Work hard. Keep going. A Nashville singer-songwriter delivered that message to students Tuesday to kick off metro's Music in our Schools month. This performer has an incredible story that's especially inspiring for one 1st grader.

Dodson Elementary sang along as Tony Memmel strummed his guitar in the gym. Tony appeared at the school through the sponsorship of the Music Mix Daily online blog. What he sang, The Lucky Fin Song, has a powerful meaning. 

"I was born without a left hand and taught myself how to play guitar in a special, unique way by building a special cast," said Tony.

Tony is able to grip a guitar pick with his elbow and create a cast to hold it in place with Gorilla tape. He calls his limb difference his 'lucky fin.'

Tony being at the school Tuesday meant a lot to someone in the audience, six-year-old Willem Nelson. 

"Well, I have a piano," said Willem, looking up from his plate of chips and apple slices.

"You do? Very cool," said Tony, sitting next to him.

Tony was on lunch and juice box break with Willem and his mom and dad. 

"So, you like to play piano?" asked Tony. "Do you practice hard?"

Willem nodded.

Willem has a limb difference with his hand too. Just like Tony, he loves music. 

As part of the Lucky Fin Project non-profit, Tony travels the world to speak and encourage children with limb differences to follow what they love, children like Willem. 

"I could play the drum," said Willem. "I could play the xylophone!"

"It puts fuel in my soul and helps me keep going and do what I do," said Tony.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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