Finalists from across Massachusetts were belting and duking it out at the T.D. Garden Wednesday for a chance to sing the anthem on home ice.
The Boston Bruins announced they were looking for performers after their star-spangled singer retired last season. Those auditioning do not have to fill the tux, but they do have to fill the shoes of Rene Rancourt.
The 78 year old performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada” before each home game in a tux and bow tie for 41 years.
The team launched a search for singers on their website last month. The contest resulted in 600 video submissions. They whittled it down to 52 who were all invited to perform for a live audition at the T.D. Garden Wednesday.
Michael DeAlmeida of Fall River was one of the finalists. He said getting the email to attend the audition, after some frustration uploading his submission, was a dream come true.
“I want to be like Curt Schilling when he first came to the Red Sox,” DeAlmeida said. “His motto was, ‘Why not us?’ and I come up here from little Fall River like, why not me?”
DeAlmeida and the other contestants had 90 seconds to sing either the United States, Canadian national anthem or portions of both for the audition.
The judges will be making their decision passed on vocal quality, stage presence and level of comfort. Instead of picking just one winner, they will pick a pool of performers who will be called on to sing during the season.