"Thumbs-Up For Connecticut!"
Songs, Stories, & Tunes From Connecticut's Past & Present
Tom Callinan has composed more songs about Connecticut than anyone in history. For this reason, he was honored in 1991 as Connecticut's 1 st “Official State Troubadour” via legislation passed by the Connecticut General Assembly, and signed by then – Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.
photo by Noel Tomas
illustration by Tom Callinan
Drawing on his extensive repertoire of folksongs, sea songs, chanteys, popular songs and tunes from a variety of times and places, and original compositions, Tom Callinan, former CT junior high school teacher, who was designated Connecticut's first "Official State Troubadour" (1991), and a Master Teaching Artist (1995) has constructed a program of diverse songs from Connecticut's past and present.
The songs reflect a wide thematic range: songs from Colonial and Revolutionary War periods; songs from the 1800's; through songs as current as today's on-going environmental crises. The participatory program is adaptable to any age audience, and may be presented in a concert/assembly format, or as a classroom workshop or residency. In the latter format, students would culminate their studies of local and state history, culture, customs, etc. by writing a song about some aspect(s) of their community.
Some of the songs included in the program are:
"The Connecticut Peddler" "Maple Sugar Time"
"Connecticut: More Than Just A Corridor" "Strawberry Socials"
"Thumbs Up For Connecticut!" (CT as viewed in relation to one's hand) "Save The Singing Bridge"
"The Universal River Song" (adaptable to any river, anywhere) "The Hills Of My Connecticut"
"The Constitution State" "Cheney Hall"
"Jolly Old Roger" (the tinmaker man) "Bridgeport By The Sea"
"Long Island Sound's Good To Me" "Christmas On The Shoreline"
"Yankee Doodle" (The Official State Song, ca. 1776) "Connecticut Is The Place For Me"
"You Can't Eat The Oysters In New Haven Harbor" "The Connecticut Whaler"
"Bloody Monday" (July 5, 1779, written in 1991) "Don't Go It Alone"
"Ode To 'B.W.'" (about the beluga whale shot in L.I. Sound in 1986) "March Of The Troubadours"
"The Battle Of Stonington" (ca. 1814) "New Britain Is The Place To Be"
"Connecticut's Lifeline: I-91" "Connecticut Day At The Big E"
"Samuel Huntington" "The Baldwin Bridge"
"The Connecticut Whaler" "Park River Song"
"East Hampton (Belltown"), Connecticut" "U.S.S. Connecticut"
"On Connecticut River Shore" "Thanks To Wyland"
"The Long Tidal River" "State Of The Arts"
"The Septic Sound" "Thanks To Bushnell"
"LOTTO Tonite" "Connecticut's Quiet Corner"
"Connecticut Grown" "The Still River Runs Still"
"The Shore Line East" (the commuter train between Old Saybrook-New Haven) "Technology Park"
"The Caribbean Ferry" traveling between New London and Orient Point, NY) "Symbolically Connecticut"
Tom Callinan's entertaining and informative narrative style brings his audiences into his performances with catchy choruses, interesting anecdotes, and an assortment of musical instruments from the string, wind, and percussion families.
Special attention is paid to passing on the age-old fundamentals of spoon-playing to contemporary folk.
"Callinan is an expert at getting the audience to take part in the performance."
- The Evening Gazette, Worcester, Mass.