Bruins anthem singer Todd Angilly using voice to 'say thanks in my own way' during pandemic

Scott McLaughlin
May 27, 2020 - 1:59 pm
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Todd Angilly wasn't the Bruins' official national anthem singer last year (he didn't get that title until the start of this season), but as the team tried different singers throughout the 2018-19 season, its first following Rene Rancourt's retirement, it became clear that Angilly was the strong favorite, and that was reflected in the number of playoff games he wound up doing during Boston's run to the Stanley Cup Final.

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Angilly says that playoff run was one of the highlights of his singing career, and if it weren't for the coronavirus pandemic, he may very well be singing during another Stanley Cup Final right now.

Instead, it's been over two months since the last time he got to sing at a Bruins game, and he likely won't get another opportunity soon given that Boston is not one of the cities being considered to host playoff games.

Angilly has found other ways to use his voice during this time of shutdowns and social distancing, though. Earlier this month, he went viral when he sang for hospital workers and first responders outside Lahey Hospital in Burlington. He's also recorded messages for the staffs of other hospitals in the area.

On a virtual town hall with Bruins season ticket holders Wednesday, Angilly explained how that all came about.

"Just being able to have that opportunity to go out and say thanks in my own way, to offer everybody a moment to just step outside, literally, especially when we were at Lahey -- they all came out of the hospital," Angilly said. "It just kind of started as, I wouldn’t say a joke, but I have a friend whose wife is a nurse and we were just talking about how much she’s working, and they have three kids, and juggling who’s going to be home and stuff. And I made kind of an off-hand comment that I was going to go to the hospital and stand outside and sing the national anthem.

"Next thing you know the hospital director was calling me, thought it was a great idea, and all that stuff. It kind of just blew up and next thing you know we had tons of first responders, police, fire, all different types of people, and we did that parade, and being able to sing to them outside the hospital and see them come out. I sent out a message to the hospital staff through MGH, the other day I was asked to say hi. It’s something, I wouldn’t say something simple, but taking a few minutes to say thank you and then to hear the response, it’s meant a lot. Whatever I can do to help, you know, they’re getting the job done."

Angilly said he's kept his voice fresh by recording videos of himself singing that people have requested for birthdays and other special occasions, or just for a pick-me-up. On Memorial Day, he sang some patriotic songs during what turned out to be a mini-parade in North Reading.

"I actually have (been practicing at home)," he said. "I’ll put up videos every so often. I have an Instagram and a Facebook. ... I’ll go out, step out in the front yard. On Memorial Day I felt it proper to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ and trying to pick some different patriotic songs. Definitely singing a lot, probably mostly because I miss singing so much and being out there. A lot of requests virtually for Zoom meetings and things like that, requests for people’s birthdays and so on and so forth. I always make a different video for each person, so yeah, been singing a lot in anticipation of getting back."

Angilly said he's tried not to think too much about what it might be like whenever he's actually able to sing in front of a sold-out Garden crowd again, but that it has crossed his mind. He knows it will be emotional and compared it to another anthem he sang 19 years ago, when he sang the national anthem at Fenway Park for the first Red Sox home game after 9/11.

"That’s something I haven’t, until probably recently, thought about," Angilly said. "I try not to manufacture emotions or anything like that. I try to go off that day or what’s going on. But obviously the anticipation of that, finding out yesterday that we’re going to get back, at least get back to playing, and who knows what’s going to go on there as far as being able to sing or something like that. But to be back in that building, full of fans…

"I had the honor of the first game back after 9/11 being asked to sing by the Red Sox, and that was a very emotional experience. I’m an emotional guy. I’m pretty much going to say I’m not so sure I’m going to be able to make it through the song. I hope it doesn’t cost me my job. Knowing what I’ve experienced so far in a short amount of time … to know what we’ve gone through, to know what everybody’s gone through, that’s just going to be a flood of emotions that I’m not sure anybody could handle. It’s going to be tough. I’m going to have to stay focused, but I’m not so sure my emotions aren’t going to get the best of me. But we’ll be doing it together."

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