VCN 2013 Workshop Schedule:
Saturday, July 20, 2013
|Time||Griffin||Olympia||Parish||Chapel||Susan B Anthony|
|8:30 AM||Registration Opens
|9:00 AM||All You Need Is Jazz
Groove for Thought
|Getting the Most out of CASA
(Griffin & Parish)
|10:30 AM||Knights of the Drum Table
|12:00 PM||LUNCH BREAK
(on your own)
|1:00 PM||Create the Show
|Casual to Serious
|Aca-Jedi Mind Tricks
Anderson, West, Matze
|2:30 PM||Recording Business Management
|Elements of Ensemble Singing
|Finding Your Funny
|CAL Round Table
|4:00 PM||Original Songwriting
The Executive Board, Engelhardt
|Indian Raga Improv
Sunday, July 21, 2013
|10:00 AM – 12:00 PM||CAL Brunch
ticket purchase require
|10:00 AM – 6:00 PM||Collaborative Recording
ticket purchase required; Olympia Room
Limited enrollment workshops:
Some workshops (as well as all masterclasses) require advance registration. Registration for the below limited enrollment classes is now open. Register now!
|Live Sound Consult
Sroka, Pientka, Campagna
Live Sound (Friday)
Interested in purchasing a PA system for your CAL group? Have questions about different pieces of live gear like effects, IEMs or wireless mics? Want to know how to effectively work with an on-site sound provider to get the most out of your gigs? Need tips on mic technique? Charlie Friday, of Clear Harmonies, Snowday and Euphonism, and veteran of hundreds of live shows will be happy to answer any and all of your live sound questions in a private one on one session tailored specifically for YOUR needs and YOUR group.
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Are you an aspiring editor? Are you trying to save money by editing your own groups’ recordings? Danny Ozment of Emerald City Productions is here to help. Sign up for 1 on 1 consultations with Danny and draw on his editing experience working for major producers like Bill Hare, Dave Sperandio, Ed Boyer and artists including the King’s Singers, MiCappella, The Maccabeats, Dartmouth Aires, JMU BluesTones, MIT Logarhythms, and Duke Pitchforks. Learn how to edit so that the listener can’t even tell your tracks are edited.
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Original Songwriting (Engelhardt)
Thinking about diving into songwriting? Why not give yourself an advantage with tricks of the trade by an accomplished and award-winning songwriter? Amy Engelhardt will offer small, personalized sessions throughout the weekend.
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Start Up (Pientka, Campagna, Sroka )
You’ve graduated, maybe quite a few years ago, and you are still excited about a cappella. But now there are jobs, work travel, marriages, kids, and many other distractions making it hard to create a new group and get rolling. Maybe all the singers you know have different experiences and are used to different sounds. How do you pull things together and get started? Or maybe you could use a new perspective on what the next step should be and how to take it.
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Aca-Jedi Mind Tricks (Caruso, Brandler)
Get the most out of your group by using aca-Jedi mind tricks! This very interactive workshop includes warm-ups and other exercises from the psychological point of view of sensation and perception. Intrigued? Come check it out. It’ll change the way you and your group sing forever!
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All You Need is Jazz (Groove for Thought)
Groove for Thought will discuss arranging, vocal technique, and rehearsal techniques, highlighting the similarities and differences between these things in a jazz context versus a more pop or classical context.
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Arranging (Matze, West)
You can successfully arrange songs for your group, but how do you take your arrangements to the next level? Arrangements written for your group’s strengths and interests are what separate you from the pack. Tom and Holli will guide you through an exploration of your group’s signature sound, making you instantly recognizable to your audiences.
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CAL Round Table (Sroka, Srihari )
An open discussion on the present and future of CAL, led by several of our seasoned and active directors. Come to share your secrets of success and learn from your peers.
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Casual to Serious (Cornaglia, Friday )
Want to elevate your CAL group to a higher level of focus and commitment? Trying to figure out how to encourage a new standard of technical, musical, or logistical prowess? Join Amanda Cornaglia and Charlie Friday of Euphonism as they discuss techniques to effectively up your game as a CAL group!
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Choreography (Baldwin, Matze )
Choreography isn’t just box-steps anymore. It’s now the latest tool you have to amplify your group’s sound, arrangements, and overall performance. Whether you’ve been dancing for years or choreography is still a foreign term to you, Blair and Holli will teach you how to utilize the art of movement to bring out the best in your group’s performance.
