Today in Boston by Ethan Underhill: 4/8/2018 — The Crooner 🎶

The crowd probably cheered louder that night than at any other point over 42 years.

And they wouldn’t stop. They screamed so loud, so long that he just bowed his head in thanks.

Then, decked out in his trademark tuxedo, today in Boston, 2018, 78-year-old Rene Rancourt belted out “The Star Spangled Banner” 🇺🇸 and “O Canada” 🇨🇦 for the last regular season @nhlbruins game of his career.

The signature fist pump that followed wrapped up a storied career that started, as so many gigs do, with a stroke of luck.

See, Rancourt’s reign as diva of the dirty water started not with the Bruins, but with the @redsox when Kate Smith, a.ka. “The First Lady of Radio” called in sick for Game 6 of the ‘75 World Series. Sox management needed a last-minute replacement, so longtime @fenwaypark and @tdgarden organist John Kiley recommended Rene, whom he’d just heard auditioning for an opera on the radio.

Those first couple of years at the old Garden had Rancourt pulling double duty between games and gigs with the wedding band he led with wife and fellow @bostonconservatoryalum, Maria. More often than not, the guy would sing the anthem and then head to a wedding.

That’s where the tuxedo came from.

In a move that will make all the lawyers out there want to keel over, Rene Rancourt never once signed a contract with the Bruins. He just kept showing up, and they kept expecting him.

Never was Rancourt’s love for this city more apparent than on April 17, 2013, when the Bruins took to the ice for the first time since the @bostonmarathon bombings. Rene sang the first couple lines of the national anthem and then effortlessly handed it off to the packed house to finish the song together.

Talk about #BostonStrong.

After 1,600 performances, 42 years, 1 Stanley Cup, and countless heartfelt hospital visits, Rene Rancourt proved he was a friend, a class act, and a showman, in that order. In short, he’s as Boston as it gets #yeahbuddy

Here’s to the guy going out on a high note.

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