Reach has been a singer all his life, and has been an active choral conductor for more than 35 years. His first public performance was at age four, singing a spiritual song at his home church, Minor United Methodist, near Birmingham. His love for choral music began at Dixie Junior High School, where he sang in the choir under Tom Pinion, and later at Minor High School, under John Fowler. He began formal voice lessons at age 15 with Andrew Gainey at Birmingham-Southern College and later entered Birmingham-Southern as a voice major, planning to pursue a career as a professional singer. To this day, Ray refers to his singing, among the many musical skills he possesses, as the "best thing he does musically".