By MORGAN FRALICK
One of the most involved but behind-the-scenes faculty members on campus is Mrs. Lori Smith of the music department here at Georgetown College. She is the piano accompanist and piano instructor for all Music majors, minors and students choosing to make music their elective. Lori is originally from St. Louis, Mo. and attended Baylor University for her undergraduate degree. She has a B.M. in Piano Pedagogy.
Lori has been taking piano lessons since she was five years old, and since that moment music has been her life. However, when she started at Baylor, she wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to pursue a career in music, but she decided to study it anyway to see where it took her. It wasn’t until her first music teacher went on sabbatical that she met the woman who would later become her greatest inspiration, Jane Abbott-Kirk. She took over as Lori’s music instructor and taught her not just how to play music, but how to live the music as well. It was this kind of passion that made her want to reach out to others and teach them with the same enthusiasm.
After Lori graduated from Baylor, she taught private lessons and played at small churches for many years, until that fateful day when she met Dr. Lewis, a music instructor at Georgetown College. Dr. Lewis heard Lori perform at Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church and asked her if she would be interested in being a piano accompanist for the music department. Since 2007, Lori has been a music instructor at Georgetown College, where she has performed at numerous faculty concerts, recitals, operas and musicals. Her daughter, Sarah Smith, is currently an enrolled student here at Georgetown and is following in her mother’s footsteps by studying music as well.
When I asked what her most memorable moments were here at Georgetown, she said it is that enjoyable feeling she gets while working one-on-one with her students. It is at those instances that she feels like “…a true teacher at heart.” She said, “I really enjoy seeing students progress while they are here. The way they grow as musicians and people.” One of the ways in whichshe hopes to see Georgetown continue to mature is with the music programs because it is essential for Christian schools to be able to express their faith through something as magical and encouraging as music.
At the time that Lori joined the musical staff at Georgetown it was only Dr. Heather Hunnicutt’s second year teaching and there were only about five music majors in the entire department. But since then, the department has grown to be one of the largest programs at Georgetown and is featuring major productions such as “The Gershwin Extravaganza” and “Clara, My Love.” In fact, it was during Lori’s second fall semester that Georgetown performed its very first opera. Lori loves getting to be a part in helping students with their productions and hopes to continue assisting in many more to come.
One of her major accomplishments, besides becoming a beloved piano instructor in the music epartment, is her ability to balance being a music teacher and a mom. She says that she does so much playing at the school that she never really has to worry about “taking her work home with her,” but during major shows and productions it is slightly more complicated due to the long rehearsal hours. Nevertheless, Lori still manages to find strength and endurance to push through even in the most trying of times. Her advice to all students is that “whatever tasks you are given, do it to the best of your abilities. You, as students, don’t know what you will be doing, it may take you out of your comfort zones.”