York Factory Whistle ready for annual Christmas concert

York

For many people in York, it’s not officially Christmas until they hear the sounds of the York Factory Whistle.

Christmas carols played with the steam whistle have been a holiday tradition since 1955.

Donald E. Ryan, the current whistle master, took over the role after his father passed. 

Ryan uses a handmade measuring stick to hit the notes. His assistant holds the whistle valve open while crews outside use a generator to produce enough air for a 20-minute concert that can he heard up to 10 miles away.

“This is not for people that have perfect-pitch ears because this is not a musical instrument,” Ryan said.

The whistle broke the world record for being the loudest music without amplification from a nonmusical instrument.

The annual Christmas Eve concert begins at midnight.

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