- Historic Sites
How a young New York society matron named Alice Shaw dazzled English royalty with her extraordinary embouchure
August/September 1982 | Volume 33, Issue 5
And they did too. Lota Stone still talks about “my whistlers.” One student, Annette Culley, is a housewife in Salem, Oregon, but in 1979 she was judged the best Contemporary and Country Western Whistler among women—at the World’s Second International Whistle-Off, held at Carson City, Nevada. A judge for this annual event was another of her students, Clifford W. Pratt, who teaches adult classes in whistling and recently published The Whistling Book . Both use the Bird Method, of course.
Is artistic whistling about to have a rebirth? Could another Alice Shaw come on the pop music scene and make Gold Records? Possibly, if she (or he) has the innate talent of an Alice J. Shaw or a Sybil Sanderson Pagan. But one thing is certain. As the editor of Harper’s Magazine wrote in 1892: “We only know that whereas they did not whistle with approval, now they do; the prejudice of generations gradually melts away. And woman’s destiny is not linked with that of the hen, nor to be controlled by a proverb—perhaps not by anything.”