When it comes to fostering a love for any activity, anyone can tell you that the key has always been to get people interested when they’re young. Yet, who would have guessed that a 5-year-old Louisiana boy, Jeremiah Travis would have the drum chops to land a full ride to Alcorn State University, an HBCU in Lorman, Mississippi?
Though Travis won’t get to attend the university for another 13 years, Chesteron Frye, the band director at St. Helena High School and student director at Alcorn State University, was too stunned by his abilities to not offer future enrollment. Travis is only in kindergarten but he suits up with the older kids every week to play snare drum in the band at St. Helena College and Career Academy.
It’s no small task to play in a drumline at an HBCU. Not every school has an amazing athletics program, and sometimes the main draw to a sporting event is the school spirit emphasized by the marching band. Moreover, HBCU marching bands step higher and are notably more flavorful (e.g likely to embrace a five year old) than anything you’d see at a PWI.
“My child only plays a video game for no longer than 15 minutes and then he wants to beat on something,” Jeremiah’s mother said. “He’s not a video game person. He likes to move and learn different things with drums.”
Apparently, the five-year-old habitually watches the movie Drumline and likes to imitate the patterns he sees on the screen. Still, it wasn’t until his cousin Kenya Brooks (also a drummer at St. Helena) began to teach Travis the different beats and dance steps that he became truly hooked. According to people close to the family, when game time arrives, he’s as focused as all the older musicians around him.
“He is just zoned in,” Dorsey said. “Sometimes, I don’t teach him a part because I think he might not be able to play it. Next thing you know, we start playing a cadence, he just starts playing it and I’m amazed. When it is time for battle, playtime is over. He is really about business.”
Yeah. He will fit right in with the Alcorn State University Marching Band .