She was the unknown on a lineup that included former American Idol contestants Scotty McCreery and Kristy Lee Cook.
But Sunday’s Jingle Bell Jam certainly made for a nice showcase for talented singer-songwriter Kayla Kroh, a 16-year-old student at Central York High School.
Before Kristy Lee and Scotty took the stage Sunday night at the York Expo Center, Kayla entertained the crowd with a 12-song set that included a wide range of covers, a couple of Christmas songs and four of her originals.
And when Kayla finished, she got a standing ovation from almost everyone in a crowd that approached 3,000.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” she said after the show. “I mean, I know my family started it. But to have all those other people standing, too … there are just no words (to describe it).”
Kayla’s been performing locally for the past three years but said Sunday’s crowd was “definitely the biggest” she’s performed for.
And, yes, along with that came a case of the nerves.
“But it was weird because once I walked out on stage and picked up my guitar, all of that went away.”
She performed three songs from an “On Your Own” EP she released last year, including the splendid “Turn Back Time.” And she performed a brand new song called “You All Along” that she might release as a single on iTunes.
Sunday’s gig came on the heels of a late-November show in Lancaster where she opened for Season 3 Voice contestant Melanie Martinez; Kayla said she was thrilled to meet Melanie and her dad.
If you’re counting, that’s three singing show stars Kayla has opened for in a month.
Has she considered pursuing that path?
Kayla says she hadn’t, because “I’m not a competitive person,” but adds that people keep telling her she should consider it.“We’ll see what happens in the next year,” she says.
If she ever did audition for a singing show, The Voice would be her choice.
She said she enjoys watching that show and likes the way contestants get to learn from the celebrity coaches.
And should a red chair ever turn for a Kayla Kroh performance, she’d love to be a member of Team Blake.
For one thing, she’s a big fan of his wife, Miranda Lambert.
In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Kayla, check out her website.
Head there and you can listen to all five songs on that debut EP.
Sunday’s set list:
1. Telescope (from the TV show “Nashville”)
2. Let It Snow
3. My Destiny (from the 2012 EP)
4. Daydreaming (Ariana Grande cover)
5. Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker cover)
6. Turn Back Time (from the 2012 EP)
7. Something about December
8. Royals (Lorde cover)
9. Blame Train (from the 2012 EP)
10. Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)
11. Santa Baby
12. You All Along (new original)