In Oct. 3 IssueRussell County NewsBy Kim Graham, RCN Reporter
As a young child, Russell County Middle School 8th grader Kayla Reece loved to sing. She rode her Barbie jeep carrying a radio and singing to her family and friends.
"When I was little, I had a Fisher Price radio with a microphone," said Kayla. "I used to take it to my grandpa's and sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for him."
Young Kayla was challenged by health issues but learned to concentrate on her abilities.
Between 4th and 7th grades, Kayla had Scoliosis and was not able to participate in athletic activities during that time.
Rather than see the Scoliosis as an obstacle, Kayla's family chose to concentrate on her abilities.
Kayla's mother, Pam Reece, encouraged her to concentrate on the gift she has for singing.
"I told her to use her singing talent for something," said Pam Reece. "This is her journey."
In 5th grade, Kayla was chosen for All State Choir and got to perform at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville.
"That was one of my 'Wow' moments," said Kayla. "It was the most people I've ever sung for."
It was music to her ears when Kayla learned she had overcome the Scoliosis and could participate in sports.
"I'm an outside type of person," said Kayla. "I cried when I got released by my doctor."
Now, Kayla is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes singing, performing skits and interpretive movement with the club.
Musical talent runs in the Reece family. Kayla's dad, Randall Reece, is bass player for local gospel group The Higginbothams. The group has supported Kayla and given her stage time during many of their performances.
In November of 2008, Kayla recorded her own gospel music compact disc at Crystal Music in Campbellsville with the Higginbothams as her instrumental back up.
"The Higginbothams have been good to Kayla," said Pam Reece. "We're very thankful for them supporting her."
The CD, So Much to Thank Him For, is dedicated to folks who helped support her and her grandparents who have passed away.
It was Kayla's grandpa Doyle McGowan's dying wish that Kayla would continue singing in church and record her music for others to hear.
"It is my prayer this CD will be a blessing to all," Kayla said in the liner notes.
Since recording her CD, all sorts of opportunities began to spring up for Kayla. She has become very popular among area churches and is asked to sing often at revivals, homecomings, and other church services.
"I didn't think it would go like this and Kayla would be so busy singing," said Pam Reece. "You never know where you'll wind up in years to come."
In May of this year, Kayla was asked to sing her first gospel show at the iconic musical venue, Renfro Valley.
"It was fun," Kayla said. "I liked it."
Two weeks later, she was chosen to perform in a gospel singing competition at Renfro Valley.
Kayla didn't place in the top three but she scored high in points and came away with a winning attitude.
"Kayla was crying after the competition and I asked her if she was upset that she didn't win," said Pam Reece. "She told me she had already won by singing on stage like her grandpa said she would."
After her Renfro Valley performances, Kayla has continued to excel in her art for singing. She's performed in competitions at the Russell County Fair, the KY State Fair and her CD is played on local radio stations' gospel shows.
Recently, Kayla performed with the Higginbothams at the Apple Festival in Liberty. She greeted the rainy day and the drenched crowd with a smile and sang her message of hope.
"I like meeting new people and praising God when I sing," said Kayla. "If what I sing touches one person's heart, that's enough."