Dick Johnson, now in charge of the Artie Shaw Orchestra, says Snyder is the best musician playing today.
Bob Snyder was born in Danville, Indiana. Both his parents were musicians, and he played professionally for the first time when he was eight years old. While still in the third grade, he played alto sax with the high school band. When he was ten, he played with "The Hillbilly Kids", a family group.
At eleven, Snyder played clarinet with the Hoosier Symphony at Canterbury College in Danville. At thirteen, Snyder appeared on Horace Heidt Amateur Hour in Terre Haute and played with the Indiana State Legion Band.
While in high school, Snyder won the All State Indiana Music Contest for four years in a row. Snyder graduated from Danville High School in 1954 and, after a semester at Butler University, joined the Marines. He played in the Airmen of Note and the Air Force VIP Band.
Snyder spent eight years in the military and played in the Air Force Academy Band.
After leaving the military, Snyder played with the Tommy Dorsey and Ted Weems orchestras. At Stax Records, he played with the Memphis Horns.
In 1966, Snyder moved to Detroit, where he played with the Motown Recording Orchestra and the WJR Radio Band.
In 1971, Snyder met Lionel Hampton when both men played at a benefit in Cleveland, Ohio. Hampton asked Snyder to join his orchestra, and they toured Europe, including countries under Communism.
Snyder remained in Hampton's orchestra until the 1990s. Hampton said
I consider Bob Snyder the best clarinet player in the world. I rank him with my old boss, Benny Goodman. I have played and toured with Bob for many years, and I can tell you Bob knows how to swing."
In 1984, Snyder became music director of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. After retiring from that job, he began touring the United States, mostly performing in churches.
While performing at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Snyder normally played "Amazing Grace" on the saxophone. However, his reed was broken, and he changed to the clarinet. The performance was recorded, and thanks to DJs Chick Watkins, Joe Lacina, and Eddie Hubbard, Snyder said, "the response has been phenomenal ... It's almost eerie. We've been getting calls and letters from everywhere."
Hubbard played the record on his Stardust radio program, distributed by ABC Radio Networks. Soon, lots of people were calling, wanting to know how they could buy that recording.
Webster Records described the 1995 Sunday at the Grand - Amazing Grace album as "our best selling record of all time."
Snyder currently lives in Graceville, Florida with his wife Jan. He plays with the Baptist College of Florida Jazz Band and serves as assistant band director at Holmes County High School. He also performs with a group of students from Graceville, Marianna, and many other cities called The Piano Road Band.
Snyder became Honorary Mayor of San Antonio, Texas when he visited and performed for injured military troops.
Snyder was also named to Danville High School's Alumni Hall of Fame. The first Bob and Jan Snyder Achievement Award, for a clarinet or saxophone player, was given June 14, 2008.