The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival opens its summer of music at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs this weekend.

At 8 tonight, The Drifters, The Platters and Cornell Gunter’s Coasters will perform.

“One Giant Leap — The Planets and Beyond” — a space-themed concert — on Saturday will honor the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission to the moon, and a special guest will be in attendance.

Richard “Dick” Perry, who worked for NASA for 37 years, served as director of space flight safety and mission assurance for the Apollo 11 shuttle program. During his time at NASA, Perry also helped launch Skylab, which was the first space station launched by the United States.

Perry said he was watching the moon landing with his family as it was happening.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 50 years,” Perry said.

Dennis Lynch, the president of the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, said Perry’s attendance at the event “means so much.”

“It’s so seldom to get links to info from historical events,” he said Thursday.

The concert, performed by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, will feature performances of the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and music from “Star Wars.” The orchestra will also perform Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” which will be accompanied by space imagery provided by NASA.

Before the concert, Perry and Alphonso V. Diaz, a former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will host a panel about the first moon landing and its implications on future space missions starting at 7 p.m.

“I feel pretty fortunate to still be around to share this information,” Perry said.

Lynch added: “To have someone who was a working part of this event is something to be heard and cherished. It’s going to be a remembrance of humanity’s greatest adventure.”

If You Go

When: Concerts tonight and Saturday begin at 8 p.m.

Tickets: Lawn seating, $45, pavilion seating, $54. To purchase:

Concerts schedule:

– Contact Donald Lambert at