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McKechnie’s bilingual gem in ‘O Canada’

The Pittsburgh Pirates shouldn’t have a problem filling out their lineup of singers when it comes to the Canadian national anthem.

Last Saturday’s auditions produced a few candidates for March 6 and 16 when Toronto comes to McKechnie Field.

The most fascinating was Sophie Robitaille, a gifted 11-year-old from Crystal River, who can sing “O Canada” in English and French and deftly went from one to the other during her rendition.

Sophie’s dad, Sylvain, spoke about the time she performed before a Canadiens-Lightning game at the St. Pete Times Forum.

“She sang it in French and when the crowd started singing along she fed off their energy,” he said. “She’s a game-day player.”

n Say it ain’t so! Cathy Williford is about to hit the Big 6-0! Baby brother Rick Lewis is amused.

n Remember Tommy Durante’s benefit concert at 5 p.m. Saturday at Oneco United Methodist Church, 2112 53rd Ave. E.

The LRHS grad and FSU senior will study music this summer at Russia’s Moscow State University.

n Jane (Scissors) Simpson is 55 going on 25.

n The 43rd reunion of Columbus, Ind., snowbirds is 11 a.m., Feb. 16 at Duff’s Buffet, 6010 14th St. W.

Call Duff’s at 752-3666.

n It’s 30 years of wedded bliss for Niki and Charlie Hackney on Valentine’s Day.

n That wily ol’ stork is making its final approach for 2002 DeSoto Queen Katie O’Brien and Princess DeShay Garcia.

DeShay and husband Anthony are due in March. Katie and husband Matt are due in May. Both are having boys.

n Remember our student showcase, “Yes, We Can Dance!” at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Neel Performing Arts Center.

Call 792-8274.

n Derek Bishop is back in Bradenton. The ex-MHS Hurricane/BHS Bruin just graduated from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va., where he lettered four years at fullback.

His degree is in finance and he’s volunteering at Habitat for Humanity.

n Oh, no! Loria Fair, a longtime bartender at Ace’s, has hit the Big 4-0!

Cheers from folks Mary and Bill Gleason.

n Packers season-ticket holders Chuck and Joey Lester are still on Cloud 9.

n Roni and Scott Sever are wed 18 years. Cheers from Zane, Grace and Bailey, an LRHS sophomore who will turn 16 on Valentine’s Day.

n Ubiquitous Ed Edwards is the new GM at WRXB 1590 AM in St. Petersburg.

n Pirate President Frank Coonelly and Pirate legend Steve Blass will address the Feb. 16 Booster Club luncheon at River Wilderness. Call (941) 567-5838 or (705) 499-7247.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, writes Vin’s People. He can be reached at 745-7055 or