Brent Clauson

     Brent was born in Rockford Illinois. He grew up studying music under the direction of his grandfather Archie Woodman. Grandpa Archie required that Brent take formal music lessons, “You have to learn to read the notes.” he would say. Brent’s aunt, Lee, was a music teacher, so he began piano lessons with her. Brent says, “Now, I am thankful for those early music lessons, I can play for church, for solo and ensemble, recitals and accompaniments all because I, ‘learned to read the notes’”
     As a kid, Brent thought it would be fun to play at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor when he grew up, but by the time he was old enough to do it, Shakey’s no longer had banjo players. So instead he turned his interest to the steel guitar, because it was the instrument that he was able to find work for.
     When he saw the guy on Hee Haw, playing the steel guitar, he thought "that looks like fun."Picking up tips and techniques from anyone who knew even a little about the instrument and listening to the Viroqua radio station, which would play Bob Will’s tunes, Brent began intense study of the steel guitar. When he moved back to Rockford, Brent sold his ’55 Ford to buy his first steel. “they’re expensive” he comments.
     The steel guitar purchase turned out to be a wise investment. He got a job playing for “Country Flames” at age 17. Playing steel provided Brent with lots of work, until he was playing full-time, he then began to craft his other skills. “I started studying other instruments, like the piano so I could sub for the other cast members or get jobs playing separately. I never wanted to play more instruments than I can play now, the piano, banjos, guitar, violin and steel. I wanted to perfect the instruments I do play.” Brent said. “I am however toying with the idea of maybe playing the organ, but I know how much time you have to dedicate just to become lousy.” Brent laughs.
     While he was presented with opportunities to go and play elsewhere, Branson, Nashville, with traveling acts, he decided to stay in Wisconsin, where he could enjoy the changing seasons and raise a family with his wife, Cheryl.
     Brent began to work nightly at theatres in Wisconsin Dells. “It was like playing Steel Guitar on an assembly line. Same show every day, sometimes twice a day. I was told what to do and where and what to play. I didn’t feel very creative.” He comments. His children, Brittney and Cody would often go with and watch, they too desired to be on stage.
     In order to fulfill his creative desire and provide an opportunity for his children to pursue their musical endeavors, Brent created The Clauson Family Music Show. He got a band together and profited $50 from their first gig, which he used to create the show. Brent was able to work a deal out with Thrasher’s Opera House in Green Lake, Wisconsin to do a series of Christmas Shows there.
     The Clauson Family Music Show traveled and worked at other Performing Arts Centers for the next few years until looking for a more permanent place to perform.
     Brent got the idea to try concerts in the barn just to see what happened. The local audience was very supportive for the first few years and a lot of support from the local community allowed the finances that were needed to keep improving.
     The improvements have been continuous for the last 13 years and each year brings a major project. Brent is currently overseeing the reconstruction and restoration of the Camp Budsin Tabernacle, which will be the next building to be constructed on the farm.
     Brent serves as musical director for The Clauson Family Music Show and still provides Brittney and Cody with help and ideas to steer their business.
     In addition to music, Brent works on many restoration projects and his shop is often full of things that no one else can seem to fix. He enjoys the challenge of trying to make something go.
     Brent and his wife, Cheryl, split their time between the farm in Coloma, and their second home in Ripon.
     Brent concludes, “I wish I would have realized when I was ten, how much more I liked music than everyone else, I certainly would have done more with it.”