Hockey fan Zukerman to lead NACO brass for anthems at Sens game
Pinchas Zukerman is a world-class violin player — and a major league hockey fan. That’s right, he has supported the Habs and the Sens, and because he also lives and works in New York, he likes the Rangers, too.
So it’s no real surprise that he would be at a Senators game. But leading the 11-member brass choir of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in the Canadian and U.S. anthems — now there’s something different. It certainly is for the Senators. “This is the first time (that anyone can recall) that we’ll be using an orchestra,” said Senators spokesman Brian Morris. "We are very proud to have Lyndon (Slewidge) as our anthem singer; we feel he is one of the best in all of sports.
“That said, we do welcome guests on different occasions, be it a special guest appearance like this one, or a community or promotional opportunity. We also feel that our fans enjoy a fun, creative change from time to time.
Zukerman is already thinking about the moment before the Carolina Hurricanes game Monday night.
“They are very different. The American anthem is more of a march, and it’s in three. O Canada is in four, and it’s more of a hymn. I like both.”
But he likes the Israeli anthem more. Still, he says, there is nothing to sneer at about playing the anthem before a hockey game or just enjoying listening. What’s wrong with that?
“If you like the country, wear it on your chest,” he said.
Zukerman’s connections to hockey date back to the 1960s when his parents lived in Montreal and he would visit them from New York.
“I saw everyone play. Those were great teams. I remember going with a cousin of mine for $2.50 to the top of the Forum. It was standing room only. I saw galoshes and hats and everything being thrown onto the ice. What a game. It’s like football.”
His parents had come to New York originally to be with Zukerman while he continued his music studies as a teenager.
But they couldn’t find work, so because the family had relatives in Montreal, they moved north where his father taught and his mother worked at the Jewish General Hospital. They lived on Rue Plamondon.
That ended in 1969 when his father had a stroke and his parents eventually returned to Israel.
This is Zukerman’s last year at the helm of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and this appearance on Monday is intended as a gift to hockey fans and to the community.
Who knows? — the Senators just might win one for Pinky. And maybe, like Kate Smith in Philadelphia, he’ll become an anthemic good luck charm.
It could happen.
The American anthem is more of a march, and it’s in three. O Canada is in four, and it’s more of a hymn.