Saturday, February 1, 2014 @ 9:00 am

University of Southern California
Taper Hall (THH)
Los Angeles CA, 90089

LAAF 2014 workshops will be held at the University of Southern California in Taper Hall (THH).



* Subject to change

Intro Intermediate Advanced All Levels Limited Enrollment

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Time THH 101 THH 201 THH 210 THH 114 THH 116
9:00 AM Rehearsal Techniques
Acapellize It!
Dress for Success
Ahmed, Mark, Maldonado, Meyers
Performing Outside the Box
Why Lyrics Matter
10:30 AM Let Your Sound Fit the Music
Honey Whiskey Trio
Bass and Beatbox: The Rhythm Section Unified
So You Think You Hafta Dance?
High School A cappella for the Win! (LE)
12:00 PM Lunch Break
1:00 PM Open Masterclass
Headliner w/ Competition Winner
Advanced Arrangement Techniques
T. Anderson
Sing It Like You Mean It
All Ears
Advanced Group Direction (LE)
2:30 PM Finding Your Funny
Get into the Groove
Curless, Smith
Get Your Album on Track
Green, Koutzoukis
Riff Off!
Arrangers Symposium (LE)
4:00 PM Seeing Music
Beyond Recording
Ugolini, Longo
A cappella in the Entertainment Industry
Strengthening Women’s A cappella
Sing It Like You Really Mean It (LE)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Time THH 101 THH 201 THH 210 THH 114 THH 116
10:00 AM Barbershop Tags
Holland, Woodward
Recording and Editing Your Own A cappella Music
Down to Business
Aca-Theory 101
11:30 AM Headliner and Executive Producer Open Forum
Thacher, Englehardt, Ruiz
Lyrical Arranging
How To Write A Song. Now. Today.
D. Anderson
Inside the A cappella Media



Register for a masterclass.



A cappella in the Entertainment Industry (Bram)
Ben Bram leads a roundtable discussion/fireside chat/Q&A about his work with Pentatonix, The Sing-Off, Pitch Perfect, and Glee and how lessons from these mainstream projects can be applied to the world of scholastic/professional a cappella. This free-form session will be guided by participant questions, and will cover arranging, recording, touring, on-set music directing, and some behind-the-scenes knowledge of how it all went down.

A cappella Live Sound (Huerta)
Learn all about Live Sound from an industry expert! He’ll cover microphones, digital mixing, signal flow, EQ for vocals, and creative ideas in acappella mixing. This class will take place in the Trojan Grand Ballroom at 2pm.

Acappellaize It! (Hampton)
How to turn your favorite song into an a cappella masterpiece! We’ll deal with transcribing, voicing, harmony, and the details to make your acappellaized cover song sound the way you want it. This is a great introduction to arranging!

Aca-Theory 101 (Mark)
Do you or someone in your group identify as a “non-music reader”? Are you an aspiring arranger who wants to better understand what sounds good and why? Are you a music director hoping to provide your group with the strategies they need to learn music more proficiently – both in rehearsal and on their own? Don’t let these seemingly daunting problem areas get the best of you or your group! Join Jessie Mark for an interactive hour of a capella-centric sight singing and music theory. You will leave a more confident ensemble member, arranger and/or director!

Advanced Arrangement Techniques (T. Anderson)
Less philosophy, and more specific how-to’s for the experienced arranger looking to add arrows to their quiver.

All Ears (Ozment)
Develop listening skills to help your group turn into a living breathing organism. Learn the skills used by professional groups to reach the next level of performance enjoyment.

Arrangers Symposium – Limited Enrollment
One on One time with a legendary arranger. Bring in your arrangement, and have a professional arranger give you ideas to take it to the next level.

Barbershop Tags: THE BEST WARM UPS EVER. (Holland, Woodward)
Let Bri and Matt teach you how to learn, use, and fine tune barbershop tags! Use them for warm ups, working on blend, establishing tonal placement, or just ringing the snot out of some chords and CRUSHING SOME OVERTONES!!! Your ears will thank you.

Bass and Beatbox: The Rhythm Section Unified (Pilat)
Advanced vocal percussion for control freaks. How to make people be believe you don’t breathe for an entire set. How to allow your bass or your vocal percussionist to sometimes sing a lead vocal. Alternatively, how to pay one fewer person.