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Create the Show (Ruiz )
You’ve spent long hours perfecting those chords and rehearsing the perfect blend. Now it’s time to present your music to an audience. Here are the important things to remember when creating, designing and presenting your “show”. Learn the important steps to take when turning your music into a “visual” medium.
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Ensemble Singing (Hughes )
Trying to get your group to “blend” better? This is a challenge — because there’s no such thing as “blend”! In this class, we’ll explore the specific things that REALLY make a group sound tight — tuning, rhythm/feel, tone, to name a few — and how to bring them to life in your group with focused rehearsal techniques.
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Finding Your Funny (Engelhardt )
Amy Engelhardt is an award-winning writer, arranger, vocalist and… veteran improviser (Boston ComedySportz, Los Angeles Theatersports). After almost 14 years as the only female in the Grammy Nominated a cappella group, The Bobs, she’s here to help you find the funny in your show – and in yourself. If all you do in your intros is tell us about the song, you’re doing it wrong. Make your banter count! Warning: There Will Be Games!
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Getting the Most out of CASA (Cornaglia, Chambers )
You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Visit with several members of the CASA Board of Directors to find out what’s going on with CASA and how you can be involved. Bring your questions, suggestions, and be ready to engage in a conversation of building or strengthening a mutually beneficial relationship between this organization and yours!
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Group Facilitation (Pientka )
So you’re in a group and you have these great singers with experience and energy and passion. But somehow things just aren’t quite gelling the way they could. Issues keep cropping up that keep your group from making a decision, discussions go on for hours without ever really resolving, or maybe the sound doesn’t seem to be syncing and while nothing’s really wrong, you know it could be better and more satisfying. Join Kate in a new class on how to lead, manage, and participate in a diverse group of creative people. Get everyone engaged, keep them on one page and learn new techniques for managing everyone from the loud to the quiet, the standouts to the supporters while having fun and getting more out of your group.
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Indian Raga Improv (Silverberg, Murthy)
Can singers “jam” like instrumentalists? Can singers spontaneously compose a song together? Can exercising your improvisation muscles make you and your group invincible? Yes, Yes and Yes! Come fill your improvisation toolkit with techniques that you can use as a soloist, as well as a group member!
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Knights of the Drum Table (Koziel, Watts )
Since we perc when e’er we’re able, this is the quintessential VP round-table discussion. Bring your unique sounds and rhythms and share them! Some homework before you show up: Prepare a short demonstration and think about how to explain the production of your sounds to others. There will be a test.
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Original Songwriting (The Executive Board, Engelhardt)
In this workshop, the Executive Board and Amy Engelhardt will discuss techniques and approaches to writing original music. Each member of the band will share some of their own approaches to and experiences with writing, followed by a brief and hands-on songwriting session.
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Recording Business Management (McGowen, Campagna)
Want to record an album but don’t know where to start? Recording Business Management will dive into the nuts and bolts of how to turn your vision into a reality while also providing you with some useful information and resources that you’ll need along the way. This session will cover topics including album brainstorming, pre-recording prep, fundraising, effective use of studio time, pre and post-production, licensing, marketing, advertising and more.
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Rehearsal Techniques (Ozment, West)
Do your rehearsals feel unproductive? Do you work on the same issues and attempt to solve the same problems in every rehearsal? Learn how to lead productive rehearsals and give your singers the tools for becoming better and more consistent musicians. Danny Ozment and Tom West will share over 30 years of experience leading music ensembles of all types to help you make the most out of your group’s rehearsals.
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Seeing Music (Eldredge)
A visual exploration of live performance through concert photography. Followed by a discussion about the nature of impression and expression using non verbal communication to connect with our audience and better convey emotional content.
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Social Media (Chambers)
Want to maximize your group’s web presence using social media? Learn how to brand your group, gain exposure, and find performance opportunities with the click of a button.
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Solo Singing (Steinberg)
Once you have a solo (whether you’ve auditioned for it or it was given to you) you have a responsibility to your group to be a captivating focal point for that song. This workshop will spend an hour exploring several ways you can personally improve your group’s overall performance by delivering an impactful solo. Topics such as lyric interpretation, timbre effects, group exercises and live performance choices will be discussed. Time permitting, there will be interactive opportunities as well!
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So you think you hafta dance? As much as purists like to pretend it isn’t, a cappella is as much a visual medium as it is an aural one. This intro class is for performance directors who want to break the semi-circle habit that plagues many groups. But it will also quell members’ fear of becoming a show choir. Using some basic principles of staging and movement, you will be able to create a short scene for a song. Groups are encouraged to attend to provide a quick masterclass example.
