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Singing sensation

Austin's Griffen, 9, becoming
a regular on area's singing circuit

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

(August 2004) – If you ask Kayla Griffen what she wants to do when she grows up, she’ll probably reply “Sing!” The 9-year-old Austin, Ind., resident has been humming songs, according to parents Steve and Pam Griffen, since before she could talk and has been singing the National Anthem at local festivals since age 4. Last December she was asked to sing the National Anthem at an Indiana Pacers NBA game in Indianapolis. Griffen belted out the patriotic song in front of 19,000 fans without missing a single note. “She wasn’t nervous, but I was shaking for her,” said Steve Griffen.
The Pacers game wasn’t Griffen’s first time to sing in front of a large crowd. She sang in January at a Western Kentucky University basketball game and has for the past three years sung the National Anthem at the Madison Regatta.

Kayla Griffen

Photo submitted

Kayla Griffen singing the National Anthem at an Indiana Pacers' game.

“She came and did the National Anthem and she was great,” said 2004 Madison Regatta vice president Nate Davis. “When she got to singing, it just brought chills to you when she hit the high notes. She’s that good.”
Griffen also has performed in her native Scott County at the Austin Fireworks Festival, Leota Country Frolic, Pig Roast in the Park, Octoberfest and Courtyard Christmas.
Most recently, she performed Martina McBride’s “Broken Wings” at the Scott County Fair in between the Little Miss and Queen pageants.
Griffen has never taken voice lessons but has always been surrounded by music. Even before she was born, Steve Griffen, who used to sing with his own gospel band, would sing and play guitar for his wife every day when she was pregnant with Kayla. He continued singing to his daughter when she was a baby.
Griffen has no doubt touched many with her heart-felt singing. After a recent performance of the National Anthem, she was approached by Vietnam Veteran Perry “Viper” Clark of Salem, Ind. So moved by Griffen’s performance was Clark that he decided to give her the Purple Heart medal he had earned during the war.
Griffen’s parent’s consider their daughter’s talent a “special gift,” and said they would not be surprised to see her make it big someday.
Griffen will enter fourth grade this year at Austin Elementary School and, like most kids her age, “She just loves having fun,” said Pam Griffen. Some of her favorite activities include swimming, cheerleading and baseball. She also likes watching “Sponge Bob” and “That’s So Raven.”
Griffen’s next performance will be Aug. 13 at Scott County’s Pig Roast in the Park. She will also perform with her dad Aug. 27 at the Leota Country Frolic.

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