The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 20, 2012
VIDEO: Caltrans Choir delivers holiday humor and good cheer

We spent the time with the Caltrans Choir this afternoon as the group performed at the Capitol rotunda during the prime lunch-hour slot, mixing Yuletide standards with a few venerable songs whose lyrics had been humorously redesigned with a nod to state employment.

This video captures one of the latter, "Oh Tinker Toys," set to the music of the classic, "Oh Tannenbaum." You can follow the lyrics below the video.

(And before you ask, the singers and Director Rex Cluff practice and perform during meal times and breaks, not state time.)

Oh Tinker Toys
(sung to the tune of "O'Tannenbaum")
Lyrics by Shirleigh Brannon, former Caltrans librarian

Oh Tinker toys, Oh Tinker toys,
You'll get a set for Christmas
Oh Tinker toys, Oh Tinker toys,
You'll get a set for Christmas
Someday you'll be an engineer.
We'll start you at age three, my dear
With Tinker toys, with Tinker toys.
Someday you'll work for Caltrans.

A cardboard box, a cardboard box,
We'll cut it up with scissors
A cardboard box, a cardboard box,
We'll cut it up with scissors
A corrugated cardboard sheet
Becomes a bridge for roads and creeks
A cardboard box, a cardboard box,
Can you say "orthotropic?"

With sticks and blocks and dirt and rocks
You'll learn to build a highway
With sticks and blocks and dirt and rocks
You'll learn to build a highway
Though sandbox paths you draw today
Someday you'll plan the new freeways
With Tinker toys, with Tinker toys,
You'll learn to work for Caltrans.

Want a little holiday bonus cheer? Cluff shared the lyrics for two other Caltrans Choir favorites with a state worker twist: "Build the Roads" (inspired by "Silver Bells") and "The Twelve Days of Caltrans" (which you can sing to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas").

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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