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Band Country Blues


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The best kept secret in music


"Little girl with big voice makes name"

Little girl with big voice makes name

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JOHNSBURG – Charissa Mrowka admits she was nervous when she sang onstage the first time, at age 7.

That was four years and four CDs ago for the blond-haired, blue-eyed Mrowka. Her busy summer schedule includes performances at Illinois and Wisconsin state fairs.

“I want to be a country music performer,” Mrowka said on band practice day.

“Last Thursday at Country Thunder, I met Trick Pony and they said they remembered me opening for them,” Mrowka said. “I enjoy it and love it. It’s a great honor. I have met Billy Currington. There is so much work. You have to mix the slow songs and the fast songs.”

The singer has had much help from her family. Her mom, Donna, works on bookings, promotion packages and interviews. Older sister Renee is a backup singer and her husband, Rick Strauss, hosts the practices at their home in Bristol, Wis.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Donna said.

A sister, Chantelle, is a dancer. Wesley, 21, is her brother and dad is Frank. The band’s name is “Charissa and the Auburn Sky Band.”

“I was nervous when I started at age 7, but no more,” Mrowka said.

The fourth CD is called “Building Memories”, which was worked on at Precision Recording Studio.

She practices singing with a karaoke machine at her home in Pistakee Highlands, near Johnsburg.

“We’re very blessed,” Donna said.

Mrowka was one of 10 finalists in a contest Aug. 2 at the Wisconsin State Fair.

“The winner gets $100,000 and a recording contract,” Charissa said.

She opened and performed for Currington in 2004; Trick Pony in 2005; Lonestar 2006; Jo Dee Messina, whom she met this year; Oak Ridge Boys this year and Rick Saucedo, Shawn Klush and Donny Edwards, as well as doo-wop groups such as The Tokens, The Crystals, and Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.

“It is so cool to see the reactions,” Charissa said.

“Her range of voice keeps getting stronger,” Donna Mrowka said.

She once beat out several adults at a contest.

Her favorite professional recording artists are Sugarland, Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain.

Later this month, Charissa will return to life as a sixth-grader at Johnsburg Middle School.

She said she enjoys that part of her life, too. She is a choir member, and may give something else new a try – basketball.

Her Web site is at

- Lake County Journals

"Country of the Young"

Country of the young

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JOHNSBURG – Charissa Mrowka feels like her life is kind of like Disney’s “Hannah Montana,” a youth who lives a double life as a pop star.

“Me and her are similar because I get to go and do shows, and then I go to school,” Charissa said. “I’m just a regular kid.”

A regular kid, except that she has shared the stage with major country acts, including Jo Dee Messina, Trick Pony, Lonestar, Billy Currington, and this month the Oak Ridge Boys.

The 11-year-old spends her Monday nights practicing with the Auburn Sky Band, and every other night she spends at least an hour singing. That’s on top of playing guitar, piano and percussion while being involved in dance and drama.

“It’s a lot of work, but I’m willing to do it because I like it so much,” Charissa said. “I love it so much it’s not really ever a problem.”

Her list of activities continues to grow with the recent addition of songwriting. She is working on a country song with a working title of “Heartbreak.”

“It’s what a lot of country songs today are about, girlfriends and boyfriends breaking up,” Charissa said.

Earlier this month, she finished recording her fourth CD titled “Building Memories.”

Of her works, one was a Christmas CD and the rest were country, which is the style of music she listened to while growing up.

“I really like country music because it tells really good stories,” she said.

When she was only a few years old, her parents already saw her talent, said Charissa’s mother, Donna. Charissa began performing at family parties at age 5.

“Ever since she was little, she would say, ‘I want to be a country star!’ ” Donna said. “We knew when she was a baby that she had rhythm.”

Earlier this month, Charissa won the 26th annual Colgate Country Showdown Wisconsin State Final, and in October she will move on to compete in the contest’s Midwest Regional in South Dakota. Winning the entire showdown would mean $100,000, plus the title of “best new act in country music.”

Although she might get a little nervous before a performance, once Charissa hits the stage, it all comes naturally, she said.

“When I get up there, it feels like it’s supposed to, and I love seeing the audience’s reaction,” Charissa said.

- Northwest Herald

"Colgate Country Showdown Representative"

Outlaw Country D99.3

October, 27 2007 at Royal River Casino
Flandreau, South Dakota
Cost : Not available

Outlaw Country D99.3 Colgate Country Showdown Representative and Wisconsin State Champ, CHARISSA MROWKA, will compete in the Midwest Regional to determine if she will advance to the National Final!!! Make the trip and support our local talent!! She’s gonna go all the way!! Good luck, Charissa!!!

- D99.3


Charissa recently started having her recordings aired on local radio stations 1600 AM & 1580 AM where she has landed a monthly spot to come talk and sing live on air. The Auburn Sky band is scheduled to accompany her on some of the upcoming interviews. Also, the radio station Charissa is representing in the Colgate Country Showdown (D99.3 Outlaw Country) is supposed to be airing some of her recordings to drum support for her regional round of competition coming up.



CHARISSA & the Auburn Sky Band is a country band that focuses primarily on "today's country". Our lead singer is what sets us apart from other bands. Charissa is known as a 12 year old country music sensation, whereever she goes. She is often compared to some country music powerhouses like LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill, and Carrie Underwood. As a solo artist, Charissa has already opened for big country acts, such as, Lonestar, JoDee Messina, Billy Currington, and Trick Pony. As a band, Charissa & Auburn Sky have had the privilege of sharing the same stage as Gretchen Wilson, Billy Ray Cyrus, the legendary Oak Ridge Boys, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, and Danielle Peck. Currently, Michael Yerke of Live Nation and grammy winning Hank Neuberger are working with Charissa.

Last year, Charissa won several rounds in the nationwide Colgate Country Showdown contest and represented the state of Wisconsin at the regional round in South Dakota at the end of October 2007. This year Charissa and Auburn Sky will be competing in the Colgate Country Showdown, as well.