Some may know him as one of Maclay’s top point guards on the varsity basketball team or as a friendly face in the courtyard, but Colin McAllister still manages to have a few tricks up his sleeves. To the naked eye, McAllister appears to be another typical student at Maclay School who enjoys playing sports and being surrounded by his social group, but that could not be more deceptive. Little do most people know, McAllister has an unknown talent of playing the piano. 

“I started playing the piano to express myself in other ways than sports,” McAllister said. “It helps my stress levels go down.” 

In troubling times, McAllister tends to lean on his musical ability to create a sense of tranquility for himself. On a typical day, McAllister can be found playing the old wooden piano in the dining hall. During lunch, he expresses himself through his love for music and appreciates getting to take time off from the stress of school and basketball. Although he has not been playing the piano for a long period of time, McAllister takes pride in his skills and plays as much as he can. 

“I started playing piano about a year ago then stopped for a long time,” McAllister said. “I just picked it back up about a month ago.” 

When given the opportunity, McAllister enjoys playing piano for his friends, family and teammates. With the support of his family and friends, one can only hope that he will continue to further his talent of being musically inclined. Although he is self-taught from YouTube, he enjoys getting the chance to learn new things from those around him. 

“My uncle is my biggest inspiration when it comes to playing piano,” McAllister said. “Once I saw and heard him playing I knew I needed to know how to play just like that.” 

His uncle plays a huge role in his musical endeavors by pushing him daily to continue learning and playing the piano. Living in his footsteps and being as talented as him is what inspires McAllister to play. In addition to the support from his family, McAllister also gets to share his musical talents with some of his teammates off the court. 

“He does not talk much about playing piano,” junior and teammate Sawyer Davis said. “But I have heard him and I know that he plays very well.” 

Although McAllister is reserved about his unknown gift, he is supported on and off the court by friends and teammates. Getting to share his other hobbies with his team allows McAllister to step out of his shell. He strives to take on challenges such as difficult songs or notes to see how much he can improve and grow. McAllister also puts in lots of time and preparation to perform to the best of his ability for his audience in the lunchroom or at his local church. 

“My favorite song to play on the piano is ‘All of Me’ by John Legend,” McAllister said. “I also like to play ‘When I Was Your Man’ by Bruno Mars.” 

These deep and powerful songs push McAllister’s ability to the next level, helping him enhance his skills as a pianist. He enjoys embracing meaningful lyrics and putting his soul into his playing. Despite basketball being his top priority, he thoroughly enjoys getting to sit down and pour his heart out on the keys without any pressure. 

Colin McAllister is known for playing basketball, but is as equally talented off the court. Photo by Kate Bulloch.

Although McAllister does not have plans to continue his piano career in the future, he loves expressing himself through this style of music. This non-stressful hobby is an entertaining pastime for him, cleansing his mind of stress from school and basketball. Being the best point guard and player he can be sometimes consumes McAllister’s mind, but he is grateful to have his musical talents to turn to during his leisure time.


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