Local girl is pursuing her passion: 17-year-old Jessica Snyder finds her true calling in the performing arts

Local girl is pursuing her passion
17-year-old Jessica Snyder finds her true calling in the performing arts
Written by Maurice & Judy Snyder
Edited by Jennifer Leese

Her parents knew she loved an audience from the time she could walk and talk. "I always "performed" for anyone who would listen or watch me," said Jessica Snyder, senior at Frederick High School in Frederick.
Jessica never grew out of that love of performing. "At age four, I asked my parents if I could take acting lessons. They enrolled me and I fell in love with being on stage. Not long after that, I realized that I loved singing too and the best of both worlds came together," she said. Jessica began taking acting classes before she started elementary school and never missed a chance to participate in school plays or shows being performed by local acting companies. She also had a natural talent for singing and by age 12 she was performing gospel music concerts at churches in the tri-state area. Over the past several years she has participated in community service events at Fort Detrick and charity events such as Harvest Hoedown in Williamsport along with enjoying the thrill of singing country music at coffee shops and winning local karaoke contests. She began recording her first and only gospel music CD featuring southern gospel, bluegrass, old hymns and contemporary Christian music when she was just 14 years old. At age 15, her dream of having her own CD came to life when she released "Simply Singin' Praise".
Jessica continued to follow her passion of singing and acting when she joined the production of Antietam Recreation's "Cowboy Christmas" in 2010. "My parents and I attended the "Cowboy Christmas" show for at least four years before I talked with one of the actors after the show and admitted that I'd love to be part of the cast. At that point, I was under the belief that only family members were in the show. He told me that they do use people outside the family and that I should audition the following year. As fate would have it, I happened upon the advertisement the following year and made the phone call to audition.
"Antietam Recreation invited me to join their "Cowboy Christmas" show in 2010 and I've taken part in their Valentine's Show, the "God and Country" Show and I've just completed the "Century of Song" show.
"That show was so much fun because we covered songs from the past 100 years and I was able to perform some songs that were popular during World War I and II, some songs from the 1950's, Pasty Cline, Grease, ABBA, and a Cajun/Country song. I love doing a variety of music and I was really able to bring a flood of memories to the audience. The show was well received and we sold out every show after opening night.
"I absolutely love doing musical theatre but our school audiences are small and having the opportunity to perform for such a large audience has rekindled the fire for me," Jessica said.
Jessica hopes to audition for Sight and Sound Theatres in Lancaster, PA when she graduates from high school this June. "Those biblical shows are amazing, they bring home the gospel message and you leave feeling as if you were there at the time the event took place and that you witnessed it". "I would be honored to participate in their shows".
"Everyone says you can't make a living in the entertainment business and that you need a backup plan," Jessica said. "I'm putting that into place as well." Jessica has taken several American Sign Language (ASL) classes in high school while maintaining her honor roll status and is now involved in an internship within the school that focuses on assisting other high school children who are struggling in the ASL 1 and 2 classes. "I plan to take college classes to further my studies and obtain a certificate in ASL interpretation so that I might work in an ASL setting and still have time to do my singing and musical theatre. I also enjoy woodworking, ceramics, and photography so those could help support me as well".
This young person has set many goals for herself, and has hit most, if not all of them - because of her determination she will fulfill her dreams in no time. Jessica Snyder is someone to keep your eye on!
Jessica's hobbies include bowling, songwriting, poetry, cake decorating, drawing and playing with animals. "I'm also crazy about hang gliding and I'm planning to fly solo soon". "I never know what I might decide to try next". "I'm not afraid to reach for the stars". "My parents raised me with the belief that nothing is impossible if you're willing to put in the time and have the desire". "So far, I've taken those words to heart".
Jessica would love to make another CD. "Every song on my CD was chosen for a reason. I love songs with a message that can touch the person listening or help them through a tough time. Some of the songs are especially close to my heart though such as "In the Garden" which was my grandfather's favorite song and at my concerts many people have told me that they have fond memories of that song in their families as well. The song "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" touched me the first time I heard it and it still does. I slowed it down from it's original version and recorded it that way because I believe the listener needs to fully have time to concentrate on the song's message and by slowing it down it allows the words to touch your heart. I often close my shows with the song "I Will Run To You". It is such an inspiring song and it has a great message to leave the audience with as I close a show," Jessica said.
All profits that are made from selling her "Simply Singin' Praise" CD "will be turned around and invested into my next CD so hopefully it won't be long before I can offer some new music". To order your CD, please mail $12 to P.O. Box 1368 Frederick MD 21702 or contact Jessica at blessings2u@surfbest.net.
When asked where she sees herself in 5 years, she said, "Wow, I'm not sure. Once I graduate and get out there I'll be able to see what God has in store for me. Hopefully, in five years I'll be on stage somewhere--whether it be acting, singing, or both--pursuing my passion!"
Look for Jessica at the following events:
May 19: Frederick Seventh Day Adventist Church (7:15 p.m.) 6437 Jefferson Pike, Frederick. 301-662-5254. Southern gospel, contemporary Christian, and country/bluegrass gospel.
May 19 & 20: Stone Fence Gardens Music Festival (12-1 p.m. both days) 6610 Mountaindale Road, Thurmont. 301-898-1517. stonefencegardens.net.