Usually, however, a piece of Program Music is not performed in concert with images. The concert goers must use their own imaginations to conjure up the images to fit the music. This can be a beautiful thing --- assuming people can actually use their imaginations. (Unfortunately, we live in such a video age, the average person doesn't exercise his own imagination very often.)
Amy is the oldest of my dad's 30 grandchildren. When the oldest group of grandkids were young, Grandpa Tom would tell this story on their cousins campouts. He told it many times, and each time he just kept embellishing the story as long as the kids stayed awake. (I don't know if the story had an ending in those days. Dad would just stop talking when he figured they had all fallen asleep.)
After many years, we begged Dad to write "Johnny in the Moon" down for his posterity. After a lot of coaxing, he did and gave it to each of his six children's families, complete with a pretty cool ending. But by the time the grandkids started wanting their own copies, NONE of us could find ours! Finally, after a lot of searching, my older brother Bob found his.
My dad could tell his stories with such attention to detail, especially about space science because he was a scientist who lived it. He worked for NASA during the Apollo program. He knew the scientists and astronauts and was part of the team that put the first men on the moon. In his written story, the scientific details are spot on to the latest developments for those times --- all 18 pages worth of 12 point single spaced font. His story is a lot more involved than any Program Music piece could be expected to represent!
This was actually very instructive for me as I was able to get some good inspiration from them. Amy has asked me to do some illustrations to go along with future performances of "Johnny in the Moon." It's a good thing that Bob's music is so magical and fun!