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Story by Michelle Szulc – Photos by Glenn Ivens (ISN) Marec Szulc, Doug Abbott, Ron Hole, D. Laird (Allan/Sportswave.ca) Clint Trahan

March 25, 2013, (ISN) Thank you all once again for allowing me to update you on my singing adventures – I definitely have some exciting news!

Let me start by updating you on my trip to Victoria last December. On December 28th I took the ferry from Tsawwassen over to Victoria to sing for the WHL Victoria Royals. I arrived around 3pm, and after a quick check-in to the hotel, I was immediately off to Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for a sound check.

The friendly Royals staff greeted me and thoroughly explained their game-day process. I even had another Royals anthem singer, Kathleen Burton, reach out and congratulate me on the opportunity. I was back at the arena just a few hours later to start the game off with O Canada, for a very loud and excited crowd of just over 5000.

I was back the next evening, on December 29th, to sing for yet another large crowd, almost 6000 this time! I was very excited about all the compliments I received on both nights about my singing from the Royals staff as well as the fans. The hockey team was kind enough to set me up with some new Royals gear, including a t-shirt, mug, and an official game-day puck. I further met a number of people in Victoria that have been very supportive about my singing dreams. The most amazing supporter that I have though is Scott Harrigan from ISN!

Victoria Royals, December 28th – Photo by Glenn Ivens from (ISN)

As soon as I was back from Victoria, I was back singing for more WHL action for the Vancouver Giants. At this game, I definitely had a funny experience. I am sure many of the Royals fans noticed my extravagant shoe choices, and one of the Giants fans loved my shoes so much, he asked to take a photo of them! I do not blame him – they were pretty stylish, I must say!

January continued to be a busy month, as I sang for SFU Varsity, a number of BCHL games (Surrey Eagles, Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen), as well as another AHL Abbotsford Heat game. This was my last Heat game of the season, but I am very thankful for all the opportunities the team provided me with this year. It was my first year singing for them, and I hope to be back to next year!

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Vancouver Giants, January 2nd – Photo by Marek Szulc

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Abbotsford Heat, January 20th – Photo by Clint Trahan

As February rolled around, I was continuing to sing for many of the same teams, as well as singing for my hometown Junior B hockey team – the North Delta Devils. Unfortunately, the Richmond Sockeyes defeated the Devils in the first round of playoffs, but the boys put up a great fight. At the last home game, I even had a photo opportunity with the team.

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Michelle with the PJHL North Delta Devils, February 23rd – Photo by Doug Abbott

And now we are into March! Am I the only one who cannot believe that it is almost April? Time really does fly. March brings about the end of the regular season for many of the hockey teams I sing for, and I had the pleasure  to sing for a lot of these last few games.

At the last Coquitlam Express home game, there was a very special guest to present an award: Pat Quinn! I had a chance to meet and talk with Pat Quinn, and even aquired a few photos. Pat Quinn is a partial owner of the Vancouver Giants, and he mentioned he had remembered me singing for the Giants, as well!

March also brings about my favourite tournament of the year – the AAA BC High School Boys Basketball Provincials. I have now sung for the final game of this tournament for four years in a row, and it happens to be the one that started my anthem-singing journey. I was escorted onto the floor by two RCMP Mounties, and it was definitely intimidating singing with them next to me – I am usually all alone out there! They laughed when I told them this and said that I definitely had the harder job.

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AAA BC High School Boys Basketball Provincials, March 16th  – Photo by Ron Hole

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AAA BC High School Boys Basketball Provincials, March 16th – Photo by D. Laird Allan/Sportswave.ca

Now for the most exciting part of March… I am coming back to Victoria to sing for the Royals playoffs on March 28th! I am very excited for this opportunity and thankful that I was able to leave a good impression on the Royals organization back in December. This time I will be singing at Bear Mountain Arena, because the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre is being used for the Ford Men’s World Curling Tournament.

The only reason I am able to make this trip possible is due to the amazing generosity of Harbour Towers Hotel and Scott Harrigan from ISN. Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites is Victoria’s premier sport hotel and I cannot thank them enough for sponsoring me and providing my accommodations. Scott is another sponsor for my trip, and he has been an amazing supporter over the last few years!

Aside from anthem singing, I have been in and out of the studio working on my first EP album with my band! Our official band name is Vendaetta, and the music is of a pop/rock style. It is due to be released VERY soon – I know I have said this before, but this time I promise it is coming. Some of it may even be done in time for my Victoria trip!

When I get back from Victoria, I will busy preparing for a few more events. Back in September I sang for a charity hockey event hosted by Cops for Cancer, and they are bringing me back for their Guns and Roses event which will be happening on April 4th. I will also be preparing for an upcoming show in downtown Vancouver as well.

I am being featured at the Roxy on April 23rd with another Vancouver based artist and his band, Paul Luongo & the Diggs. So, if you are in the area, make sure to stop by! For more information about these events, and other up-coming shows, please visit www.facebook.com/michelleszulc.  Make sure to check back there regularly for updates and music releases!

I have decided to add a question and answer portion to my article! A number of people have submitted questions about my anthem singing on Facebook and for you I have chosen a couple of them to answer:

Q: Do you get tired of singing the same thing over and over?

A: No, I definitely do not! I find that even if I am singing the Canadian and American anthems over and over, each situation is slightly different, which makes it exciting! Some days I meet some very inspiring people at events, other times I meet special guests, or sometimes I have to sing through different weather conditions (rain and fog!). It is also exciting for me to get to travel and sing the anthem, as I do not get to travel a lot!

Q: What would you recommend to someone just getting started on anthem singing?

A: For someone who is just starting out, I would recommend contacting a local hockey team or other sport, of any age group, and ask if there are any opportunities to sing. Make a video of yourself singing the anthem(s) just for them to see that you are capable, and start getting some experience! Build up your resume with any opportunity you are provided with – no matter how big or small the crowd is.

Eventually you will get more comfortable with singing the anthem, no matter what surprises or curve balls that may be thrown at you in these situations (i.e., a delay on the microphone in the arena, the crowd singing ahead of you, etc.). Once you have a list of experiences, you can start applying to more places. It is always nice to have someone that can come and take photos or videos of you as you sing, so that as you progress you can submit those to professional teams. A big thanks to my dad for always doing this for me.

I have helped a couple of people around me get started on their anthem singing careers, and also passed on names to teams when I am unavailable to sing. So if someone wants to directly reach out and ask me for some help, please do not hesitate to do so!

Thanks again for reading my update, and I look forward to seeing you soon, Victoria!