Julian Brenman ‘20

Following a thorough search, Friends’ Central has selected Zach Zaitlin to serve as assistant vocal music director and accompanist. In this position, Mr. Zaitlin will help manage choral rehearsals, play the piano for the chorus during rehearsals and performances, and co-direct the a-capella program. In addition, he will substitute for teachers on an as-needed basis. Zach took the reigns in the beginning of the month, and is already starting to feel like FCS is home.

Zach comes to us from Maine, where he lived for the past few years. “I loved Maine, but I’ve always wanted to live in a place with more people. So, here I am in Philadelphia!” Zach grew up in Saco, Maine, and fell in love with music in his earliest years. After demonstrating a passion for playing the piano, Mr. Zaitlin began taking lessons at age 10. By high school, he also began singing in choirs. He explains, “One of the affirming experiences when I knew I had really fallen in love with music was when I got to be in the Maine all-state chorus as a sophomore. We had a great conductor who pushed us really hard to make amazing music, which really bumped up my connection with music.”

After high school,  Zach studied at Swarthmore College, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. While at Swarthmore, he sung in the a-capella group, and lived in Madrid for a semester. Following college graduation, Zach moved to Portland, Oregon, where he held hopes of pursuing a music career professionally. “I wanted to ‘do music full time, and not have any other job.’” However, Mr. Zaitlin found himself needing more of an income, and decided to start teaching. “I tried being a teacher, and I liked it. I feel like I do it pretty well, and have been working at it ever since.” Most notably, Zach conducted/accompanied the choir and taught Spanish at a Friends’ school in Portland, Maine.

In addition to his teaching, Zach continues to perform his own compositions as well as covers at concerts, weddings, and other venues. Plus, he is a member of the Mendelson Club choir. “I like teaching and performing. They’re very different, and for me, I feel it’s important to do both. I feel if I were just teaching, and not performing, I would feel less inspired.”

At Friends’ Central, Zach is excited to “observe Ms. Zuckman, and learn what she does.” He is also looking forward to “hearing us come together as an ensemble and polish these songs. It’s nice to be a part of a community and getting to work with different teachers, and meeting lots of kids is great. I really believe in what Friends’ education is about”

Mr. Zaitlin admits he sometimes comes off as very serious, and wants the community to know that “I can also be not serious.” Outside of music and teaching, Zach enjoys spending time with his sister, Hannah, and his 2-year-old nephew, Dylan. He takes pride in his two cats, Toni Scratchton and Ding Dong.

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