A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/21)
“What do you call two witches who live together?"/"Broommates.” (10/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/21)
“So far eating hasn’t filled the emptiness I feel inside, but I’m no quitter” (10/21)
“Knives should be named chopsticks” (10/21)
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Entry from April 19, 2012
“No one can whistle a symphony; it takes a whole orchestra to play it” (teamwork aphorism)

“No one can whistle a symphony; it takes a whole orchestra to play it” is a popular saying about teamwork that has been attributed to Halford E. Luccock (1885-1961), a professor of homiletics at the Yale Divinity School. A 1954 book described that Professor Luccock, upon being told that Miss Daisy Brown will whistle Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, said “‘Gentlemen, Miss Daisy Brown will do nothing of the sort!’ His point was that you can’t render a great symphony by a whistling solo.”

“You can’t whistle a symphony; it takes an orchestra to play it” appeared in print by at least 1961.


Wikiquote: Halford E. Luccock
Halford Edward Luccock (1885–1961) was a prominent American Methodist minister and professor of Homiletics at Yale’s Divinity School.

The Quote Garden
Quotations about Teamwork
No one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it.  ~H.E. Luccock

Google Books
Roadblocks to Faith
By James A. Pike and John M. Krumm
New York, NY: Morehouse-Gorham Co.
1954
Pg. 110:
At the bottom of the program was this astonishing notation: “Miss Daisy Brown will whistle Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.” Professor Luccock said wryly, “Gentlemen, Miss Daisy Brown will do nothing of the sort!” His point was that you can’t render a great symphony by a whistling solo. No more can you render Christianity by solo performance.

Google Books
Proceedings of the Convention
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America
Volume 47
1961
Pg. 55:
I would like to conclude with this one phrase, you can’t whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it. That illustrates cooperation with capital “C”, and cooperation is one of the things for which Al Wilson is famous.

8 November 1961, The Daily Reporter (Dover, OH), pg. 1:
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play. It takes all of us working to gether to improve our community.

17 April 1963, Muscatine (IA) Journal, pg. 12, col. 4 ad:
Even 2 Birds
Can’t Whistle
a Symphony…
It Takes a Whole Orchestra
To Play It!
(Muscatine Development Corporation—ed.)

Google Books
Manage
National Management Association
Volume 22
1969
Pg. 22:
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it, and this is what we are learning on a national scale.

Google Books
Winning with Teamwork
By Katherine Karvelas
Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press
1998
Pg. 31:
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.
H. E. Luccock

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • (0) Comments • Thursday, April 19, 2012 • Permalink