Wemberly Ponder was born in Statesboro of parents, Sanford and Harriett Ponder. He is a graduate of William James High School and Georgia Southern University. Ponder began the study of piano at the age of 11 with Tharon Stevens, who was then Choral Director of William James High School Choral Society and a distinguished piano teacher in Statesboro. At the end of his 11th grade year, he began the study of piano with Dr. Sterling Adams, who was then Professor of Piano at Georgia Southern University.
Ponder is the winner of the Fort Valley State College Annual Music Teachers Clinic Awards in Piano and Sight Singing; the winner of the Pro-Mozart Society Scholarship that enabled him to attend the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria, where he studied with pianist and pedagogue, Kurt Neumuller.
He has participated in masterclasses under pianists: Rosalyn Tureck, Lili Krauss, and Maculzinski. He has been coached by pianists, Andre Watts, Ruth Slenczynka, and Eugene Haynes. Ponder studied conducting, musical composition, orchestration, and music theory with Rev. Don Northrip.
He has performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and Orchestra” with Georgia Southern Symphony and Bach’s “D Minor Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” with the Savannah Symphony.
He directed Brannen Chapel Male Chorus in a performance of his original composition entitled “O Statesboro, Where the Sun Smiles” during Statesboro’s Bicentennial Celebration. He was musical director under Mical Whitaker in the poetry production about “The Life of Langston Hughes” by Bob Dick that was staged at the Averitt Center for the Arts. He has participated as an accompanist for Statesboro Youth Chorale and Statesboro Boys and Girls Choir under Dr. Tamara Harper.
Ponder is currently teaching piano privately in Statesboro. He is an accompanist at Georgia Southern University. He is pianist for Greater Bethel A. M. E. Church under pastor, Rev. Deborah Lanier Scott, and pianist for Historical First African Baptist Church under pastor, Rev. James Howard.
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