Carly Troup started to sing before she could put a sentence together.
Realizing at a very tender age that their autistic daughter was musically inclined, Staff Sergeant Peter Troup and his wife bought a karaoke machine for her to learn to read. Last Christmas, they purchased a ukulele and, by the end of Christmas Day, she was playing songs on it.
“She was so very musical from the time she was very small,” recalled her father, who has been with the Service for 31 years. “Carly is a self-taught pianist and guitarist who played the flute one year in high school.”
While watching baseball and hockey games on television with her dad about five years ago, Carly was enthused by a performer singing the national anthem before a game.
“She started practising the Canadian and American anthems and would sing them about five times nightly before going to bed,” her dad recounted. “It drove everyone crazy.”
When the TPS fielded a team that raised $30,000 for Autism Speaks Canada, Troup saw a great opportunity to give Carly a stage to perform.
Troup asked Sergeant Sheila Richardson, from the Chief’s Office, if she could speak to an organizer to see if his daughter could sing the national anthem at the opening ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square.
Walk manager Susan Smart agreed and also promised she would try to get Carly to sing at a Blue Jays home game.
Carly introduced herself and sang on a YouTube video: “Hi, my name is Carly, I have autism and I hope to sing at the Toronto Blue Jays game.”
The ploy worked as the Jays’ front office contacted the 52 Division Community Response Support officer three days later.
In front of a sold-out Saturday afternoon crowd of almost 45,000, Carly sang the Canadian anthem before Marcus Stroman threw out the first pitch for the Jays.
“I bought 50 tickets in the 500 Level for friends and family and her Grade five teacher was also there,” said Troup. “It was a proud moment for Carly and all of us.”
He said that singing the anthem at a Toronto Maple Leafs game is on her bucket list.
“She loves watching the Leafs, the Oshawa Generals and the Toronto Marlies,” he added. “She just loves hockey.”