Organist Bruce Anderson left after 22 seasons

Bruce Anderson has seen his playing time shrink in recent years, but longtime Washington Capitals organist was looking forward to his 23rd consecutive season entertaining fans when he received a call on Tuesday informing him that his services were no longer necessary.

“I’m not bitter,” Anderson, 67, said in a phone interview. “I’m just sad. It was a great experience. They decided to move in a different direction, which is good for me.”

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Anderson, who shared the news Twitter And the FacebookHe said he was “stunned” by the response from fans, most of whom expressed disappointment with the decision. A Capitals spokesperson confirmed that the group will not be showing live organ music this season.

“We are constantly looking for ways to transform the in-game experience, including professionally recording organ songs,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We thank Bruce for his contributions to the organization and wish him all the best.”

Hockey and organ music have gone hand in hand in much of NHL history, with the Chicago Blackhawks. Introducing live organist at Chicago Stadium in 1929. The Capitals hired an organist at the Capital Center when the franchise debuted in 1974, and Ted Leonsis was determined to keep the tradition alive after he bought the team in 1999.

“[Washington Sports & Entertainment President Susan O’Malley] I don’t think we need a member,” Leonsis said at the time. “I think we need a member.”

At a market for a new musical instrument later that year, a group of metropolitans visited Jordan Kate’s Music Store in College Park, where Anderson worked as education director. Anderson showed the team an organ and was invited to play it in the arena during a pre-season game.

“I’ve been there ever since,” he said.

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During his 22 seasons, Anderson has prided himself on himself Ability to mix traditional hockey songs and team chants, including “Let’s Go Caps” with classic rock, pop and other more contemporary music. When Washington capitals hosted the world champion For the game in 2019, Anderson quickly learned “Calma”, Reggaeton Pedro Capo made it It was the unofficial club anthem for the team while running the title.

In recent seasons, Anderson played less and less during matches. capital Cities Hired a new director to view the game prior to last season, which led to more changes, including the cessation of organ music following Washington’s goals.

“I don’t know if it’s a trend or not, but I think some arenas want to be more techno and EDM,” said Anderson, who added that he enjoys working with a DJ at the Capitals game. “The only time I’m going to play it will be under Papa John’s and Chick Phil A’s ads. A lot of creativity has been exhausted.”

But Anderson, who owns Lutherville School of Music In Maryland, I never considered quitting — not while Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was still playing, anyway.

“I was perfectly happy to do that, even in the diminishing role,” he said. “I love watching matches and have watched Ovi throughout his career. I was hoping to retire when Ovi retired, and at least on my own terms. But they just don’t use the live organ.”

Anderson said work 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park The 2018 Stanley Cup Finals are among the highlights of his tenure with the team. He also fondly remembers the time Mike “Doc” Emrick, the legendary toy man, admitted his handiwork during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals At Capital One Arena.

“You know, they’re having trouble playing the organ,” Emrick said as Anderson played before a showdown. “I just like to hear it once in a while.”

In the coming months, Anderson, who lives near Baltimore, plans to do something he’s done exactly once in the past 22 seasons: go to the Capitals game as a fan only.

He said, “All the staff there, especially the game production team that I deal with a lot, are really good friends of mine, so I definitely want to come down and see them in action.”

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