Mr. Ritter comes to APSU after a 31-year career as an Army Band instrumentalist and
conductor. He has performed with artists such as Herbie Mann, Gabe Baltazar, Rufus
Reid, Akira Tana, Tony Horowitz, Wycliff Gordon, Barry Greene, Don Aliquo, Duffy Jackson,
Bruce Dudley, Chester Thompson, Bill Huber, and many others. Mr. Ritter is in demand
as a big band director and has led big bands in a number of international jazz festivals
including The North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Perugia Jazz Festival,
Umbria Jazz Festival, SWR Hot Jazz Festival, Budapest Jazz Festival, and countless
other jazz festivals throughout Germany, the United States, and Western Europe. He
has led and performed numerous concert band tours throughout the United States and
Europe. Some of those events include a concert for First Lady Betty Ford, President
Reagan’s Inaugural Parade, the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, the 50th
Anniversary of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor (both broadcast on national TV), and performances
with Miss America.
Commercially, Mr. Ritter has performed with many musical groups that consist of diverse
genre, including a substitute hire for the Greenville Symphony, SC. He has also performed
and conducted a number of musicals to include West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Mame,
and Purlie, where he received an award for musical excellence.
Throughout Mr. Ritter’s musical career, he has had a number of occasions to support
music education. In 2008 and 2012 he was a guest clinician at the Cuban Baptist Worship
Leaders' Conference, Havana, Cuba. He has hosted a Jazz Symposium in Heidelberg,
Germany, co-hosted the Brass Symposium with the American Horn Quartet, Heidelberg,
Germany, hosted two Improvisation Clinics in Augusta, Georgia, and an Arranging Seminar
in Hawaii. He has also been the guest conductor at the Maui District Band Festival
in Hawaii, adjudicator at many Georgia Music Educator’s Association (Northeast Region)
concert festivals, conducted the featured concert at the Georgia Music Educator’s
Association (Northeast Region), trumpet adjudicator for Montgomery County, All-County
Band auditions, and a clinician at music clinics at many high school band programs. Mr.
Ritter was also a faculty member at the Navy School of Music as a rehearsal conductor
and trumpet instructor. While on staff at the School of Music, Mr. Ritter performed
with the faculty concert band and jazz band, and a wide variety of chamber groups
including performances on Latin percussion. Mr. Ritter has taught private trumpet
and conducting lessons since retiring from the military. Mr. Ritter began serving
as Adjunct Professor at Austin Peay State University in the Music Department in 2009
to the present.
Mr. Ritter has a Bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University and a Master of
Music with an Instrumental Conducting Specialization from Austin Peay State University. He
is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Kappa Phi, Military Officers Association of America,
Mr. Ritter has performed and conducted on a number of military band and commercial
recordings. He has also arranged a number of pieces for concert band and jazz band
that feature instrumental soloists and vocalists.
Mr. Ritter is currently the President and Musical Director of the Cumberland Winds,
a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that exists to promote musical excellence in performing
groups in the Clarksville area, and to award music scholarships. The organization
consists of a concert band, big band, jazz combo, dixie band, woodwind quintet, brass
quintet, German band, and solo instruments. The groups have performed at events such
as: Strawberry Alley, Jazz on the Lawn, Rivers and Spires, Riverfest, Little River
Days, and many other public, private, and commercial events.