“When he saw it, I wish you could have seen his face,” said Jason Pippi, the Blues’ director of entertainment. “He was walking around opening night wearing that thing with the swagger that only Charles Glenn can command.”
That night, Oct. 2, the Blues raised their championship banner and hoisted the Stanley Cup once more before playing the Washington Capitals. During a stoppage, Glenn was shown on the video screen, and introduced to a rousing ovation. He has not returned to Enterprise Center since — not because he is avoiding it, but because he has been too busy.
In October, he sang the national anthem before two Cardinals playoff games at Busch Stadium, hoping to transfer his talismanic powers to the local baseball team. In November, he said, his wife, Nikki, had to ferry him out of town for Thanksgiving, absconding to Kansas City, so she could get him to herself. Between teaching vocal music and choir at Missouri Baptist University and performing at holiday parties with his band darn near every night, Glenn had not had a day off in two weeks when we spoke in early December. Nor did he foresee getting any time off soon.
“I’m supposed to be retired,” Glenn said, “and I’m working harder than I ever have in my life.”
But when his schedule does allow, Glenn tunes into Blues games on television, or radio, and he listens. He listens to his successors. Out of respect to Glenn, Pippi said, the Blues did not want to hire a successor so soon. Instead, they are relying on the bounty of local talent, some of whom Glenn judged during summer auditions.
“A lot of times they’re on, and I’ll say, ‘Oh, I remember them. They were very good,’” Glenn said. “There’s no weak link in the bunch.”
In those moments, and others, Glenn misses singing the anthem. But he does not miss the long drives to and from the arena. Nor does he miss walking up and down all those concrete stairs. But the Blues are again a juggernaut, leading the Western Conference, and though Glenn’s schedule this June is full — his daughter’s wedding, a deferred trip to New York for the Tony Awards — he would cherish the opportunity to watch them repeat.
“If they want me back, I’m there,” Glenn said. “I’ll be well rested.”