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This is the week when students in Watauga County go back to school and find out what their friends did on their summer vacation.
Blowing Rock’s Brooke Hummel, a sophomore at Watauga High School, ended her summer vacation on a high note, quite literally.
That high note is the high “F” on the word “free” in Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” which Hummel sang before the Atlanta Braves-Tampa Bay Rays baseball game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Because of that high note, a lot of singers are intimidated by the national anthem, but Hummel knocked it out of the park.
“I always sing it a capella,” she said. “I sang the national anthem before the Charlotte Knights game about a month ago and after that my manager contacted the Tampa Bay Rays and told them that I used to live in Tampa and they invited me down to sing before the game.”
Hummel said that the day was made even more special by her favorite team, the Rays, beating the Braves.
Despite her young age of 15, Hummel is a recording artist with the BNR Records label in Charlotte.
“I usually sing pop or country songs,” she said. “But I like to experiment and I don’t think I should be constricted by just one genre. I want to sing whatever song is in my head that day.”
Locally, Hummel has performed at the last two Watauga Humane Society fundraisers and at the Greek Week Kickoff at Appalachian State University.
She has also performed at the Watauga Education Foundation’s fundraiser Shooting Stars, and as a freshman last year, she sang in the theater production “Face Forward,” directed by Sarah Miller.
Hummel stated that she will be going on a singing tour of about two dozen high schools this fall.
Although Hummel has been singing professionally for three years, she is just now trying to learn how to play an instrument, a guitar, and write her own material.
“I recently wrote a song called ‘Cruel,’ and we will be recording it with acoustic instruments like the ukulele,” she said. “It’s about when people are giving you hate, you don’t have to be mean back to them.”
When she’s not singing, folks in Blowing Rock probably know her as one of the smiling faces working at The Spice and Tea Exchange on Main Street. The daughter of Sarah and Arthur Hummel, Brooke said that she wants to study biomedical technologies so that she can be a pediatrician.
“I love children and I love singing,” Hummel said. “I could be a singing doctor.”