The project was laudable: Have choirs drawn from a pool of 7,000 French schoolchildren from diverse backgrounds sing each country’s national anthem before Rugby World Cup matches.
Less than a week before the tournament, however, the plan is thwarted.
After backlash from fans and commentators and the uncomfortable sight of players completely out of sync with the choirs, organizers bowed to pressure on Thursday, saying the children’s voices from the ‘Melee des Choeurs’ would be augmented by ‘instrumental elements’ when the anthems are played. around the stadiums in the second week of the World Cup.
France, who play Uruguay on Thursday, are among the countries that have already agreed to a modified version of their anthem. Organizers hope that “final confirmation from all teams (may) be achieved within the next 48 hours.
Passionate renditions of the national anthem can be seen as rugby teams’ final rallying cry before matches, with players shaking and even crying while singing it over the years. At least one player from Chile’s squad cried after singing the national anthem ahead of their World Cup debut against Japan on Sunday.
The use of children’s choirs had the opposite effect on some, with former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll saying the anthems were “terrible” and that France’s “La Marseillaise” and Italy’s rousing “Song of the Italians” were “butchered”. .’
“The perception we had and the feedback we received after eight games was that these national anthems were more surprising or disturbing to our fans who were used to hearing a different version of these national anthems,” Jacques Rivoal, president of the World Organization cup committee, he said through a translator at the tournament’s press conference on Wednesday.
“We are here to prioritize the fan experience and were quite concerned by this negative feedback, given the fact that the artistic quality of the national anthem was not questioned.”
Rivoal said the teams felt it was “a very important point to get the national anthem right.”
So organizers are backing down and using what they now call “remixed anthems.”
“We would also like to thank the teams for their full support and look forward to the fans standing behind their teams during the playing of the national anthem,” the organizing committee said.
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