Former State Troubadour Visits Watertown Library

Jackson LaFrance (left) and Gianni Melaragno join Former State Troubadour Tom Callinan to perform a song called “Pitch, Yaw and Roll” at the Watertown Library’s children’s program, Space Challengers, on Wednesday, July 31. (Pietrorazio photo)

WATERTOWN — Former State Troubadour Tom Callinan presented Space Challengers, an educational music program, Wednesday, July 31 at the Watertown Public Library.

As a musical storyteller, Mr. Callinan shared a wealth of knowledge about space travel and NASA through stories and songs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing on July 20, 1969.

In the well-attended program in the children’s section of the library, parents and children listened and learned about astronauts, stars and the moon. 

Mr. Callinan, who has been collecting Apollo 11 memorabilia for the past 50 years, witnessed history first hand at the age of 10 when the Soviet Union satellite Sputnik was launched in 1957, and he watched along with the rest of the world when the Apollo 11 mission was successfully carried out when he was 22.

Fifty years later, at the age of 72, Mr. Callinan exudes that same excitement about astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins landing on the moon in 1969, especially when educating young people about this iconic moment. 

“I feel the same thing, [it’s] timeless,” he told the Town Times. 

He credits his passion to connect with children and make complex topics teachable moments to his experiences as a teacher and as a member of the Boy Scouts. 

Mr. Callinan has performed since 1977. 

He is a music and English graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a master’s degree from Wesleyan University, and uses music to educate and entertain audiences statewide. 

“We are very gratified with the wonderful turnout,” Assistant Library Director Dona Rintelman told the Town Times. 

Fifty-four library goers attended the family-friendly program. 

Ms. Rintelman mentioned that local anonymous donors provide funding each summer for children’s programming and the library tries “not to disappoint.”

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