Longtime Bruins national anthem singer Rene Rancourt joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning , following Wednesday night’s emotional performance that preceded the Bruins’ game against the Sabres.
Rancourt started singing before putting down his microphone and allowing the 17,000-plus fans to take the lead.
“It was a very different sensation for me,” Rancourt said. “This was a first for me. I’ll tell you, I’m speechless for the first time in my life.”
Rancourt, 73, has sung the anthem at Bruins games for more than 35 years, and he said this was the most memorable.
“That is No. 1,” he said. “It’s a tough call choosing between this night, last night, and Game 6 of the Vancouver series [in 2011]. But I’d have to say, this is really a time where you feel you’re a part of history. It’s bigger than your ego. Because I’m always saying that anthem singers should really focus in on the words. That way the feeling comes across. It shouldn’t be an ego situation. This was totally unique.”
Rancourt said the fans’ participation was a big help, as he wasn’t sure he would have been able to make it through the song without getting overly emotional.
“As I was getting ready, warming up my voice during the day — because it’s not that easy a song to do — I found myself breaking up and tearing up while I was practicing,” he recalled. “I said, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I can get through this thing.’ ”
Added Rancourt: “I’m sure that the people didn’t even realize how much help I actually did need. It was wonderful. The sound was carrying me, lifting me up in the room. It was just something indescribable. ‘¦ I’m afraid I would have probably broken up a few times during the anthem. I’m not ashamed to admit that.”
Rancourt said the team came to him with the plan to allow the fans to sing.
“It’s the Bruins office that had the idea,” he explained. “We all talked about it and how we were going to do it: the moment of silence and showing a video and coming on with the firefighters, color guard. We worked it out. It was their idea.
“I was very nervous. I didn’t know how — what if you stop singing and nothing happens? It went more than well. I’m just so proud for having been part of it.”