EDUCATION

It Runs in the Family: Pascagoula native sings songs of faith

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Marissa McCardell
Oxford Stories
mkmccard@go.olemiss.edu

Pascagoula native Kendall Eubanks’ grandmother, Barbara Veil, was once in a gospel band that toured the nation. Veil also taught piano lessons most of her life.

Eubanks’ father was part of the U.S. Special Forces Army Choir. “The Special Forces has a really prestigious choir,” Eubanks said, “and it takes a lot to get into. But my dad had solos in it and what not. He’s always been really musically involved and plays a lot of instruments.”

Her uncle is in a Nashville band called Whiskey Brown. “He works with a lot of producers and recording artists,” Eubanks said. “But he also owns his own tour bus company, and so whenever we go to visit him, it’s really cool to go and see all the tour buses.”

And Kendall, herself, has been singing since age 6. Today, the University of Mississippi junior biology major sings for the Wesley Foundation worship band on campus.

Growing up in a musical household, Eubanks’ grandmother and father introduced her to singing. She later entered singing competitions and sang in groups on and off of campus.

As Eubanks grew older, her passion for singing grew and led her to become more involved with school choirs and worship bands. In sixth grade, she was accepted into in the honors choir at Trent Lott Academy, the most prestigious group at her school. In seventh and eighth grade, she skipped general choir and became part of the advanced choir, learning more.

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“I grew up listening to country music,” she said, “so that’s what I like to be around and sing. I’ve never been classically trained or have had any private lessons, but it’s just something I love to do. Me and my dad would stay up until 2 a.m. sometimes and just play guitar and sing.”

At Pascagoula High School, Eubanks planned on joining the school’s advanced choir, but the program was cut before she could audition. However, in high school, she became involved with her church’s youth band at Arlington Heights Baptist Church.  

“We actually had a guy who was one of the lead singers in the church youth band, Jonathan Brannan,” she said, “and he was in the first ‘Pitch Perfect’ movie. He was part of the troublemaker group in the movie. So you can see him in some scenes throughout the movie in certain places, and I always like to point him out. It’s awesome. He’s such a talented guy.”  

In college, Eubanks become involved with the worship band at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston Campus. She also won a school-wide singing competition, Perk Idol, her freshman year of college. She sang “Look at Me” by Carrie Underwood and “Broken Wing” by Martina McBride. She participated in the school’s talent show that year. 

“Kendall has such an inspiring voice,” said Eubanks’ roommate, Cheyenne Drawdy. “I remember watching her sing in Perk Idol and being blown away. When she sings, you can really hear the emotion in her voice. It’s really cool to hear her sing on worship nights because she gets so connected to the songs.” 

Now at the University of Mississippi, Eubanks is involved in the Wesley Foundation Lead Team and Praise Band.    

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“I like to sing a lot of Christian music,” Eubanks said. “It’s something that evokes emotion. It makes me really feel more connected to my faith and to the messages it’s giving. I think that’s so important.”

The Wesley Foundation is a Methodist campus ministry that provides a safe place for students. The foundation holds worship nights and the Praise Team sings and has Bible studies.

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“It’s a group of wonderful people who spread the gospel and the good news,” Eubanks said. “So I think being able to sing is a great way to spread it, because there are a lot of people who don’t realize what they are listening to until they look at the words of it. So it’s a great way to reach people.”

Eubanks will continue singing in the worship band and hopes to one day sing professionally. 

“She is definitely talented enough to do it,” Drawdy said.

Eubanks said singing has helped her get through difficult times, such as her parents’ divorce.

“But I think that’s the cool thing about singing,” she said. “You can release all your emotions. I feel like God gave me the gift to sing, so why not use it to praise him and bring joy to people.”

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