NAFB Member Performs at White House

Never in a million years did a small-town country kid from Higginsville, Missouri, ever think he would one day have the honor to perform at the White House — let alone twice in the span of two weeks.

Ben Nuelle (associate editor at Agri-Pulse Communications) resides in Washington, D.C., and has had a passion for radio, news, and politics ever since he started listening to talk radio in high school; another passion was playing the piano.

“There were very few if any times where my mother had to force me to practice,” Nuelle said. “It was something that just came natural.”

He started taking piano lessons when he was seven years old and continued through the end of college. In middle and high school, he performed for local rotary-club and chamber-of-commerce events, school concerts, talent shows, churches, weddings, and the National FFA Convention.

Performing at the White House had just been a distant dream, but that dream came true in November after he had applied to perform during the Christmas at the White House decorations tour. The theme this year was “America the Beautiful.”

“When I received word back from them, I honestly couldn’t believe I’d be playing there,” Nuelle said. “It was the coolest experience I’ve ever had in my entire life and an honor.”

Nuelle performed the evening of Saturday, December 12, for 2.5 hours as invited guests seemed awestruck and amazed by the decorations as well as his performance. The grand foyer, where he performed, featured a Steinway and Sons grand piano specifically built for the White House in 1938. It was the company’s 300,000th piano they had produced.

“I was nervous for the first few songs but then everything just fell into place, and it was fun,” Nuelle said.

He performed Christmas music from traditional Christian songs like “Oh Come all Ye Faithful” to modern tunes such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

Nuelle considers the opportunity a high accomplishment and feels like it was part of God’s plan for him. He is a triplet who was not actually supposed to be born. The doctor told his mother that she should plan on having twins because the third one didn’t look like he’d  make it. But a few days ago, he celebrated his 29th birthday, two days after Christmas.

“Despite ups and downs, you never know what life has in store for you, so embrace every opportunity you can,” Nuelle said.

Shortly after performing in mid-December, he was asked to come back to the White House again to perform on December 21. Faced with the decision to head home for the holidays earlier or perform, Nuelle chose to perform, not knowing whether he would ever have that opportunity again.