Leafs hold open auditions for game day anthem singer

Eight-year-old Sydney Wray may not be pugnacious or truculent, butshe’s still hoping she’s got what it takes to get on the ice at a MapleLeafs home game this year.
Published : September 21, 2009

Eight-year-old Sydney Wray may not be pugnacious or truculent, but she’s still hoping she’s got what it takes to get on the ice at a Maple Leafs home game this year.

And lucky for her Brian Burke wasn’t one of the judges at the Leafs’ anthem singer tryouts yesterday at the Air Canada Centre.

Wray joined 170 anthem-singing hopefuls of all ages and abilities as part of an open call for auditions by the hockey club.

“I’m a little nervous,” Sydney said before getting her chance to sing.

The Clearmeadow Public School student already has some anthem-singing experience.

Last year she sang “O Canada” at a Newmarket Hurricanes Junior “A” game.

A Leafs fan, Sydney said she would love the chance to perform on a bigger stage.

“It would be really cool, but it would be nervous at the same time.”

Pros and amateurs, kids and sexagenarians, sang their hearts out side-by-side in front of a panel of five judges, which included Paul Aikins, the head of music theatre at the Etobicoke School of the Arts; and Beverley Mahood, a country music recording artist and CMT host.

About 20 people from yesterday’s tryout — held at the Hot Stove Lounge — will receive a call-back for a second audition, where they will sing at ice level, said director of game operations for the Maple Leafs, Mike Ferriman.

More than just strong singing ability, Ferriman said he and the other judges are looking for “someone who’s going to fire up this building.”

Five to 10 singers will then get a chance to sing. Anthem singers aren’t paid for their performance, but they do receive two tickets to the game they sing at.

 
 
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