Valdosta Daily Times

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.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire2a.jpg Blaze damages North Lowndes home

    Lowndes County Fire Rescue responded to a fire call Sunday at 3756 Cross Creek Circle near Bemiss Road.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140719-KidsInc3 copy.jpg Kids get a taste of retail operations

    Valdosta Mall shoppers may have noticed a few additional shopping options Saturday as they walked through center court.
    Children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old set up booths and sold products to consumers.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140719-UnseenProject7 copy.jpg CrossPointe welcomes ‘Unseen’ travelers home

    CrossPointe Church members gathered Saturday to greet their pastor and fellow congregationalists returning from a filmed two-month-long motorcycle trip across the nation and back.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Runoff set for Tuesday

    Advanced voting ended Friday for the runoff election from the May 20 primary.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Modern Woodmen RC copy.JPG Woodmen welcomed to Valdosta

    The The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassadors welcomed the Valdosta chapter of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 15.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-Photo_Contest002.jpg First-time entrant wins People’s Choice Photo Contest

    The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts hosted the 2014 City of Valdosta People’s Choice Photo Contest, the sixth of its kind, Friday evening. For Megan Knebel, best of show winner, this was her first time entering into a photo contest.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg Hotel workers’ tip leads to arrests

    A tip from hotel employees about suspicious activity led to the arrest of two Florida women on prostitution and drug charges Thursday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-I75-Wreck005.jpg Interstate 75 wreck victim life-flighted

    A multi-vehicle wreck on I-75 in Lowndes County Friday resulted in injuries, according to authorities.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results