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Local teacher makes Grammy quarterfinals

Last Modified: Friday, June 06, 2014 4:26 PM

By Emily Fontenot / American Press

SULPHUR — What once seemed like a shot in the dark for one local music teacher has become a very real possibility. The Grammy Foundation announced that local musician Huber “Mickey” Smith is a quarterfinalist in the competition for the Music Educator Award.

Smith, a widely recognized saxophonist, is the band director for Maplewood Middle School, a position he has held for seven years. Nominated by local musicians, parents and teachers, Smith is one of 222 contestants remaining out of 7,000 who were nominated for the award.

As a quarterfinalist, Smith is required to submit evidence demonstrating his abilities as a music educator. He must answer essay questions, undergo an interview process and showcase his students’ performance.

The first Music Educator Award was presented in January on the Grammy Awards telecast by Ryan Seacreast, John Legend and Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.

The winner will receive $10,000. The nine other finalists will each receive $1,000, and the schools of each of the 10 finalists will receive grants of an equal amount.

The winner will be flown to Los Angeles during Grammy Week and will attend the awards ceremony and receive the award during a special reception.

Smith said he is excited by the possibility of being nationally recognized. He said he considers it not just a personal achievement but an achievement of the community as a whole.

“What I do is not just about teaching,” he said. “It’s also about being a component of what’s going on in our area. I try to be an ambassador of music in general, especially in Louisiana. I think a big part of our culture is music, even from the jazz standpoint, having actually impacted the world with music, with our own culture. What an opportunity just to have a platform to show the world what Southwest Louisiana has to offer.”

Smith will perform Saturday, June 7, at The Grove in Sulphur, 1211 Ruth St. The performance is part of a free event beginning at 3 p.m. titled From the Grove to the Grammys. It will include family-oriented activities, free food, a chalk walk and an art festival.

Smith will take requests and play a variety of songs from different genres, including jazz, R&B, soul and pop. “I try to do music that speaks to people,” Smith said. “And if anyone enjoys good music, I think they’ll enjoy this event.”

In addition to his career as a music teacher, Smith is involved in his church, various jazz festivals and the Banners Series. He is also vice president of Music Makers 2 U, a local organization that collects used instruments and gives them to young students unable to afford them. The organization recently raised $30,000 and gave away 100 instruments.

“My grandma bought me my first horn,” Smith said. “I know firsthand because the trajectory of my life would have been so different had it not been for her.”

Smith is also grateful for the support of his church, Christian World, where he plays saxophone every Sunday and Wednesday. “Music, faith, community — they’re all connected,” he said. “I believe that it keeps me grounded and inspired.”

Smith will learn if he makes it to the next round in September.

Posted By: Lisa Green On: 6/10/2014


This is a very good example of what happens when you focus on God and walk the path He has set in front of you. Who knew that by working in a noble profession as a teacher and being the best person you can be would lead to a Grammy?! This should prove that DO NOT have to sell your soul to reach your goal! With prayer and hard work there are NO LIMITS to what you can achieve! What an inspiration!!!!

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