Fred has been playing clarinet and sax with the band for quite a few years now. His technique is amazing -- which you will realize when you hear his E-flat soprano clarinet flying through the counter-melodies as the band plays a polka.
Fred likes to travel with lots of hardware. You'll generally find a Bb (soprano) Clarinet, and Eb (sopranino) Clarinet, a Soprano Sax (pictured here), an Alto Sax and a Tenor Sax all lined up in front of him. And they aren't just for show... he actually knows how to play all of them! (Some of us wonder why he can't just make up his mind!).
Fred is actually Swiss, so playing polkas, waltzes and schottiches comes naturally. It seems that writing them does too: Fred has recently started writing music for the band, and it all has a Swiss feel to it. And (no surprise here) the compositions he's turned out for the group are quite good!
Fred's day job is as a private instructor for woodwind instruments, which gives him the dubious distinction of being the only full-time professional musician in the band! (We figured we needed at least one!)
He also makes and sells custom clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces (check out www.rastmusic.com), and most of the Chico Band woodwind players own at least one Fred Rast mouthpiece. Over the years, Fred's reputation as a purveyor of custom mouthpieces has grown, and he now has a number of professional musicians from all over the country as his clients.
So he's not only an accomplished musician, but a composer, arranger, and craftsman. We just thought he hung around for the schnopps. Who knew...?