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Author Topic: Community honors Hillside band director  (Read 1366 times)

Offline Bro. Askia Musa Afiba

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Community honors Hillside band director
« on: May 25, 2011, 05:19:16 PM »
Community honors Hillside band director 

Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011 7:00 am
by Evelyn Howell, Correspondent

DURHAM - Ask anyone who knows Xavier Cason and you will hear expressions like "soft-spoken yet stern," "strong and passionate," "father figure and gifted," and "amazing."

Known to many as "Papa" Cason or "Pops," this music giant and band director of Hillside High School since 1997 was honored for his 25 years of service to the Durham community with a formal reception, dinner and dance last weekend at the Radisson Hotel Research Triangle Park.

"I am very excited. To me, it's like a family reunion," said Cason shortly after enjoying several musical selections performed by the W.G. Pearson Harp Ensemble.

Over the years, Cason has worked diligently in the music field arranging and composing, and mentoring and shaping young minds. He has received numerous awards, including teacher of the year at Central Middle and Hillside High, and was featured in Who's Who among America's Teachers and founder of Throne Life Media.

"I feel like I have not had jobs - only that I have just been adopted in the community," said Cason, a native of Winton, N.C., and former band director at N.C. Central.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell was on hand to present Cason a key to the city as over 150 people looked on - many of whom were eager to share their own stories of how Cason had influenced their lives. Durham Public Schools Superintendent Eric Becoats sent a congratulatory video message.

Donna Cordell drove from Atlanta to join the celebration. She had not seen Cason in years.

"Not only were we a band, we were a family," said Cordell who played the clarinet in the NCCU Marching Band from 1992-97. "A lot of us are friends today. He had a lot to do with that."

"Whenever you can be into education for 25 years, it's a blessing in itself," said Wendell Tabb, Hillside's performing arts chair and director of theater, who has known Cason for 24 years.

Tabb said Cason has always "been there" and supportive of him in his career and personal life. "Everybody knows him. We come to him because he's calm within a storm."

"He is an extraordinary person," said Jemma Boler whose daughter, Jasmine, is a rising senior who started with the band playing the clarinet and is now a flag girl. "My daughter looks up to him. She has grown over the years."

Boler said she also admires Cason because he does not turn anybody away, even students who are not a part of the Hillside community.

"Even though I was not a traditional student at Hillside High, he gave me an opportunity to play with his band," said Rasheed Brown who played percussions and tenor drums while he was a student in Early College at NCCU.

Brown said Cason instilled in him to "do the best in what you are prepared for."

Xavier Burch said Cason has impacted his life in a big way. "He can always brighten my day when he tells me to keep my head up," said Burch who plays percussion and trumpet. "He taught me the best leader shows integrity."

Adrian Carroll Entertainment and Marketing Firm presented the program, which included performances by a spiritual dance team consisted of Cason's students and former students.

"He's the best," said Angel Turner who dedicated a song to Cason. "He's like a father. No matter your mistakes, he will accept you."

Cason is married with two children and one grandchild.

Offline DRUMMA1

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Re: Community honors Hillside band director
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 07:59:17 PM »

Offline LaDuke1919

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Re: Community honors Hillside band director
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 09:51:26 PM »
Met him for the first time this year at the Warren Co. drum line competition....he's a good guy....

Offline Brother Tony

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Re: Community honors Hillside band director
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 02:02:39 PM »
 :clap: :clap: :clap:




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