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Alumnus Rick Sanchez finds a melody for success in the business of music

Alumnus Rick Sanchez finds a melody for success in the business of music


JULY 10, 2020 — While many musicians can find enjoyment in performing in solitude, the communal nature of music means others can actively participate or be moved as spectators. Music is an art, but it is also a business. Music marketing attracts individuals that not only have a love for music but want to find ways to promote its substance and beauty.

Rick Sanchez ’09 completed the customary music coursework within the Department of Music, but he took his education a step further by completing business marketing courses—like advertising and marketing principles—before moving the tassel on his ’Runner mortarboard.

He has worked in some form of promotion for the Playhouse San Antonio, the Opera Guild of San Antonio and as a graphic designer for his own company, RS Designs. 

What are you currently doing in your career?

I’m employed at Zach Theatre in Austin. It is one of the top professional regional theaters in Texas and is recognized nationally as a contending major theater. I’m their senior marketing manager and have been working there now for almost five years.

A lot of my job responsibilities and duties include creating and executing complex and detailed marketing plans for the entire organization—from new- season launches to show-specific plans and our education programs. It requires a lot of coordination and organizing among many employees directly on the marketing team as well as Zach employees, not to mention outside contractors and vendors, including a PR firm and digital media firm.

“I’m so grateful to the San Antonio theater community for introducing me to those UTSA music students.”

Was music your first choice of study?

Music has always been my first choice of study. I always had this idea that voice performance or musical theater performance was my calling for a degree. But as it goes for many college students, that shifted over time. First, it was performance studies, and then it was theory and composition studies. It was a journey.

I first studied at Oklahoma City University, then San Antonio College after moving to Texas. Because of doing local theater in town and meeting UTSA music students, they suggested I study at UTSA. I’m glad they did, and I’m so grateful to the San Antonio theater community for introducing me to those UTSA music students. 

With whom did you study at UTSA and with what emphasis did you graduate? How does your degree coincide with your present profession?

I studied voice with Michael Burgess as well as Diana Allen after graduation. As for my emphasis of music and marketing, I took courses within the music department as well as within the marketing department at UTSA. And my degree coincides pretty well with my current profession.

I always thought I would perform as a profession, but life has an interesting way of hinting about what you should be doing with your life and career. Along with my studies at UTSA, my interests outside of school—including theater, graphic design, nonprofit work—heavily shaped the course of my career.

I am also considering studying nonprofit management to help further my career.

Looking back, what were your greatest accomplishments at UTSA?

There are a few I would consider some of my greatest accomplishments. Being cast in an opera—in an actual lead role with solos—is one. That accomplishment made me feel I could hold my own and that I wasn’t just looked at as an actor who could sing.

Designing a marketing ad for the department that was featured in local newspapers and magazines across town is another. My graphic design for UTSA Lyric Theatre’s La Bohème was recognized by Central Michigan University. They loved the design so much, they commissioned me to adapt that same design for their production of La Bohème.

Did you have mentors or professors that you felt assisted you as an undergrad?

I have two mentors at UTSA: William McCrary and Michelle Pietri. I owe a lot to both of them for helping guide me. I was lucky enough to honor them both at an Annual Alamo Theatre Arts Council Globe Awards celebration for Special Contribution to Theatre in San Antonio.

Explore the study of music at UTSA.

Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?

I see myself moving to a director level of management at a regional theater. Whether it be specifically in marketing or as an executive, managing a theater or nonprofit arts organization in Texas is where I see myself. Texas is my home. The older I get, the more I don’t want to leave it.

What comes to mind when you hear “UTSA Music Department”?

Where do I begin? [Laughs] Is there a word limit? There are many things that come to mind: my Sinfonia [music fraternity] brothers’ love and support. Wondering, How many times can I have an opera workshop course credit? Choir rehearsal (I always wanted to impress professor John Silantien, or at least stay alert and focused). Waiting after recitals to congratulate fellow voice students. Choir tours, especially the one to Mexico.

But all that aside, I would say gratitude is the one thing that comes to mind.

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