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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The world’s greatest whistlers are coming to this competition in Hollywood – Orange County Register

When 26-year-old Sean Devey whistles in your ear it’s a thing of beauty.

Seriously, this is no joke.

When he puckers up his lips and whistles classical songs, it sounds like a lone violin lovingly serenading you with sweet whisper-soft notes echoing through your ears and pretty much melting your heart.

He’s that good at whistling.

In fact, the Pasadena resident is an elite level whistler who will be competing in The Masters of Musical Whistling International Festival and Competition on Sept. 22- 24 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Hollywood.

Yes, a whistling competition is a real thing.

“I think, like a lot of folks, you just kind of walk around and whistle, but at some point I guess I realized I was kind of good and I enjoy whistling a lot,” said Devey, who has been preparing for the competition by doing what he pretty much does every day, just whistling.

“I do a straight forward pucker whistle and I’ll whistle anything. Whenever there’s a song stuck in my head, I’ll whistle it absentmindedly as I go about my day,” he said.

The competition is produced by Carole Anne Kaufman, an elite whistler who wants to make sure people realize that whistlers are musicians, too.

“Our mission is all about bringing whistling to the forefront of the mainstream. Whistling has kind of been the little lost instrument that people decided didn’t matter and myself and my colleagues have spent decades bringing whistling into the forefront as an amazing and legitimate instrument,” said Kaufman, a two-time International Whistling Grande Champion at the now defunct International Whistlers Convention.

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“We are musicians, that is first and foremost. We love music and we love to whistle,” she said.

About 60 contestants are coming from all over the world to whistle in five competitive divisions where they will show off their skills performing classical and popular songs. Some will whistle alongside a live band for a chance to earn the coveted title of World Champion Whistler. There’s even a whistler’s karaoke party planned.

And just like there are different types of musicians, Kaufman said there are different styles of whistling that will be happening at the competition. They include puckering, which is when people simply pucker up their lips and blow, there’s also palatal whistling, throat whistling, hand whistling and finger whistling.

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