Singing the National Anthem at a sporting event can be a harrowing experience. You’re up at the microphone, you’re already nervous, and you worry about hitting that one note during “And the rockets’ red glare” without your voice cracking.
That’s the American national anthem. Now if you’re going to sing the Canadian national anthem – which, by the way, is called “O Canada,” and comes in both English and French versions – do not mess with the lyrics.
Case in point. Years ago, when I worked in the Premier Basketball League, there was a team in Quebec City called the Kebs. I was at a game one night, and the person singing “O Canada” started off without a hitch … until the crowd noticed that the singer was performing the anthem completely in English. In Quebec City. In the heart of French-speaking Canada. And the crowd let her have it. Chants of “En Français! En Français, beetch!” And that was the classiest thing they could say.
Last night, at the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, a group known as “The Tenors” were hired to perform a reverent version of “O Canada” for the fans – remember, there’s at least one major league baseball team in the True North; two, as soon as the Oakland A’s officially move to Montreal and become the Montréal Eh’s. Ha.
Well, one of The Tenors decided this would be a perfect moment to change the lyrics to “O Canada” to suit the moment.
Did he make reference to Toronto’s José Bautista flipping the bat in an epic playoff home run? Mais non.
Did he remind people that the Blue Jays have won two World Series rings in the 1990’s? Mais non.
No, he decided to inject a reference to the “Black Lives Matter” / “All Lives Matter” debate.
The original lyrics are supposed to be, “O Canada / Our home and native land / True patriot love / in all thy sons’ command / With glowing hearts / we see thee rise / The True North strong and free…”
That’s not what this clown sang.
First off …
You can’t have “All Lives Matter” until you start having “Black Lives Matter,” also. But yeah, that.
Oh, and nice of you to hold up a sign that says “United We Stand” b/w “All Lives Matter.” Like we couldn’t see your handiwork on the JumboTron. And if you’re doing the Canadian National Anthem, shouldn’t that sign be in both English and French? Bilingual laws, don’tcha know.
To their credit – and along with some major damage control – The Tenors posted this message on their Twitter account.
— The Tenors (@TenorsMusic) July 13, 2016
Then again, this isn’t even the worst performance of a country’s national anthem at a San Diego baseball stadium.
This one still wins out. If you call this rendition “winning.”
Do me a favor, Tenors. Next time, if you’re going to perform a beloved Canadian anthem at a sporting event…
Could you please perform THIS song instead?
Thanks in advance.