She's been around music most of her life, so it was only natural that 16-year-old Melody Kessler would inherit some of that musical talent passed on from her parents.
"My mom had played the trumpet in high school, and my dad had, too," said Melody, the daughter of Christy Reese of Grovetown. "In the sixth grade (band), they let you try out every instrument, and the trumpet just seemed to be the instrument for me."
Today, Melody plays the trumpet in the Harlem High School marching and concert bands. And her musical talent garnered her a nomination to join the Georgia Ambassadors of Music on a concert tour in Europe.
"We spent 16 days in seven different countries," Melody said of her first trip outside of the Southeast. "It was amazing."
Students who participated in the Georgia Ambassadors of Music, which is both a band and chorus program, were sent music a few weeks prior to departing for Europe. A few days before leaving the state, the students met in Norcross, Ga., to rehearse.
"She did a superb job of fitting in with the other students, all who shared a love for performing music," said Joe Brashier, director of bands at Valdosta State University who served as the Georgia Ambassadors director. "Although the students represented a diverse background, they quickly connected with each other and became a group of young people representing Georgia. Hometowns were lost in the shuffle - they were all just Georgians."
Melody Kessler, 16, is a rising junior at Harlem High School and took part in the Georgia Ambassadors of Music.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Georgia Ambassadors of Music is one of 34 state music groups organized by Voyageurs International Ltd., based in Wheat Ridge, Colo. Each state group does a European tour every other year.
"Every three days, each country gets a new group from a different state," Melody said. "We were the first group."
In Switzerland, the Georgia group was asked to perform an encore.
"It was so much fun," Melody said about her experiences in a foreign country.
Melody, who has participated in the Tenth District Honor Band since the sixth grade, visited London, Paris, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Venice and Germany. She was a member of the 122-strong band and choir that performed in London, Paris, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Melody, a rising junior at Harlem High, said the trip, which cost $3,600 alone, not including meals, souvenirs, the mandatory uniform and other incidentals, was well worth it.
"I was all by myself," she said, adding that only she and one other student in the county were nominated to participate in the program. "But I still had fun."
Make Kids Count is a project dedicated to highlighting the achievements of children in our area. To suggest a pupil for Make Kids Count, send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.