PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A young man in Pass Christian has defied the odds since birth. Born at only 24 weeks gestation, Trae Henderson fought for his life. Although he is blind and autistic, Trae is a talented drummer in his high school band.
Gavin McAdams is Trae's band director. They have worked together since he began playing in the Pass Christian Middle School band, four years ago.
"From the day I got here, I realized there's something special with him," said Gavin McAdams.
Trae had never had a music lesson before he began playing the drums in the band.
"Everything comes to him very naturally. I can tell him to play something he can do it right there on the spot. He's just got music. He's got a creative sense. He's a natural at that," said McAdams.
McAdams says he recently discovered that Trae also has perfect pitch.
"So, you can play a note and he can tell you what that note is without even knowing, and that's a rarity with a lot of people. So he's just, that whole creative side of his brain is very incredible," said McAdams.
While Trae's musical ability never ceases to amaze his band director and classmates, Trae's mother is just as impressed. But she sensed he had some sort of musical inclination many years ago.
"He would beat on everything, and we just got him his first little drum set I think he was like five years old and he just went from there," said Kandi Henderson.
Although Trae has been beating on drums pretty much his whole life, there was a time when his parents were worried about the most important beat.
"There was many times the hospital called us and he was not going to make it," said Henderson.
Kandi Henderson says Trae was born weighing only 1.6 lbs. He was in the hospital for five months after he was born. He was also diagnosed with autism. In his 17 years on earth, he has undergone nine eye surgeries, but Trae's positive attitude makes it hard to tell.
"You know he never has a bad day. He's full of life. If you're having a bad day come and sit down and talk to Trae. He will make it so much better," said Henderson.
McAdams agrees. He says Trae's spirit is infectious.
"He's like the cheerleader of the band. He's got his mottos. He's got his things that he really gets into, and he loves his band. He will call it his band in a heartbeat," said McAdams.
McAdams says not only do his fellow bandmates admire him, but they respect his talent just as much.
"I mean he's a very talented musician, but they adapt to him well. He adapts with them. It's really like his family," said McAdams.
Despite the adversity Trae has had to overcome, he plays to the beat of his own drum and it's that beat that motivates not only Trae but those around him as well.
"It's just that no matter what you're going through no matter whatever you feel is hard, something good is going to come out of it in the end," said Henderson.