Of all activities most 16-year olds may have engaged in this past summer, touring the area and rendering live music performances most likely wasn’t at the top of the list.
But that is precisely how Bryce Thomaschefsky spent his summer; son of Brian and Desirae Thomaschefsky of Pine River.
“We never saw this coming!” Desirae adds with a laugh, of her son’s recent catapult into the local music scene.
“He’s always loved to sing, basically since he was old enough to talk. I still remember the first time I heard him sing along with a song. He was four and in the backseat of the car when the song “Pour Me” came on the radio. Next thing I know he’s back there in his car seat just singing along. Then about a year later he wrote his first song called “read my lamp.”
Bryce’s passion for music would only grow from there.
At the age of 10 he started taking guitar lessons.
“At first we just thought his interest in playing guitar was just a phase,” Desirae adds. “But he stuck with it. He started taking lessons once a week for three-years and then intermittently for a year and a half. It was something he really enjoyed and we were happy for him. It was great to see him find something he loved to do.”
After four years of lessons-experimenting with bass, six-string electric and acoustic guitar- Bryce settled on the acoustic guitar as his instrument of choice.
Bryce echoes his mother’s sentiments.
“I’ve always loved music for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been one of those kids that could name most any song off the top of my head. I never really planned on getting into guitar, I guess it just seemed like a cool idea one day and I gave it a try. The more I learned, the more I enjoyed it.”
At the age of 14, just about the same time he mastered the six-string, Thomaschefsky developed an ear for bluegrass music. His attention then shifted to learning the mandolin, a key instrument in the decades-old Bluegrass genre.
Rather than take lessons, Bryce was determined to learn the instrument on his own.
His efforts paid off this past June, when his passion for Bluegrass led him to take the leap from playing for friends and family, to the live stage.
That stage happened to be at the 5th Annual Jessi’s Wish Fundraiser in June, at The Rock bar.
With his mandolin in-hand, Bryce performed the Bluegrass version of “Gin and Juice” originally covered by The Gourds, an Austin, Texas-based Alternative Country band. Unbeknownst to Bryce beforehand, his performance was slotted between two big hitters in the Central Wisconsin music scene; Joseph Huber and Phyl Wickham.
“Oh man I was nervous!,” Bryce adds of his first-ever live performance. “Going up on stage to play after Joe Huber was pretty nerve wracking. It was the first time I had ever played for anyone but my family.
“I had always thought about playing live someday, but I never imagined I would have the opportunity so soon, much less playing with guys like Joe and Phyl. The audience seemed like they enjoyed me getting up there to play, so that was a big confidence boost for me.”
The fundraiser performance would prove to be the just the beginning for Bryce, of an entire summer of live performances around the area. From open-mic nights at Sawmill Brewing Company to performing at the annual Jack Pine Jamboree in Birnamwood, over Labor Day weekend. Joining him at Jackpine- one of the premier summer music festivals in central Wisconsin – were an array of local household names of the Bluegrass genre, including Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Huber, Dig Deep and Tuck Pence.
Just as his passion for music led him to the live stage, Bryce’s newfound confidence and enjoyment of performing live, has led him to take yet another step up in his music career; founding Thomaschefky Entertainment LLC.
“I know the name is pretty original,” he jokes with a grin.
“I just never imagined I would enjoy playing music for people as much as I do. The more I play, the more comfortable I get and the more I enjoy it.”
While Bryce admits Bluegrass and Folk music are his favorite genres to play, the guitar remains his instrument of choice. But that’s not to say his efforts to broaden his musical horizons have ceased.
Recently, Bryce decided to take up learning the banjo.
“It’s something different. I like the sound of it so we’ll see how it goes,” he adds with a laugh.
“We are just so proud of him, I don’t know how to explain it,” Desirae adds.
“This is such a great opportunity for him and he did it all on his own. We never saw this coming…we never imagined when he started singing so many years ago and taking guitar lessons…it would lead to this. But as long as he’s having fun that’s all that matters. We are his biggest fans!”
As for the future, Bryce has no expectations or concrete plans.
“I haven’t really thought about it. Right now I’m having fun singing and playing for people. I’ll ride it out and see where it takes me. I’m just very grateful for everyone who has been there to support me, especially Jonille Alft for inviting me to perform at Jessi’s Wish and the folks at the Sawmill Brewing Company for their support during open-mic nights.”
Bryce’s next live performance is set for Saturday, Oct. 12 at Fisher’s Bar in Parrish. Additional performance dates are still in the works.
For more information on Bryce’s future performances, he can be reached at (715) 212-3810 or visit Thomaschefsky Entertainment on Facebook.