Don Sineti & Tom Callinan Arts in Education Programs

 Don Sineti (L) and Tom Callinan (R)
photo by Joel Cook


Tom Callinan And Don Sineti are members of THE MORGANS, Connecticut's Premier Irish, Folk, and Sea Chantey Band. Masters of generating audience participation, their infectious performing style blends sea songs and traditional folksongs with folk-revival and original compositions. Their spirited presentation of sea chanteys (work songs), done in powerful harmony, punctuated by the primal sound of a bodhran (traditional Celtic frame drum), recalls the days of wooden ships and iron men. Ballads and songs about the environment and the plight of the world's endangered whales bring out Tom And Don's more sensitive side. With banjo, concertina, guitar, spoons, bodhran, ocarina, penny whistles, bones, and limberjack, Tom And Don effortlessly shift gears from ballads to toe-tapping instrumentals, to silly songs with even sillier gestures. Since 1971, they have presented their extensive repertoire of Irish, British Isles, and American folk music throughout the Northeastern United States and elsewhere. Their programs can be either specific or eclectic in theme, depending on the needs of the sponsoring school, library, museum, or organization. They are ideal for inter-generational/family audiences and fund-raisers. To date, Tom And Don have appeared on all six cassette albums released on the MORGAN PRODUCTIONS label: "Go To Sea Once More"; "Second Voyage"; "Three Sheets To The Wind"; "Soundings For The Whale" [an accompanying educational lyrics booklet, featuring some of Don's award-winning whale illustrations, is available for this album]; "Ceili On The High Ground"; and "20 Years Before The Mast". They have also appeared on solo recordings and numerous albums or anthologies with a variety of artists.


PLEASE NOTE: Tom and Don's repertoire is extremely broad, with literally hundreds of songs and tunes in their collective songbag. The programs below may be tailored to specific curricular goals. Or, they may be general in theme (maritime, Irish, etc.), depending on the scope/design of each sponsor's event.

Songs And Tales Of Ships And Whales

Tom and Don bring their knowledge and love of the sea to a program of sea history, nautical lore, and fo'c'stle ballads. Salty tales of pirates, whalers, rogues, and reprobates may be included, as well as hearty renditions of chanteys (work songs). Some feature the implementation of "home-made" apparatus to simulate the experience of working on a ship for volunteers selected from the audience.

Folksongs - Old And New

Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Canadian, Australian, American. Traditional, folk-revival, contemporary, and original. Well-known and obscure. Introduced as to their origin, history, and use. Choruses are taught. Tom and Don are self-accompanied on a variety of musical instruments from the wind, string, and percussion families.

Songs For The Earth

A potpourri of participatory songs about human interaction with the natural world. Included are traditional folksongs about animals and nature, as well as contemporary songs and original compositions about numerous environmental issues, such as: recycling, soil conservation, loss of critical habitat, rainforest preservation, etc.

Instruments And Instrumentals

Banjo, concertina, guitar, spoons, bodhran, ocarina, penny whistles, bones, and limberjack combine for old-timey dance tunes and lilting Irish/British Isles melodies that have been played in New England for hundreds of years. Each instrument is described and played in isolation, and then as lead and accompaniment. Rhythm instruments are often distributed to volunteers selected from the audience to form a "foo-foo" band, reminiscent of those found in immigrant communities, or on ship-board in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th Centuries.

Drawn By The Song Of The Sea

Don's award-winning and extremely accurate graphic representations of Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and other marine mammals are juxtaposed with other contemporary and historical (sometimes hysterical!) views of whales through the eyes of humans. The Kendall Whaling Museum of Sharon, Massachusetts has generously donated slides of selected prints and paintings from its archives. Music, songs, and an assortment of hands-on artifacts raise the lecture/demo format to a multi-media experience.