Born and raised in Orlando, Chris attended Florida State University and earned a music degree with a concentration in classical saxophone. Although he knew he was a musician from the moment he picked up an instrument at the tender age of three, he didn’t find his true calling until he attended his first a cappella concert in college. He was a beatboxer at heart. Chris joined All-Night Yahtzee the following semester, and with them he went on to win several vocal percussion awards and the state of Florida’s first ICCA semifinal appearance.
After college, Chris won a job with the Navy music program and was stationed in Naples, Italy as a woodwind instrumentalist. He is now a gigging vocal percussionist in the DC area, with over 80 performances in 2011 and numerous appearances as a guest performer and clinician, Chris currently performs with Vox Pop, Snowday, and Threadbare.
Amanda Aldag – @acaldag
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 is currently the Vice President and Director of Programs for CASA, Managing Partner of Clear Harmonies Productions in DC and has served as a CARA Nominator as judge since 2009.
Nathan Altimari is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, arranger, clinician and producer…and also a stay-at-home dad. He recently launched a full-service vocal music company that offers arranging, education, consultation, and mentoring services. Nathan is the founder and musical director of Firedrill!, a (somewhat) Boston-based, CARA winning a cappella septet. He is THRILLED to be part of VoCalNation 2012!
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.
Joe Antonioli started performing a cappella in 1992 with the University of Vermont Top Cats. He has formed and directed a number of groups, including Vermont’s Own Class Act, Random Association, and is currently directing and performing with Root7. He joined CASA in 1996 as the Vermont Ambassador, and since then has taken on many roles, including East Coast Summit producer and a term as President. He is currently sitting on the Board as the Director of Integrated Technologies.
The daughter of veteran choral and barbershop singers, Loren’s a cappella career began at age 3 when she “helped” her mother learn music by singing along with part tapes from her car seat. Not much has changed, except now she’s the one driving. Loren spent four years singing with The College of William and Mary’s oldest a cappella group, The Christopher Wren Singers. During graduate school, she sang with and arranged for the Los Angeles semi-pro group Quarter Life Crisis.
In 2008, Loren left her job as a college English professor to go into business for herself. She now owns Writing Power and writes marketing communications copy for clients. She is currently the music director of DC-area CAL group Vox Pop. Loren lives with her lawyer/a cappella singer husband and their future-a cappella-singer daughter.
Barry Carl served as the bass in Rockapella for 14 years, and was voted “The Most Influential Bass Singer of the past 30 years” in a recent CASA poll. In addition to singing on jingles, sound tracks, albums, concerts, and benefits, he has done voice overs for tv and radio commercials, film trailers, promos, animation, and industrial narrations, teaches vocal technique for singers and speakers, and coaches individuals and ensembles all over the world. He is also a 4th degree Reiki Master and Certified Core Energetics Practitioner with offices in New York City and Nyack, New York.
Matt Caruso – @ACappellaPsych
Matt Caruso is the founder and owner of ACappellaPsych. ACP is a full service a cappella production studio with customized services ranging from arrangements and coaching to production, licensing and distribution. Matt has been involved in contemporary a cappella for over 13 years including 7 years of directing and arranging on the collegiate level and beyond. In addition to operating ACappellaPsych, he directs a Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group based out of Princeton, NJ. For the past 2 years, Matt has served as a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA) Judge and is currently employed by the American Boychoir School as a music proctor.
Rachel Chalhoub – @roguepotatoe
Rachel Chalhoub was first introduced to Vocal Percussion through the CD of JMU Bluestones album “Just A Little Bit”. She was instantly drawn to the vocal percussionists unique technique and sounds. In college she joined FSU’s all female acappella group The Acabelles and trained with FSU’s All-Night Yahtzee’s Chris Abramson to become a vocal percussionist. Two year’s later she made the switch from being the percussionist in an all female group to becoming the first female percussionist at FSU in a co-ed acappella group, FSU’s All-Night Yahtzee. She performed with the group for 3 years and competed at several ICCA’s including two Finals Rounds at Alice Tully Hall in New York City. After college Rachel performed with several groups in the south Florida area adding her percussion skills to a more mature repertoire. Today she works as an Elementary School Computer Teacher and continues to practice her percussion in hopes of starting her own contemporary group. Some of her looped recordings have been used for Japanese YouTube sensation, Bobby Judo.
