Tralyn Cusic, 6, adjust the hi-hat before he plays during the church service at Southwood Lodge Baptist Church on Sunday. Trayln has never taken a drums lesson and taught himself how to play. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Tralyn Cusic, 6, adjust the hi-hat before he plays during the church service at Southwood Lodge Baptist Church on Sunday. Trayln has never taken a drums lesson and taught himself how to play. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

The Dart: For Cusic family, music spans several generations

Published 12:01am Monday, January 13, 2014

NATCHEZ — As the Rev. Tracy Cusic looked back at his 6-year-old son, Tralyn, playing the drums Sunday, the generations of blues and gospel musicians in his family shined brightly through the stained glass windows at Southwood Lodge Baptist Church.

Tracy’s father and Tralyn’s grandfather is blues guitarist and singer Eddie Cusic, who traveled throughout the state in the 1950s helping shape and mold the Mississippi Delta blues.

Eddie’s musical background trickled down to his son and eventually to his grandson in the form of Tralyn’s innate ability to play the drums.

“It’s something that goes through the blood line,” Tracy said. “The music has passed down through the generations, and I’m just glad it’s something he’ll be able to help continue passing down.”

Trayln plays on the drum set he got for Christmas and plays them as often as possible. “It’s the first thing he does when he wakes up,” Tralyn’s mother, Betty Cusic, said. “And it’s the last thing he does before he goes to bed.” (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Trayln plays on the drum set he got for Christmas and plays them as often as possible. “It’s the first thing he does when he wakes up,” Tralyn’s mother, Betty Cusic, said. “And it’s the last thing he does before he goes to bed.” (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

When The Dart landed at the Cusic house on Woodville Drive Thursday, Tralyn was taking a break from playing his new drum set — a recent gift from Santa Claus — and preparing for his Sunday performance.

Thursday also marked Tralyn’s birthday, for which he received a new set of drumsticks and drumstick case.

Tralyn, a kindergartener at Holy Family Catholic Early Learning Center, can barely reach his bass drum pedal from his stool.

Stretching to reach that pedal takes him even farther away from the hi-hat pedal, which control a type of cymbal on the set.

But his stature and lack of training with the instrument don’t show through when Tralyn puts the two sticks to the drums.

“I’ve never had a lesson before,” Tralyn said, while playing a steady beat. “I like the way they sound when I play them.”

Tralyn’s interest in the percussion instruments started at an early age around the house, his mother, Betty, said.

“When he was 2, he would go into the cabinets, take out pots and pans and bang on them with wooden spoons,” Betty said. “When we saw how much he liked it and wanted to stick with it, we bought him a junior drum set, and that’s the one he’s had until this new set.”

Only one answer to the question of “What do you want Santa to bring you?” came from Tralyn this year.

“He asked for a big-boy drum set, and that’s what Santa brought him,” Betty said, laughing. “As long as he’s happy playing the drums, we’re going to support him.”

Showing Tralyn their support for his musical intentions, Betty and Tracy arranged for him to play the drums with the church band every second Sunday at Southwood Lodge Baptist Church, where Tracy is pastor.

As the six-member choir walked down the aisle of the church and the minister of music began playing the organ Sunday, Tralyn laid down the foundation of what was soon to be a powerful gospel song chanted by the dozens of church members in the wooden pews.

“I like playing at the church,” Tralyn said. “I just like playing.”

In between songs, Tralyn takes time to adjust his drums and cymbals to create the right sound for the next number.

Being able to look back and see his son as a part of the church’s band brings a smile to Tracy’s face.

“It’s a real good feeling to know he’s back there and doing something that he enjoys,” Tracy said. “Hopefully, it’s something he’ll continue to stay interested in and that might end up getting him a drumming scholarship and an education at a great school one day.

“It’s going to pay off one way or the other, because he’s keeping the gospel and blues music of our family going through the generations.”

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