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Tom Anderson – @randomnotesllc
Tom Anderson’s arrangements can be heard on multiple issues of the BOCA, Sing!, and Voices Only compilations and on the hit NBC a cappella showcase “The Sing-Off”. His arranging clients include 5-time Grammy winners the Swingle Singers, award-winning a cappella solo artist Peter Hollens, ICCA champions Pitch Slapped, and dozens of other vocal groups across the country (and occasionally beyond). A former member of pro a cappella groups Ball in the House and Four Shadow and original music director of UW-Eau Claire Fifth Element, Tom is the founder and owner of Random Notes LLC, an arranging service specializing in vocal music for groups of all styles, makeups, and abilities, and situated cozily online at www.random-notes.com.
Blair Baldwin first joined the aca community back in 2004, when she was accepted into the UNCG Sapphires. During her tenure in the group, she served as the percussionist, arranger, and Musical Director, leading the group to numerous top-two finishes at ICCA and SoJam. She currently lives in Chicago, where she works as a wedding coordinator, and directs the pro group Vocal Chaos. Blair is a graduate of Columbia College with a degree in Arts Management, and believes that soy chai lattes are the key to happiness.
Brian Brandler – @brianjb
Brian is a long-time singer, arranger, and aca-enthusiast. At Boston University, he served as Music Director of BU’s Kol Echad in 2007, and then in Boston post-collegiate group, Common Sound. In 2011, Brian joined Washington, DC-based CAL group, Vox Pop, whom he proudly took the main stage with at last summer’s VoCAL Nation festival. He recently received his Master of Arts in Psychology from American University, where he conducted thesis research on vocal group music learning with the help of AU’s a cappella and choir students! @brianjb
Dan is the co-founder and business manager of CAL’s very own Fermata Town, a Boston-based mixed group. Behind his leadership, Fermata Town released its debut album titled Hold That Thought which was nominated for four 2013 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA’s) including nominations for Best Album and Best Song. An active member in the Boston a cappella community, Dan enjoys attending local shows and volunteering for Varsity Vocals during ICCA season. Prior to Fermata Town, Dan sang collegiate a cappella at Emmanuel College in Encore!, the college’s first-ever coed group which later changed its name to In Good Company.
Outside of a cappella, Dan works fulltime at Emmanuel College as the Assistant Sports Information Director while also serving as the Assistant Commissioner/Director of Media Relations for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Dan is also an Assistant Coach to the UMass Boston Women’s Soccer Team and an adjunct professor at Lasell College where he teaches a sports journalism course.
Matt Caruso – @acappellapsych
Matt Caruso has been involved in contemporary a cappella for over 13 years. As the owner of the production company/studio, ACappellaPsych, Matt has broadened his a cappella horizon from only singing to directing, arranging, producing and managing. In addition to running ACappellaPsych, he has spent 4 years as a music proctor for the American Boychoir School. Combining his psychology degree and music education knowledge he’s been able to approach a cappella from a fresh, and revealing, new perspective. To learn more about Matt, visit www.ACappellaPsych.com.
It is a proven fact that Chambers (he goes by many names and wears many hats) is the least prestigious and talented graduate of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Montclair High. He left and became #13 of the original member of the University of Delaware Ychromes. His Ychrome logo is still being used by the group many centuries later … thus, a career in branding was born.
Later, he was a founding member of Rutgers Casual Harmony and Deep Treble. The latter was the youngest group ever to advance to the ICCA Finals. The championship director at the time dubbed them, “”the Antichrist of collegiate a cappella.”" He took that brand and used to market group nationally … thus, a career in communications was born.
In 2007, he created and performed with the Red States, one of the initial groups of CAL (Contemporary A Cappella League). They won many awards, accolades and opened for Randy “”The Cowboy”" of the Village People.
As he was known for in the collegiate a cappella world, he still loves Golden Grahams and you but not necessarily in that order.
Seriously, he aims to communicate to and for every voice in the a cappella world from newest, quietest fan to the most experienced critic. And thus a career in difficult but rewarding promises was born.
Amanda Cornaglia – @acaldag
Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Amanda started her a cappella career as musical director of Special K at Hamilton College. After graduation she moved to rural Japan for 4 years where she founded, trained and performed with an international a cappella group called the Amigos. Since moving the the DC area in 2005, Amanda has founded and performs with Euphonism (CAL) and Snowday, a group that primarily provides a cappella educational programs in the Mid-Atlantic. She has served as a CARA nominator and judge and written numerous arrangements for groups around the world. She is currently the Vice President and Director of Events for CASA.
