Roget Pontbriand

  • Founding Director of Popular Music Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Chairman of Music Department Grace Bible College
  • Director of Jazz Studies Middle Tennessee State University
  • B.M. Jazz Studies, M.M.Composition, University of Akron.
  • Film Scoring, Performance, Composition, Grove School of Music
My professional career began at the age of 14. In my early years, I performed in many NYC pop groups as a singer and later a keyboardist and trumpet player. At the tender age of 17, I signed with Capitol Records and joined the group Bullet which recorded the hit song "White Lies, Blue Eyes" #26 nationally.  I appeared on American Bandstand, Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin and several other TV shows. Temporarily leaving the road, I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. and Western Connecticut State College in Danbury, Ct. and decided to move away from New England and the snow. 

I moved to Florida and played with the Casablanca recording group Miami, the cover band Opus, and the TK records group K.C. and the Sunshine Band. I was invited to join Wild Cherry (the group that recorded "Play That Funky Music White Boy"), so I left the sunshine state, and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. I toured with Wild Cherry from '76-'79. In Cleveland, I also performed with the Michael Stanley Band whose national hit was "My Town" #30 nationally.

Deciding to change musical direction from pop to jazz I enrolled at Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles, earned three diplomas and worked in several LA salsa bands and jazz groups. I had the privilege of subbing in the Bill Holman big band while a student at Grove's.

Growing tired of all the sunshine in L.A.  I returned to the Cleveland area and began classes at the University of Akron earning two degrees, a B.M. in jazz studies, and a M.M. in composition. I continued as a professional musician during my studies and played trumpet at the Tangier's and Breakaway Theaters for national artist and touring companies. I was accompanist for Shari Lewis (the ventriloquist who invented the puppet "Lamb chops").  I was resident composer for Classic Video (a production company) composing music for Goodyear, B.F.Goodrich, Firestone, NEC corp. and several other companies commercials and industrial films. I performed with the Maynard Ferguson and Mel Torme orchestras before graduation from the University of Akron. I became a Christian and decided to make yet another career change to Contemporary Christian music. I was musical assistant to Jon Case at the Chapel at University Park and orchestra director for Stan Morse at Trinity Gospel Temple which had a weekly broadcast "The Hour of Power Singers" on the TBN network.  I served as the intern director at the Cathedral of Tomorrow and then my wife, Lisa and I decided to move to Nashville.

In Nashville, I took a teaching position at Middle Tennessee State University teaching music composition and directing the jazz ensemble. I taught at MTSU for 5 years, started a music copy service, arranged and composed for the studio, and did session work. I also played for shows at Opryland, the General Jackson Showboat and toured the U.S. Canada and Mexico with the Jordanaires (Elvis Presley's backup vocal group). I also performed several concerts with Anita Bryant (the face of Florida orange juice).

I was invited to chair the music department at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Mi. where I developed a B.M. degree in contemporary Christian music. While at Grace Bible College, I toured Australia with the Michigan based contemporary Christian group U-turn doing concerts and missions in Brisbane. In the Great Lakes area, I played trumpet for the Detroit NAJE and Chicago IAJE reading ensembles at the Detroit and Chicago Jazz festivals and lead trumpet with the Bruce Early big band. I became resident composer for Robert VanKampen and wrote many large compositions for Grand Rapids and Lakeshore Symphony Orchestra musicians. During my employment with Robert VanKampen, I was principle trumpet for the DeVos and Lyric theaters in Grand Rapids. I performed with such artists as Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Florence Henderson, Frank Gorshin, Leslie Gore, Wolfman Jack, Carol Channing, John Secada, Anita Bryant, The Skyliners, The Temptations, Coasters, Drifters, Cleftones, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jay and the Americans, The Harptones, Solitares, The Four Lads, The Spinners, The Four Freshman and others.  After leaving Grand Rapids, I joined Shoji Tabushi in Branson, Missouri and played lead trumpet in his orchestra for one season.

I then moved to West Palm Beach Florida and began teaching at Palm Beach Atlantic University. I began a jazz fusion quartet called "Riff". The group was very popular in the West Palm Beach area and we were the house band for the Blue Note nightclub.  The group performed many of my original compositions some are included on this website. I am the founding director of the popular music program at PBAU. As the theatre department music director, I conducted several of the university's productions, including: "Footloose", "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying", "Me and My Girl", "West Side Story", and "Into The Woods". I direct the university jazz ensemble which has featured 29 of my original big band arrangements in concert. I have been a guest artist, clinician, or featured soloist at Old Miss, the University of Akron, Palm Beach State College and Florida Atlantic University.  Some of my big band arrangements are available on links from this website. I was commissioned by Palm Beach clients to write a symphony "Symphony in A minor" and an opera dedicated to Liliolukalani the last queen of Hawaii.

My ministry experience in West Palm Beach includes: the ministry team at Christ Fellowship Church where I wrote many arrangements, directed the brass ensemble and played lead trumpet for 7 years. I teamed up with Israel Houghton and wrote brass arrangements and performed several concerts with Israel in the West Palm Beach area. I have arranged several selections for First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach's 2006, 2007 "Singing Christmas Tree". I play lead trumpet for the orchestra at First Presbyterian Church of the Palm Beaches. 

In 2007, I was a guest lecturer along with Dr. Tim Thompson at the IAJE convention in New York City. We presented a paper on podcasting. I have also been a featured soloist with the New Gardens concert band, the Indian River Symphonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches. I continue to perform with several West Palm Beach big bands, salsa groups and pit orchestras including the Bob Hoose big band and the Ben Grisafi big band. I am a member of the FMEA reading ensemble, and an advisory board member of the Big Band Hall of Fame. Currently, I tour with the Gather Vocal Band backup group "The Down Home Horns".

Contact Information:

E-mail: roget_pontbriand@pba.edu

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