Vicksburg tween to compete Saturday for chance to sing at Grand Ole Opry

Published 3:41 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Vicksburg’s Belle Spires will compete in the Inspirational Country Music Association’s showcase, The Sound of Small Town America.

The showcase will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. at Living Water Christian Fellowship in Vicksburg. Admission is free.

Contestants were selected from video submissions and are featured in four showcases across the south; Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Kentucky. Five preliminary winners from each showcase will go on to sing in the finale at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in March of 2024.

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Spires is the 12-year-old daughter of Doug and Stephanie Spires.

Music has always been a part of Belle’s life, as her father is the Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church in Vicksburg.

Over the years, she said, she has developed a passion for country music. Not only does she sing, but she also plays guitar as well as piano, mountain dulcimer, ukulele, trumpet and French horn.

Belle said she loves to accompany herself while singing with this wide menagerie of instruments.

The opportunity for Belle to compete in the Inspirational Country Music Association’s Showcase came to her by chance.

“I work at an area hotel and met a man who was in Vicksburg looking into our city specifics and scouting out host hotels for the ICMAs,” Stephanie said. “I asked him if my daughter was old enough to audition. He said yes, she auditioned and the rest is history. We are all so blown away that this opportunity came her way.”

Belle auditioned with the song “Who I Am,” originally popularized by Jessica Andrews.

“‘Who I Am’ just felt right to me. I am just like my Dad, and my mom always tells me she is my biggest fan,” Belle said.

She was not as forthcoming with her selection for her showcase performance, however.

“I’ll leave that as a surprise, but I’ll give you a hint: She is about to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

On being selected to participate in the ICMA’s showcase, Spires said, “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete for a spot on the Grand Ole Opry stage, where so many great country singers have performed before. I am so looking forward to performing for the crowd here Saturday night.

“I hope I can inspire everyone there with my song,” she added. “Whether I win a spot to move on or not, I will give it my very best and be happy with that.”