Mission man sings national anthems

Performs at BC Place Stadium in front of 28,000 fans

Singing in front of a school could leave some people feeling nervous and intimidated.

Singing in front of 28,000 soccer fans can be downright terrifying.

However, Mission’s Gregory Ould says he wasn’t that nervous.

Last month, Ould fulfilled a prediction he made a year ago by performing both the American and Canadian national anthems at a Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game at BC Place Stadium.

“I was actually frightened because I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t feeling the butterflies I normally get, until they announced, ‘Please join Gregory Ould in singing the national anthem’ and that’s when the butterflies came,” he said.

Ould’s journey towards singing the anthem began a little more than a year ago when his daughter volunteered him to sing at her school.

The music teacher at Mission’s Albert McMahon Elementary school was looking for a volunteer to sing the national anthem and Ould was chosen for the job.

“I ended up singing it and his response was, ‘Wow, did you know you could sing?’ And I said no.”

Ould was encouraged to do it more often and eventually applied to sing the anthem at a Vancouver Canadians baseball game.

“I don’t think I’m that good,” said Ould, but he was granted an interview with the Canadians.

He says it was a little strange because he was the only adult trying out that day, along with a bunch of “12-year-old girls.”

“They usually let kids do it,” he said.

But Ould did get approved and a date was set for him to perform. However. the game was rained out.

He vowed that day that he would eventually sing the national anthem for a big crowd at BC Place Stadium.

‘When I got the call, out of the blue, to sing the national anthem at BC Place, I didn’t realize it was exactly one year to the day that I said I would do it. It’s funny how things work out,” said Ould.

His performance at the Whitecaps game was “toned down” a little bit, he says, because he didn’t want to “screw up.”

Still he loved the experience.

“For me, being in front of an audience, whether two people or 20,000 people, well, the more there are, the more euphoric it is and the more calming.

Now that he’s performed before such a large audience, Ould would love to continue to sing. He wants to sing at a Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs game, and maybe even the Toronto Blue Jays.

“I don’t go half on anything. If I say I’m going to do something, it’s going to get done.”

Many people in Mission know Ould as the co-founder, along with his son, of the Blanket BC Society, an organization based in Mission that collects and distributes blankets to those in need.

He’s hoping he can unite his singing and his society together.

“I would love it if a company would back me with this and, maybe, for every time I do sing a gig, maybe they can put $100 towards Blanket BC.”

You can hear Ould live this weekend as he sings Happy Birthday on June 4 at the Heritage Picnic at Fraser River Heritage Park. The event is part of the Mission 125 celebrations.