Kansas teen drums up chance to perform in Grammy band

? The students and teachers at Sumner Academy have known for years about Alexander Bailey’s talent for jazz drumming.

Before long, a lot of people in the national music industry will get to hear the high school senior’s chops, too.

Bailey, who turned 18 on Christmas Day, is the first Kansan ever selected for the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Band. He will join 17 other high school students next month in California, playing in events surrounding the annual music awards – and will get to sit in the VIP section at the Grammys themselves.

“Personally, I feel honored because I’m playing with such great musicians,” Bailey said.

His bandmates can say the same thing about him, music teacher Don Rogers said.

“He’s without a doubt the most talented kid I’ve ever seen,” Rogers said. “The bonus side to that is his dedication to succeed.”

Bailey comes from a musical family. His father, Timothy, is a professional musician, and his mother, Andrea, has been a music educator. Alexander’s brother, Timothy Bailey Jr., is a recent graduate of the Los Angeles Music Academy.

Andrea Bailey said her son’s success proves his parents’ belief that music and religion provide balance for life’s everyday grind.

“Alexander will come home and he’ll get on the drums just to get out his frustrations,” she said.

Bailey wants to study music in college and become a performing musician, and the selection to the Grammy band opens the door for several scholarships.

His lifelong dream is to study music in college and become a performer. Membership in the jazz band gets him one step closer to his dream.

And eventually, he said, he would like to return to his hometown and teach urban students.

“Personally, I would like to send a message that if you love music and you work hard at it, you will get to where you want to go,” he said.