MCC Planetarium and Nouveau Papillion present Visionsphere

Saggio, James Enos (MCC), Hildi Thelen, Ed Capps (back row), Mark Bensette Aux Bois, Dr. Kevin Healy (MCC) MESA, Arizona -- August 16, 2019 -- Mesa Community College and Nouveau Papillon partner to present “Visionsphere,” a dynamic performance of striking digital imagery displayed on the college’s planetarium dome, accompanied by live New Age instrumental music by international recording artists.

The hour-long performances include 11 individual audio and visual experiences developed by a team of MCC faculty and Nouveau Papillion artists and technicians.

“We’re using the planetarium technology in new ways to engage with our students as well as our community. The marrying of Digistar planetarium technology with live musical performances provides a truly immersive experience,” said Kevin Healy, MCC astronomy faculty. “We built each visual experience to enhance each Nouveau Papillon piece.”

Digitally mastered visuals include angels gliding through the heavens, panoramic cavernous tours, fractal art, steampunk graphics and indigenous Arizona wildlife and nature.

International recording artists Nouveau Papillon perform selections from their current and upcoming albums. Mark Bensette Aux Bois, on electric harp and 6- and 12-string acoustic/electric guitars, and Hildi Thelen on Native American-style flutes synchronize their performances to visual images on the dome.

The innovative pairing of live music with digital animation nets MCC-Nouveau Papillon performance at an international planetarian conference.

“Our desire to provide a truly unique experience to our community led to an invitation to perform the “Visionsphere” show during the Digistar Users Group Conference at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in September,” said Ed Capps, Nouveau Papillon manager. “Our partnership with MCC has made it possible to create a truly unique experience for admirers of art, music and technology. I encourage anyone who is unfamiliar with our work to listen to the excerpts on our website; what we do live is even more phenomenal.”

There are five opportunities to experience “Visionsphere” this fall, the first is Aug. 31 and the second Sept. 20. The team debuts a new show, “Tranquil Soundscapes,” Sept. 21. In October, November and December, the Friday night “Visionsphere” performances are followed by Saturday evening “Tranquil” performances. Tranquil Soundscapes performers are MCC alumnus Saggio on handpans and world flutes and Mark Bensette Aux Bois on the electric harp.

All shows are hosted in the MCC Planetarium, 1833 W. Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ, 85202, Building PS 15. Future dates to be announced as scheduled. Tickets are $20 and include a digital download of Nouveau Papillon’s CD Enchantment Blooms and may be purchased through PurplePass.

Half of ticket sale proceeds are being used to develop new MCC planetarium shows to present to the community on Astronomy Nights, a free, first Friday event hosted at the college during the academic year.

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Media contacts:
Dawn Zimmer, MCC,, 480-461-7892
Ed Capps, Nouveau Papillon,, 602-576-6317

Nouveau Papillon is comprised of international recording artists Mark Bensette Aux Bois on 6- and 12-string acoustic/electric guitar and electric harp, with Hildi Thelen on Native American-style flutes. Their collaboration and shared vision has led to an evolution of powerful instrumental imagery that transcends traditional New Age music - constantly evolving, resulting in an amazing musical experience. Their second CD Enchantment Blooms released in December 2018 and was nominated for Album of the Year by One World Music, Europe’s #1 streaming station. The song Star Gazers from that CD was featured on the compilation CD Sounds From The Circle X. This compilation is available from the New Age Music Circle and participating artists as a physical MP3 CD, and also as an online playlist in Spotify and iTunes. The CDs are also distributed at the ZMR Awards, INATS, MIDEM, GATE, GRAMMY events, film festivals, celebrity gift bags, and other industry events where the music reaches new listeners, filmmakers, music therapists and others. Learn more and listen to sample soundtracks at

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs online, at its two campuses, the Mesa Downtown Center and additional locations. Through the implementation of Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services, MCC is transforming ways it champions student success; college completion, university transfer and career attainment for all students. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution. The diverse student body includes more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training to empower MCC students to compete locally and globally. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, MCC is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Learn more at

Mesa Community College is accredited by theHigher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system,

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Publication Date: 
Friday, August 16, 2019