Hartselle native returns for FBC event

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Called the "Carol Burnett of Christian Entertainment" and "a singing Erma Bombeck," Hartselle native and Christian entertainer Kay DeKalb Smith said she is excited about her upcoming performance at the church she has always called home.
"I have never done a full concert at my home church," Smith said. "I am just so thankful for the opportunity."
Smith will perform "Hats Off to Women" Friday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Hartselle, 210 Woodland St.
The event is for ladies only and will include door prizes and refreshments following the performance.
"It will be the fastest hour of fun you've ever had," Smith promised. "I'll sing, do comedy, tell stories and just have fun."
In her biography, Smith credits her family and Hartselle upbringing for much of her material.
"I was raised in one of the few functional families that are left," she said laughing. "My parents experienced the joy of the Lord daily. My childhood home in Hartselle was one filled with laughter. My parents didn't beat me. They laughed at me. We had our share of problems, but, for the most part, we loved each other unconditionally."
Smith said she had a sincere Christian upbringing, but God always filled her family's hearts and home with laughter.
"We laughed all the time," Smith recalled. "As a teenager, I didn't want to go out and get into any trouble because I was afraid I might miss something at home!"
A 1972 graduate of Morgan County High School, Smith said her teachers were also instrumental in her comedy career.
"Mrs. (Catherine) Sims encouraged me to do impersonations of Shirley Temple. My first one-hour show was in 10th grade. It's amazing how God has used Mrs. Sims in my life since then."
According to her biography, by age 16, Smith was performing at Hartselle's "nightclubs." "You know, the Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs," Smith deadpans.
At 17, she wowed judges at a Miss Alabama Teenager pageant with her impressions of Shirley Temple and was second runner-up in the national contest. She was Miss Birmingham the next year.
The pageants gave her poise and stage presence, but her best education came at Opryland USA Theme Park in Nashville, where she performed two years as a singer, dancer and impersonator.
Smith moved to Nashville in 1974 and, for the next 10 years, she did radio, TV commercials, performed backup with Anita Bryant and volunteered at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, where she performed room-to-room.
Smith met her husband, Ed, in Nashville and the couple has two daughters, Allie and Evin.
"When I started planning our wedding in 1982 at First Baptist, I was surprised that the date I requested, June 17, was available," Smith recalled. "Then I realized no one else in Hartselle wanted to get married on Mule Day."
Smith, daughter of Dick and Jan DeKalb of Athens, formerly of Hartselle, is a board member of the newly formed Christian Comedy Association. She is hosting a ladies retreat cruise in January. Visit www.kaydekalbsmith.com for more information on the retreat, upcoming schedules and much more.
Smith encourages all ladies of the Hartselle area who need a good laugh to attend the performance at First Baptist.
"The scripture says a merry heart does good like medicine," Smith said. "I promise you'll feel good when you leave."
Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at Maison Morgan and at the church office Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Call First Baptist Church at 773-5500 for more information.

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