Beyond Recording (Ugolini, Longo)
Beyond Recording discusses the effect that technology has had on arrangement choice and what we can learn from the process of recording to bring back to our live set and vice versa.

Down to Business (Eisner)
Every group needs to run like a business — whether you’re a high school, college, semi-professional, or pro group. That doesn’t necessarily mean fundraising (because some groups can get by just singing on their own dime). But, even if you’re not fundraising, every group needs to run successful marketing campaigns, or else there won’t be any gigs. In my workshop, I plan to talk about all of the various ways a group can turn itself into a business (without selling out…unless they want to) and maximize their time in an a cappella group. I will focus on fundraising on all levels and how to seek out new opportunities. I will also focus on successfully marketing your group to all different kinds of clients. And, lastly, I will briefly speak about ways that, for the group itself, one can form the business to be something to which everyone is willing to contribute.

Directing a Group – Limited Enrollment (Ahmed)
Democracy vs. Dictatorship? This class will examine the ways different people lead groups and how/why each is successful/challenged.

Dress for Success – Limited Enrollment (Ahmed, Mark, Maldonado, Meyers)
When your group hits the stage, it’s all eyes on you! We rehearse relentlessly to create the best sound possible, but sometimes we overlook other important aspects. This class will provide attendees with the knowledge to create cohesiveness within your group, allowing you to align the message of your music with visual presentation. With a panel chock full of fashionistas, aficionados, and generally opinionated people, participants will leave with the styling knowledge to truly dress for success!

Finding your Funny (Engelhardt)
Feeling tongue tied between your terrific tunes? At a loss for how to fill the space between songs? My workshop explores what “funny” is, what it isn’t, and how to get to that point where you are completely comfortable onstage and committed to being in the moment. At which point… you can and will be a more entertaining performer in general. Warning: There Will Be Games.

Fix Everything (Thacher, Engelhardt, Ruiz)
Problems solved & ALL questions answered – a one-stop-shop for all your acappella & music industry quandaries!

Over 60 years of combined experience presented just for you, featuring the three wisest music industry veterans we’ve got in ONE place. Bring your questions, and join Swiss army knife Jeff Thacher of Rockapella, writer-comedian-Bobs veteran Amy Engelhardt, and Toxic Audio’s own Rene Ruiz. Grill them on their ridiculously extensive FIRST-HAND knowledge of band partnerships, management, contracts, accounting, labels, unions, agents, commercials, audio solutions & techniques, downloads & streaming services, radio & television appearances and practices; foreign touring, live & studio acappella recording, video production, blocking, staging, comedy, pro album artwork construction, etc…. you name it…one or more of them have actually DONE it–successfully!

Flexibility Of Sound: Let Your Sound Fit the Music (Honey Whiskey Trio)
No matter what song you sing you are telling a story. How can different voices find a group sound that best serves the music? We will discuss blend, arranging to fit your group, mic technique, utilizing specific talents, key centers, listening, and more. As you learn to blend and find the sound that fits each of your pieces, the stories in the songs will shine through. Details are the difference between a good and a great performance.

Get into the Groove (Curless, Smith)
Does your group REALLY know how to groove? Is your music achieving the head-bobbing, toe-tapping, booty-shaking, finger-snapping vibe that you’re looking for? In this session, m-pact’s Jeff Smith will discuss, dissect, and demonstrate specific techniques and tricks of the trade for developing a powerful, rock-solid vocal rhythm section. Learn new tips for crafting appropriate and creative bass/percussion lines for your arrangements, and get the inside scoop on how to make the best use of your microphones and sound system to infuse your groove with the maximum amount of thump.

Get Your Album on Track (Green, Koutzoukis)
Do you record albums every other year just because “that’s how it’s always been”? Are you a new group looking to get your name out there? Whatever the impetus, come join us for a discussion about WHY you’re making an album and HOW to get the most out of the relationship between you and your producer(s) and get all involved parties excited about what you’re making. Topics will include the particulars of song selection, how/where/when to record, the studio process, normal costs involved, album artwork and liner notes, printing CDs, and online distribution, to name just a few.

High School A cappella For the Win – Limited Enrollment (Forkish)
Want to learn a step by step approach to starting a group at your school? Does your program need some spicing up? Learn secrets and tips on how to make a stellar high school a cappella group from national champs Vocal Rush’s director and founder. Whether you have a flourishing program or are starting from scratch, this workshop will give you tools to build and strengthen your group (applicable to college groups too!)

