Newbury Park student, self-taught at guitar, comes through with electric anthem performance

Luke Thykeson with his guitar.
Newbury Park senior Luke Thykeson played the national anthem on his electric guitar and received a loud ovation. He is self-taught.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

In the world of YouTube videos, teenagers can teach themselves anything.

Take the case of 18-year-old senior Luke Thykeson of Newbury Park High School.

He started learning to play guitar two years ago watching videos.

“Just a new interest,” he said.

He had the gumption to go up to principal Steven Lepire and ask to play the national anthem at a football game.

So there he was last week before a sold-out crowd for the rivalry game against Thousand Oaks making his debut, and he delivered like a quarterback needing to throw a touchdown pass on the final play of a game to pull out victory.

The ovation he received after his performance was loud and all positive.

He was so good that a person who runs a local golf club and was sitting in the bleachers immediately booked him for an event.


“Pretty cool,” Thykeson said.

He has since taken a guitar class and is enrolled in a music theory class as he learns more about the guitar.

Asked to review his performance, Thykeson said, “I wish it was louder and maybe play a little slower.”

So begins the career for the guitar-playing teenager.