“Are you ready?”

Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s website puts that question in front of young musicians visiting its website.

One 14-year-old Smyth County resident answered the question with a resounding, “Yes.”

Zachary “Zach” Regin applied to the institute’s prestigious music intensive.

He wasn’t sure he’d be accepted. After all, he’s 14, and the Tanglewood takes musicians up to 20 years of age. Nonetheless, the French horn player said his “teacher and parents told me auditioning for Tanglewood would help challenge me to be a better player, auditioning at such a high level starting early in my career. I put myself into gear and went to work on the audition requirements.”

Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and 30 percent of the principal players in American orchestras have attended the institute as part of their early training. Young people, from 10 to 20, come from all over the world to participate in Tanglewood. 

Regin is one of the few who dreamed of being accepted into Tanglewood and achieved the goal.

He reflected, “Being accepted into Tanglewood Music Institute is the first giant step in what I hope is a successful musical career. This will, by far, be the greatest musical opportunity that I can use to my advantage to grow on my capabilities as a young musician in college. It is a huge honor to be one of the few French horn players national and, to a small extent, internationally be accepted to take part in the Tanglewood.”

Later this week, Regin is going to share his musical abilities with the community.

The Marion Senior High School freshman will present a concert of classical music on French horn in a benefit performance on Thursday, June 6, from 6-6:45 p.m. in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church, 115 S. Church St., Marion.

This is a free concert, but donations will be accepted to help defray some of the costs of Tanglewood Music Intensive. 

Regin wants people to know that “any donations taken at the Thursday evening benefit concert will be paid forward. I want to spread optimism and maybe happiness through my music and while I am at that, help to make this world a better place. Whether that is helping out kids in finding their path to their passion, or making a person's day better, I want to make this world a better place. I will take charge of my life, and make it the best that it can be, because this world needs more individuals who are gonna make a big, outgoing change on the Earth.”

To accomplish those goals, Regin said, he plans to continue honing his natural talents with hard work and commitment.

“I am acutely interested in attending conservatory for my love of the French horn, and more specifically for a French horn performance major. I would like to get as far as my doctorate, but that decision is far down the road currently. Once I finish, I would like to either become a professor, or try to win a job in a professional orchestra. It is very hard to find a job in an orchestra, but I have high hopes for myself, and I know I can do anything where there is a hard will and lots of work.”

Regin’s musical gifts emerged early, but they didn’t escape the notice of his parents. “I grew up in a musical household, so my passion for music was bound to be set in motion,” he noted.  

His parents continue to help and inspire Regin.

His dad will serve as his accompanist Thursday evening.

Regin appreciates his parents’ presences in his life. “My parents have always been there through tough times even before horn playing. My parents inspire me to be a hard worker, and always tell me to go and get what I want, because nothing in life is going to be handed to anyone without good effort.”

Regin also lauds his horn teacher, Dr. Olivier Huebscher, who recently graduated with his doctorate in French horn performance from Indiana University. Regin said Huebscher “is definitely someone who inspires me to be a better person as well as expanding on my playing capabilities. He has supported me all the way through my horn playing career.”

For the concert, Regin, who played for the Virginia All-State Band this season and is a member of the Kingsport and Roanoke youth symphonies, will perform solo works that range from the 1700s to the early 1900s. “The French horn solos we will be performing are some of the most famous pieces written for the horn, and are very exciting to listen to, in my opinion of course,” he said. He listens to full symphonies and solo works by other instruments and he enjoys bluegrass and jazz and, occasionally, electronic music.

In addition to his music, Regin enjoys pursuing his academic studies. “I strive to be the best I can be in the classroom, as well as out in the world. I enjoy math and science. I also enjoy playing with computers and other electronics for fun. I am not very good at sports, but I will sometimes play soccer, basketball, or even gaga ball.”

Regin acknowledges that he may seem like a big nerd, but, “I am not the stereotypical nerd. I do quite enjoy talking to and meeting new people, while also seeing what is exciting to do in this big world.”

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