How To Write A Song. Now. Today. (D. Anderson)
During this interactive class you will write at least one song, and you’ll learn a bunch of different techniques for writing more on your own and with others in your musical community. I’ll share some of my song writing successes and some instructive failures, and a bunch of ways to get started NOW writing your own songs. We’ll work together in small groups to write songs and song snippets, learning how to get started with writing both lyrics and melodies, and how to merge the two. With any luck, you’ll meet a song writing partner or two in the process.

Inside the A cappella Media (Chalhoub)
A public forum for discussion about the a cappella media. Everything from social media and news to the production of “Inside A cappella”. Got something you love/hate about it? Bring your voice to this class!

Lyrical Arranging (Ahmed)
A workshop which specifically addresses the idea of arranging while expressing emotion through the use of lyrics and repeated musical motifs and how to best use them in mixed/mens/womens arrangements.

Open Masterclass with a Headliner (TBA)
The champs from Friday night’s contest work with a headliner group in an open masterclass for all to enjoy!

Performing Outside the Box (Ruiz)
When competition judges look for “originality”, what does it mean? We’ll explore how to to access the creative areas of our brain to innovate in your music, staging and performance to surprise your audience.

Recording and Editing Your Own A cappella Music (Fowler)
The art of editing A Cappella music is highly niched and seldom intuitive. Since the community responsible for it’s processing is so small, there is scarcely any information on the internet or elsewhere on how to make your a Cappella music sound pleasing. Even professionals can botch it if they’ve never been trained! The goal of this class is to present the basic ideas of A Cappella music production in laymen’s terms, and to outline the differences between it and conventional music production, thus making it easier for the laptop-owning college student to record his A Cappella group and start calling CD’s at shows!

Rehearsal Techniques (Dietz)

Riff Off (Silverberg)
Want to learn how to “Riff off” like in the movies? Come participate in this contest, and experience a real rush of improv excitement!

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.

Sing it Like You Mean It (Arbisser)
Have you watched soloists perform their songs exactly the same way every single time? With no feeling or passion? Have you ever fallen into the same trap? Through interactive voice coaching, the introduction of Sanford Meisner’s Acting Technique, and the implementation of some specific methods and exercises, this class will help you transition from a robotic soloist into a dynamic performer who connects with the lyrics and gives your audience an authentic, committed, in-the-moment performance every single time. Come to this class with an open mind and a portion of a solo ready (a verse and a chorus). Be prepared to step up and work!

Sing it Like you Really Mean It – Limited Enrollment (Arbisser)

So You Think You Hafta Dance? (tekay)

Songwriting (Crockett)
A cappella music is full of creative covers. Original music is a newer concept that many cutting edge groups are starting to adopt. Learn about song form, songwriting, coloration, and other important ideas to begin creating original music for your group.

Strengthening Women’s A cappella (Forkish)
The “rise of female a cappella” has been steady for about a decade, but has it been strong? Have we reached our fullest potential, our largest audience, our greatest representation? From arrangement, to performance acumen, to vocal stylings and range, we will explore our tremendous capacity to grow, innovate, take risks and make our voices heard.

Why Lyrics Matter (Malkoff)
What are those sounds that you make when you’re not singing jens and bahs and dohs? Yay, lyrics! They make you feel the feels and they’re how you connect to your audience. So, choosing songs (or writing songs) with well-crafted lyrics is as important as the chord progressions you agonize over. From the sublime to the sublimely simple, we’ll talk about the words that best tell our story in song.



Shams Ahmed
Throughout what Shams admits has been an incredibly exciting career thus far, he’s developed a belief that unifies everything he does: the heart of an a cappella group is in its arrangements. Right now, he’s diligently toiling to bring better arrangements to groups all over the country – and pushing the boundaries of a cappella in general. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, where he directed SoJamX and 2013 ICCA Champions, The Nor’easters, while double majoring in Finance and Mandarin. During his tenure, the group picked up several compilation placements and CARA awards, and Shams earned more arranging awards than any other collegiate arranger.