Michael Eldredge began his love affair with music, specifically live music at a very early age in the form of musical theater. Throughout elementary school he was part of a local performing group called “The Singing Connection”. He continued his love of performance in High School where he lettered in Theater, competing in state theater competition and Shakespeare festivals. After high school he became involved with Hale Centre Theatre where he performed the role of “Young Scrooge” in the company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” for three years, during which time he was invited to be a part of “Encore”, a musical theater group at Utah Valley State University. He joined that company for a tour of Romania, returned home, and joined another local community theater group to play Conrad Birdie, in “Bye Bye Birdie”. It wasn’t until meeting Kurt Walker at Southern Virginia University that Michael was finally introduced to Contemporary A Cappella. He joined SVU’s mens a cappella group “Shameless” and took many road trips with Kurt to see performances by “The Ex-Boyfriends”, “Naturally 7‚ and the ICCA competitions. All of these trips were amazing, but one would affect his life greatly for years to come. In 2004, he and Kurt drove down to North Carolina to check out a young a cappella festival called “SoJam”. A photographer by trade, Michael had his camera with him on those trips, and, with the encouragement of Dave Sperandio, has applied his talents in support of a cappella music for the last 7 years, covering events for SoJam, and now CASA. Working with a prodigious and eclectic collection of professional performers has given Michael a great appreciation for the power and artistry of well-crafted live a cappella.
Amy Engelhardt was the sole female member of Grammy-nominated a cappella quartet The Bobs from 1998 to 2011. Recently honored with the Burman Award for Songwriting from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC), Amy also garnered three BroadwayWorld Cabaret nominations for Two Bobs, No Waiting, her show with Bob Malone of the John Fogerty Band. Her first theatrical score, BASTARD JONES (a rock musical adaptation of Henry Fielding’s TOM JONES, with librettist Marc Acito), was a Finalist for the 2012 Richard Rodgers Award for New Musicals, the Eugene O’Neill Music Theater Conference and the Alec Baldwin Fellowship. Amy’s solo CD, Not Gonna Be Pretty, called the “unlikely and intriguing marriage of Nellie McKay and Meat Loaf,” garnered two Just Plain Folks Award Nominations (the “Grassroots Grammys” according to the LA Times). A graduate of Syracuse University, Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and an honorary member of the Vienna Boys Choir, Amy coaches and teaches songwriting, improv and vocal performance (solo/group), splitting her time between New York and Los Angeles. http://amy-engelhardt.blogspot.com/
Charlie Friday – @charliefriday
Currently, Charlie is a member of the professional educational group, Snowday, which recently toured to Russia and Canada, as well as performing for the National Christmas Tree lighting at the White House. He is also member and director of the Washington, DC-based CAL group, Euphonism, which performed at the London A Cappella Festival in 2012. Charlie has coached, judged and taught at many festivals, workshops and competitions across the country, both a cappella-specific and choral, and is an accomplished arranger, having worked on songs for various ensembles worldwide. He is also an experienced live sound and studio engineer, and along with Amanda Cornaglia, owns and operates Clear Harmonies Productions in Maryland, with whom he has received multiple award nominations.
Eric Hughes studied music at Harvard where he nurtured a love of vocal harmony by directing and arranging for 2 a cappella groups (Din & Tonics and VoxJazz). In 2009, he founded West Side 5, an award-winning vocal jazz ensemble based out of New York City. The group won the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes in its first year, and their 2012 debut album garnered 2 CARA nominations, for Best Jazz Album and Best Jazz Song for one of his arrangements, “I Fall in Love Too Easily”. In addition to his a cappella addiction, Eric is also an accomplished jazz and classical pianist.
Thomas King (Tekay)
TeKay was one of the first ambassadors for CASA back in the early ’90s. He’s a member of Contemporary A Capella League group DeltaCappella and served as a CAL-rep for SoJam. He’s been a RARB reviewer for several years and is one of the sing series producers. Previously, he served on the Board of Directors for the Alliance of A Cappella Initiatives as a jack-of-all-trades and the Executive Producer of the Sing series of recordings. He was the Associate Editor of the Contemporary A Cappella News magazine for more than a decade and was the South Regional Producer of the ICCA from 1998-2004.
