Places to Play Your Whistle

When I mentioned that whistles need good acoustics to be their very best, I began to make a list of places to play. My brother Alan and I used to team up on guitar and the banjo and do the entertaining around the campfire in the evening at St. Froid lake. Folks around the lake would hear the music and drop by the big fire and listen for a while and cook hot dogs and marshmallows. Some nights we would draw a large crowd and on the Fourth of July, we would have an all night party with fireworks over the lake.

There is no place better to play than a big lake at night with a strong echo and the woods for a background. I remembered that sound and when I vacation, I travel with a whistle tucked in my luggage. Overpasses and bridges make awesome ampitheatres for playing the whistle.

My brother in law in Connecticut possesses a railroad bridge made of solid concrete just down the street from his house. I discovered it on a walk to town and it is the greatest sounding place to play a whistle you could ask for. Passersby often stop and listen for a bit and remark that they would have never thought about playing music there.

Empty buildings of about every sort are sound stages just waiting to be tried. This is a picture of the largest barn in northern Maine and was the site of many gatherings and barn dances. Although it is now gone, many folks remember the wonderful acoustics it possessed.

I have played whistle for folks cleaning fish in Marathon, Florida in the Keys, ladies selling at yard sales along the road, people waiting for a bus, an Amish family in a furniture store in Lancaster, the Captain of a fishing boat looking for schools of fish, folks under my porch, visitors in the Acoustically Perfect Barn out back, and a lot of places in between.

There is a spot in the middle of my field that is bounded on one side by my neighbors house and on the other by my barn. If you stand exactly right, you get a double echo off both buildings and in the evening it is a great place to play some important music. I’m sure you can find places like that everywhere you go if you are just aware of what you are looking for.