The world’s loudest music without amplification from a non-musical instrument – encore
Whistle Master Don Ryan is at the helm of the steam whistle in this York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News file photo. Background posts: 20 questions and answers to prove your York smarts and Musical factory whistle drowns out N.Y. Wire’s WWII feats.
The New York Wire Company’s annual steam whistle concert will be a blast again this year.
That is the York-area’s iconic concert in which an old factory whistle, with a sliding valve, blasts holiday music. The concerts are even available on CDs. (For additional posts on the whistle, see N.Y. Wire Cloth/Whistle. For a sample of its sounds, find link at: Whistle … by the numbers).
In a press release, Mark Platts, head of event supporter Lancaster-York Heritage Region, provided a heads up:
For more than 50 years, Yorkers have heard the carols of Whistle Master Don Ryan performed early Christmas morning on the New York Wire Company’s factory steam whistle. Local traditions like the whistle concert are important because they celebrate who we are as a people – they are the heritage we pass on to future generations, just as those before passed them on to us.
The Christmas carols are played annually at 12:15 a.m. on December 25th from the steam whistle located atop the New York Wire Company plant at 441 East Market Street in York. In order for the music that the Ryan family has written to be on key, the steam pressure needs to be maintained at a constant level throughout the concert. Thus the steam boiler is a key component of each musical performance.
As many readers will remember, the 2005 concert did not happen because the boiler providing steam for the whistle failed shortly before the music was to start. In 2006, a community effort to preserve the tradition was aided by 21st century technology. Instead of making costly repairs to a 57-year old boiler, which no longer heats the factory, new permanent steam and electrical connections to the exterior of the factory were installed so that an enclosed portable oil boiler system could be attached. This year, plans are to once again truck in a portable boiler to make the concert possible.
Platts’ agency is seeking additional contributions to maintain this holiday tradition:
Those wishing to make donations may send their tax deductible contributions to: STEAM WHISTLE CONCERT FUND, c/o People’s Bank, 48 East Market Street, York, PA 17401.
For more information about the Steam Whistle Concert, please visit the Lancaster-York Heritage Region website at www.StoriesoftheLand.com.