Saratoga musician wins prestigious competition

January 22, 2009 — by Mira Chaykin

In November, junior Zach Jacobs painstakingly used both an accompanist and a recording artist in a makeshift studio in a church. With several microphones pointed at him, he played his euphonium, a brass instrument, to make the audition CD for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band Concerto Competition.

Over December break, Jacobs was informed that he was chosen as one of only seven finalists from a national pool of more than 1,000 applicants to the prestigious musical competition, which is aimed at readying high school students for professional music careers.

As a finalist, Jacobs gets to venture to Washington, D.C., for a recital at the Sousa Band Hall, in which judges will pick one or two finalists to perform solos with “The President’s Own” United Sates Marine Band in April.

While most people would cower in the presence of a live audience, Jacobs said he manages to maintain a calm exterior.

“I’m pretty comfortable performing for people,” said Jacobs. “As long as I make sure I’m prepared, it’s more exciting than scary.”

Jacobs said there are many people he attributes the great success to, including both SHS teachers and his private instructors.

“I’ve only come this far because I’m constantly surrounded by people that encourage and help me,” said Jacobs.

Music director Michael Boitz, one of the people Jacobs’ prominently attributes his success to, said “I have actually only encouraged three students to do this in my career, as the competition is overwhelmingly remarkable.”

Jacobs is also well aware of the importance of this accolade as he intends to pursue a career in music.

“It feels good. Winning auditions always feels good. This is a pretty special one. It did take a lot of work so it feels like all this has paid off,” said Jacobs.

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