Power of Song

by | Feb 15, 2021 | Alumni Profiles, Fall/Winter 2020-21

Bob Regan ’72 knows the power of music. While attending UC Davis, he played guitar at parties and events. Once Regan completed his degree in psychology, he continued performing in local band The Skins. “I thought, I’ll just take a year or so and play, and then I’ll go to law school,” he said. “That was 50 years ago, and I never went to law school.” Instead, he moved to Nashville to become a songwriter. He co-wrote his first hit, 1989’s “’Til Love Comes Again,” recorded by Reba McEntire, and since has written songs for Billy Ray Cyrus and Keith Urban, among others. A performance on the Armed Forces Entertainment Tours on military bases sparked an idea. “I met all these men and women with amazing stories to tell. And I thought songwriters are naturally born storytellers. What would happen if we put these together?” He founded Operation Song in 2012 to empower veterans, active military and their families to communicate their stories through songwriting. The nonprofit now has 50 different songwriters and has written over 800 songs with veterans and their families. “These veterans will tell us things they don’t tell other people,” explained Regan. “It’s their willingness to tell their stories, even if their stories are difficult, that inspires me.” Now, Regan is hiring an executive director to take over for him. “I bought a little cabin in Lake Tahoe, so I’m going to start spending my summers up there. That’s the plan.”