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Brooke Thoen playing her blue guitar. (Submitted photo by Manda Baldwin)

Singer, songwriter and super talented

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Life Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
715-273-4335 customer support
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

When she was younger, 15-year-old Ellsworth native Brooke (Brookie) Thoen would love to hear her brother, Tyler, sing.

“He was in the vocal/jazz choir at school and I still love to listen to him sing,” she said.

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She herself then would sing around the house, but said she'd always sing in another room.

“I have a photo of Brooke singing with a pink plastic microphone when she was little,” smiled her mother, Karen.

At age 13, she told her family she wanted a guitar. Instead of jumping into purchasing one, Brooke borrowed her Uncle Barry's (Cain) guitar for a few weeks and fell in love with the instrument. For her 13th birthday, they went to Brickhouse Music, and Brooke spotted the blue guitar and knew it was the right one. Today, she owns four guitars, one ukulele and one keyboard.

“The little money she earns goes right back into a new instrument,” says Karen.

Along with her natural born talent, she's had lessons from teachers Lori Fuller, Pete Dulak and, among the most influential, are her instructors at Universal Music Center in Red Wing, Mark Woerpel and Mike Arturi. Arturi and Woerpel opened quite a few doors for Brooke. Knowing her talent firsthand, her first show was at the Music School last year and, since then, has played at nearly 20 locations in the immediate area and beyond, including the Pierce County Fair, River City Days in Red Wing, Pepin, Lake City (Minn.) and others.

Brooke gains more playing opportunities just from someone who has heard her play and then asks her to play at other locations.

“We are so very lucky for all the people we know,” said Karen. “Mike has connected Brooke with so many opportunities and people have been so supportive of Brooke and are kind enough to ask her to play.”

See the rest of the story in the print edition of the Pierce County Herald on newsstands now.

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