Scott Fore ‘96 is an accountant by day, musician by night. All the numbers seemed to be adding up right for him lately.
After taking first place in guitar competition at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention this past summer, he became this year’s International Flat-Picking Guitar Champion. He previously picked his way to victory in the prestigious Doc Watson Guitar Championship and also in the Wayne C. Henderson competition.
Fore is self-taught, learning to play from reading books at the local library in his native Saltville. “We didn’t have music teachers or music schools in the area back then,” he recalls.
Fore admits to having “that rambling blood,” and in the summer of 1979, he and a friend packed their instruments and headed to France. “That was one of the highlights and big breaks in my life, I guess,” he says. “We played on the streets and in the subways and had an open-ended plane ticket for home whenever the money ran out.” While in France, a record producer discovered the duo playing on the streets and invited them to cut an album. His payment was 100 copies of the album. Almost 25 years and many chords later, Fore is working on his first solo work, a CD scheduled for release this spring.
Fore has played with or engineered sound for some of the finest in country and bluegrass music today. He spent time this summer both talking and playing with the staff fiddle player for Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. He says appearing on that world-famous stage is definitely on “my list of things to do before I die.”
You might say that perseverance is a Fore forte. He enrolled at RU as a full-time adult student in the early 1990s. He found himself in classrooms with students half his age. “They would talk about what they were going to do after they got out of school and how far they could make it on $5 an hour. They thought that would be enough to survive on and have fun, too,” he says. “We talked a lot about reality and the facts of life. I told them they couldn’t do everything they thought they could on $5 an hour.”
Being an adult student was challenging enough. But Fore was also dealing with the stress of being a single dad raising three sons. “There was a lot going on in my personal life at that time,” Fore remembers. “I was changing my major about every other semester, because the system kept putting me in music instead of accounting, which was my major.” he said. “I had a lot of people at Radford who helped me through the hard times,” he says. One of them was accounting professor Lynn Saubert. “She really stands out in my mind because she knew how to make the classes relate to real-life,” he says. Music professors like George Parrish and Al Wojtera also made a difference. He says, “Those folks at Radford really knew how to make you succeed. I needed that back then.”