What is a "preacher's voice"?

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Mendalla

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So, I was just in Jamaica on holiday and a total stranger said something that kind of me has me going "hmmm". The Jamaican gentleman who drove us to the airport when we left said he had a friend who preaches in a church in Atlanta and that I had a "preacher's voice". I thanked him and told him that I had preached, though was not a "pro". Now, people have often praised me for how well I preach and on my voice, but to have a total stranger who has never heard me in a pulpit comment on it was ... odd. A sign? Or just him fishing for a tip (we did tip him)? What does it mean to have a preacher's voice and how would you recognize if you never heard the person preach?
 

Mrs.Anteater

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What does it mean to have a preacher's voice and how would you recognize if you never heard the person preach?
A pleasant, confident voice that carries well. There are also “ radio” voices.
No squeaky voice, no mumbling, no boring tone. Of course, all of this would also apply to people who read out loud publicly.
 

mgagnonlv

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I would concur with Mrs. Anteater.

Even today, many small parishes don't have microphones, so having a nice voice that carries as well as a good, clear articulation are two important factors to be able to carry one's message in a church with good acoustics for music.

Alas, it's less and less useful today, as we use more and more electronic amplification – often with excess volume – rather than promoting sound architectural design and good elocution.
 

Mendalla

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I would concur with Mrs. Anteater.

Even today, many small parishes don't have microphones, so having a nice voice that carries as well as a good, clear articulation are two important factors to be able to carry one's message in a church with good acoustics for music.

Alas, it's less and less useful today, as we use more and more electronic amplification – often with excess volume – rather than promoting sound architectural design and good elocution.
When I was preaching in the UU fellowship, I did go mike-less at time (I do have the vocal horsepower for it) but not a lot. We had put in a sound system that included support for hearing aids and using the mike was required for that to work.

The problem going forward is going to be that with congregations shrinking, I imagine more and more will be in non-traditional or even rented spaces. They simply won't have much control over the natural acoustics so sound systems will be the norm.

The aforementioned UU fellowship is in a hall originally built for an ethnic/national club so it's more like a school gym than a church save for some decorative touches made by the congregation (e.g. adding a podium with nice panelling and a couple stained glass windows behind it).
 

BetteTheRed

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If you do have a sound system, you are more inclusive of hard-of-hearing members who can use the headsets we provide on request;
 

BetteTheRed

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We were fortunate enough to inherit a rather nice sound board when a long-standing UCCan praise choir, Chaverim, petered out after many years. Ours was the last church they practised in, so...
 

Mendalla

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We were fortunate enough to inherit a rather nice sound board when a long-standing UCCan praise choir, Chaverim, petered out after many years. Ours was the last church they practised in, so...
Lucky. We had to buy ours. It was a nice addition, though. Finally got head mikes for speakers so we weren't chained to the lectern or waving a hand mike around. I always wanted to be able to move around more easily and that did it.
 

BetteTheRed

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We have a head mic, a lapel mic and 4 hand mics, as well as a nice "surround" mic on the lectern, which occasionally gives us feedback grief.
 
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