Sixteen-year-old Kaela Lawrence gave judges the goosebumps and she sang deep from her heart July 16 on the stage of the county fair’s Cass County Voice competition.
Stringing to the chords of a self-written number, Forever the Same, on her guitar, Lawrence’s voice also captured the hearts of the audience, as well.
“It was a very well-written song,” a judge told the home-schooled teen from Lee’s Summit.
In a second performance at the July 16 competition, Lawrence sang “Beautiful, Beautiful,” a worship song by Christian recording artist Francesca Battistelli.
“I feel like God has given me music to share with the world,” Lawrence said. “I really like worship leading so I hope that someday I will be able to give back and be able to share God’s word in musical ways so that (people) are not intimidated by it.”
At the end of the show, judges, which included Lewis Lux, Stacey Lux, and J.R. Brown, staff pastors at Echo Church in Pleasant Hill, named Lawrence the winner of the “15 and older” singing competition division of the contest, as well as the Cass County People’s Voice of Choice Box titleholder.
Lawrence was thrilled with the win.
“I know that with any criticism that they give me, I will definitely work on it, but I really liked the good things that they said so I know what to focus on,” Lawrence said.
The new event was held on opening day of the 20th annual Cass County Fair in Pleasant Hill. Local musician Carolyn Bolinger organized the competition.
“I am really pleased with those who came out and participated, as well as the audience,” she said. “I think music sets a tone and a foundation for people’s spirits to have hope and joy throughout the fair.”
As a result of winning, Lawrence will now be eligible to sing at the Missouri State Fair Amateur Idol Vocal Competition and at the Pleasant Hill Hope Harvest Fest in October, as well as the opportunity to try out for a guest artist performance at the Big Creek Country Show.
Lawrence says she hasbeen performing on stage with her guitar since she was 12 years old. She currently leads worship in her youth group at Life Christian Church in Lee’s Summit.
Judges also named 10-year-old Alex Good, of Pleasant Hill, winner of the “14 and under” talent showcase division. Good performed “Headphones” by Christian artist Britt Nicole.
Judges made rave reviews about Good’s performance, telling her how awesome it was after she rocked the stage with her voice. Good will have the opportunity to try out for a guest artist performance at Big Creek and to perform at Hope Harvest Fest.
Pleasant Hill-based boy rock band “Consider the Lemming” also was noted for their performance in Tuesday’s competition as the only group performance.
The band consists of lead vocalist Lonnie Yost, Justin Longmeyer and Mason Potter, guitars, Jacob Denney, bass, and Kamron LaMar, drums and percussion.
In all, the show featured 11 performances.
“I think all of the talent did a great job,” Bolinger said. “They put their heart and soul into it, they were prepared, and they put on a great show. I think the audience just loved them right back.”
The fair, which runs through Sunday, is located on the Cass County Fairgrounds on Missouri 58 and in the downtown Pleasant Hill area.
Friday, July 19
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Youth meat goat show
Noon-9 p.m. Cass County 4-H Exhibits and FFA Exhibits open
12-9 p.m. Home Economics and Horticulture Show
1-9 p.m. Quilt show
1-9 p.m. Art and Photo show
5-10 p.m. Depot Park vendors open
8 p.m. MRCA/URA Adult Rodeo
10:30 pm. Fireworks display
10 p.m.-1 a.m. “The Jeremy Nichols Band”
Saturday, July 20
7-10:30 a.m. Lions Pancake breakfast
8 a.m. Youth beef show
8 a.m. 5K run at Boardman and Cedar
8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Cass County bookmobile
9-11 a.m. KMZU Radio “The Farm” live remote
9 a.m.-9 p.m. Cass County 4-H Exhibits and FFA Exhibits open
9 a.m.-8 p.m. Depot Park vendors open
9 a.m. Parade
10 a.m.-9 pm. Art and Photo, Home Economics, Horticulture and Quilt shows
10 a.m.-2 pm. Classic car, truck and hot rod show
10 a.m. Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Chair Challenge and auction
11 a.m. Doug Porter Memorial Firefighters Competition
1 p.m. Bike rodeo
4 p.m. Super farmer competition
8 p.m. MRCA/URA Adult Rodeo
10:30 p.m. Fireworks display
10 p.m.-1 a.m. “Justin Heskett Band”
Sunday, July 21
1 p.m. Pet show
2 p.m. Kid’s Pedal tractor pulL
7 p.m. M.S.T.P.A. Truck and tractor pull