This past August, just a couple of days after Anna Hinsley’s 14th birthday, her mother got a phone call from the Florida Panthers asking whether the family was interested in purchasing season tickets.
Tracy Hinsley, Anna’s mother, answered the Panthers’ question with a question of her own:
“Are you looking for national anthem singers?”
The answer was yes, and auditions — as luck would have it — were the next day.
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Anna, a Parkland resident and a freshman at Fort Lauderdale’s Calvary Christian Academy, was selected as one of two alternate singers.
The other alternate is Caroline Canning, a 12-year-old Deerfield Beach resident who is home-schooled.
Both girls are sopranos.
Hinsley, who is also a dancer and actress, began performing at age 9. She has appeared in local plays such as Beauty and the Beast and Hairspray and has studied performing arts in New York City with Broadway performers.
“I was really surprised,” Hinsley said when asked her reaction to getting selected. “I was only showing up for auditioning experience. I’m super excited about it, though.”
Hinsley would love to someday perform on Broadway. She also has an interest in creative writing and is working on a couple of potential books.
Canning began singing at age 4 at her church’s children’s choir. She is also a swimmer for the Deerfield Beach Dolphins and has performed the National Anthem at several swim meets.
Although she gets embarrassed when the song Sweet Caroline is played in her presence, she was positively thrilled when the Panthers told her she had made the cut.
“I was screaming, ‘I can’t believe I got this,’ ” said Canning, who dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer. “I was jumping around. I kept saying all day: ‘I can’t believe I got this.’ ”