Before most Caps home games, Sergeant Major Bob McDonald delivers a stirring, up-tempo rendition of the national anthem. With Montreal in town Saturday, McDonald also had to perform O Canada.
He did it in French. Perfectly.
“I used to do it whenever Montreal came to town, way back in the day,” McDonald said to me after the game. “Then I was asked to do it just in English and it stayed that way until tonight. I had asked the Caps a few weeks ago if I could do it and they were kind enough to say yes.”
Initially some Caps fans in attendance at Verizon Center were confused.
“Honestly, I thought he messed up the words at first and did a double take,” RMNB reader Stephanie Williams wrote in a text. “But seconds later I realized he was doing it in French. Honestly, it turned out amazing and we are very lucky we get to see him perform so often as Caps fans.”
Tonight’s game was shown on Hockey Night In Canada and Sportsnet aired both anthems live. McDonald was overwhelmed with praise on social media by French speaking Habs fans afterwards.
— Chantal Machabee (@ChantalMachabee) December 18, 2016
Hats off to @bobinarlington for singing the Canadian anthem in French and English. An impressive and well appreciated gesture. Thank you !
— Alain Derome (@deroa) December 18, 2016
@CanadiensMTL Mr. Bob Macdonald did a great job with the French portion. 👍
— Brian Levia (@jerichoholic66) December 18, 2016
— Mathieu Beaudoin (@MathieuBeaudoin) December 18, 2016
@bobinarlington Outstanding. I've wished for years that more anthem singers would include the French.
— Richard B. Rogers (@1995hoo) December 17, 2016
This was just a sampling.
“The reaction was amazing,” McDonald said. “I really didn’t know they would show it in every living room in Canada. That was something. I’m glad I found out after I sang. I got a whole lotta love from some Canadian fans at Verizon Center. One lady said it made her nostalgic and miss her home.”
McDonald also said that two Habs fans he ran into said they had never heard the French version at another arena… ever.
The Caps anthem singer owns a Bachelors and Masters from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. During his time there, McDonald studied many languages.
“It was nice to put it into play, all these years later,” McDonald said.
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