Pomona College is a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California. Between 1956 and 1959 Sylvia Brigham was a pupil there, following a course in piano under teacher Karl Kohn. In 1961 Zappa also studied under Kohn, following composition. He played in the school's orchestra, Pomona Valley Orchestra, conducted by Fred E. Graff, which performed one of his earliest compositions: Pomona Valley Symphony. He also hosted a few of his compositions, recorded at Studio Z, on their college radio station under the title The Uncle Frankie Show. Excerpts of these emissions would later turn up on Mystery Disc and Joe's XMASage.  During this period Zappa also played in his first band, The Blackouts.
Zappa mentions both Brigham and Kohn in his list of influences on the cover of his debut album Freak Out! (1966).