‘Lone wolf’ tenor Remigio Pereira speaks out after ‘All Lives Matter’ anthem flap
The so-called “lone wolf” tenor, Remigio Pereira, who altered the lyrics to O Canada before the Major League Baseball All-Star game to include the phrase “all lives matter” has spoken out about why he made the controversial move.
Pereira, a member of the B.C.-based vocal quartet The Tenors, posted an audio clip to his social media accounts where he explains why he changed the Canadian anthem that sparked a furor at home and abroad.
In the roughly two-and-a-half minute clip, Pereira speaks with a calm yet emotional voice as he describes why he went rogue with his anthem adlib, but stops short of apologizing.
“This was not a political statement. I don’t agree with killing. So if I don’t agree with killing, it means that I don’t agree with black people dying. I weep when I see videos of a man just trying to sell a CD and he gets killed, murdered,” Pereira said, referring to the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5. “Just like I weep if I see a cop get killed, because my cousin is a cop and I know that they put their lives on the line every single day for us.”
“No disrespect whatsoever to Black Lives Matter because black lives do matter. They most definitely do. I do not want to see anything happening to any of my black friends, musician friends,” he continued.
“This country was built through diversity, exchanging ideas, exchanging cultures. That’s how we move ahead in society. Not segregating everyone, not creating a hierarchy. There is no hierarchy. Who can be higher than God? No one on this earth. Not one person has the right over God’s creation and that is why everybody’s life matters. I love you all.”
The controversy was sparked Tuesday night at San Diego’s Petco Park, when in the middle of the anthem during his solo, Pereira unexpectedly sang: “We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great” replacing the original lyrics, “With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.”
Reaction to the change in lyrics drew widespread criticism and anger on social media, for both the change to the beloved national anthem, and the use of “all lives matter,” which is viewed as a rejection of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Sandy Hudson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, told Global’s The Morning Show she was frustrated when she heard about the incident.
“It was really frustrating to hear that that’s happening in such a space,” Hudson said during an interview Wednesday. “I take offence to the phrase ‘all lives matter.’ I don’t know if I take offence to that [referring to the rendition], but I think it’s kind of ludicrous.”
The Tenors quickly distanced themselves from Pereira in a statement apologizing for the actions of “one member of the group acting as a ‘lone wolf.’” The group also said Pereira will not perform with the Tenors until further notice.
“The Tenors are deeply sorry for the disrespectful and misguided lack of judgement by one member of the group acting as a ‘lone wolf’ today during the singing of the Canadian national anthem at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego,” read part of the statement shared on The Tenors’ social media accounts.
Pereira also defended himself in a series of tweets hoping his actions would be perceived as a positive statement “that would bring us ALL together.”
Pereira was born in Boston to Portuguese parents, but grew up in the Ottawa area. He studied vocal and classical guitar at Le Conservatoire where he graduated with a master’s degree in classical guitar performance, according to his biography on the Tenors’ website.
The other members of the Tenors are Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters and Victor Micallef. The singers are a Juno Award-winning group and have recorded multiple platinum-selling albums in Canada and are planning to launch a 70-city North American tour in September.
— With a file from David Shum
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.