Claire Dunne Murphy, student in Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band

First female and second sophomore in drumline tenors at South pursues drumming passion

Booming with a smile at last year’s homecoming parade in downtown Glenview, Clare Dunne Murphy celebrates a successful performance with the marching band.  Photo courtesy of Claire Dunne Murphy

Booming with a smile at last year’s homecoming parade in downtown Glenview, Clare Dunne Murphy celebrates a successful performance with the marching band. Photo courtesy of Claire Dunne Murphy

Betsy Jarosick and Jessica Norwood

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With a continuous hum supplied by reeds and enclosed air, many know the sounds of bagpipes. While they’re often heard from afar at parades or events, senior Clare Dunne Murphy is one of the few people to experience them up close. Every week, in a room flooded by the melodies of the world-famous Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, she gets to live out her passion: drumming. Dunne Murphy is one to defy expectations.

She was one of the first girls to be on South’s drumline, and, because she was a sophomore, one of the youngest South students as well. Although she is no longer on drumline, she participated by playing tenors, four to six drums mounted so the musician can play and walk.

“I was the first girl on tenors and I got on as a sophomore,” Dunne Murphy said.  “I was the second to get on as a sophomore.”

Over the years, the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band has performed all over the world, from Ireland to Australia to the White House, according to shannonrovers.com. Despite their travels, they remain close to the hearts of many individuals, including Dunne Murphy. Throughout her life, the band has often been there.

“This band has been with my family,” Dunne Murphy said. “It’s played at my mom’s wedding, it’s played at my grandparents’ funerals.”

As a student in Shannon Rovers, Dunne Murphy has gotten the opportunity to work with others to advance her drumming skills. According to Dunne Murphy, she has found a role model and someone who she can work with on her musical abilities in the band.

“There’s this woman and she’s one of the only women snare drummers,” Dunne Murphy said. “ I really look up to her because she knows what she’s doing and she’s a really good teacher. [When I play with her] I just feel good. I feel like I respect her so much. It’s really cool [to be] playing with someone who’s this good and like, this is huge. She is where I want to be.”

Dunne Murphy stated that Kate Lenihan, the aforementioned snare drummer and her role model, is a long-time member of the band. Lenihan said Dunne Murphy is social and enjoys what she’s doing in the band. Lenihan believes Dunne Murphy is well on her way to becoming a full-fledged member of the band.

“I have been in the band for 23 years so I usually have a good sense of how a person will interact with the full membership and I believe she is doing a great job,” Lenihan said. “We have about 80 members total so it can be a little daunting sometimes with so many people to get to know, but Clare does it with ease.”

Dunne Murphy has been able to play in a new environment, one that’s different from being in band here at South. As the youngest person in the band, a lot of the people around her are much older and she can learn from them. According to Dunne Murphy, she’s able to play her instrument in new ways, and has an opportunity to play different genres of music.

“My first day of practicing, we’re all up in a room and we’re all playing together, and I was just like, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’” Dunne Murphy said. “I haven’t really heard bagpipes this closely before and hearing them in a room that echoes just sounded really, really cool.”

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