Jan 23, 2009

VIDEO: Roger Doucet: Montreal Canadiens anthem singer

Here's a video of Roger Doucet, the legendary Montreal Canadiens anthem singer. He also sang for the Montreal Expos and Montreal Alouettes.

A bit more about Roger Doucet from the Canadian Encyclopedia:
Roger Doucet. Tenor, b Montreal 21 Apr 1919, d there 19 Jul 1981. As a boy, he sang at the Immaculée-Conception Church. The choir director, Émile Fontaine, gave him his first music lessons 1929-33 at the École St-François-Xavier. He studied voice 1938-40 with Céline Marier and Georges Toupin, 1940-1 with Sarah Fischer, and 1941-3 with Albertine Morin-Labrecque and participated during this time in amateur competitions. This led to engagements in several Montreal cabarets, including the Faisan bleu, the Casino Bellevue, and the Montmartre. Doucet later became a member of The Army Show, with which he toured Canada twice and visited several European countries. He left the army with the rank of sergeant and on his re-establishment allowance from the Department of Veterans' Affairs studied 1946-9 with Alfredo Martino at the New York College of Music.

Doucet continued his career in cabarets and on radio, taking part in the CBC opera broadcasts called 'Théâtre lyrique Molson'. On CBC TV's 'L'Heure du concert' he sang in excerpts from various operas, including The Barber of Seville (Count Almaviva), Les Pêcheurs de perles (Nadir), and Roméo et Juliette (Roméo). For the COC he was the Duke in Rigoletto (1950), the Prince in The Love of Three Oranges (1959), and Fenton in Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor (touring production, 1960). During a European sojourn 1955-7, he sang in Le Comte Ory at the Glyndebourne Festival and broadcast for the BBC in London and for the NDR in Hamburg. From 1971 until his death he sang 'O Canada' at televised hockey games in the Montreal Forum. He began doing the same for the Alouettes' football games in 1974 and the Expos' baseball games in 1977. In 1980 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

And here's another video of Mr. Doucet from the National Film Board of Canada:

Curiously, he changes the final english lyric to:
"O Canada, glorious and free / We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee"
Usually it's sung as: "God keep our land glorious and free / O Canada we stand on guard for thee"

1 comment:

akfab3 said...

I originally learned it with many repetitive "We stand on guard for thee" phrases. "And stand on guard" instead of "From far and wide", "O Canada" instead of "From far and wide", and "We stand on guard" instead of the second last "O Canada".

Other tweaks have been proposed over the years (only in English version). From wikipedia (under "O_Canada"): "Official changes to the English version were recommended in 1968 by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons. The National Anthem Act of 1980 added a religious reference to the English lyrics and the phrase "From far and wide, O Canada" to replace one of the somewhat tedious repetitions of the phrase "We stand on guard." This change was controversial with traditionalists, and for several years afterwards it was not uncommon to hear people (some by choice, some by memory reflex) still singing the old lyrics at public events. By contrast, the French version has never been changed from its original.[6]"