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The Voice - or perhaps not!:

Not blessed with a voice, Caroline still loves to sing!
By Caroline McMahon
Date: June 02 2014
Editor Rating:

I was recently sitting with some friends at one of their homes over our regular Sunday night dinner.  We were chatting and catching up with each other’s week, when in the background, the television that had been left on had the new Australian version of 'The Voice' was on.

We were discussing that we liked this format that the judges were listening to the voice rather than hearing and seeing the whole package of the person before them. Our conversation then drifted to our own singing abilities, or in my case, lack thereof. While I love music, can read and play it, I was never blessed with a tuneful or pleasant singing voice. My husband can sing quite well and fortunately our sons inherited this from him.

At my secondary school we had a very keen music teacher, Sister Cecelia, whose love for the Sound of Music,  saw us learn every song in the movie.  While that is also one of my favourite movies, for a time I did begin to dread music lessons at school. Many of the songs are just so high pitched and not even close to the very poor and limited range that I did possess.

I always seemed to be lined up with some magnificent singers in my class. They just opened their mouths and out would come this beautiful sound. Way before Milli Vanilli, I learned to lip sync so as not to embarrass myself - but also so that I could enjoy the lovely singing from my school buddies around me.

Being at a Catholic school, we had many masses of which there is a lot of singing. Same thing, I just mouthed along so as not to draw stares from those around me, trying to keep my singing secret to myself. Rock masses starting to become popular in the mid 1980s and this was a blessing for the untuneful like myself. The bang of the drums and wailing of electric guitars were to be my saviour for a few years until rock masses were ousted.  

Some years later, I would take my Mum to midnight mass at Christmas. By then she had well and truly had a few Christmas champagnes and in good spirits.  She loved the Christmas hymns and would sing in her very high and operatic pitch for the whole congregation to hear. I was shocked by her hymns with gusto that I couldn’t make a sound.

When my boys were young, I would sing to them often. They loved a good sing along and music appreciation times that we had of an evening when I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. I remember my eldest boy being around 4-years-old when he took my face in his chubby little hands and looked straight into my eyes and told me I was the best singer in the world.  It just shows that love is not only blind, but tone deaf as well!!  

As the years went by and boys were exposed to more and more music, they must have worked out that, in fact, I was not the best singer in the world. Not only my singing, but the accompanying dances, were no longer fun or cool and I started to receive a lot of complaints and requests by my sons for me to stop.

One morning I must have been in a particularly good mood and found myself singing in the shower. My then primary school aged sons came running down to my ensuite with so much noise and I thought something was wrong.

Through half shampooed hair, I tried to see if there was blood, bruises or broken limbs ( the 'three Bs' when boys look concerned).  None of these. After a minute of trying to establish what the problem was, it seems they had heard a lot of awful sounds, like I was having a heart attack, coming from my bathroom and rushed to see that I was ok. My happy singing had been misinterpreted for a pain, and I was therefore sworn to never sing in the shower ever, ever again.  So now there was no where that I could express my inner voice.

As technology advanced, I found myself with an ipod and then iphone, with all my favourite music on it. I wait until everyone at home goes out and while cooking or cleaning, I plug my earphones in and let it rip.

The songs of the day depends on my mood, but I can usually find something reflects how I'm feeling.  ABBA is my fall back as this never fails to disappoint. I sing, wiggle, jiggle and shuffle my way around my home and fortunately can’t hear my own voice, thanks to excellent earphones.

Once again my inner songstress can emerge and take flight, only to be quickly paused when I see my family pulling into the driveway.  I am thankful for my polite or deaf neighbours who have not yet complained.

I will continue to sing along to ABBA for the rest of my days in peace.

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