The 2010 Winter Olympics are now open. It was bittersweet, recognizing the tragic accident early in the day that took the life of an athlete in practice. Organizers incorporated that dose of solemn respect and reality throughout the program that though these are the highest level of goodwill games and competetion in international sport, the loss of a human life is more important than any game or sport. The Games nicely transcend geopolitics and international entanglements. An athlete’s fatal accident transcends the Olympics. The ceremonies combined it all.

Ceremonies Friday night were highlighted by the traditional parade of nations as the athletes of the world entered the arena, and the dramatically scored and artistically choreographed program representing Canada’s rich history and cultural heritage. When they got to the part featuring dueling fiddles and tartan-clad Celtic dancers, I did wonder why Natalie McMaster wasn’t featured, one of Cape Breton’s finest fiddlers and best artists. After visiting Nova Scotia last year, in fact her hometown, and hanging out where the art of fiddling has been honed for generations to perfection, I wanted that touch of mastery, though the ceremonies had some of the best. After many visits to Canda – from Vancouver, Whistler, Banff, Lake Louise, Calgary, Montreal, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia – we watched with enthusiasm the artistic canvas unfold illustrating what Canada represents.

But, surprisingly, one of the finest moments came near the end, when K. D. Lang emerged to deliver one powerful rendition of ‘Hallelujah.’ Which literally means ‘God be praised.’

The day had its bittersweet moments. That was most sweet.

UPDATE: The internet has been ablaze with searches for video of what many writers are calling lang’s “haunting” or “mesmerizing” rendition of ‘Hallelujah.’ I hesitate to call it a ‘performance’…it seemed more transcendent than that. A riveting moment in that long evening. Few suggestions for video: NBC’s home site, or here, or more likely here.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....