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A neighborly test: Could you sing O Canada?

Canadian country singer Brett Kissel holds his faulty microphone asking the crowd to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the start of the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey round two playoff hockey game in Edmonton,
Canadian country singer Brett Kissel holds his faulty microphone asking the crowd to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the start of the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey round two playoff hockey game in Edmonton, AP

If I had to, I probably could sing most if not all of the Canadian National Anthem. Could you?

I admit, I have some built-in advantages. I grew up just three hours from the Canadian border. My great-grandparents were French-Canadian and came to New England from Quebec. I also watched a lot of hockey growing up, and it’s customary for performers to sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems if the visiting team is from across the border.

That’s what just happened in an NHL playoff game in Edmonton, too, and it turned into a really cool moment.

As the Associated Press reports, a microphone malfunctioned Sunday as Canadian country singer Brett Kissel was about to perform the Star Spangled Banner. A quick-thinking Kissel invited the crowd to do the honors for the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

The crowd nailed it.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">An incredible moment<br>When the mic doesn’t work, the crowd takes over &amp; belts out The Star-Spangled Banner...<br>...In Edmonton<br> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/pWvrlknbV6">pic.twitter.com/pWvrlknbV6</a></p>&mdash; NHL (@NHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL/status/858830817056890880">April 30, 2017</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

That wasn’t the first time an NHL crowd passed the anthem test. In 2014, fans in Toronto’s Canada Centre belted out an outstanding Star Spangled Banner after a similar technical glitch before a game with the Nashville Predators. Nashville’s fans returned the favor with “O Canada” the next time the Maple Leafs were in town, but they had the assistance of words on the scoreboard.

Could fans in any U.S. city do the deed without that kind of help? “Maybe Buffalo,” said Nashville forward Vernon Fiddler, who was born in Edmonton. “It’s right across the border.”

Edmonton, by the way, is not.

That’s not a knock on Americans, but it’s a reminder that we can sometimes be a little more self-centered than people in other countries. If you don’t like the feel of that, then maybe go learn something about someone else today. Maybe even a national anthem. The more voices together, the better.

Peter St. Onge

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