David Anderson
David Anderson is a seasoned a cappella singer, songwriter, and tour van driver. With over 1000 shows under his belt, he can tell you from experience what works on stage (and what doesn’t). Currently singing with Blindside, David was a member of Four Shadow, Blind Man’s Bluff, and has sung with a variety of smaller a cappella projects over the past twenty years. A tenor, a father, and a lover of puns, David has been called everything from “the Dalai Lama on speed” to “hey you.” Mostly he cares about helping you make your performance even better.


Tom Anderson
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


Ariel Arbisser
An Iowa native, singer, vocal coach, and actress, Ariel lives in upstate New York where she attended Cornell University. While at Cornell she sang with the Cornell Chordials and won the 2010 Contemporary A cappella Recording Award for Best Mixed Soloist and has been a featured soloist on several a cappella compilation albums including Sing, Voices Only Forte, and Voices Only. After Cornell, Ariel graduated from a 2-year Meisner Technique training program with the Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca. She currently serves as Program Manager of Marketing for the Contemporary A cappella Society and on the Board of Trustees for the Melodramatics Theatre Company, Inc. Ariel is a member of The Funx and recently helped start Lady Jaye. In Ithaca she performs regularly with The Jeff Love Band and moonlights with bands around the country.


Ben Bram
Ben Bram is an acclaimed arranger, music director, and producer from Los Angeles. A graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music, Ben sang with, arranged for, and directed three-time ICCA champions the SoCal VoCals. Since college, Ben has been working musically behind the scenes of The Sing-Off, Pitch Perfect, Glee, The Voice, and Modern Family, as well as arranging for various groups all over the world. Ben has had a hand in assembling multiple groups for The Sing-Off, including The Backbeats, Delilah, and most notably season 3 champions Pentatonix, who he continues to work with as an arranger, producer, and engineer.


Rachel Chalhoub
Rachel Chalhoub may have a tough name to pronounce but you won’t soon forget her now that she’s been the face of Inside A Cappella for almost a full year and graced the stage of The Sing-Off in their comeback season with Element Vocals. This female vocal percussionist has taught at many CASA events in the past on VP but now she’s bringing her tech side out in a workshop on the inner workings of Inside A Cappella.


McKay Crockett
McKay Crockett is an award-winning producer, director, songwriter, and performance coach from Salt Lake City, UT. He has been heavily involved in the music industry since he was a teenager, when he sang in the Radio Disney boy band Frequency, a crowd favorite in cities around the United States. Since then he has shared the stage with artists including Switchfoot, Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds, Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), Brian Stokes Mitchell, and countless others. From 2008-2012 McKay sang with Vocal Point, the Internationally acclaimed vocal band that recently appeared on NBC’s The Sing-Off. He currently serves as the Faculty Artistic Director for Vocal Point at Brigham Young University, as well as the manager of Beyond 5, the all-new hit teen boy band. McKay founded the nation’s first a cappella summer camp, ReMix Vocal Academy, and gives workshops and masterclasses for music groups around the world. McKay’s arrangements and songs can be heard on radio, television, and film, and are distributed around the world by dozens of labels including Sony/Epic Records. McKay has a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Music Studies from BYU and he continues to write, arrange, and produce music for artists around the US.


Robert Dietz
Robert Dietz has been arranging, performing, and critiquing contemporary a cappella music at all levels for over ten years. His career began in high school as director of the critically acclaimed group, Ascending Height, with whom he produced the first all-original high school a cappella album. Robert has studied at both the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney, Australia, and at the Ithaca College School of Music in Ithaca, New York where he directed the award winning all-male group, Ithacappella. Robert has been a member of the creative team for both seasons three and four of NBC’s The Sing-Off. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA where he sings locally with Jazz/Soul group, Level and tours nationally with The Funx. He is a founding member of A Cappella Academy (, and you can find his work online at


Joshua Eisner
Josh Eisner knew he could never really leave a cappella. After graduating from Stanford, where he was Financial Officer, Album Manager, and Performance Manager of The Harmonics, he returned home to New York where he does Equity Research at Citigroup — you know, you’re typical a cappella side job. During his time in The Harmonics, Josh raised over $75,000 for the group which helped fund the production of an entire album, completely revamp a wireless sound system, and fully subsidize a week long East Coast tour.


Michael Eldredge
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
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.


