Blues ECS | John-Alex Mason ECS Scholarship Recipient 2013

February 28, 2013

John-Alex Mason '94On the first day of the Experience Centered Seminar (ECS) term, we sat down with senior, Travis McDowell, the inaugural recipient of the John-Alex Mason ECS Scholarship. Travis is participating in the Blues ECS, a fitting tribute to John-Alex, a passionate blues musician who passed away in October of 2011. As a CSS alumnus of the Class of 1994, John-Alex Mason had been active in the life of the school and even led a Blues ECS alongside faculty. After John-Alex’s passing, memorial gifts from family and friends established a scholarship fund to fully fund an ECS experience for a deserving student.

I have always had a passion for music. Ever since I was five, I have participated in some form of music-based program. From piano lessons, concert band, orchestra, to garage band, my life has been molded by music. I even plan to get a degree in music,” wrote Travis in his scholarship application. “I see the Jazz and Blues ECS as an opportunity to further expand my knowledge of musicality, and moreover, experience genres of music I haven’t had much exposure to.”

During the Blues ECS, Travis and his classmates are exploring the roots and branches of Blues and Jazz music, traveling up the Mississippi from New Orleans to Memphis to St. Louis. Along the way, students will confront the interwoven history of slavery, civil rights and the Blues in the South. Travis is looking forward to the “in-your-face live music and one-on-one interactions with musical professionals.” In preparation for the Blues ECS, Travis has been listening to a lot of blues and jazz music, especially John-Alex’s Youtube videos.

Previously, Travis participated in the Iron Pour; Vancouver: First Nations; and Fair Trade in Chile ECSes. He believes this ECS is a culminating experience for him as a senior and will deepen his passion for music. Travis is a hardworking student and has saved his money from teaching trombone lessons to help cover college incidentals. He has applied to Carleton College, CSU, UCCS and California Institute of the Arts. Travis isn’t singing the blues about making a college decision or leaving CSS in the spring, as he has so much to look forward to on the Blues ECS!

Interested in the adventures of the Experience Centered Seminar program? Follow the ECS Blogs.

John-Alex Mason '94