Perhaps no entertainer is more recognized for singing the National Anthem in American sports today than the legendary Rene Rancourt in Boston. He retired this week after more than four decades of singing that song to adoring Boston fans.

The story goes that Rene, a Maine native who was a local Boston singer at the time, filled in for an ailing guest singer and performed the National Anthem before Game 6 of the World Series in 1975.  The Boston fans loved him and his dynamic voice and style and a legend was born.  One year later he became the Boston Bruins anthem singer from center ice, and he has been doing it ever since.  A beloved icon in the city of Boston, Rancourt is as much a part of Boston's sports legacy as an player.

Despite the fact that he has been singing the Star Spangled Banner for two generations of sports fans, one performance of the hundreds stands out above the others. On April 17, 2013 he took to the ice and performed the anthem in front of a packed house in Boston at what was the city's first sporting event since the tragedy of the Boston Marathon Massacre.  Emotions were high, the city was reeling, "Boston Strong" was in the air and Rene appeared to be overwhelmed by the power of the crowd that evening.  He let the thousands in the stands sing it for him.  This is one of the most moving things I have seen. Take a look at the video below and then scroll down for the LOCAL connection and what Paul Harvey would say is THE REST OF THE STORY:

(video courtesy of YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bioSZlbRgDk)

Years before Rene Rancourt stepped in for an ailing superstar to sing the National Anthem, he was trying to get singing gigs across the country, playing in smaller clubs and restaurants both near to his Boston home and far away.  LOOK AT WHAT I FOUND THE OTHER DAY!  This is from a copy of the Freemans Journal newspaper dated May 31, 1972.  As you can see, the featured vocalist in the Otesaga Hotel's Templeton Lounge was none other than (a very young) RENE RANCOURT!  Long before he became a legend he was singing for the locals right here in Otsego County.

I wonder how many were there that night to hear a "legend in the making".  Take a look....