Paul Koziel is a high school science teacher and graduate student in Memphis, TN and has been vocal percussionist in the CAL group DeltaCappella for the past 3 years. Before that, he was music director of Georgia Tech’s Sympathetic Vibrations for two years.
Holli got her start in acappella as a member of the James Madison University BluesTones for five years, serving as music director and president and leading the group to many recognitions in the ICCA, SoJam, BOCA & CARA’s. In 2010, Holli moved to New York City, where her aca-community presence grew as the ICCA Northeast Producer for Varsity Vocals and the Music Director of all-female CAL group, Empire. For the last five years, she has continued to arrange and work as a clinician for high school and collegiate groups across the country through her personal studio, H&M Vocal. Currently, Holli resides in Northwest DC, serves as the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer for Varsity Vocals, and is the founder/music director of DC’s newest all-female vocal group, The District.
Lindsey McGowen, the AcappellaFest 2013 Executive Producer, originally hails from the great city of Chicago, and started her a cappella career in high school as a founding member of Solace, at Glenbrook South High School in 1999. She went on to found Solstice, at Case Western Reserve University, and upon moving to Detroit in 2006, founded two CAL groups: Two Weeks Notice, and The Seekers. Lindsey is an avid arranger, an ICCA & ICHSA judge and producer, has a penchant for seeing songs in color, and a special place in her heart for lady-a cappella. Professionally, she is a Business Analyst in the software industry, and in her spare time enjoys all things related to Japan, vintage jazz dances, and being a giant nerd.
Revathi Murthy is a multifaceted artist who participates in many art forms ranging from community theatre to a cappella composition to vintage social dance. Her love for improvisation stems from her decade of vocal training in classical music from southern India, in addition to her brief stint singing with the big-band Studio Jazz Ensemble at the University of Washington, Seattle (UW), where she collaborated with esteemed artists Fred Radke and Gina Funes. While in college, she acted in, then co-directed The Vagina Monologues, as well as two “a cappella musicals” with Seattle SoundBYTES, loosely based on The Hangover, and Jack Sparrow/Ocean’s Eleven, respectively. After moving to the DC area last year, she jumped back into the a cappella community by becoming the guest arranger at SingStrong DC 2013 with her mash-up, “Too Close for This Wicked Game”, co-arranged with Judy Fontana. Revathi’s always looking for new friends, sources of inspiration, and collaborators for her three ongoing efforts: 1) composing original arrangements or reimagined arrangements of lesser-known artists, 2) formulating an approach for adapting and/or codifying arrangements for the looping station medium, and 3) exploring the use of minimalist theatre in conjunction with a cappella music. If any of those three efforts sound compelling, please contact Revathi at email@example.com for more information.
Danny Ozment – @dannyozment
Danny Ozment grew up in Richmond, VA and began his a cappella career at James Madison University where he founded Exit 245 and also sang with The Madison Project and The Overtones. He received a masters degree in conducting from JMU and then settled in Washington, DC where he conducted and prepared professional choirs at the Kennedy Center for the Master Chorale of Washington and the National Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, Danny started Emerald City Productions, a recording studio based in Springfield, VA offering recording, editing, mixing, coaching, and arranging services. He has received over 30 CARA award nominations in the professional and collegiate categories and his work has appeared on the SING, BOCA, BOHSA, Voices Only, and Voices Only Forte compilations. Danny has served on the CASA Board of Directors since 2011. @emeraldcitypro
Kate has worked for more than a decade in corporations where she has managed a variety of local and global teams. She specializes in innovation work and organizing teams to produce a creative product, and enjoys creating a cohesive environment that values different strengths and opinions. Kate is a fellow of the Advanced Leadership Academy at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a certified team facilitator. Her a cappella experience began in high school more than 15 years ago, and led to her founding her college a cappella group and two groups after graduation, including her current group based in Atlanta.
Rene Ruiz is an accomplished voice actor, stage director and narrator. He created, directed and performed with the Off-Broadway a cappella theatre show TOXIC AUDIO. This piece showcased the power of the human voice with smooth harmonies, vocal sound effects and musical improv. It won the 2004 Drama Desk Award for “Unique Theatrical Experience”. The group became the Harmony Sweeps National Champions in 2000 and their album “Chemistry” was crowned CARA Album Of The Year in 2003. He has performed as an announcer, director and vocalist for the Walt Disney World Co., Universal Studios Florida, Six Flags New England, Kennywood and Hershey Park. He has also narrated numerous audiobooks, documentaries, corporate videos and commercials.