Lindsey Chismark is a serial group founder (Case Western Reserve University’s only all female a cappella group Solstice, Co-Founder of Detroit’s mixed CAL Group Two Weeks Notice and Co-Founder and Director of vocal band The Seekers), an avid arranger, and an ICCA & ICHSA judge in the Midwest. She has a penchant for seeing songs in color, and has a special place in her heart for lady a cappella. She blogs daily at AcaGeeks and manages Wanderto Productions, a full service a cappella studio (recorded and live sound) in Detroit, MI.
Christopher Diaz – @leprincerebelle
Christopher Diaz, a graduate of the Florida State University, spent three years as the music director of FSU’s mixed All-Night Yahtzee. He led the group to three consecutive appearances at the ICCA Finals as the South Region Champions, culminating in numerous solo, arranging and choreography awards and a second place finish at the 2008 International Finals. He co-produced two albums, Minor Adjustments (which won an AcaTunes award in 2007) and 17, for which he was nominated for the Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement CARA in 2008. In 2008, Christopher began working with the AACI as Scholastic Coordinator and has served as Competition Coordinator, clinician, coach and producer for SoJam 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2009, he joined CASA as the Ambassador Program Director and co-founded Mouth Off!, the 2010 ACA award-winning weekly podcast dedicated to the world of contemporary a cappella music. He now lives in coastal Virginia where he works as a Program Director for the Salvation Army and serves CASA as the Director of Public Relations. He is a CARA nominator/judge, ICCA judge/producer, and freelance arranger, clinician and soloist.
Michael Eldredge was introduced to Contemporary A Cappella when he joined SVU’s mens a cappella group “Shameless”. In 2004, he happened 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.
Charlie Friday – @charliefriday
Currently, Charlie is a member and director of the Washington D.C.-based CAL group, Euphonism, He is also a member of the professional educational group, Snowday, who recently performed at the 2010 National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House. Charlie has three times been a judge at the Annual Wootton High School A Cappella Festival, he has coached many groups and choirs at both the high school and university levels, and is an accomplished arranger, having worked on songs for various ensembles across the country. Charlie is an experienced engineer and producer, and, along with Amanda Aldag, owns and operates Clear Harmonies Productions. He has worked on many full-length a cappella albums and EPs, and received 4 CARA nominations for his work with Euphonism.
Bart played horns in high school band in Minnesota, studied electronic music with John Appleton at Dartmouth, and sang in a song and modern dance troupe that evolved into a 6-voice acappella group in the early 80s. In the latter 80s and 90s, he had a 10-piece R&B band. And then in the 2000′s got back into a cappella first with a 4-voice group, and then started his league group Voxel Rox, whose original vision was to be able to do Tower of Power with voices. The group does a lot of its own creations and is using improvisation to evolve.
George Hoffman has performed as a member of the four-man SF Bay Area vocal band Hookslide for the past ten years, lending his powerful baritone, face-peeling falsetto, and soulful leads to the group as well as serving as the resident sound engineer. Starting his vocal career in musical theater at an early age, he made the jump into a cappella with the Cornell Key Elements and later with the Stanford Harmonics. When not singing, he serves as CTO for a Silicon Valley technology company.
Julia Hoffman – @juliahoffman
Julia Hoffman, Psy.D. is the President of the Board of the Contemporary A cappella Society (CASA). Julia started her a cappella career as a member, and later director, of the Stanford Harmonics. She served as the West Region Producer for the International Championship of Collegiate A cappella (ICCA) for two years and has sat on CASA’s Board of Directors since 2003. For the past eight years, she has also served as the Director of the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), the most prestigious award program for recorded a cappella music. Under her leadership, the program has expanded to become truly global as it rewards groups from every continent and requires the work of hundreds of volunteers in many countries to continue to meet a standard of excellence.Julia has coordinated the A Cappella Community Awards (ACAs), executive produced the SING compilation, judged numerous collegiate and professional a cappella shows including the semi-finals and finals of the ICCA, taught classes and workshops to a cappella singers and enthusiasts of all types, and been featured on Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) albums as both a singer and an arranger. In her spare time, Julia works as a psychologist on a collaboration between the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (VA) and the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (Department of Defense). She lives in Northern California with her husband, George, her dog, Winnie, and her new baby Ozzy.
