Anthem singer with ‘pitch’ a catch
Brett Kocsis left the room for a moment while his two daughters, seven-year-old Sienna and six-yearold Hailey, were watching the movie “Frozen.”
“I heard someone singing along to “Let it Go” and I thought ‘that’s pretty good,’” he recalls. “I walked around the corner and it was Sienna singing. And she had pitch.”
Three years later, Sienna Rose Kocsis beat out more than 100 other applicants to become the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ 2017 anthem singer.
After the 10-year-old Caledonia Centennial Public School student belted out a fulsome rendition of “O Canada” before last Saturday’s home opener, the capacity crowd went bananas in appreciation, and several Ticat players mobbed her with congratulations.
Her presentation and, more importantly, her voice, were as mature as those of an adult veteran. And she exuded self-assurance.
“It was really cool,” she said of her first anthem, which was followed up by an equally popular, and a bit quicker, version in Game 2 at Tim Hortons Field Thursday night. “It felt amazing, there was fireworks in the background and the big flag. There’s a big echo coming (from the stadium speakers) so you have to keep your beat. It’s awesome. It’s more exciting than nerve-racking.”
At the urging of her father and her mother, Carly, she began taking singing lessons from Patricia Currie, who’s also entered her in a number of local singing competitions, the majority of which she’s won.
“She’s un-be-lievable,” says Ticat centre Mike Filer, himself a talented musician. “The big thing is her confidence. She’s 10, and she’s singing in front of 25,000 people.”
Sienna Rose says she tries to look at as many of those faces as possible during the anthem.
“I just like seeing people’s reaction when I sing,” she says. “I saw a bunch of people standing up, really surprised and happy. A lot of people leaned over and said ‘great job’”
She says Hailey, now nine, is also a good singer, but is more shy about performing in public. The sisters, she says, get their singing prowess from Brett Kocsis, who fronted the band Zye, which toured for several years and often opened for acts such as Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Honeymoon Suite, and The Headstones.
Sienna Rose loves pop music and her family jokes that she can become the next Taylor Swift but her favourite performers are Melanie Martinez and Ariana Grande and her favourite song is ‘Happier’ by Ed Sheeren.
A number of Armed Forces personnel were on hand to promote the Invictus Games Thursday night and listened to Sienna Rose practice an hour before game time.
“I couldn’t believe such a big voice was coming out of such a small body,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Aman of CFB Kingston.
Anthem singing is a voluntary position, but the Ticats have provided the Kocsis family with season’s tickets. The first game Sienna Rose ever saw came after she’d already sung the anthem that opened it.
While she was singing, he parents stood a few metres away, far more nervous that she was. “It was just so emotional,” Brett Kocsis recalls. “I tried to hold it together as best I could, same with my wife, but we ended up sobbing.”
And nearly 25,000 fans cheered.
The Ticats got off to 15-13 halftime lead Thursday, as QB Zach Collaros, top, lets loose with a pass; while the Esks’ Brandon Zylstra is denied a catch by Hamilton’s Justin Rogers, left, and Richard Leonard. For a picture of Sienna Rose Kocsis and Drew Edwards’ game report, see thespec.com.