Marc Silverberg is currently a full time doctoral student and part time faculty member at Five Towns College in Long Island, where he is working on creating a college a cappella curriculum for a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. He currently writes the aca-blog “Quest for the A cappella Major.” He is also the originator of the A cappella Roundtable Meetings, a monthly gathering of a cappella enthusiasts to discuss a cappella ideas, read through repertoire, and improvise.¬†In his spare time, he experiments with live looping, directs a semi-professional group, and produces an original off-broadway musical.
Dileep is founder & music director of The Capital Hearings, a Washington-based CAL group. Established in 2010, the group performs a cappella music from several different styles, including classical, vocal jazz, and contemporary pop. The group received its first Washington Area Music Award nomination in 2013, and is currently recording its debut album. A lawyer by day, Dileep has also led the group through the process of establishing itself as a non-profit arts organization, including drafting policies and handling other legal & contractual issues. Outside of a cappella, Dileep is a chorister and occasional tenor soloist with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center. He serves on Cornell University Glee Club’s Advisory Council, including as chairman of its membership committee, and has produced several concerts for the Glee Club in Washington, DC over the past decade.
Dave has been obsessed with music creation and performance since the age of 4 when, after visiting a piano store, he begged his parents to let him take piano lessons. He got into vocal performance in college at Virginia Tech, singing with the university’s Concert Choir, small chamber choir Camerata, and Early Music Ensemble, but never stopped geeking out over the school’s more contemporary a cappella groups. Inspired by the efforts of CASA and CAL and the success of The Sing-Off, Dave co-founded Raleigh, NC-based CAL group Cognitive Resonance, for which he currently serves as director and performer. He also performs with Chapel Hill’s classical vocal ensemble Cantari and recently performed with Ben Folds and the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra as a member of Ben’s 8-vocalist “Foldschoir”. Outside of singing, he founded and runs Robot Factorial, a mobile application development studio.
Jen is a Philadephia native who started voice lessons at the age of 5. Since then she’s studied under Kim Russell, Lorraine Manz, and the world renowned Dr. William Riley. She’s done a variety of singing work, including: musical theatre, cabaret, choirs, rock bands, studio recordings, a cappella and the shower. At Oberlin College she sang a cappella with The Dynamics and Yeomama. Currently, she is the power-alto for KeyStone A Cappella, VCN’s host group & Philadelphia’s up & coming semi-pro group. Jen has also been a singing member of The A Cappella Project – Philadelphia, a non-profit educational organization that raises money for performing arts scholarships for children, since 2006. Full time, Jen is a Director at a pharmaceutical marketing research firm.
The Executive Board – @executive_board
The Executive Board is a vocal-electronic band made up of members Jeston Lewis, Randy Pierce Tai, Mike Chipp, and Rachel Chalhoub ‚ four seasoned a cappella performers, arrangers, and songwriters. The band has a special dedication to writing creative original music, and through the use of studio and on-stage effects, they aim to push the boundaries of contemporary “vocal music” as far as they can take them.
Brian has been involved/addicted to a cappella music since at least 2002, possibly earlier. While attending NC State, Brian performed with both the Concert Choir and Acappology, serving as the music director of Acappology for 3 years and helping to record and release the group’s first album in 10 years. After graduating and realizing that the “real world” isn’t all its cracked up to be, Brian started graduate school at Duke University and performed with Duke’s Rhythm and Blue for 2 years. During his tenure, the group recorded and released the album, House on Fire, which received several CARA and ACA nominations, as well as recognition as one of RARB’s “Picks of the Year”. Rhythm and Blue also won the SoJam 2010 Collegiate Competition where Brian received the award for Best Vocal Percussion. In addition to his collegiate experience, Brian has also taught at several CASA-sponsored festivals, performed as a percussionist for the NC-based professional group, Transit, and currently performs with the CAL-group, Cognitive Resonance.
Tom West – @thomasjwest
Tom West is a professional music educator currently teaching band, orchestra, and digital music for the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School’s Center for Performing and Fine Arts in West Chester, PA. Tom’s teaching career spans fifteen years in secondary schools in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He has taught instrumental, choral, general, and electronic music in a variety of settings. Tom’s a cappella career began as a child on the coat tails of his father’s involvement in the Barbershop Harmony Society, then at Penn State with The Dreamers of Phi Mu Alpha, Pennharmonics, and other groups. He is currently a staff arranger with Value Vocals, the Director of Education for The A Cappella Project – Philadelphia, and performs with CAL group KeyStone A Cappella.