(August 2004) If you ask Kayla Griffen what she wants to do
when she grows up, shell 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
wasnt nervous, but I was shaking for her, said Steve Griffen.
The Pacers game wasnt Griffens 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.
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. Shes 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 McBrides 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 Griffens performance was Clark that he decided to give her
the Purple Heart medal he had earned during the war.
Griffens parents consider their daughters 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 Thats So Raven.
Griffens next performance will be Aug. 13 at Scott Countys
Pig Roast in the Park. She will also perform with her dad Aug. 27
at the Leota Country Frolic.