Stampede to bring back bilingual anthem
Officials initially said not enough people were singing along with bilingual version
The Calgary Stampede will resume using the bilingual version of the national anthem after it was changed to an English-only version on the weekend, officials with the event confirmed Tuesday.
Michel Berdinoff, president of the French Canadian Association of Calgary, told CBC News he was taken aback by the weekend decision, adding there are about 90,000 French speakers in Calgary and many French-speaking tourists who go to the Stampede.
Berdinoff says he spoke with Stampede officials this morning and it was his understanding that they're reviewing the decision. Officials later confirmed to CBC News they're going to bring back the bilingual version of O Canada to the Stampede's Grandstand Show tonight.
Stampede officials said early Tuesday they dropped the French portion of the anthem, which is sung every night before the chuckwagon races, because not enough people were singing along.
On Friday night, a verse was sung in Canada's other official language, but Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser said it was re-recorded Saturday because of what he calls an "overwhelming" response.
"A lot of people who are affiliated with the Stampede, including the board, staff members and volunteers, all got the message that they wanted to hear the English version," Fraser said.
Fraser initially said participation from the audience increased when the bilingual version was dropped.