If there was a metronome keeping time with Genoa-Kingston’s Alyssa Edwards, it would resemble a windshield wiper on high.
Now in her third season as the Cogs’ starting goalkeeper, the all-state musician is not only a mainstay in every Genoa-Kingston band, she also earned her chair in the Rockford Junior Symphony and the CSA (Community School of Arts) Symphony — all while compiling a 4.20 grade-point-average thanks to Advanced Placement classes.
“It’s all about time management,” Edwards said. “I’ve been playing soccer ever since whatever the first year of AYSO is; the clarinet I began in fifth grade and added the tenor saxophone in eighth grade. Both instruments are B flat and have similar fingering techniques.”
Sunday mornings begin with playing for her church choir, spending the afternoon rehearsing with the Rockford Symphony; her accelerated classes at Kishwaukee College are Monday and Wednesday with the latter evenings including CSA rehearsals. Tack on practice and soccer matches, it’s a wonder Edwards still finds time “to hang out with friends” and handle homework.
“Obviously it takes a genuine dedication to master any instrument,” G-K Director of Bands Tom Rucker said. “There are nine districts and based on an audition, you get selected for your district and from the elite of each district, the IMEA (Illinois Music Education Association) names four all-state ensembles, two for band and two for orchestras.
Alyssa earned all-state band as a junior and all-state orchestra as a senior.”
At G-K, Edwards is a member of the school’s marching band, pep band, jazz band and pit orchestra in addition to having been part of a saxophone quartet as a sophomore and a woodwind quintet as a junior.
Her passion for music is why Edwards plans to major in music therapy, noting that it’s been “scientifically proven music helps health.” To that end, she takes private lessons from Larry Krey — a member of the DeKalb Municipal Band — who got her to serve as a substitute during the summer of 2013. Needless to say, she’s now been chosen to be a permanent member of the adult band which offers free performances at its band shell on Tuesdays from June through August.
“She is simply one of the most, well-rounded individuals I’ve ever met,” Rucker said. “She’s the type of student who ignites a teacher’s passion.”
And her desire for success with the Cogs soccer program knows no limits.
“She organized the team’s participation in community service helping the local park district clean and paint and even though she’ll be graduated, she has her teammates lined up to give lessons and promote our team at the junior high school,” G-K soccer coach Randy Tate said. “We had an assistant with a goalie background during her freshman year, so much of the improvement she’s made over the years is a result of work done on her own or seeking out help.
“That enthusiasm and dedication made her an obvious choice as a captain; as much as she’s taken to the leadership role, I wish she’d be a little more vocal.”
Edwards admits she only responds with a smile and a laugh whenever her parents, who she thanks for never missing a concert or game, remind her before matches not to “break your clarinet fingers.”
“I try not to think about that and I like the finger protectors in my gloves,” Edwards said. “Maybe its nervous energy, but I prefer being busy rather than having the ball at the other end for long stretches. I love that challenge and the focus necessary to think ahead as to what to do, rush out, when to dive.”
It’s something the senior has done fairly well, coming one shutout shy of the school single-season record for clean sheets with six in 2013.
Having joined several teammates in following the Cogs’ fourth-place finish this fall in the boys Class 1A state finals, Edwards says the girls program is hungry to generate the same type of excitement for the school and community this spring.
Even though that’s a ways off for a Genoa-Kingston squad that currently sports a 5-2 record, it’s not hard to imagine Edwards will gladly manage to find the time for a lengthy postseason run.