Warthog Face Singing…..Why I SIng Out Loud and Don’t Worry About It

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I love to sing…… Love. It.

I’m not really all that great at it. In fact, I’m pretty bad.  It’s a fact I’m pretty comfortable with by now.  I’ve been told it’s bad by several well-respected people in my life.  When I was in the 7th grade choir, the director pulled me aside one afternoon and suggested that I might want to join the band.

“I’m that bad?” I asked.

“You sing like a dying frog.” He answered.  We struck a deal.  I could stay in the choir class and fill out the group in concerts if I would only promise to not sing out loud.  I was a “mouth singer” only.  I shrugged my shoulders and didn’t care.  I got to stay in the choir with my friends and I got an ‘A’ because I never sang in class again.

By the time I went to Catholic school in the 10th grade, I was lip syncing my way through Mass.  I had seen the cringe of those around me on Sunday mornings, and I wasn’t risking my high school coolness by screeching my way through the hymns I loved.

One day, Sr Agnes Marie (old hook-nose herself) pulled me aside after Mass.  I was a nice girl and knew the Mass.  I actually prayed which was more than many of my classmates would do.  Why wouldn’t I sing?  I told her simply that I sound like a dying frog when I sing.  I’m not sure what happens to my normal speaking voice once it is set to music, but it’s not pretty.

She raised her eyebrows and tried not to laugh.  (She was a full-habit-to-the- floor wearing nun, so no funny business there.)  “People with beautiful voices should sing out loud,” she told me. “but you should sing louder.  If you offend the ear of God enough, He might take mercy on us all and change it for you, He is merciful after all.  If God, who is the author of all Creation, can see beauty in the face of a warthog, surely He can find the loveliness in the effort that you make.”

So, that’s why I sing out loud at Mass and don’t care one whit who can hear me.  I realized long ago that there are people in this world whose voices show the beauty and wonder of our God.  They sing and the angels sing with them.  Then there’s me, the warthog face singer.  I sing and all of creation marvels at his benevolence.  He hasn’t struck me mute yet.  He truly is a kind and tolerant God, and you can hear it when I sing.

Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Cradle Catholic who came back to the Church in 2000, and thanks God for it every day. She lives just outside Dallas with her husband, the brilliant Computer Guy, their 7 not-quite-perfect children, and an ever-multiplying family of dust bunnies. When she’s not teaching math, neglecting housework, or reluctantly training for a marathon, she’s blogging at Shoved to Them.

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5 thoughts on “Warthog Face Singing…..Why I SIng Out Loud and Don’t Worry About It”

  1. Avatar

    Used to have a ‘somewhat’ passable bass voice, could not read a lick of music but could follow notes up and down, but now it is just above a whisper, maybe He is telling me ‘enough already’ give it a rest. Glad Sister told you to sing out loud, and hope you don’t lose your voice any time soon.

  2. Pingback: Warthog Face Singing…..Why I SIng Out Loud and Don’t Worry About It | cathlick.com

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    I, too, used to avoid singing in Mass. That all changed when the assistant priest at my parish devoted a homily to the subject of singing in Mass. Father said that if God gave you a “bad” singing voice, then give it right back! Applying his sense of humor to my poor voice gave me the courage to join in. Besides, I think St. Augustine said something along the lines of, “He who sings prays twice.” I’m not about to miss out on the benefits of giving my voice right back to God.
    Nice article. Thanks.

  4. Avatar

    Thank you for the article. It is uplifting to know that I am not the only one who suffered from that humiliation. I have refrained from singing since the 8th grade when the choir director, a nun, asked me to step to the back of the choir. My inability to sing on key disturbed her organ playing. Now, as I take Communion to the elderly in nursing homes and often must lead a Communion service complete with singing, I sing along with the folks I am serving. Since God gave me my voice, it must please Him when I use it. I realized that most of the folks with whom I sing at the nursing home just want to sing too, even though their voices are scratchy and often weak. Most of these beautiful people, like me now, have become a little hard of hearing and my voice just blends in with theirs. May God bless you especially when you sing!

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