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Wyatt Noack in 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse

Wyatt Noack in SMC's 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse


‘I’m in Music for the Long Haul’

Published on May 30, 2024 - 10 a.m.

Wyatt Marshall Noack, Elkhart’s Texan, planned to move to Buchanan in March when the versatile musician got his first look at 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse Feb. 5.

Noack, 24, graduated from Southwestern Michigan College in 2021 with honors and an associate degree in music, transferring to Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) to complete a year toward a bachelor’s degree in music technology.

“Wyatt Marshall,” as he’s known professionally, is set to release his first rock album this summer as Y@.

“I was here when (COVID) wasn’t an issue, then it became an issue,” said Noack, whose girlfriend, Hannah Moore, also sang in SMC choirs.

Noack was part of SMC’s first foray into radio theatre, the newscaster in “Terror on Dewey Lake,” produced and directed in October 2020 by his vocal teacher, Marcus Roll, from an original script by Assistant Director of Campus Life Branden Pompey.

The musical “Grease” had been one of the first casualties when COVID closed campus in March 2020. By the following spring, Noack was cast in “Working,” which was recorded before an empty theatre and viewed exclusively on YouTube.

At the 2019 SMC’s Got Talent show, Noack performed an original song, “The Girl from Maple Row” — an Elkhart street — accompanying himself on self-taught guitar.

When he made dean’s list, his hometown appeared as Lago Vista (Spanish for “lake view”), near Austin, Texas.

Noack fronts Amarillo Sky, a cover band playing “country that rocks,” performs with his pop project Sol Friends and joined a boy band. His original rock songs have been played on 103.9 The Bear.

“My goal is to make at least $500 a week from music,” Noack said, “but I’m at a point where last week, Sunday to Sunday, I made over $1,000,” plus he has a part-time day job.


Dr. Joe sealed the deal

Noack graduated from high school in 2018, moving to Texas, where his father lives, as a senior from Elkhart Memorial High School. He grew up with his mother in Elkhart. He has two half-siblings in Lago Vista, including  Jessica, a graduating senior.

“Lago Vista had music technology class. Our iPads had GarageBand,” a software application for creating music or podcasts.

“I wrote more than 20 songs on my high school iPad,” Noack said. “I wanted to go to the University of Texas for music, but that was expensive. I had been in choir since middle school, but music really clicked in high school.  All my friends were in choir, so it was my safe haven. No band until SMC. I played guitar in the Jazz Ensemble for one semester under Mark Hollandsworth.”

“Less-expensive schools in Texas weren’t getting back to me,” he said. “I applied to Indiana University and called, but never heard back. I applied to (SMC) and, in less than a week, had a handwritten letter from (Vice President of Student Services, now President) Dr. Joe (Odenwald) saying, ‘We’re excited to have you.’ I was ready to give up on reaching out to colleges. That handwritten letter changed everything for me. That was the coolest thing in the world.”


Motivated from an early age

Noack, born in August 1999, began working in 2015 as a landscaper. In spring 2016, he joined Martin’s Supermarkets as a service clerk/janitor. He moved his way up to cashier and deli clerk in 2017.

In 2018, when he moved to Texas, he worked as a waiter at “The Grille at Highland Lakes” in Lago Vista. He was also a pet care associate at Pet Smart and a box office clerk at Cinemark.

After receiving his SMC acceptance letter and returning to Elkhart, in 2019 he began work at a local grocery store, remaining there for two years. In 2020, he joined the Crosbie Foundry, Elkhart. He stayed there until 2023 when he began working part-time as a pet care associate at Paw Mart.

“Everything has changed for me since I started going here,” he said. “I knew I wanted to further my education and was willing to do anything to show I wanted to work. Growing up in a one-parent household, there were times there wasn’t food on the table. I started working in high school as soon as I got my driver’s license.”


His favorite band is Linkin Park

Though he fronts a country band named for a Jason Aldean song, Noack’s “favorite band of all-time” is alternative rock heavyweight Linkin Park. Their earlier recordings fused heavy metal and hip hop. Later releases featured more electronica and pop elements. They sold more than 100 million records but went on indefinite hiatus after lead singer Chester Bennington’s 2017 suicide.

“You can hear their music change throughout each (of seven) albums,” Noack said. “(IUSB) exposed me to mixing and mastering music, which I don’t think I have the ear to do professionally. But live sound, I run while I’m singing. I feel comfortable doing that. I met a promoter from Boston at IUSB. Eric Remington and I have been best buddies.” Remington formerly worked in graphic design at the Dowagiac Daily News.

Noack’s voice is still hoarse from Friday night at South Bend Chocolate Café and a four-hour Saturday show at The Venue in Angola. Gigs take him as far north as Grand Rapids, as far south as Fort Wayne. He’s opened for Derek Randall and the Jessie Campbell Band.


‘The best feeling in the world’

“The best feeling in the world is being up on stage and the audience is singing to you” because of the songs’ familiarity.

The pop group Sol Friends originated at IUSB when he was making music with a keyboard player from Mexico City, Gabriel Hernandez.

“We played everything, from what was popular with the kids on TikTok to the Beatles, Gloria Gaynor, George Michael and Frank Sinatra,” Noack said. “Our motto was ‘playing everything that the family loves.’ It was just the two of us, so that’s where backing tracks came in when we needed more than voice and piano. On other occasions, we had guest singers and drummers.

“I’m turning it into more of a vocal group with a female singer, Jordan DeGraff. She started helping me with karaoke in August. She came in the first night and sang ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’ by the Jackson Five. The packed restaurant went dead silent to hear her amazing, beautiful voice. We just did our first show together at Howard Park in South Bend. I’ve got us booked for Evil Czech Brewery in Mishawaka, Waterford Inn in LaPorte, Tri-Way Drive-In in Plymouth. We’re going places.”

Sol Friends hosts karaoke at El Camino Real, the Elkhart Mexican restaurant.

“Between these two groups and my original music, I know well over 400 songs,” he said. “In November, I was on (Mishawaka’s) B100 with Brittney Baily. They asked me to sing her happy birthday and I got to play an original song. I’ve released two punk-rock songs, including ‘Darkness Taking Over,‘ featuring guitarist Joe Feingold,” and a remake of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” which gives him something in common with Joey Ramone.

Asked about guitarist Jake Cinninger, Noack has fielded karaoke requests for Umphrey’s McGee,  but didn’t know Cinninger was born in Niles, played in a country band and played in the SMC jazz band in the mid-’90s.

“Anybody can release anything nowadays,” Noack said. “The question is, did you work hard and put it out the right way? I’m not mad at people putting out homemade music, but for not taking the time to perfect it. I align myself with people I know are good people and aren’t in it for the money, but just to put out good music.”