Once-in-a-lifetime moment Smith plays on Opry stage



August 26, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Many musicians dream of the day they are able to play at the Grand Ole Opry. For Tori Smith, 14, the dream came true last month when she took to the legendary stage.
Smith, a freshman at Iola High School, plays French horn in the IHS band. In July she attended the Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville, Tenn.
This was her second year to attend the camp.
“We watched the Annie Moses Band play and that’s how we heard about the camp,” Smith’s mother, Michelle Diebolt, said.
The band is an American pop string band. The members launched Annie Moses Ministries in 2010 and the Ministry is the parent organization to the Fine Arts Summer Academy.
The Academy attracts all types of fine arts performers from all over the United States. Smith, who started playing the French horn in January 2012, went to the camp to practice and learn more about the instrument.
Smith was assigned to work with mentor Kelly Misko while at the camp. Many of the instructors at the Academy play professionally.
“She played the French horn, too, and has a master’s degree in French horn from Juilliard,” Smith said. “She played at the Olympics.”
Misko also plays with the Kansas City Orchestra and Smith is hoping to take private lessons with her.
The band camp lasted two weeks and campers worked during every minute of it. Smith went through hours of technique classes, sectionals, and ensemble. She also took a composition course the first week and composed her own song over the six days.
“I had to fit in time to practice, too,” Smith said.
The song she composed had parts for piano, cello, flute and French horn. Diebolt said Tori can play all of those instruments except flute. She can also play trumpet.
During the second week Tori and other campers were able to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage for a public performance.
“They put all of us together, brass, strings and drums,” she said.
Now that the camp is over and school is back in session Smith is busy practicing with the Iola High School band.
Going back to the camp next year is definitely an option for her.
“Everyone who goes there always comes back,” she said.

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