When Mozart is playing in a high school auditorium, students usually can be found drifting off to sleep or on their phones, ignoring the performance. However, on Thursday, Oct. 25, West Henderson arts students were doing anything but ignoring the music. The audience was filled with cheers of excitement as musical artist Nat Zegree turned around backwards in his chair and did a back bend onto his keyboard to play a Mozart piece during his master class.
“When I saw the presentation that he gave, it made me feel like I had the ability to do something,” freshman Alyssa Price said. “You just have to be willing to work for it, and things won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.”
The New York resident has been staying in North Carolina for his role in the Flat Rock Playhouse production of Pickin’ and Grinnin. Zegree said he fell in love with the Playhouse as soon as he was invited to join as a cast member, feeling that they were a family.
“It’s more than just a theater to come work at; it’s a family. It’s a community of wonderful, beautiful people who are so welcoming,” Zegree said. “They are also so passionate about the art that we create and the work that we do. You go somewhere where you love not only your work, but everyone there as well, and that’s special.”
Not only is Zegree an actor, but he is also a composer, singer and songwriter who was able to start working on his music at a young age.
“Both of my parents are educators in the music industry. And so ever since I was a kid I was watching them,” Zegree said. “My mom was my music teacher all throughout elementary and middle school, and I saw how many lives they changed and how many people they inspired.”
While studying musical theater at Indiana University, Zegree explored many areas within the genre of art. After graduating, he moved to New York with $612, nowhere to live and a passion for creating and performing.
“If you have ability, you have a responsibility to share that and do good with it,” Zegree said. “Anything you are capable of, if you can do good with it for the sake of others, then that’s what you have to do with your life. I found that calling very early in my life and decided to pursue it.”
Zegree also writes and records his own music. He has an album called Fly More Than You Fall. He said he embraces all the criticism and love that comes with releasing music.
“The thing that I’ve learned most from putting your own music out there is the confidence to accept that it is what it is and that it came from you,” Zegree said. “Some people love it and some people hate it; that’s always what it’ll be. No matter what people think of it, it doesn’t matter. If other people are trying to bring you down, don’t let them.”
By: Keegan Owens, Westwind Staff