Students form music group for whistling
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 02:09
The university, already host to offbeat clubs such the Tufflepuffs Quidditch team and Tufts Free Compliments, is now home to a new musical group: the Tufts Whistling Collective.
Group founder Charlie Meyer, a freshman, explained that the whistling ensemble aims to offer students another option for participating in the university’s music scene.
“In general, our idea is to make it easier for people to make music at Tufts,” he said.
The club will meet every Sunday at 2 p.m., according to organizing member Jackson Clawson. So far, Meyer said, about 15 people have shown interest in the new organization. Ten people attended the club’s first meeting last Sunday.
“It’s not an official club, so I was surprised how many people were there, given that there was no advertising about it,” Clawson, a freshman, said.
Unlike other musical groups around campus, Tufts Whistling Collective does not require members to audition or have any former ensemble experience, according to Meyer.
“There’s no words to remember,” Meyer said. “There’s no instruments to buy. It’s just casual, fun music-making.”
Group organizer Madeline Griego, one of the troupe’s earliest members, said she is particularly excited about Meyer’s idea because it is so welcoming to students with differing musical abilities.
“It’s a really fun happy-go-lucky style that is accessible,” Griego, a freshman, said. “Everyone has the [potential] to whistle.”
At the first meeting, the group discussed creating a “whistle grams” table outside of the dining halls, Meyer said. Students could pay the group to sing “Happy Birthday” to friends as part of a fundraising effort for charity.
“I feel like people would take well to that — here especially,” Meyer said. “People like that kind of stuff.”
Other short-term goals include performances for the campus community, according to Meyer.
“We would definitely want to have a concert or two a year,” he said. “I think it would be really fun for people to have an opportunity to show their newfound whistling talents.”
Griego said that the group will likely break into groups to work on separate numbers and reconvene during general meetings for a large group number. Their first piece will be a rendition of Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s “Spring,” in reference to the 2017 common reading book, “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do” by Claude Steele.
Having been involved with many woodwind and band troupes in the past, Meyer feels that musical groups have been an important part of his life and hopes to share the experience with others.
“I think everybody should have a chance to do that, even if they don’t want to dedicate lots of time and money to it,” Meyer said.
He added that he wrote one of his Tufts application essays in response to the question “What makes you happy?,” about whistling.
“It’s just something I’ve always liked to do,” Meyer said. “Whenever I’m walking somewhere I’m whistling, and I wanted to find people who share that interest ... What better place to do it but here?”
Currently, Tufts Whistling Collective is not a Tufts Community Union recognized club, Meyer said. The group plans to apply for recognition in the spring, he added.
“If it seems like people are consistently showing up, then we’ll definitely be going for that,” Meyer said. “And we wouldn’t really need much funding.”
Eventually, Meyer said, he hopes to send a member of the collective to the International Whistlers Convention held annually in North Carolina.
“Our goal would be to place some people in the world championships, because it’s not a very competitive sport,” he said. “I think some Jumbos could get up there.”
Meyer said that, based on his research, only one other college whistling group — from Northwestern University — exists in the United States.
“So we have potential to be the best in the country,” Meyer said.