Lisa Forkish
Lisa Forkish is an Oakland-based vocalist/composer/educator and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. She has been singing, producing, teaching and arranging for a cappella since 2002 and got her start as music director for the University of Oregon’s award-winning female a cappella group Divisi, featured in GQ editor Mickey Rapkin’s best-selling book “Pitch Perfect”" and later made into a box office smash hit. Currently, Lisa is on Vocal Music faculty at Oakland School for the Arts where she is founder and director of the school’s acclaimed a cappella group Vocal Rush, two-time ICHSA Champions and one of the 10 competing groups on Season 4 of NBC’s hit a cappella reality show, “The Sing-Off,” scheduled to air December 9th, 2013. Lisa is also an award-winning arranger and one of the founding members of this year’s breakout all-female group, The Riveters: Lisa is also one of the founders of the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA) a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating women in a cappella. More info can be found at


David Fowler
David Fowler is a computer engineering student at UC Santa Barbara with a passion for the creation and consumption of A Cappella music. He is a member of the all-men’s group from UCSB, Brothas From Otha Mothas as well as a self managed YouTube A Capella musician who works as a Recording Tech for the music department. He began delving into music production at age 15, and has been consistently doing it ever since. As a result he is now a monetized YouTube musician, Production Assistant for Director Kurt Schneider, and knowledgable sound engineer that has worked closely with multiple A Cappella Artists (Peter Hollens, Chris Thompson, and VocalMotion to name a few) on various projects and jobs in the past few years.


Alex Green
Alex Green is a producer, recording engineer and co-owner of Plaid Productions with Alexander Koutzoukis. He spent his college career singing with and directing the Tufts Amalgamates, and has since worked on albums with groups from across the country and the world, and made countless soups. He enjoys the fruits of both labors.


Bradley Hampton
Bradley has extensive training in vocal harmony. Most of his teenage years were spent transcribing the music of The Beach Boys, The Hi-Lo’s, and Take 6. He would use his younger siblings as his experimental guinea pigs, teaching them those transcribed parts as well as practicing on them his own new creations.

Bradley has shared the stage with great vocal groups such as: Rockapella, The Nylons, The House Jacks, The Blenders, The Drifters, The Bobs, The Knudsen Bros., The Manhattan Transfer, and Jon Secada. Bradley is the music director, a singer, and arranger for the internationally award-winning a cappella group SoundStage. Award-winning credits include having won the L.A. Harmony Sweeps twice! SoundStage was recently featured on Emerald City Productions album Sing a Song: Children’s Songs from around the World. He is also the director of the vocal jazz ensemble at California State University San Bernardino, and teaches courses in songwriting and arranging.

Bradley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with an emphasis in Composition from California State University San Bernardino. His arrangements are sung by numerous vocal groups including Voicemale on “Hims II”, and West Side 5 on their self-titled album (as well as Voices Only II). He arranged the theme song for the web series “Dead Grandma” hosted by Jon Header. You can hear his jingles played on The Tim Conway Jr. Show as well as his arrangements sung as promo for the hit a cappella movie “Pitch Perfect”

When not composing or arranging, he plays the piano accompanying for various school choirs, chorales, and musical theatre productions.

Other interests include movies, puppets, trees, flowers, and birds. His friends now know to say “no” when Bradley needs help moving, because of the heavy lifting of dozens of boxes of books on birds from everywhere in the world. Birds also fill the Hampton home, as he enjoys breeding and raising them. Bradley loves spending time with his wife, Jammie, and three daughters, Kayla, Coral, and Daphne.


Honey Whiskey Trio
2013 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions, The Honey Whiskey Trio explores harmony in folk, bluegrass and any melody that catches the ear. Through their full harmonies, body percussion, haunting melodies and vitality on stage, Honey Whiskey Trio captivates and moves audiences, earning them such honors as the Audience Favorite awards at both the Regional and National Harmony Sweepstakes. These storytellers in song found their roots in the vocal jazz department of CSU Long Beach where the members all studied with Christine Guter. This foundation in jazz gives Honey Whiskey Trio an inherent flexibility to their sound, allowing them to change and adjust their tone to fit each song, be it bluegrass, folk or even the occasional Andrews Sisters style tune.


Tony Huerta
Tony Huerta started his music career as a professional singer for Elitch Gardens, as well as majoring in Vocal Performance at the University of Northern Colorado.

