Award winning teen comes home

Published 8:28 am Tuesday, May 4, 2010

GATES – She may not totally understand the difference between team roping and breakaway roping, but Kaitlyn Flythe definitely knows her way around a microphone.

On Saturday evening, shortly past 7:30 p.m., all eyes in the Gates County Rodeo arena will be fixed on Flythe when the 16-year-old delivers the National Anthem.

For Flythe, it marks a return to the county in which she launched what has turned into an award-winning musical career.

According to her father, Sam Flythe of Tarboro, Kaitlyn began to test her singing talent at a very early age. One of her first public singing opportunities was at Eure Baptist Church. She was young enough at the time to stand on the piano bench to sing while her mother, the former Paula Taylor of Eure, played the piano.

Kaitlyn remains a regular visitor to Gates County, the home of her grandparents, Paul and Olethia Taylor of Eure. Her roots run deep in the Roanoke-Chowan area as her father is a native of Northampton County, just west of Murfreesboro. Her other set of grandparents, Robert and Linda Flythe, still reside in Northampton County.

While Flythe is a natural behind the microphone, she is also an athlete – competing in track, cross country and is a member of the swim team at Tarboro High School where she is currently in her sophomore year.

She is no stranger to performing musically in the Roanoke-Chowan area. Kaitlyn has become a regular at the annual North Carolina Watermelon Festival in Murfreesboro where she wows the crowd with her immense singing talent. Her most recent local performance came April 24 in Murfreesboro where she sang a variety of songs at the 2010 Hertford-Gates Relay for Life.

Kaitlyn said she has appreciated the opportunity to perform with the Rocky Hock Opry in Edenton for the last three years. The Rock Hock Opry is a Relay for Life fundraiser. She won the title of the Rocky Hock Idol in 2008, prior to being on the Rocky Hock Opry.

In early April, Kaitlyn received the Ginny Wicker Music Award at Johnston Community College’s Country Music Showcase in Smithfield.

The award was presented by Wicker’s daughter, Annette Rains. Rains stated “mother recognized the same intense and burning desire to play, sing, and preserve country music that Kaitlyn possesses.”

Rains added, “The country music family of Johnston County has been truly blessed to witness the development of the tremendous talent of the recipients of this award. We eagerly anticipate each success and milestone in the careers of past recipients and Kaitlyn.”

Flythe received a beautiful crystal obelisk award and a check in the amount of $500. She plans to use the money towards the funding of a CD featuring songs of hope. The proceeds of the CD will be given to the American Cancer Society for cancer research. Her mission is to raise money for cancer research and to raise awareness about cancer in her community, while using the gift of music.

Flythe said she has enjoyed being part of the Johnston Community College Showcase for the last four years. She was recently one of six finalists in the North Carolina Music Network Scholarship 1000 competition.

Wicker was on the committee that developed the idea of the Country Music Showcase at Johnston Community College. Born in Kenly, NC in 1922, she was a local talent who managed to bring her love of country and gospel music to the people of Johnston County. She even hosted her own radio and television show entitled “The Ginny Wicker Home Folks Show.”

Wicker became a regular cast member of the Country Music Showcase and a beloved entertainer to many. Audience members will forever remember her by her original and often quirky songs such as “Sleeping Double on a Water Bed,” “Honky Tonk Joe and Flo,” “Christmas in Heaven,” and “Keep On Keeping On.”