Islanders fans were ready to bring the noise for Game 6 of the Isles-Bruins series at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night, and the party got started early when anthem singer Nicole Raviv invited the crowd to join her in singing a rousing version of the Star-Spangled Banner before the opening faceoff.
The performance by Raviv — and the 12,000 in attendance at the Coliseum — has drawn lots of attention as the video circulated through social media. The attention wasn’t something the Montreal-born Raviv expected, necessarily, but she understands it.
"Did I expect it? No,’’ Raviv told Newsday in a telephone interview Thursday. "But feeling what happened in the moment, it felt like something truly special. It felt like a moment that belonged to everyone, so everyone sharing it is… appropriate. Because everyone felt it.’’
After the game, which the Islanders won, 6-2 to close out the best-of-seven series and advance to the Stanley Cup semifinals, Raviv posted on Twitter, "My heart is full. The coliseum will forever have the best backup singers in the #NHL. #LGI.’’
"I definitely felt larger than life,’’ she said Thursday. "It feels like a memory of a lifetime. It was just a beautiful moment for me as a singer to sing with the Islanders fans, with everyone else in the building. Not everyone gets to experience something like that, especially after a worldwide pandemic where we didn't know when crowds would come back. And last season's playoffs ended virtually, and they were in a bubble with no fans, so really this was the first time I was able to experience something like that. And it really just felt magical.’’
Raviv was born in Montreal, the daughter of a Romanian mother and a Moroccan father who emigrated to Canada from Israel. She moved to New York nine years ago, she said, to study music and theater, and graduated from The New School with a degree in musical theatre.
She is an independent recording artist and vocalist for live bands who began singing the national anthem at professional sporting events. She began singing the anthem at Islanders games at the start of the 2019-20 season.
She was in the midst of performing the anthem at Game 4 Saturday night at the Coliseum when her microphone failed, and the fans that night jumped in to help her finish.
"The crowd came to the rescue,’’ she said of Saturday’s game. "The fans, they sang with me. And we just kept going together. And as soon as we fixed the technical problem, and you were able to hear me again, everyone even sang louder, and we all really sang it together as a full arena. And so, you know, seeing how that was so great, we thought it would be even more great to continue the tradition and to have the [Game 6 anthem], to make it about everyone.’’
So when the crowd started singing along with her in Game 6, Raviv pulled the microphone away from her mouth after the first few words, extended it out toward the audience, and let the fans in the building take over.
"I thought that it would be something everyone would appreciate, and they did,’’ she said. "And I really just felt the crowd. It's something that happens in the moment. Yeah, we just wanted them to drive the anthem and build momentum.’’
Raviv said she is grateful to the Islanders for giving her the opportunity to be their anthem singer, an experience she said is "amazing.’’
She would love nothing better than for the Islanders to make it to the Stanley Cup Final and play against her hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens. Then, she’d get to sing two anthems before the games.
"That would be awesome for me,’’ she said.
Sign up for Newsday’s Islanders texts with a 14-day free trial at newsday.com/islestext.