Shaker freshman balances multiple musical interests

Over the years, Allyson began picking up other instruments. While playing all these different instruments takes up a large amount of her time, she said it keeps her focused.

"Towards the end of last year, my grandmother was giving her," Allyson said gesturing toward her mother, "a hard time because she was saying, 'She's doing too many things, her grades are going to suffer. Then when my report card came in, I had a 4.0 GPA."

Some of the musical groups she participates in, such as band, wind ensemble, full orchestra and chorus, are during class periods. Jazz band and girl's chorus take place after school, along with bagpipe practice.

"It's manageable," said Crowley-Duncan.

While instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet and piano are part of the high school repertoire, Alyssa became fascinated with the bagpipes and Celtic culture after her father adopted her, adding the Duncan portion to her last name.

"I was studying Celtic heritage, and then I got into Scottish heritage and I started listening to bagpipe music," said Allyson. "And I thought it would be cool to play the bagpipes because I was already so involved with music that bagpipes would have been a difficult but really cool instrument to take on."

Crowley-Duncan said her daughter is very fortunate to be a part of the Scotia-Glennville Pipe Band, which is competing in Scotland in 2012 for the World Games as a juvenile division grade three band, something the family is saving up for. She hopes to move onto Oran Mor, the level one pipe band, which is the highest grade you can reach as a bagpiper, before she ages out at 18 years old.

Allyson said bagpipes open the door to several opportunities because of the uniqueness of the instrument, as well as the fact that not many kids her age actually know how to play it.

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