In 1998, Tony joined the groundbreaking A Cappella group “”The 17th Avenue Allstars”" and performed for ten years as the Vocal Percussionist and baritone/tenor, performing in about 70-80 concerts per year across the United States. As the principle arranger, recording engineer, and producer for three full length “Allstar” CD’s, Huerta took it upon himself to learn studio and live sound engineering.

Huerta’s recording studio, Sonic Audio, was founded in 1998. He has produced, engineered or mastered a cappella CD Projects for: The Real Group, Afro Blue, Cadence, M-Pact, Six Appeal, Nota & Sony Latin, Face (Boulder, CO and the NBC “Sing Off”), and many more.

Currently, Tony is the international touring Production Manager for 10 time Grammy winners, Take 6. As a freelance engineer, he has mixed concerts for many major acts including Stevie Wonder, Amy Grant, and Brian McKnight, as well as the 2010 Shakira tour as Front of House engineer for Nota.

Huerta has also mixed in famed halls and venues like the Kennedy Center, the Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, American Airlines Arena, Pepsi Center, Tokyo International Hall, and more. His TV credits include specials for TV One and Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the White House Christmas Tree Lighting. Huerta also engineered live sound for the 2009 Armed Forces Network Production of “Holiday Notes From Home” at the Grand Ol Opry in Nashville which received a regional Emmy Nomination.

In July 2011, Huerta founded the vocal group Urban Method and was featured on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing Off” as a performer for 12 weeks on prime time TV. Huerta helped push Urban Method to the finals!

Huerta enjoys teaching groups about performance technique, sound, recording, and the art of singing acappella!


Beejul Khatri


Alex Koutzoukis
Alexander is co-owner (and producer, and engineer…) of Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production studio based in Boston, along with Alex Green. While attending Tufts University for computer science, he spent five years in the Beelzebubs, for two of which he was Music Director. He got his start in the field of a cappella production while working closely with Ed Boyer and Bill Hare on two award-winning Bubs albums (Pandaemonium and Play The Game) and continued along that path to help record and edit BATTLE, as well as about half of the Warblers tracks from Season 2 of Glee. He won a 2010 Best Male Collegiate Arrangement CARA for his arrangement of “All The Love In The World,” a 2012 CARA runner-up in the same category for “Kings and Queens,” and was also runner-up for Favorite Vocal Percussionist in the 2010 ACAs. He is currently Executive Producer of BOSS in addition to his graphic design work for both BOSS and SoJam.


David Longo
Dave’s been a high-tech fixture on the a cappella scene since he joined RIT’s Eight Beat Measure in 2005. But it was Five O’Clock Shadow’s visit to his high school (where Dave was already performing in two different choirs) that triggered his fascination with the form, from the beatbass stylings of Stack to the endless ways to use technology to enhance – but never replace – unaccompanied human vocalists.

True, Dave’s amassed an impressive array of accomplishments, from serving as Eight Beat Measure’s producer and founding the group’s non-profit alumni association, to his BS in Computational Mathemetics from RIT and his Master Certificate in Music Production using Pro Tools from Berklee College of Music. (Still hungry for more, he then became an Avid Certified Pro Tools HD8 Operator in Music.) He’s worked with groups ranging from small high school sextets to Pentatonix. He’s founded Sled Dog Studios, Six Dots Sound, and SMACC. His work has appeared on compilations like Sing, BOCA, Voices Only, and Voices Only Forte. But resume highlights don’t capture the essence of how his passion for a cappella became a career-path one-eighty that’s now changing the industry. Or the aggressive idealism that leads him to treat a cappella – and the groups and individuals that perform it – as a microcosm of life’s “best-of” when it comes to talent, tradition, and business. Or the sense that the moment you (whomever you may be) enter Sled Dog’s studio, Dave Longo’s got your back.


Jessie Louise Mark
Jessie Louise Mark graduated from Duke University in 2011 with a B.A. in History, a minor in Music, and a love for all things a cappella. During her four years as a member of Duke’s Lady Blue, Jessie served as assistant music director and music director. In these positions, Jessie led Lady Blue to several first-time achievements, including the group’s first appearance at the SoJam Collegiate Competition in 2008. Jessie lives in New York City where she is the music director of the NYC-based CAL group Empire. Since graduating, she has also instructed at SoJam, served as an ICCA judge, coached an all-female high school a cappella group, and tutored college and high school students in music theory for vocal arranging. In Jessie’s free time, she works full-time as a media buyer at an ad agency in Midtown.


