UC High Alumnus Eric Fay Takes Dream to Next Level in STOMP
For so many of us, our fantasy dreams of becoming star athletes, actors, or singers are destroyed shortly after high school. However, this is not at all the case for UC High Alumni Eric Fay (Class of 2011), who never gave up on his childhood dream of performing in the musical rhythm group STOMP. Today, Fay travels across America, drumming his heart out from state to state.
Fay was introduced to STOMP and playing music when he was eight. “My mom dragged me to the show, and she told me that we could leave at intermission if I wasn’t enjoying [it]. Since then, I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life,” Fay said. That same year, he started playing the violin at school, and he switched to the snare drum in fifth grade, at which point his percussion career began.
Fay attended Standley Middle School, played in the accomplished advanced band in seventh and eighth grade, and was selected as section leader and drum captain as well. According to UC High Alumni Alicia Denton, “He [Fay] really progressed throughout band in middle school.” However, the turning point of Fay’s career was yet to come.
In his UC High years, Fay tried out for America’s Got Talent twice, the second time with a group called CREW, a percussion movement group in East County. “The group is led by a former STOMPer, Chris Rubio,” Fay explained. “We didn’t make it to the actual show the first time, and they only showed our group in a commercial the second time,” he added. In April of his senior year, Rubio encouraged Fay to audition for STOMP. “I flew out to New York for the week and attended the open audition. I then got the call to come back and trained for the show that June,” Fay said.
STOMP is an unconventional percussion group. According to its website, “STOMP is performed in theaters, but it is not a play, musical, or opera…. The entire show is highly choreographed, interweaving dance into all of its aspects…. It breaks all customary boundaries of the performing arts by inviting the audience to participate in the show… encouraging us to take what we have learned about sound and rhythm and apply it to our own everyday lives.” Musicians use brooms, bins, poles, drumsticks, and household items such as pots, pans, and garbage bins to simultaneously create rhythmic, catchy beats (stomponline.com).
“I play a role called Potatohead, who is the lead’s right hand man,” Fay explained, “My role helps the lead keep the music together.” One can only imagine how hard it is to keep multiple percussionist
together when they’re banging on pots and pans to make music.
For Fay, the best part of his successful experiences with STOMP has been performing the show itself. “[Besides that], it would have to be the traveling aspect. I get to go to different places; some are interesting, others, not so much,” Fay said. “I have to worry about getting sick constantly, due to changing environments, but overall the experience is awesome! I love exploring the cities and towns that we get to play in,” he added.
Fay is still closely tied to friends and staff from UC High. “I still try to keep in touch with most of my teachers,” he said. When STOMP performed the weekend of October 6 this past month, Head Counselor Sheryl Godfrey went and saw him, along with many of his friends from high school. “It was awesome seeing everyone after the show and hearing what they thought about the show,” Fay said. “It was a humbling experience and I truly enjoyed having everyone there. Their support really means a lot.”
Fellow members of UC High’s Class of 2011 are impressed with Fay’s success. UC High Alumni Alex Phillips said, “He is very talented and definitely has a clear passion for [music], which is really great since he is so young. He has so much time to grow, improve, and perform throughout the years.”
As for the future, Fay hopes to continue doing STOMP as long as he can. “After that, I am not sure what I will do. I would like to continue my career in music, but I plan on going back to school,” Fay explained.
Fay credits his success
to his parents. “They pushed me to pursue my dreams, and they never let me give up,” he said. As for his key to success? “Hard work and discipline. Practicing every day and staying focused helped me achieve my goals,” Fay explained. It is Fay’s discipline, determination, and charm that has gotten him this far in his successful career, and should continue to do so in his future pursuits.