Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

Local News

December 3, 2012

Valdosta High student studies music in Cuba

VALDOSTA —  It may have been Hurricane Katrina’s devastating effects that inspired a Valdosta High Marchin’ Cats section leader to study trombone and return to New Orleans each summer for jazz camp, but ultimately it was his skill that awarded him a chance to learn music in Cuba last month.

Kreshon McDowell’s grandmother, Sandra McDowell, said Hurricane Katrina claimed all of the family’s possessions in New Orleans and forced them to move back into an old home in Valdosta. She said it was around this time that Kreshon, now 19, began studying trombone at Valdosta Middle School in 2006.

“My husband retired from Moody Air Force Base, so we moved back into our old home here after Katrina,” said Mrs. McDowell. “I think music, and specifically the trombone, became both a coping mechanism and a way for Kreshon to express himself.”

With roughly a year of familiarity with his new instrument, Mrs. McDowell said Kreshon began attending the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans each summer. And for the past five years, he’s returned to the three-week camp to work under the tutelage of jazz greats like nine-time Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis and the legendary George Duke.

“I love music because it's a universal language,” said Kreshon. “People of all races can sit down and enjoy it together, and there's always room for creativity in it.”

Near the end of last October, Kreshon’s family received a letter notifying them that the young trombonist had been hand-selected from the jazz camp to travel in a small group to Cuba the following month. Notice was short, but its tone suggested that they were very much aware of Kreshon’s abilities as an excerpt reads:

“Our students will learn two Cuban tunes while in Cuba. We have yet to hear and receive those arrangements As we are aware, this is jazz. It marches to a different beat. I am confident it will all work out.”

The group left for the Havana affair on Monday, Nov. 19, and returned the following Sunday. The music students toured a circuit of Cuban schools and learned theories from Cuban professors, said Mrs. McDowell who joined the students in the excursion.

“The trip exposed the U.S. students to samba and other Cuban music genres, and it gave the Cuban students exposure to jazz and blues,” said Mrs. McDowell. “It was such a nice time. Kreshon took a class with Alvarao Collado, one of Cuba's most famous trombone players.”

Though it lasted a day short of a week, Kreshon said the trip has had a profound effect on him.

“The trip has shown me that there are friends out there that we've never met,” said Kreshon. “We all connect in many ways, no matter what language we speak. Because of the trip, I appreciate what I have in the U.S. a lot more than before.”

While Kreshon wraps up his time at Valdosta High School, his next move is already plotted out. He said he intends to further his education by studying jazz performance at Valdosta State University.

Text Only
Local News
  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results