max Horowitz — Crossover Media, This content, as well as the related podcast, are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) for redistribution and adaptation.