OXFORD -- What's better than a snow day phone call? A snow day song, of course.
Meet Bob Magnuson the singing chief school administrator of Oxford Central elementary school, who has made about 30 snow day songs over the past four years, including yesterday's "Piano Man" parody. (Listen to it in the video, above.)
It all started four years ago, when Magnuson, 56, says he got bored repeating the same snow day speech after 11 snow days that school year. He instead sung a snow day ditty to Black Sabbath's "Crazy Train."
"The chorus was, 'We're going off the rails in a snow day train,'" he remembers, laughing.
Usually, when snow day decisions are made the morning of the snowfall, Magnuson is holed up in his office at 4 or 5 a.m. making the call songs, says his wife LuAnn, a retired speech language therapist. They know not to come in while he is "creating," Magnuson adds.
"When he did the first one, I wasn't surprised at all," she says. "He definitely is a kid at heart. I think it's a great way for him to connect with the people of Oxford and show he's a real person and not just an administrator."
Amongst Magnuson's biggest hits were Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" (Hello Oxford, my old friend...), One Direction's "Story of My Life," and the Beatles "Revolution" (You say you want to have a snow day...).
Magnuson says he really isn't much of a singer or musician, adding that all he knows how to play is "the radio." But he says he loves music and putting a smile on the faces of his students and their parents. Last year, Magnuson was selected as principal of the year by the PTA.
The process of making up the lyrics sometimes takes only few minutes if he's really inspired and then he records the call a handful of times. Some parents have even made requests, but Magnuson says he never divulges what song is next on his list.
"My closest friends take a lot of shots about what a dork I am and all that," he says. "But the kids and parents seem to love it."
Folks passed around his most recent message on Facebook, with parents from other districts saying they wished their principals were this much fun.
"It's an easy job to have fun in," Magnuson says. "I'm around little kids all the time, and we ask them to take risks with their education and to challenge themselves, so I think it's okay that they see their principal have fun and do things differently."
Jessica Remo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaRemoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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