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Toronto Blue Jays' Junior Lake listens to the national anthem at the Rogers Centre on Thursday.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Enjoy thy sons this Canada Day.

By next July 1, those sons may be part of anthem history, as a bill changing the lyrics of O Canada moves toward becoming law this fall. The change would see the line "true patriot love, in all thy sons command" replaced with the broader, non-gender-specific "in all of us command."

Changing the national anthem – even by two words – is no trifling edit. New recordings will have to be made and websites updated, the change rolled out at sporting events, ceremonies and schools. From musicians to bureaucrats, arrangements for the new lyrics are being fine-tuned.

Any lyric changes "would be reflected on all Government of Canada digital products first" and other anthem-related items, including recordings, will then be "rolled out as products are refreshed," Tim Warmington, spokesman for the Department of Canadian Heritage, said in an e-mail

"Partners and stakeholders will be informed of the change and will make the revisions to their products accordingly," he wrote.

Meanwhile, anthem performers around the country are considering their options.

"We talked about re-recording it," said Chris Gormley, drummer and singer from the band Daylight for Deadeyes, whose rocking version of the current anthem is played every morning in dozens of schools around the country. "Maybe down the road we would, but we're in no rush. Now we have an old-school version."

Ontario recording engineer Rob Hanson spent much of 2015 travelling the country recording children singing O Canada, with the goal of making the largest recording of the anthem ever produced. The final song brings together 28,725 voices and hundreds of recordings from across Canada.

If Mr. Hanson minds that the lyrics to the anthem may change less than a year after his anthem project was completed, it doesn't show.

"It was all about getting kids involved in music and getting excited about it," said Mr. Hanson, who is executive director of Hometown Music Council, the music education charity behind the project. "I think it was just a huge success whether the lyric gets changed or not."

Mauril Bélanger, the Liberal MP who put forward the change in a private member's bill, has said the proposed revision brings the anthem closer to its original 1908 lyric "thou dost in us command." That line was changed to the current "thy sons command" in 1913.

In fact, the English lyrics of O Canada have changed often through the years. One Globe and Mail reader noted in a letter to the paper in the summer of 1917 that there were at least three common versions of the anthem floating around and complained: "We have not one song, but a number of versions of a song each parading under the name of O Canada."

And while one version of O Canada eventually prevailed – the current lyrics were officially adopted with the Anthem Act of 1980 – the punctuation has never quite been settled. (The name sometimes appears as O! Canada or O Canada! and the written lyrics are variously dotted with exclamation marks.)

The bill to change the lyrics passed in the House of Commons by a vote of 225 to 74 in June and is currently before the Senate.

Though it is expected to pass, the proposed lyric change is not without controversy, and some prominent voices in the anthem-singing world are choosing to stay quiet on what it may mean for future patriotic performances. Among them is Lyndon Slewidge, a retired police officer and one of the country's best-known regular anthem singers. According to his biography on the Ottawa Senators website, Mr. Slewidge even has a Queen's Jubilee medal in recognition of "Professional Anthem Leadership."

"I appreciate your interest, but no comment," he said Tuesday.

Mr. Gormley of Daylight for Deadeyes said that, at last count, his band's recording of the anthem was being used in more than 60 schools around the country and still spreading, as teachers passed it on to other teachers for use in their schools. Mr. Gormley said he hears regularly from people who say they've been playing it at their school for years, not knowing where it was from or who recorded it.

"If people like it, that's good," he said. "Positive energy toward your anthem is good for the country as a whole, I think."

Whether the band's version will still be getting airplay in the halls this fall remains to be seen.

For Canada Day, Mr. Gormley will be playing the national anthem on stage with Big Sugar in Brantford, Ont. No worries about the lyrics, though. It's an instrumental.

And the spirit is the same.

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