Local singer Megan Pethke, of Manawa, is about to appear on television with the help of her mentor, Bobby Darren.
The 14 year old recently traveled to Sandstone, Minnesota, to record duets with Darren at the Midwest Country Theatre for RFD-TV’s Midwestern Country.
It was her first time singing with Darren, who has known her since 2010.
“He thought it was a good opportunity for me to be recognized,” Pethke said.
The young singer traveled to Kaukauna with her parents, Steve and Tammy, to join Darren for the private bus trip to Sandstone. They traveled with Darren’s family, friends and band members.
“Right when I got on the bus, they treated me like family,” Pethke said. “They got out their guitars, and we sang songs.”
The next day, Darren performed two shows for “Midwestern Country,” which can be described as the Midwest version of “The Grand Ole Opry.”
She sang two duets with him at each of the shows, including “When a Tear Becomes a Rose,” “Apartment #9,” “The Pain of Loving You” and “Will Your Lawyer Talk to God.”
At first, Pethke was terrified with a larger audience and five or six TV cameras recording her every move.
“Then I realized the people aren’t there to judge you,” she said. “They are there to enjoy listening to you.”
Pethke performs under the stage name “Maggie Marie,” and describes her singing style as classic country.
Her favorite singer is Kitty Wells, who died in 2012 at the age of 92.
“She has always been an inspiration to me,” she said. “That is who I want to sound like. I love her voice.”
Pethke has been singing since she was 4. She recalls finding and opening a box in her family’s basement. Inside the box was her grandfather’s steel guitar box.
“He got out his guitar and started playing,” she recalled. “Then he wanted me to sing.”
Leroy “Buzz” Jossie was surprised by his granddaughter’s voice and encouraged her to continue.
Soon, Pethke was singing in her grandfather’s band, High Lonesome. Bobby Darren’s brother, Danny, is a member of the band.
In 2010, Pethke recorded her first CD at Darren’s recording studio, Starzz Productions, in Kaukauna. She is currently working on her third CD.
She loves to sing classic country songs.
“Every song has a story behind it,” she said. “I feel blessed to have the talent and be able to sing from my heart.”
Pethke, who is currently a freshman at Little Wolf High School, hopes to pursue a music career.
She feels blessed to have two mentors, her grandfather and Darren, who performs as the star of “The Bobby Darren Country Show.”
“I first heard Maggie when she sang a few songs during a recording session with her Grandpa Buzz Jossie,” Darren said. “Her voice is like that of an angel.”
“She is impressive for her young age,” he said. “I feel with proper guidance and direction, Maggie could find great success in the music industry – she definitely has her own image and style.”
“Maggie Marie’s” new CD will be released in time for Christmas, according to Darren.
Titled “Staying Country,” the CD consists of cover tunes originally recorded by artists such as Tammy Wynette and Kitty Wells. She also performs two duets with Darren, who provides all the instrumentation and produced the CD.
“It’s refreshing to see someone so young embracing the real country music artists instead of thinking what’s on today’s radio is country,” Darren said. “As a newcomer to what’s involved in the studio, Maggie amazes me with how fast she comprehends the process and techniques of recording.