Rory Snyder


Rory Snyder is a Professor Emeritus from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, where he just retired as the Director of Jazz Studies. For 16 years he was the Director of Bands at Homestead High School and Jazz Director at Santa Clara University. He earned a B.A. from UCLA and an M.M. from the University of Northern Colorado, and is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician, honor band director, and guest artist throughout the west. Rory recorded his first CD as a leader titled “New York Sessions” featuring Michael Wolff – piano, Wallace Roney – trumpet, John Patitucci – basses, and Victor Jones – drums. He held these leadership positions during his career: NorCal President of the CA Unit of IAJE for almost 10 years, CMEA State Jazz Representative, NorCal Vice President of MACCC, CMEA Bay Section Area V Representative, NorCal Representative of CAJ, and Music Department Chair at Homestead HS and Diablo Valley College. He is currently the Western States Representative of the Jazz Education Network.

He founded the Jazz Program at Homestead HS in Cupertino, and built it up to be one of the top programs in CA. The Jazz Ensemble earned many Unanimous Superior ratings at CMEA Festivals, won many competitive festivals, and was selected 6 times as one of the top 10 Ensembles to compete at the Monterey Jazz Festival HS Festival. Most importantly a lot of his former students are now music teachers, professional musicians, and most continue playing music. At Diablo Valley College he also built the Jazz Studies Program to be one of the best in California. All of his performing groups played concerts, festivals, and achieved top notch reputations. The Night Jazz Band has won the Reno and Pacific Coast Jazz Festival, toured China, and recorded 3 CDs. The first one featured Phil Woods, the guest on the second was Toshiko Akiyoshi.

The latest release is DVC Jazz Live at Yoshi’s and DVC featuring Bob Mintzer. Rory has led DVC and HHS Music tours to China, Paris, London, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Disneyland and Disneyworld. He has presented many major jazz figures as guest artists at all 3 schools he taught at including Joe Henderson, Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Bruce Forman, Bill Watrous, Michael Wolff, Ed Shaughnessy, Wayne Bergeron, The Count Basie Orchestra, Richie Cole, Don Menza, Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Hutcherson and more. Rory performs professionally on saxophones, flutes and clarinet, and leads various groups including Rory Snyder’s Night Jazz Band. Appearances include the west coast’s premeire jazz club Yoshi’s, Jupiter, the Monterey, San Jose & Vallejo Jazz Festivals, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, UCLA, Cal State Stanislaus, and San Jose State University. Rory recorded 5 CDs with Dave Eshelman’s Jazz Garden Big Band, and 2 with the Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra.

He has played countless gigs, shows, and appeared as a sideman with Johnny Mathis, Bob Hope, George Burns, Jack Jones, Eddie Fisher, Frankie Valli, Rosemary Clooney, The Temptations and many others. In retirement he is enjoying his favorite jobs as a sub DJ on KCSM 91.1 FM, the Bay Area’s Jazz Station, and director of his Night Jazz Band. Rory continues to play his favorite sports basketball and golf, adjudicate, give clinics, direct honor bands, and travel with his wife of 34 years Linda. He is honored and humbled to be inducted to the CAJ Hall of Fame with such a stellar group of great jazz educators.