When Cameron Allan was in third grade he heard students playing the trumpet and he knew that was the instrument he wanted to learn. Maybe it was the rendition of the Star Wars theme that caught his attention, but he was hooked. Now another melody captures his interest but for a different reason. The senior at Sleepy Hollow High School plays Taps at veterans’ services in Westchester.
“It is an honor. I face the flag and I can see something in the eyes of the veterans. They are remembering,” said Allan.
About five years ago, Allan and his father attended a Veteran Day Ceremony and the tape recorder that was supposed to play Taps failed. Allan saw the need for a live Taps player and answered the call.
“I see how appreciative the people are,” said Allan. “and they have the right to a live Taps player. They laid down their lives for this country.”
Allan also started the Taps Challenge Facebook page where musicians play Taps on a variety of instruments. He recently attended the Veterans Day Service at Patriots Park and has offered his services for the 9-11 Tribute at the Rising in Valhalla. He also plays Taps at funerals when requested.
“We have to depend upon the new generation,” said Joe Tanzi of the Disabled American Veterans. “I think what Cameron does is very patriotic and community-minded.”
Allan is a first-generation American with roots in England and Scotland and said he is grateful for all the opportunities this country has afforded him. His goal is to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. In addition to the trumpet, he also plays the French horn in the SHHS Wind Ensemble.
The music department is looking for another student to follow in Cameron’s footsteps after his graduation in June.