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Kayla Kroh's schedule might make your head spin.

But the Central York High School sophomore was able to squeeze in some time to talk Dec. 4. The next two days, she said she was participating in the Pennsylvania Thespian Conference, held at Central. She planned to perform a solo and attend workshops with students from across the state.

On Dec. 6, she had a concert at Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park. On Dec. 8, she turned 16.

Kayla, a singer/songwriter, is involved in many school music ensembles and she landed a role in the spring musical "Oliver!" She said she made new friends and learned new skills.

"It really helped my stage presence and confidence," she added.

A few years ago, Kayla felt bullied by her peers. She fought back by signing up for music lessons. She released an EP, "On Your Own," in June 2012.

"I never thought people would want to listen to my music," she said. "I've been told the lyrics are helpful to others. That was my whole purpose for writing (the songs)."

She's played many local events and venues, sneaking in shows between other obligations. Oct. 19 was Central's homecoming, so she booked an early set at MyRuralRadio.com Fall Music Fest Five that day. When event organizer Mike Males presented her with an Artist of the Year Award, Kayla said she was shocked.

"I can't believe it," she said. "Out of all the artists "¦ I was picked. I'm extremely honored."

But it was her gig at the York Fair that landed her a spot on the Jingle Bell Jam lineup.

"I was performing at Heritage Hall (and) Scott Donato (of WGTY-FM Great Country 107.7) came down to listen to me. I didn't even realize he was there."

Donato then contacted Kayla's mom, Jody, and booked her for the station's holiday concert, which kicks off 6 p.m. Dec. 22 at the York Expo Center. Then, about a month later, Kayla found out that "American Idol" champ Scotty McCreery and country singer Kristy Lee Cook were part of the lineup.

"I love his voice," she said. "I voted for him."

She added that she loves Cook's song "Like My Mother Does." For her own set, Kayla is planning to sing a rendition of "Santa Baby" as well as her new single "You All Along." She even booked some airtime on WGTY Wednesday, Dec. 11, to introduce the song.

"It's totally different from the album," Kayla said.

While her songs blend country, pop and blues, she said joining the York County Senior Honors Choir has given her classical training.

"I love hearing new genres," she added. "Being involved (in the choir) helped me broaden my outlook on music. It's made choosing a genre difficult."

In June, Kayla is looking forward to performing at Carnegie Hall with the choir. She said that in 2014, she's looking forward to sharing some big news, which she can't divulge just yet. And -- when she can -- she wants to enjoy being a teen.

"We try to do fun things," Jody said, adding that the family likes to get away to Ocean City, Md. "It's tough with all the gigs. But it's very important for us to make sure (Kayla) gets to be a kid."

Contact Erin McCracken at 717-771-2051.

Jingle Ball Jam

"American Idol" season 10 champ Scotty McCreery will headline the Jingle Bell Jam. Kristy Lee Cook and Kayla Kroh are also on the lineup. The concert starts 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, in the Utz Arena at the York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Ave., West Manchester Township. Tickets cost $15 and are available at the Expo Center box office, by phone at 717-848-2033 and online at www.yorkfair.com.

There is a processing fee for phone and internet orders. Ticket holders who bring a non-perishable food item for the York Rescue Mission will receive a coupon for a free small Bricker's French fries the night of the concert.

Read a past interview with McCreery at www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.

Other Kayla Kroh performances

Saturday, Dec. 14: York County Senior Honors Choir performs at Central York High School

Dec. 20: Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park

Dec. 27: Naylor Winery in Hopewell Township

For details about Kayla and more show dates, visit www.kaylakroh.com.

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