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.
Twelve year old Stacey Cunningham’s rendition of Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child was the clearly the highlight of the service held for Veterans yesterday, according to a spokesperson for the Veterans, who wished to remain anonymous. Since then, the committee has changed its tune.
Angelica Flopp thought that “the choice of song showed a great lack of sympathy for those present who may have been orphaned or lost a parent during the war. There was no need to rub it in.”
Billy Le Blanc agreed. “The song mentions religion, and it was most unsavoury having to listen to religious references when not everyone present was a believer. In fact, it was downright offensive to most of the audience who are either atheists or agnostics.”
As a result, the organizing committee have met and decided that next year, so as not to cause offense, all songs will be replaced with periods of silence.
Flora loved to play the piano. At any and every party she’d be first on the piano, thumping away at all the old tunes; not old, old tunes like When Johnny Comes Marching Home and On Top of Old Smokey, but popular oldies like Kum Ba Yah My Lord and We All Live in A Yellow Submarine. In theory they were songs everyone could join in singing – even young people. Flora loved to be the life of the party, except…
Flora’s talent was all in her mind. She couldn’t play the piano for nuts. Honest to goodness, a one armed chimpanzee with a paper bag on his hand would be better.
As soon as she started to play, everyone (or those without an ounce of civility) would exclaim, “Oh for shit’s sake! Not again!” But Flora wouldn’t hear. She’d be off on a second verse of the Theme from Doctor Zhivago. She knew how to ruin a good party.
So it was more than a little confusing when Flora had a stroke. People wished to express their sympathy, but the mere thought of Flora and her paralysed arms somehow filled them with a horrid delight.