Mt. Juliet woman claims world whistling title
By KEN BECKSpecial to The Wilson PostAfter traveling 8,000 miles around the world, Mt. Juliet’s Pat Sonnier puckered up and whistled her way to a world title recently.Sonnier won the senior female division at the 2010 International Whistlers Convention near the end of May in Qingdao, China, at Qingdao University.“It was exciting, but there were only seven women, so there wasn’t all that much competition,” Sonnier said of her victory, which she won by whistling one pop and one classical tune, “Summertime” and “Hungarian Dance,” respectively.The event also drew 10 children and 51 men as competitors also came from India, Japan, Norway and Mongolia. “Most of them were Chinese, and there were three competitors from the U.S.,” she said.Her first-prize purse included a glass trophy, a book about China and a small amount of Chinese money, which she gave to the college girls who interpreted for her and her husband, John, who coerced her into entering the contest.“John found out about it on the Internet in January. He said, ‘I want to take you there.’ We talked about it for a while. I was not too hot about going clear to China. It worked out fine. We enjoyed it.“I was real impressed by the friendliness of the people, and John and I were both interviewed on Chinese television. The person conducting the interview spoke only Chinese, and the girls from the university tried to interpret, but they weren’t real proficient.“I bet I had my picture taken 150 times because I was the only woman from the U.S. to win. All these guys (the male whistlers) wanted their picture taken with me.”The retired registered nurse discovered her talent at age 9, a gift she shares with others. “This year has been one of my busiest years,” Sonnier said, estimating she that she will perform 30 times this year for churches, civic organizations and nursing homes.Will she return to defend her world title in two years?“I doubt it,” she said. “This is my third one (world-class competition), and I think that might be enough, but I might change my mind.”Ken Beck may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.