Amy Malkoff
Amy Malkoff is a singer-songwriter who has appeared on stage and in the studio with the likes of Wayne Brady, Jonatha Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. Amy is the Director of Web Content/Program Manager for The Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA), as well as a frequent competition judge, and workshop/masterclass instructor. Following several years in the theater, she decided to focus on music, including her bands All About Buford ( and Deadline Poet, and an “avant-folk” acoustic duo with renowned guitar player Raymond Gonzalez. Her music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels.


Danny Ozment
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.


Jonathan Pilat
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. Previously, Jon attended Stanford where he sang with the Harmonics. Jon was the co-director of the CARA awards from 2005 to 2012, 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.


Rene Ruiz
René Ruiz is a voice actor, stage director and narrator. He created, directed and performed with the Off-Broadway acappella 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.


Marc Silverberg
Marc Silverberg is an adjunct professor at Five Towns College and the Director of Education for He is the author of “Quest for the A cappella Major,” a blog that discusses the continuing education of contemporary a cappella music and group improvisation. He has presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several sponsored festivals, as well as the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 national convention. His CAL Group, Satellite Lane, was recently crowned the 2013 New York Harmony Sweepstakes “Audience Favorite,” as well as the recipient of “Best Arrangement.” In addition to being an a cappella clinician, conductor, and performer, he also writes original musicals and plays. His original work, He’s Not Himself, premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Westminster Choir College.


Jeff Smith, Trist Curless
Trist Curless and Jeff Smith are best known for their roles as the bass and vocal percussionist for world-renowned a cappella group ‘m-pact’. Whether laying down straight-ahead funky grooves or crafting complex poly-rhythmic patterns, this powerhouse duo have become a signature element of m-pact’s distinctive sound. (@mpactmusic)

In 1995, Trist co-founded m-pact, with whom he has performed in festivals and concert halls around the world. He’s also written, arranged, and produced many of the group’s songs. Trist can be found on the other side of the microphone as well, working as an audio engineer for several vocal groups and bands, including Straight No Chaser, VoicePlay, and Take 6. When he’s not performing and mixing, Trist also finds time to teach private voice and participate as a clinician and adjudicator at jazz and vocal festivals worldwide. (@mpactbassman)

In addition to performing with m-pact since 2004, Jeff is a full-time freelance musician, producer, clinician, and arranger. His voice (and vocal percussion) can be heard on numerous film/tv soundtracks and in countless live performances across the U.S. & Canada. Jeff is also a multi ACA-nominated solo artist, releasing his first a cappella single, “Mary Did You Know?” in 2011 on A Cappella Records, followed by the release of CARA-nominated “Joseph’s Lullaby” in 2012. (@singervp)


Jeff Thacher
Jeff is best known as a current longtime member of the group Rockapella, which continues to be one of the most successful pro a cappella groups of all time. When not touring the globe with the group, he has applied his talents as a professional producer and recording engineer on dozens of a cappella albums, as well as for a wide variety of other independent artists (…instruments….gasp!). Jeff coaches vocal groups of all sizes both professionally & through CASA events, is a co-founder of Boston’s pro group, FOCS (Five O’Clock Shadow), and holds a music degree from Berklee College of Music. He’s given many lectures & workshops on performance and the music industry, as well as his colorful life in the studio and with Rockapella…and is happy to be back in sunny California…where’s lived multiple times!


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.


Angela Ugolini
Angela began her a cappella career at FSU, where she directed the award winning all-female group, AcaBelles, and led the ladies to ICCA Finals as the 2009 South Champions. After graduating Angela relocated to NYC, where she studied Audio Production at SAE Institute of Technology. While in NYC, she sang with the Contemporary A cappella League group, The Red States (now known as Restated), and co-founded NYC’s newest CAL female group, Empire. Now Angela lives in Boston, sings with the powerhouse female vocal band, Musae, and works as a producer with the awesome a cappella production team, The Vocal Company. Her work was nominated for 15 of the 2013 CARAs (including wins for Musae, AcaBelles, and the Nor’easters), as well as compilation placements on SING, BOCA, Voices Only and Voices Only Forte.