Dreaming small” turned out big for Lakeland Union High School student Joey Jurries as he traveled to Nashville to meet and perform with country-Christian music star Josh Wilson. 

“We always enjoy returning home to T-Bird Nation, but we definitely left a piece of our hearts in Nashville,” observed Joey’s mother Judy, who thanked Wilson, his family and Black River Entertainment for “the most memorable three days anyone could ask for in Nashville.” 

Joey’s aunt, Kim Olson, nominated her nephew for the chance to meet and play with Wilson via his #dreamsmall contest, which encouraged stories from those who did small things that add up to big changes in communities nationwide. 

The nomination noted Joey Jurries’ love for swimming and how it grew into a passion, that, years later, would take him to represent Team USA at the World Down Syndrome Swim Championships in Nova Scotia. There, he’d earn one gold and two bronze medals in competitions. 

Out of all the entries, Wilson was most impacted by Joey’s story and selected him as grand prize winner, congratulating him with two-nights in Nashville for he and his mother, as well as a music session with him at Black River Entertainment.

Joey and Judy Jurries and Olson all traveled to Nashville where they would tour Music Row as well as Black River Entertainment, where they would meet the CEO, songwriters, Wilson’s agent and manager and saw everything that goes into making a song and an album. 

“It was great,” Judy Jurries said. “Joey just loved it, he was in heaven … this was the experience of a lifetime.”

Once in-studio, Joey followed his dream of having a jam session with one of his favorite musicians playing his favorite instrument — drums. 

Wilson helped teach Joey some tips on drums — from when to play loud or soft, which drum to hit and tempo. 

“Josh was wonderful with Joey,” observed Judy Jurries. Wilson, who is involved with special needs children, had an almost automatic connection to Joey and their interaction was strong and fun, Judy noted. “It was so natural, that common bond. It was a really neat experience.”

Wilson signed a drum head that now hangs in the LUHS music room: “T-Bird Nation, dream small and live big, Josh Wilson.” 

The Jurries family hopes their new friendship with Wilson will continue and that someday he will visit the Lakeland area, a place they are proud to call home. 

“This is such a great community,” Judy Jurries said. “It’s a mixture of communities and T-Bird nation unites them all.”

Back at home, Joey Jurries will continue to be a T-Bird where he’ll play with the band for various sporting events and keep up with his own sporting endeavors.