Scaling New Heights

Zach Fichter '13 is an award-winning guitarist.

Zach Fichter ’13 aims to be a rock star. The University of Mary Washington music major will get another push in that direction when he interns this summer with Kyle Crosby ’94 at Richmond’s Sound of Music Recording Studios. “My ideal day would be to wake up, make coffee, compose, go to work as a recording engineer, then go out and perform at night,” Fichter said of his obsession with music. An accomplished composer and award-winning guitarist, he’s determined to make the most of his talents. But halfway through his college career, he started to doubt his choice of majors. Two classes would get him back on track. Fichter grew up in Harrisonburg, Va., with a father consumed with classical music and a mother who plays multiple instruments. Song-making was in his soul, but it took him awhile to find it. He was a high school freshman when he picked up his mother’s Aria guitar. One strum on its nylon strings, and he was hooked. He taught himself to play, began composing … [Read more...]

Rock Star 101

Mark Snyder (center) performs with two of his students during a class session

If UMW offered a Rock Star 101 course, Mark Snyder would be the undisputed choice to teach it. The assistant professor of music and 1997 Mary Washington alum has performed with nearly 100 bands in the past 30 years, from rock to jazz to classical. Today, he plays in six different musical ventures, all while teaching classes in composition, electronic music and music theory. Through his music, Snyder gives his students the opportunity to experience the music business firsthand. In fact, three of his six current projects involve UMW student and alumni musicians. Nature Boy Explorer, an eclectic pop/rock group with a self-titled album, features Snyder on guitar and vocals, junior Becky Brown on the harp, junior Paige Naylor on the keyboards and 2012 graduate Joanna Smith on bass. Brown, Naylor and Smith all had a hand in the recording or production of the album, as well as Natasha Smoot, a 2011 graduate, who played accordion on the tracks. The band plays regionally, including … [Read more...]