Stormin' Bob Swanson

Blogging Bob

Telling tales out of school

While my summer tour is still a few months away, I’m knocking the dust off my instruments and demonstrations with a couple of local events. Yesterday, I played at Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary’s after-school science club.

After my program, the kids had a bunch of questions for me. One that stuck out was, “Why did you decide to write songs about the weather?” The answer is — out of necessity. When I first started as a TV weatherman, I was assigned to speak to a group of preschoolers in Rogers, AR. I had been a high school teacher, but had very limited experience with the 3-5 year-old set. I had a poster of clouds from my classroom and that was about it . . . after 10 minutes, those kids were done with me, and I was done with them.

At the time I thought, “If school presentations are going to be part of the job, I’ve got to spice up my act.” I had been playing guitar for a couple of years, but had never attempted to write a song. So why not try to write a weather-themed song. The first two songs I wrote were “The Weather Riddle Song” and “The Weather Wiggle.” Once I started playing those during my presentations, word got around. Teachers and librarians have a special “grapevine” — and pretty soon they were calling the station to schedule presentations, but not just with any meteorologist. They wanted the guy with the guitar.

Word-of-mouth is still my best advertisement. After playing my show at HWS Elementary yesterday, I was stopped in the carpool line (dropping off my middle son) at Partnership Middle School this morning. The music teacher asked if I was weather guy with the guitar. He’s now going to pass my contact info along to a teacher friend of his who is looking for an outreach partner — I expect I’ll be getting a call or email soon.

If you’re a friend or fan, feel free to spread the word about me to your favorite teacher or librarian. I still have plenty of good spots to fill in my summer schedule.

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