Sunday, April 24, 2005

Adventures in Anthem singing

Once again the sordid saga of anthem singing has raised its head. The latest installment of the botched song of national pride happening in Quebec City, when young Caroline Marcil forgot the words to the Star Spangled Banner, well before the rocket's red glare Caroline blanked out, stepped out and then nearly passed out. Heading for an exit she went to get a lyric sheet, returning to the ice only to fall backwards as the red carpet underneath went in a different direction than her.

By now completely flustered and deciding that this show doesn't necessarily have to go on, Marcil fled for the safety of the dressing room as the crowd expressed it's displeasure. For Caroline however the ending to a nightmare would be a feel good story after all, she was flown to New York at the expense of Good Morning America Sunday where she belted out the anthem to an appreciative crowd.

This brings back memories of past anthem debacles, the most glaring one from a Canadian point of view had to be when the CFL launched it's ill fated expansion to the USA. With a smattering of teams in far flung cities whole new audiences would be introduced to the joyful music of Calixa Lavalle's Oh Canada with english lyrical content courtesy of Robert Stanley Weir. Although many might be forgiven if they thought they heard that tune before, in a seasonal nature.

KC Parks a Las Vegas lounge singer was given the task of introducing Nevada to the glory of Canada. Struggling with his pitch and his tone, KC decided to free form it' giving Oh Canada the musical timbre of O Christmas Tree. It was a cause celebre above the 49th parallel for a few weeks and eventually died down, in fact if memory serves correct KC was given a second chance as well, at a CFL game in Canada where he pretty well figure out the scales for the tune. So lets call it a draw in the great anthem adventure.

However, the USA is still ahead in upside down flag parades. Many Canadians still remember the Blue Jays-Braves World Series where the Maple leaf was led onto the field stem up, point down. In the end all is forgiven, for truth be told there's enough bad anthem singing and pre game miscues to go around. So Caroline has nothing to worry about, her moments of horror turned into redemption. But perhaps we're learning why the big stars lip sync their moments of national passion, better to be rehearsed than cursed!

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