Rich Fongheiser professional musical experiences span the gamut of styles from rock, funk, jazz (small group and big band), Latin, drum corps and theatre work. Over the years he has had the opportunity to share the stage with Mic Gillette, Rocco Prestia, Terry Gibbs, Ritchie Cole, Bruce Foreman, John Santos, Bob Wackerman, Steve Allen, Frank Martin, Cheryl Ernst, Diahann Carroll, The Fifth Dimension, Kay Starr, and Val Diamond among others.
Rich has also played in many bands including, Bold Truth (funk band, opened for Tower of Power), Fat Cat (hard rock band), Ronnie Wells Extension (top-40 cover band), Shelters (club band), Mark Steidel (corporate, society band), Full Faith and Credit (big band), Bob Enos Big Band, Sounds of Joy (touring band, Merv Griffin Television Show, Clint Eastwood Celebrity Tennis Tournament, Los Angeles Premier of “Mame”), Danny Marona (entertainer), Comic Strip Live (national television show).
After his formal education as a Percussion Major at Chabot College and Cal State East Bay, he continued to explore and teach a wide range of styles: funk, rock/fusion, big band, Latin, symphonic and techniques including body percussion and symphonic cymbals .
Some of Rich’s students have gone on to play with the likes of The Counting Crows, Peter Frampton, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Tracy Chapman, Antigone, Lenny Picket (Tower of Power, SNL), Soul Fire Machine and Iron Butterfly as well as becoming professionals in other areas of the music business.
In addition to teaching privately, Rich has taught at Soundwall Summer Rock Camp, for the Weldonian Drum Corps, and classical, jazz, ethnic percussion for public and private school groups. He has also taught history of Rock and Roll, African drumming and a math-based rhythm class. He has adjudicated for the Percussive Arts Society and the Guitar Center Regional Drum Set Contest and worked with the Music Department at Chabot College to prepare music teachers to teach drum set through MENC.