1787. A phenomenal singing voice
© Bruce Goodman 11 April 2020

The range of Conrad’s singing voice was phenomenal. People listened in disbelief. Conrad could sing Ol’ Man River as if he was the deepest of Wagnerian basses. He could sing Summertime like he was Victoria de los Ángeles on a good day. Honestly, he almost made the range of a piano sound like a squeezebox. And he was note perfect. “He has perfect pitch,” said Michelle Farquhar who was an accomplished violinist and played in the local orchestra.

He hadn’t had the opportunity to get into opera. His musical presentations were usually spontaneous – at parties or gatherings when someone would say, “Come on, Conrad. Give us a song!” And Conrad, unaccompanied, would present a song displaying the most unbelievable range from classical to pop to country to spirituals. He even had a bit of punk tucked up his sleeve. What a triumph! In a pub, once he had sung, Conrad would never have to buy himself another drink. Party goers would buy them for him. Of course, once he had had a few he would break into song again with only the tiniest encouragement. Often listeners were in tears. Upon hearing him for the first time, Mildred McVie was uncontrollable.

He may have had a phenomenal range, but his voice was absolutely horrible. The tone was hideous. It was quite the most grating voice in the universe. As Nick Sorenson said, “He’s definitely an entertaining party piece, but I’d rather listen to the lawn mower.” Mildred McVie still goes into paroxysms even though it’s a good week since she heard him.

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