Ashley Longest

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Granby Memorial High School Senior, Chorus president, 4H

Age: 17

Tell some things about your background…

My mom came from Canada and my dad from Manchester, Conn. I have lived in Granby my whole life. I have a younger brother and my family has a small farm with 16 goats, as well as a cow, that I show at fairs, including the Big E, and for 4H exhibits. 4H work with the animals has always been a major part of my life. At school though, I am mostly interested in the arts, especially drama club and chorus. I played saxophone in the past but now am more involved with singing in chorus.

How does music affect you?

I have fond memories of times growing up when my grandfather played the accordion for all of us at family gatherings. My grandmother played the piano; when she died she left a keyboard for me that is now one of my treasures. These are my first happy memories of enjoying musical experiences. In third grade I loved chorus and playing the recorder. I actually tried out all of the instruments available before settling on the saxophone back then. 

Music is an output for my feelings, a way that I am able to express myself and show my personality. When I am singing or listening to music I lose the stress over grades and how I am viewed as a person. This way I have found confidence to carry on.

These days I enjoy going to the coffee houses that our school has once a month or so on Friday and Saturday evenings. It is like the open mike concept at pubs where students get to show their talents. I went to my first coffee house last year and realized it was a great way to meet with people that I may have not interacted with otherwise. I was amazed at the talent coming from these students. Last year one guy did a very complicated guitar piece, not just a simple acoustic accompaniment for a song, with relative ease.  I also look forward to listening to fine live music in the summer at Xfinity concerts.

What direction do you want to go in?

I want to go to college for animal science, maybe veterinary school. Music will always be a large part of my life also; an a cappella group would be fun to join. My dream is to be in some kind of band someday. I have even thought of moving to Nashville to be a singer. My love for animals is still strong also, of course, and whenever I am tending the goats there is always music playing for them or I am rehearsing my songs in front of them.