Dec. 5, 2003
Singer Patti LaBelle has been nominated for a Grammy for her rendition of "Way Up There." LaBelle was one of five nominees in the Traditional Rhythm & Blues category for the 46th Annual Grammy Awards.
The song was originally commissioned by NASA to commemorate the Centennial of Flight. The yearlong commemoration has included events across America. It culminates at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on the anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight, Dec. 17.
LaBelle brought the song into national prominence, when she sang it at the first memorial service for the seven Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts. She sang "Way Up There" at the National Cathedral, Washington, on Feb. 6, just five days after the Columbia crew was lost, Feb. 1, 2003, while returning to Earth after completing their successful mission.
LaBelle also performed the song at other events including opening day for the Houston Astros major league baseball team. The Astros, originally named for America's space program, honored the Columbia's crew during their home season opener on April 1. The Astros also decided to honor the astronauts by wearing the mission patch from Columbia (STS-107) on their uniforms during the 2003 season. LaBelle also performed the song at New York's Rockefeller Center in July to commemorate 100 years of flight.
Tena R. Clark wrote the song. She received a modest honorarium from the NASA Art Program to compose the song for the Centennial of Flight. It appears as a track on LaBelle's "Church: Songs for Soul and Inspiration" on UTV Records and separately as a single "Way up There" on DMI Records. The 46th Grammy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004.
For information about "Way Up There" on the Internet, visit:
Glenn Mahone/Doc Mirelson