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Shaker freshman balances multiple musical interests

She has performed at events for the Hannah's Hope Fund, the Scotia Naval Operational Support Center during their morning drill, the St. Jude's Family Food Festival Fundraiser and various other events.

"She's very talented," said Jo Flannigan, organizer of the Food Festival. "She's very learned. She played four different songs for us, and she appeared very comfortable doing it. We'll definitely invite her back."

Commanding Officer of the NOSC in Scotia, Mark Junco, said Allyson was a nice break from the recorded version of the National Anthem they usually play for drill in the morning, as she sang it herself. She performed during quarters, which is when they hand out rewards and announcements for what will go on during the weekend.

"She blew everyone away and nobody was expecting it," said Junco. "She started singing the National Anthem with an amazing voice and everybody was talking about that the entire weekend."

He was also impressed by her ability to wake up so early and perform a little after 7 a.m. She was invited back for their Family Readiness Day Conference in April to play the bagpipes. The day is meant to prepare soldiers for deployment. While her audience the last time around was 200, he said she will be performing to a much bigger audience.

"She did a tremendous job," he said. "No one has ever come to us to sing the National Anthem. They were all in awe this little girl came in and sang it in a way that just blew them all away. The fact she does all these events tells you something about her character."

Even at age 14, Allyson has her eyes set on a career in music. While her mom said she'd love to perform in a rock band with the bagpipes, learning songs such as "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga and "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, her dream is to go to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She even has picked math and music as her double major, hoping to either become a performing artist, an idea she referred to as "a long-shot," or a teacher in music education.

With everything on her plate, she is loving life, as her mom said, "she gets happier by the minute.""

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