NEW PARIS — National Trail senior FFA member Suzanne Kimball has been selected as one of 96 students across the country to play in the National FFA band at the FFA convention which will take place Wednesday, Oct. 28-Saturday, Oct. 31 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Kimball, who was selected to play in the State FFA band last year, will be one of three students from Ohio representing the state in the National FFA band.
She will be playing the clarinet at the National Convention which saw some 60,000 FFA students come through its doors a year ago.
She started playing the instrument in fifth grade when she joined the band program at National Trail. Kimball has remained active in the band and is now the drum major for the band at the high school.
For Kimball, being selected for the band is a sign of hard work. She says she spent three or four days a week for over a month practicing at least an hour for her audition tape alone.
Kimball says being recognized for years of hard work learning the instrument is an honor. “It’s really exciting to know you’re one of the best in the country,” Kimball said. “I was super excited because it’s a really big honor, not that many people from around here can say they have the honor of playing in the band.”
She submitted her audition of “Evening in the County” by Bartok through YouTube to the FFA along with an application of her achievements in band.
Those achievements include being selected to play in the all-county band, performing in the community band and preforming numerous solos for her high school.
Kimball says she might be a little nervous since her duties of drum major have taken away from practice time for the clarinet, but says performing in front of such a large crowd is exciting. “I’m really excited to perform to in front of so many people,” she said. “Sixty thousand members is a lot of people to perform in front of.”
She also hopes she will be able to participate in some of the drum major activities available to members at the national convention.
Kimball, who has gone to the national convention every year since joining FFA as freshman, thinks she may miss some of the events at the convention, but says the honor of the band is well worth it.
According to Kimball, she will arrive at the convention prior to any other students. Once there she will receive her music sheets for the week and begin practicing for the nine sessions she will play during at the convention.
Kimball says she’s always been confident playing her instrument, but was surprised to be selected because so few people receive the honor.
According to the FFA website, membership in the program is at an all-time high, making Kimball’s selection even more unlikely. The website claims there are 629,367 students in the program giving Kimball a one in 6,556 chance of being selected for the band.
Kimball hopes to become an Ag teacher herself. “Hopefully, one day I will have some students be in the band,” she said. She is currently looking at Ohio State and Wilmington as possible destinations after graduation.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter at aschmidt_RH.