Director of Bands
Colbert Page Howell, Jr
Colbert Page Howell, Jr. has served on the Vero Beach High School Faculty since the fall of 2006 when he was appointed Associate Director of Bands. In July of 2016, he became the Director of Bands at VBHS. Howell’s duties at Vero Beach include team - teaching the symphonic bands and the Fighting Indians Marching Band, directing the Jazz Band, conducting the Wind Ensemble, and conducting the Chamber Winds. Mr. Howell also administers the entire band program and serves as chair of the VBHS Performing Arts Department. Ensembles under his direction have received consistent superior ratings and have performed at the Florida Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference, the National Band and Orchestra Festival in Carnegie Hall, the University of South Carolina Band Clinic, the Music for All National Concert Band Festival, the University of Florida Band Invitational, and the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl. In addition to his duties at Vero Beach High School, Mr. Howell currently serves as conductor and music director of the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra and is the founder and conductor of the Treasure Coast Wind Ensemble. Mr. Howell served as the Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at Indian River State College from 2012 until 2017. Prior to Vero Beach, Mr. Howell taught middle school band in North Carolina.
Mr. Howell earned his BM in Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he studied conducting with John Locke and Clarinet with Kelly Burke. He earned the Master of Music Degree from Louisiana State University where he studied conducting and wind literature with Frank Wickes and Music Education with James Byo and Evelyn Orman.
From 1999 until 2012 Howell served as a rehearsal assistant, musicianship class instructor, and conductor at the UNCG Summer Music Camp. In 2012 he was inducted into the UNCG Summer Music Camp Staff Hall of Fame. Mr. Howell is a certified adjudicator for the Florida Bandmasters Association and has presented clinics and written articles on chamber wind literature, band intonation, and the Yamaha Harmony Director. From 2008 until 2013, Howell served as Chairman of District 13 of the Florida Bandmasters Association and was a member of the Executive Board. He currently is a member of the FBA Solo and Ensemble Music committee. In 2015, Mr. Howell received the National Band Association Citation of Excellence Award. In 2017 he was one of the first recipients of the FBA Andrew Jack Crew Award. He is a member of NAFME, FMEA, FBA, NBA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Mr. Howell currently resides in Vero Beach with his wife, Stacy.
Associate Director of Bands
Brandon Putzke is a native of Michigan but calls Vero Beach “home” since 1983. He is a 1990 graduate of Vero Beach High School during which time he was an avid band member and percussionist. Mr. Putzke received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of South Florida.
In January of 2000, he and his family returned to Vero Beach where he joined the teaching staff of Indian River County. He was the Music Teacher at Liberty Magnet Elementary for 13 years, of which he was 2010 Teacher of the Year and one of the top 5 finalists for Indian River County. In addition to teaching general music, Mr. Putzke was the Percussion Director for the Vero Beach High School Band from 2000-2017. He is also the Co-founder/Director of the Treasure Coast Percussion Camp.
Mr. Putzke’s ensembles have performed at many prestigious events throughout the state of Florida and on a National level including, the Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival in Indianapolis, the 2015 Peach Bowl halftime show, parade, and concert band festival in Atlanta, the McCormick Marimba Festival in Tampa, the Capitol Building in Tallahassee, the Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios and the Florida Day of Percussion. The Vero Beach High School Percussion Ensemble has earned superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association District and State Solo and Ensemble Festivals each year. Mr. Putzke is a percussion composer/arranger/clinician and an FBA percussion adjudicator.
Mr. Putzke has recorded several CD’s with his elementary and high school groups and with professional talents from all over the state. He performs regularly with local band, Souljam, and several theatrical productions at area theatres and churches.
Mr. Putzke is a current member of the Florida Bandmasters Association and the Percussive Arts Society. He has received his National Board Certification and is endorsed by Vic Firth, Remo and Sabian. Mr. Putzke resides in Vero Beach with his wife Mary. They have two children – Grace, a nursing student at FAU, and Tyler, a senior percussionist in the VBHS band.
Director of Bands Emeritus
James M. Sammons
James M. Sammons retired as the Director of Bands in 2016 a position he held since 1980. Mr. Sammons is a native of Colquitt, Georgia and graduated from Miller County High School in 1972. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Troy University in 1976 and was a member of the famed “Sound of the South” Band under the direction of Dr. John M. Long.
Mr. Sammons is a life member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, serving the FBA for eighteen years in a variety of positions at the district and state level including District Secretary, District Chairperson, Solo and Ensemble Chairperson. Mr. Sammons served as President of the Florida Bandmasters Association from 1996-1998. He is also a member of the Florida Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education and the National Band Association. Mr. Sammons was inducted into the Florida Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame in November of 2013 and was featured the School Band and Orchestra Magazine in April 2114.
Mr. Sammons began his career at Goshen High School in Goshen, Alabama (1974-1976) as Director of Bands (including all instrumental activities, grades 4 through 12) while completing his undergraduate studies at Troy University. During his tenure with the Goshen High School Band, the band appeared at the Alabama Bandmasters Association State Concert Festival for the first time in school history. From 1976-1980, Sammons served as Director of Bands at Walton High School in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. The Walton High School Band consistently received superior ratings at both marching and concert band festivals and appeared at the Florida Bandmasters Association State Concert Festival on three occasions, the first such appearances by the band in over 25 years.
Mr. Sammons is an active adjudicator and clinician for state and national events.
He has been recognized as the Indian River County Teacher of the Year and has received Official Proclamations and Citations from the City Council of Vero Beach, the Indian River County Board of Commissioners, the Veterans Council of Indian River County, the Legislature of the State of Florida, and the Office of the Governor of the State of Florida. He has been awarded the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association and the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic. Mr. Sammons has also been honored by the Indian River County Association of School Administrators’ with the Best of the Best Award and has received the Principal’s Award for Excellence from Vero Beach High School.
In addition to his duties as Director of Bands at Vero Beach High School, he serves as Chairman of the VBHS Performing Arts Department and Coordinator of Instrumental Music for the Indian River County Schools. He has been married to Mrs. Priscilla Sammons since 1999, working with him as an integral member of the VBHS Band Staff and serving as Director of Auxiliary units since 1995. His son, Dr. Michael Sammons, D.M.A., a 1998 graduate of Vero Beach High School and member of the VBHS Band, currently serves on the percussion faculty at the University of Utah.