Regier family of six harmonize through music, everyday life

Michaela Regier

More stories from Michaela Regier

For freshman Eli Regier and senior Addie Regier, a family of six is the perfect size for a band. With their father Ken on bass guitar, mom Amy on vocals, oldest sister Erin on viola and second oldest Austin on banjo, that leaves guitar for Addie and mandolin for Eli for the optimal bluegrass sound.

“We play a lot in church just because that’s where we started mostly. We’ve done a couple weddings and then people that hear us places they’re like ‘oh will you play for our Sunday school class’ or ‘will you play for this reunion we’re having’ and it’s normally just that kind of small things,” Addie said.

Ken picked up a guitar in college and joined his brothers and father in their “Country Jamboree” playing for small gigs. Austin started playing guitar as a teen and Addie joined him in sixth grade, teaching herself through books. Eli received a ukulele at eight and started playing saxophone in fifth grade. By 11 he had picked up the mandolin, mesmerized by his cousins and uncles who played it so well.

“I don’t really practice for things I just kind of play around. Whenever I feel like playing mandolin, I just grab it and sit on the couch or something. When we have to play we usually get together a few times before,” Eli said.

While Ken and Amy pick out some of the songs, Austin is seen by both as the more critical leader however, every has a say when it comes to blending or how something is played.

“My brother is pretty picky about what we do and how we harmonize and stuff. We don’t always agree on everything and how it’s supposed to be done,” Eli said.

While playing as a family has its struggles, it brings the family closer together as well.

“I think the best part is it is a special connection because not very many families play music together. So when you are singing together with your siblings and stuff and you are making something that sounds really good, it’s this exciting thing and it’s just kind of special because not many people do it,” Addie said.

With Austin attending college at Bethel and a wedding on the way for Erin, finding time to practice can be difficult for the Regier’s but they plan on continuing the group as best they can.

“We don’t get a lot of time to practice together because we all have different lives. Austin coming home usually [instigates the practicing]. When he gets home he’s like, ‘you need to work on this and this and this because next time we perform, you need to be better.’ So he kind of just keeps us all in line. Austin gets his guitars out and it just kind of happens out of the blue, it’s kind of just a reaction,” Addie said.

Bluegrass has been important to all of the Regier’s with a yearly countdown to the Winfield Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival and a family full of string heavy musicians.

“[Music has] always been a pretty big part of my life. Not just listening to it but being able to do it and being good. Something about it makes me really calm but also really happy. I feel like if I didn’t have music, I would be a really angry pessimistic person. It just kind of takes me to the next level of happiness,” Addie said.