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Tori Performs the National Anthem at the Boston Celtics Game!

Tori Ackley is a seasoned vocalist, pianist and songwriter. She has been part of Berkshire Hills Music Academy since our inaugural class and is currently a member of the Jazz Ensemble! Tori is a versatile performer playing at restaurants, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, fundraisers and various community events. Tori performs a wide variety of music including songs from the 1970’s, 1980’s and current hits. Tori often writes and performs her own music and released an album in 2020 called “Victorious.”

Tori is passionate about sharing her love of music and advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities all over the country. In this Q&A Tori shares more about her recent experience of performing the national anthem at the Boston Celtics basketball game on February 15, 2023.

How did you find out about performing the national anthem at the Celtics game? Someone from the local Best Buddies International group contacted me and asked me if I was interested in performing the national anthem at the Boston Celtics, and I couldn’t say no. I love performing whenever I get the chance!

Have you performed the national anthem before? Yes, I have performed the national anthem on a few occasions! I performed at the Boston Celtics last year (2022), the Best Buddies Challenge in Hyannis Port (2021), the Boston Red Sox (2013) and then for the Miami Heat basketball game (2014).

What is your favorite part of performing in front of large audiences? My favorite part about performing in front of a large audience is the response from the crowd. I love seeing audience members positively react to my performance because it gives me more confidence and helps with nerves. I also enjoy when the audience members start to sing along with me.

What do you do to help with feeling nervous before you perform? I tend to take deep breathes and remind myself that I can do this and that I am capable of putting on a good performance. At times, I do vocal warm ups so that I feel more prepared.

What was your favorite part of performing at the Celtics game? My favorite part about performing at the Celtics game was that I got to sing the national anthem, getting a great reaction from the audience, and seeing my family after the performance. Seeing so many Celtics fans and some of the players warming up was also really impressive.

How has BHMA helped you with your performing skills? I think BHMA has helped me with my performance skills by being in different groups, ensembles and learning how to work with and listen to other musicians. BHMA has also taught me to be more confident with how I sing. Through the help of our BHMA staff I was even able to record my own album with all of my original songs that I still perform live to this day.

What advice would you give to someone else who loves to sing but is nervous about performing live? The advice that I would give would be to keep practicing performing in front of friends and family. By doing this, you’ll start to feel more confident with how you sing. Don’t give up and follow your dreams:-)


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