Community: Whistling champ displays her chops for sisterhood

Community: Whistling champ displays her chops for sisterhood
Celebrating the Philanthropic Educational Organization's Founders' Day are, from left, chapter presidents Joan Bethanis, Chapter ES; Mary Alvord, Chapter U; and Marcia Roberts, Chapter EO; with Burbank Reciprocity Bureau President Lori Moen, Chapter U. (Courtesy of Joyce Rudolph)

Nope. It wasn't a tea kettle whistling. It was Carole Anne Kaufman, aka the Whistling Diva, who performed at the Philanthropic Educational Organization's Founders' Day celebration on Jan. 20 at the Burbank First United Methodist Church.

A world champion whistler, Kaufman literally subscribes to the adage "whistle while you work."


In addition to competing internationally, she entertains at private parties and for organizations. She opened the program with the lively "La Bamba" accompanied by a recording, then demonstrated the various techniques, such as throat whistling and teeth whistling.

She segued into "I Could Have Danced All Night," with which she won the world championship competition in Japan.


Her finale was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Listening were more than 55 members from the three chapters that make up the Burbank Reciprocity Bureau.

As each chapter is identified by initials, the Burbank chapters are U, EO and ES.

Lori Moen, the reciprocity bureau president and a member of Chapter U, gave background on the organization's history, noting that it is celebrating 149 years, thus the appropriate theme for the day "Generations of Love."


The sisterhood was founded in 1869 by seven young women at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Its purpose is to support the educational advancement of women.

There are now 230,000 women in the organization around the world.

Students can apply for financial help through loans, scholarships and grants. They also can apply to Cottey College in Missouri, which is owned by the sisterhood.

A special guest at the luncheon was Miracle Macias, a senior at John Burroughs High School.

The three chapters provided her airfare and tuition to attend a weeklong workshop last summer at Cottey College, where she made many friends and memories.

She has been accepted at Cottey, but is undecided on where she will continue her studies in developmental/forensic psychology.

She has already attended classes at Woodbury University related to addiction to familiarize herself with issues and concerns of neurotic and self-destructive behavior.

She also speaks four languages — English, Spanish, French and American Sign Language. Her grade-point average is 3.83, and she ranks 89th out of a class of 647 students.


She has been a California Scholarship Federation member since 2014 and received an Advanced Placement Scholar Award in 2017.

She is an active member in several clubs at Burroughs, including the Body Positivity Club, Political Awareness Club, Sports Medicine Club, Person of Color Club and the Pre-Med Club.

She is also a co-captain for the high school's color guard team, which she has been a member of since 2014.

Each chapter shared in the event's responsibilities for the Founders' Day event.

Chapter ES, under President Joan Bethanis, chose the brunch menu, made the decorations and supplied publicity. Chapter U, guided by President Mary Alvord, came up with the program and secured the location. Chapter EO, led by Marcia Roberts, sent out the invitations, accepted reservations and made the name tags.

For brunch, Connie Barron Trimble, a member of Chapter EO, made a selection of baked quiches — bacon, bacon and sausage and vegetarian and completed the serving table with a fresh fruit bowl and assorted pastries, cookies and scones.

Her parents owned Barron's restaurant in town for many years, and Trimble is keeping the family tradition alive by cooking many of its tasty dishes — and some new ones — for community events through her Barron's Catering business.

Longtime members attending were 104-year-old Helen von Seggern, of Chapter EO, who has devoted more than 70 years to the group, while Jane Shanks, of Chapter U, has given more than 50 years.

Two Cottey College alumni attending were Susanna Robar, of Chapter EO, a member for 49 years; and Mary Ramsay, of Chapter ES, a member for more than 60 years.

And echoing the "Generations" theme, Ramsay's granddaughter also attended Cottey.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at