IN SEARCH OF 'THE WHALE'
Tom Callinan (folksinger, songwriter, storyteller, sea chanteyman,
multi-instrumentalist, and environmental activist), has constructed a
participatory program of diverse songs and stories spanning the Golden Age Of
Yankee Whaling to the present, with today's many types and degrees of
environmental challenges. Adept at over a dozen different musical
instruments from the wind, string, and percussion families (penny whistle,
spoons, bodhran [traditional Celtic frame drum], ocarina, guitar, banjar,
among others), Mr. Callinan uses his considerable talents to enchant
audiences of all ages with songs and tales of ships and whales.
"The Jonah Syndrome", (real and fanciful songs from the belly of a whale), is
a featured part of the program. Also included is material that reflects the
wide range of experiences known to past and present whalers and sailors:
chanteys (work songs), fo'c'stle ballads and forebitters (free time songs),
songs and stories of coming and going, whale hunting, and whale saving. Many
of the selections are lively, participatory songs with catchy choruses, or
tunes that get the hands clapping, and the toes tapping. One of the
highlights of the program incorporates the use of volunteers chosen from the
audience to create a "foo-foo" band, using an assortment of rhythm
instruments that have been played at sea for centuries. This sort of rhythm
band is reminiscent of those that flourished on shipboard, and in immigrant
communities. Other highlights in the program are: recorded whale sounds;
assorted artifacts (a vertebra, scrimshawed whale teeth, baleen, spermaceti
candles, a harpoon and lance); a simulated capstan, and optional slides.
In Search Of The Whale can be presented generally or specifically, depending
on the sponsor's needs, in either classroom or assembly formats. It is an
ideal supplement for: "Voyage Of The Mimi" studies; units on Melville; groups
that are studying (or adopting) whales and/or whaling; groups that are
preparing for a whale-watch; and marine biology classes.
Tom Callinan has participated in dozens of whale-watches in the Northeast and
on the West Coast. As a performing member with, and business manager for The
Morgans, one of the Northeast's most enduring and popular sea-music bands, he
has appeared in thousands of schools and other concert venues for over
twenty-five years. Two recordings: "Soundings For The Whale" and "Saturday
Night At Sea" are available for purchase Crackerbarrel Entertainments (see
website's catalog page).
Tom has been a member of *Cetacean Society International (formerly The
Connecticut Cetacean Society), one of the world's leading "save the whale"
groups since its founding in 1973. For much of that time he has served as a
board member and he was its membership coordinator for a decade. He is a
member of the National Marine Educators Association, and he serves on the
National Advisory Board for National Week of the Ocean, Inc, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Here's a link to the website for the Berry School in Bethel, CT featuring Tom presenting "in search of the whale." Click on the picture!
*"Cetacean" is the scientific classification of marine mammals including
whales, dolphins, and porpoises.