Dave Longo – @sleddogstudios
Dave Longo has been working with a cappella music since 2005, when he joined the Rochester Institute of Technology’s original all-male a cappella group, Eight Beat Measure. Dave acted as the group’s Producer before going on to found the Eight Beat Measure Alumni Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to spreading the group’s passion for vocal music and education. After his BS in Computational Mathematics, Dave studied at the Berklee College of Music to earn a Master Certificate in Music Production using Pro Tools. He furthered his knowledge of Avid products by becoming an Avid Certified Pro Tools HD8 Operator in Music. Dave started Sled Dog Studios in 2010 to bring his knowledge to live and recorded a cappella, as well as Six Dots Sound, a film audio post production company. He also co-founded the Social Media and A Cappella Conference in 2011. Sled Dog has worked with groups of all sizes from small high school groups to Nota, Sonos, Duwende, Musae, and more. Dave has acted as live sound engineer for every CASA festival since SoJam 2010 and runs at least one a cappella show every weekend.
Danny Ozment – @dannyozment
Danny Ozment, CASA board member, grew up in Richmond, VA and began his a cappella career at James Madison University where he founded Exit 245 and received a Bachelors degree in Music Education and a Masters degree in Conducting. Along the way he has taught all forms of choral music at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and professional levels. In 2009, Danny started Emerald City Productions, an a cappella production company based in Springfield, VA offering recording, editing, mixing, coaching, and arranging services. ECP clients received 12 CARA nominations in 2012.
Shawn is the current CASA Ambassador for Western Pennsylvania and is the owner of Value Vocals, an a capppella arranging service created to provide groups with limited income an option for affordable custom arranging. His passion for a cappella was forged at Penn State University, where both during and after his college days he founded/co-founded two groups (The Grace Notes and The Pennharmonics) and directed two others. He is also a former regional producer for Varsity Vocals and a former reviewer for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board. Shawn is honored and excited to be a part of the instructional staff of VCN 2012, and is looking forward to meeting you face to face over our shared passion for music.
Jon Pilat has been singing, beatboxing, and arranging a cappella music since 1995. He provides charts and grooves for Hookslide as the vocal band’s one-man rhythm section (bass and beatbox) and primary arranger. Jon attended Stanford where he sang with the Harmonics. Jon has been the co-director of the CARA awards since 2005, and served on the CASA board of directors from 2004 to 2008. In his spare time, Jon is an IT Director at Stanford University, and lives in Palo Alto, CA with his wife and two children.
“What are you doing? What. What. WHAT are you doing?”
This question ran through Selame’s mind as she witnessed vocal percussion for the first time as a newbie in her collegiate group, Capital Green. Since then, Selame served as one of the main beatboxers of her group for 4 years, as well as music director and arranger. Earning positive remarks on her VP from ICCA judges and various other musicians, she continues to build her drum set in hopes of becoming as epic as her female beatboxing idols Rachel Chalhoub, Bellatrix, and Kari Francis (just to name a few). Selame is an ICHSA producer, a CASA member, a Midwest clinician and an arranger for various college/high school groups in the Midwest. Participating in both collaborative recording sessions at SoJam and LAAF (and upcoming BOSS), Selame was fortunate enough to record alongside Naturally 7, The Boxettes, Hookslide, Duwende and Pentatonix. And to top it all off, she is a full time medical student at Michigan State University. This is her very first VoCalNation experience, and she is REALLY STOKED ABOUT IT!
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.
Eric Talley began working with a cappella by founding Appalachian State University’s first coed a cappella group, where he encountered the two loves of his life: his wife Nicole and the art of vocal music. While the two still compete for attention on a regular basis, Eric continues his balanced attack on the issues that plague amateur and professional a cappella programs both in the studio, and on the stage. In 2008, Eric officially started Breaking The Curse Productions and he continues his work today producing albums, vocal coaching, and concert production for various groups around the nation. @brkingthecurse www.breakingthecursemusic.com
Carl Taylor got his start in a cappella in 2000 at Appalachian State University where he helped to found the all male group Higher Ground. Since then, he’s been hooked. A Cappella has been and is his life. Since then he has founded Liquid 5th Productions which has grown into one of the most successful a cappella production studios and currently sings as a member of the NC based professional vocal band, transit. Carl has helped plan SoJam, taught classes and workshops all over the eastern United States, performed nationwide, run sound for some of the biggest names in the biz, sponsored several CASA events, and produced hundreds of a cappella albums. Always happy to offer up his experiences and advice, he is excited to be a part of the instructor crew for VCN!
Brian has been involved/addicted to a cappella music since at least 2002, possibly earlier. While attending NC State, Brian performed with 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 performed as a percussionist for the NC-based professional group, transit, and currently performs with the CAL-group, Cognitive Resonance.