Jenny McLeod was commissioned by the city of Palmerston North to compose music to commemorate its centenary in 1971. The resulting work, Under The Sun, was performed twice during Palmerston North's Centennial production, on 29 and 30 May 1971. With Under The Sun, ‘New Zealand ceases forever to be a provincial society’ wrote playwright Bruce Mason in the New Zealand Listener.
Under The Sun was the major cultural event of the Palmerston North centennial. It was brought to production by Peter Tulloch. The work included more than 1000 performers, some 440 of them school children. There were four orchestras, six choirs, ten conductors, a rock band and stroboscopic lighting, with images of children’s paintings projected around the perimeter of the Pascal St stadium, where it was performed. This ‘total theatre experience’ was the initiative of Morva Croxson and told the story of the galaxy.