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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: National Anthem

It's Not About You

Andrew Hitz

A video went viral over the weekend of Mark Donnelly singing O Canada in front of a sold out hockey arena in Canada.  Donnelly, who has sang the Canadian National Anthem before games on many occasions, decided to sing this version while on ice skates.  You can probably already tell this isn't going to end well...

He begins skating around the rink while singing and shortly thereafter he ends up skating right at the ceremonial red carpet that was still on the ice from the opening ceremony.  Without any warning at all his feet stop while the rest of his body keeps going and he falls to the ice - hard.  But a magical thing happened.  HE KEPT SINGING.

He then stumbled to get up since the carpet was still underneath him and yet HE KEPT SINGING.  He finally got to his feet and continued to skate around the ice and finish the performance.  He didn't get angry.  He didn't get embarrassed.  He didn't even stop to look at the carpet.  He just kept right on doing the only thing he was charged with doing: singing the anthem.

In an interview the next day I saw him mention that the carpet was supposed to be up at that point.  Someone messed up.  And yet he wasn't even mad about it the next day.  His reaction is exactly what I strive to do as a performer.  The only thing that matters is the audience so when I get upset that a passage didn't go as it "should have" I am making it all about me.

(Previous Post: Abandon All Hope For a Better Past)

Donnelly's reaction was admirable, professional, and inspiring.  Never make it about yourself.  Always make it about the audience.


Monday YouTube Fix: 'N Sync (Just Trust Me)

Andrew Hitz

I doubt many of you were expecting me to post a link to a boy band as a part of this series.  But watch this clip and you'll understand why... This is from Game 3 of the 2000 World Series in New York.  I was over at a friends house in New York City and was not in a good mood since either the Yankees or the Mets were going to win the title.  New York is the greatest city in the world but let's just say I don't exactly pull for their sports teams! When it was announced that 'N Sync was going to be singing the national anthem I started ranting about the fact that out of all the great musicians in that city they had to choose these guys?! You can hear from the very beginning of the clip I was not alone.  The crowd was not thrilled.

And then something happened.  Both me and the crowd were forced to shut up and listen because this boy band could sing their butts off.  Who knew?!? Not this opinionated tuba player, that's for sure.  This is a pretty stunning performance.  They understood what almost no pop star in the world seems to these days: the star of the show at the point is the anthem.  The melody is prominent and not overly embellished.  This is a great arrangement and they nail the you know what out of it.

Similar to a visiting sports team "taking the crowd out of it", that's exactly what they did here.  That place is silent a minute into this clip.  I stopped painting all boy bands with a broad brush after this performance.  Click on something by the Backstreet Boys and you'll instantly hear that they can't sing their way out of a wet paper bag.  But I stopped the 'N Sync jokes after this performance.  They left me, and a lot of New Yorkers, shaking our heads that night.