The Star Spangled Banner, Hockey and Memory Lane


There is something enchanting, breath-taking, simply beautiful about America’s anthem. Though I love Canada’s national anthem, it isn’t quite as “accomplished” in my mind as its Neighbor to the south. There is just something about its melody that is so…moving…and is almost impossible to sing without passion. I think it really is just the range of the anthem and how much I love singing it 🙂

So naturally, I take any opportunity to sing the anthem I can: college campus in Spain, Bullbranch after dinner, LU basketball games and the all-time Canadian sport HOCKEY!! It had been years since I had opened an athletic event with my rendition of the US anthem; so as I stood, shifting my weight (clearly giving away my nerves) at the LaHaye Ice Center last night, waiting for the boys to skate out on the rink, I had plenty of time to intrapersonally walk down memory lane.

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For nearly two years straight in undergrad, I was the anthem singer. There were so many Canadians on LU’s hockey team back then, both the Canadian and the US anthem was sung; which meant I was able to vocally pay homage to both countries at every home game. We didn’t have our own rink back then, so we used the Roanoke Express (minor hockey league’s) rink.

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It was at one of those games I happened to be singing the anthem while the GM of the Express was still in the arena. I remember coming off the rink and he handed me a card saying he’d like to have me sing for one of the Express’ games. One phone call and a few weeks later, I was walking out on a red carpet into the middle of the arena and before 3,000 people, belting out the US anthem like a true patriot!

Ahhh…the irony. Canadian singing the US anthem at a HOCKEY game. Unlike American celebrities (Jesse McCartney), not only did I know all the words to the anthem, I was able to sing it with a little soul 🙂

Last night, after a die-hard LU hockey fan offered a fist pound to congratulate me on my performance, and a former student declared the final few strains of the anthem I’d sung gave her goose bumps; the comment was made: “If you can sing the anthem like an American, you should be able to be an American.”

I agree. Now if someone would just notify INS…

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