A quirky video and a love of music earned Carlisle High School senior Allison Closs the inaugural Jason Smith Memorial Scholarship.
The $1,000 scholarship, offered by the Charles Bruce Foundation for Writers, Artists and Musicians, recognizes Carlisle students who have demonstrated the connection between music and kindness in a meaningful way.
Smith was a local musician who played with the band Mad Men, and left a legacy of love for music and love for people, according to the foundation.
Closs’ application included a YouTube video, “It’s Lit in the Pit,” in which she talked of the camaraderie between musicians and the acceptance and sense of belonging she felt as part of the band. The story was told with Closs’ brand of humor, which was on full display this past weekend when she gained some attention from local media for bringing a cardboard cut-out of Danny DeVito to the prom.
Closs is the daughter of Patrick and Alisa Closs.
Q. When and how did you first become involved in music?
A. My grandmother of my dad’s side introduced me to music. She was a piano teacher. I loved listening to and watching her play. When she died, my family inherited her piano. For a while, it just sat there with nobody playing it. I decided to change that. I started taking piano lessons with Mrs. Mary Lou Secrist when I was 7 years old. When I was 9, I took up violin lessons at school, and later when I was 13, I started taking private violin lessons with Alanna Vaghy. The rest is history.
Q. What are your future plans in regards to music?
A. I will be attending Gettysburg College, hoping to either major or minor in music. I plan on participating in the school’s orchestra and marching band.
Q. Your video, “It’s Lit in the Pit,” goes from hilarious to touching in short order. What inspires you to do the videos?
A. Aside from music, my other major interest is in film. I hope to someday be a filmmaker, and this dream of mine is what drives me to publish content on my YouTube channel nearly every day. Like music, filmmaking is a skill that can only be mastered with dedication and consistent practice.
Q. You finish that video by saying, “Music gave me a home.” In what ways has music become home to you?
A. To me, the word “home” is synonymous with safety. If I feel safe and comfortable in a specific location, I consider it home. If a group of people makes me feel the same way, I consider myself home whenever I’m with them. If performing a satisfying task makes me feel secure and at ease, then I consider it home as well. And so, when I’m in the band room, I feel like I can let my guard down; when I’m with my music friends, I feel like I can be myself; and when I transform emotion into sound into art, I feel free. That is why, I consider music home.
Q. What is your favorite type of music to play and why?
A. My favorite type of music to play is show tunes because they have a clear story behind them. In a way, it connects my two major hemispheres of interest: music and film. Film tells a story with visuals; music tells a story with audio. Show tunes are my favorite genre of music to play because they tap into my two greatest passions.