Several people on Twitter have accused Tenille Arts of “butchering” O Canada by veering away from its familiar tune. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Oh, Canada: Saskatchewan singer proud despite flak over anthem at NBA Finals

A Saskatchewan-born country singer says she has no regrets about putting her own spin on O Canada before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Tenille Arts says she heard from a lot of people who loved her rendition of the national anthem on Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif., where the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors to take a 2-1 lead in the championship basketball series.

But the 25-year-old, who is originally from Weyburn, admits there were also negative online comments about some flourishes she added to the melody.

“The main goal as a Canadian is to sing the anthem with pride and that’s what I wanted to do,” Arts said in an interview Thursday as she was about to catch a flight home to Nashville, Tenn.

Several people on Twitter have accused Arts of “butchering” the anthem by veering away from its familiar tune.

But many others tweeted praise, including Canadian country star Brett Kissel who wrote: “Stop throwing shade. @TenilleArts did a GREAT version of our anthem … Period.”

Arts, who has performed O Canada at several smaller sports venues, is making no apologies for singing the anthem her way.

“A lot of people really loved it,” she said. “I think that the people that didn’t like it just didn’t like the change and that’s fine. But that’s the way that I sing it.”

Arts said she found out a week ago that she would be singing at the NBA game. She was nervous and excited on stage.

Her performance was followed by members of the metal band Metallica, who performed an instrumental version of the American anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

“It was amazing, definitely an unforgettable experience,” Arts said.

Colleen Weimer, a retired music teacher and choir director at Weyburn Comprehensive School, said the southern Saskatchewan city is abuzz.

“There’s lots of hometown pride about Tenille.”

Weimer described Arts as hardworking and shy during her time in the choir. She recalled that Arts starred as Ado Annie in the musical “Oklahoma!” during her last year of high school.

Arts did a great job singing O Canada, Weimer said.

“She added her own personal touches to it and she made it the national anthem sang by Tenille Arts and that’s what you need to do.”

It isn’t the first time a performance of Canada’s national anthem has been divisive.

There was a harsh backlash to Victoria singer Nelly Furtado’s flute-accompanied version during the NBA all-star game in 2016, which also deviated from the traditional melody.

The same year at the Major League Baseball all-star game, a member of The Tenors created a furor when he incorporated the phrase “all lives matter” into O Canada, causing his ouster from the group. Many saw the alteration as an insult to the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement.

The Tenors, minus the rogue member, opened Game 1 of the NBA Finals last week singing O Canada without incident.

In 1994, Dennis Parks’ performance of O Canada at a Canadian Football League game in Las Vegas sounded more like O Christmas Tree.

The vice president of communications for the CFL described being flooded with faxes and phone calls in a Baltimore Sun article at the time. Then-prime minister Jean Chretien also got an apology from the Las Vegas Posse team owner.

Just Posted

Sexual predator preyed on his own young daughter and niece

Eckville man sexually assaulted numerous children as young as two for nearly a decade

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric condemns gruesome hanging of teen

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s top Shiite cleric on Friday denounced the killing of… Continue reading

Boy, 13, arrested in killing of Barnard College freshman

NEW YORK — A 13-year-old boy was arrested Friday in the stabbing… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Rode: Calleja Misson has a passion for hockey

The first time Calleja Misson saw hockey on television she knew she… Continue reading

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

POLL: Did you get a flu shot this season?

Did you get a flu shot this season?… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

We have to accept responsibility when life goes wrong

Several times, I have read articles about a drunk driver causing an… Continue reading

Christmas in Disneyland is a bucket-list blast for our anniversary

So, another anniversary arrived unexpectedly. The wedding kind. As in “anni” –… Continue reading

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric condemns gruesome hanging of teen

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s top Shiite cleric on Friday denounced the killing of… Continue reading

Most Read