In the world of country music, the theme of working hard for success is about as pervasive as pick-up trucks, broken hearts and twang. And local country musician Kayla Adams is getting ready to buckle down and pay her dues.
Adams is at the trailhead of her next venture as a professional musician, with a plan to leave the Flathead on March 17 and head to a recording studio near Nashville and then embark on a two-month tour of Middle America. Also, Adams now has a professional manager through
It’ll be a foray into working as full-time country singer, Adams said, with six shows a week throughout a variety of states, including Missouri, North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Colorado.
“It’s going to be a little crazy, we’re going to be playing a lot of shows,” Adams said in an interview last week.
So it only makes sense that such a journey would begin with a bit of a hometown send off. Before Adams heads out, she’ll be headlining the Endowment Ball at Columbia Falls High School on March 15.
The Endowment Ball is a new take on the town’s tradition of a “community prom,” a dance for the public held the night before the high school’s prom at the school gym. Alyson Dorr, an English teacher at CFHS and sponsor for the school’s junior class, said this is the second year for the Endowment Ball, and it’s a time for alumni to reconnect with the current student population.
“We have an amazing alumni base and most people here, especially our students, are completely unaware,” Dorr said.
CFHS alumni are succeeding in various fields, Dorr said, and bringing them back to interact with students can help give the students a sense of pride for the education they are receiving and the community they live in.
“We hope that that builds pride for our students,” Dorr said. “You can go out in the world and do some amazing things.”
Proceeds from Endowment Ball ticket sales – a ticket is $5 at the door – go toward the Academic and Alumni Endowment, which provides an in-house grant system for the school, Dorr said.
Money from the fund could go to help teachers get creative and take better field trips, for example, since money for such things hasn’t been available with recent tight budgets, Dorr said. The fund also helps students in other ways, Dorr said, such as paying the fees for the SAT if a student can’t afford it.
The Endowment Ball will share this year’s prom theme, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” which will have an extensive array of Shakespearean décor. The school’s restaurant class will provide dessert, Dorr said.
The Kayla Adams Band will play from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Bringing Adams in to sing fits the event perfectly, Dorr said, because Adams went to school in Columbia Falls before her family moved, which meant she would eventually graduate from Flathead High School.
Still, she’s got the talent and drive that should make CFHS students proud, Dorr said.
For her part, Adams said she was tickled to get an email from her former English teacher, and felt floored to be asked to play such an event.
“When Alyson asked me to play it, I felt really cool because it’s definitely an honor to be included in something like that,” Adams said.
Adams, 22, grew up singing – “I’ve been singing forever,” she said – but it wasn’t until high school that she got serious about making it a career. While her peers were receiving college acceptance letters in their senior year, Adams was focused on a music career. She didn’t apply to college; instead, she joined a Christian music outreach program based in Minneapolis.
For a year, she and her bandmates toured, playing five to eight shows a week. While it was a formative character experience, Adams said she did it primarily to see if she would enjoy the transitive life of a touring musician.
“I loved it. I lived out of two suitcases for an entire year. It was great,” Adams said. “That’s when I knew for sure that this was what I want to do.”
After a semester in a music program in Nashville and a year at a similar program in California, Adams moved back to Montana and started playing shows. Now, she plays a few shows a week, sometimes acoustic solo sets, but usually with her band, which currently consists of Gary Hill on lead guitar, Jim Wood on bass guitar and Chance Cole on percussion.
The band is the priority these days, Adams said, because it allows her to produce music that people can dance to. And with her upcoming tour, there looks to be plenty of music to come.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Adams said.
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