Robert Ponto is the Assistant Dean for Admissions at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance. Prior to this appointment, he served as Director of Bands for 20 years. He has conducted ensembles through the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His performing ensembles have been featured at the Bang on a Can contemporary music festival in New York, on National Public Radio, Oregon Public Radio, and have appeared regularly at state, regional and national music conferences. A self-described “musical omnivore,” Ponto is an advocate for original music in all genres and is actively engaged in the creation and performance of new works. He has collaborated with many influential composers including John Adams, Steven Stucky, Michael Daugherty, Gia Kancheli, Frank Ticheli, Scott Lindroth, Augusta Read Thomas, David Crumb, and many others. He conducted the world premiere of Justine F. Chen’s Philomel with soprano Lucy Shelton and a soon-to-bereleased recording of David Crumb’s Primordial Fantasy, with pianist Marcantonio Barone.
As an electronic music and sound design hobbyist, Ponto has contributed to unique projects in that genre as well. The contemporary music ensemble, Beta Collide has performed his Postmark Sirius: In Memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen for trumpet and live electronics, Beta Bacher (for the Oregon Bach Festival’s Bach Remix V), and a digital realization of Stockhausen’s Solo. His sound design work was also used by British pop singer/songwriter Imogen Heap on her song, “Lifeline,” for the album, Sparks.
Dr. Eric Hammer serves as Director of Bands and Professor of Music Education at theUniversity of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, California. He holds a Bachelors of Music in Education from University of the Pacific, a Master of Music in conducting from University of Oregon, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Oregon. At Pacific, Eric leads the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and University Concert Band as well as teaching courses in Brass Pedagogy, Conducting/Score Analysis, Rehearsal Techniques and Band Development. He also hosts the Pacific Western Concert Band Festival, advises the Pacific Pep Band, supervises student teachers, and serves on the Conservatory Planning and Priorities Committee. Additionally, Dr. Hammer maintains an active calendar of guest conducting, clinics, and adjudication throughout the nation.
Eric’s background includes an Iowa upbringing and sixteen years of public school teaching experience. He is past President of the Western Division College Band Directors National Association and has also held leadership positions with California Music Educators Bay Section, Pacific Music Camp, the California Unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators, and the Yuba County Arts Council. Eric is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education, Phi Kappa Phi, California Band Directors Association, National Band Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He has twice been honored as the Conservatory’s “Most Inspirational Professor,” and was the original recipient of the University “Golden Apple” Mentor award for his positive influence on the lives of his students and the University.
Patrick Vandehey is an Assistant Professor of Music at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Prior to taking the position at Fox he taught 23 years in the Beaverton School District, 14 years at Aloha High School and 9 years at Westview High School. Mr. Vandehey received his Bachelors of Art and Bachelors of Music from the University of Washington, and a Masters of Teaching Music at Portland State University. Mr. Vandehey is a Past-President of the Oregon Band Directors Association and serves on the Adjudication Training Board of OBDA. He served for two years as the Band Liaison to the Oregon Schools Activity Association. He has served twice on the Oregon Music Education Association’s Board as Band Chair served on the OMEA Executive board as President in 2005-2006.
In 1993 Mr. Vandehey was the State, Regional and National recipient of the ASBDA- Stanbury Award for Outstanding Young Band Director. In 2000, he was inducted into the Band World Legion of Honor by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Also in 2000, he was named one of Oregon’s top ten Music Educators by the Oregon Music Educators Association in the Teaching Music Magazine. In 2002 Mr. Vandehey received the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association. He is a founding member of the Oregon Chapter of Phi Beta Mu, and in 2006 was inducted into the Northwest Bandmaster’s Association. Mr. Vandehey was named the Oregon’s Outstanding Music Educator in 2010 by OMEA.
The band program at George Fox University has shown significant growth since Mr. Vandehey took over in 2003. His ensembles have been honored to perform at numerous conventions, ranging from the MENC Northwest Convention to state level conferences to the Western International Band Clinic. Mr. Vandehey’s work as coordinator of the Music Education program at George Fox has led to similar growth in that program. As a result of his work, he was invited to present at the Society of Music Teacher Education in 2007. Mr. Vandehey is married to Kristin, his wife of 34 years and has two daughters, both of whom are educators.