co-founder, camp director
Avi Kaplan is best known as vocal bass of the world-renowned a cappella group, Pentatonix, but he is also a Grammy-winning arranger, composer, and solo artist. He majored in opera and choral studies at Mt. San Antonio College, a school known for its strong choral and a cappella tradition. While at school, Avi sang with a cappella group Fermata Nowhere, vocal jazz group Singcopation, and the Mt. SAC Chamber Singers, racking up competition wins at the ICCA, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Choir of the World competition. Avi has worked with artists such as Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Cee Lo Green, Ne-Yo, Sara Bareilles, Nick Lachey, Ben Folds and many more.
co-founder, camp director
Ben is a Grammy-winning arranger, vocal producer, and music director from Los Angeles. A graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music, Ben sang with, arranged for, and directed four-time ICCA champions the SoCal VoCals during his time at USC. He is a longtime collaborator with Pentatonix, having co-arranged, engineered and produced all 5 of their currently released albums, including the platinum-selling "That's Christmas To Me". Ben also has an extensive resume in film, TV, and commercials, which includes work for Pitch Perfect 1 and 2, The Sing-Off, Glee, Covergirl, Lifetime, and MTV. He is currently developing two exciting new a cappella groups.
co-founder, camp director
Rob Dietz is a multiple CARA winning producer who has been arranging, performing, and critiquing contemporary a cappella music 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. Rob has studied at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney and at the Ithaca College School of Music, where he directed the award winning all-male group, Ithacappella. Since graduation, Rob has been an arranger and group coach for seasons 3, 4, and 5 of NBC’s The Sing-Off, as well as a vocal percussionist for the Warblers on Fox’s hit show, Glee.
director of operations
Tom is a passionate and dedicated a cappella facilitator, event producer, and music director. He is the exec. producer of the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, and has formerly served as director of the Contemporary A Cappella League. With a considerable background in vocal and instrumental music, Tom was bitten by the a cappella bug in 2009 when he decided to create and direct his own group, the award-winning Frequency, and has been a passionate advocate of all-vocal music ever since. Currently music directing three vocal groups as well as a spiritual center, he balances music, work, and family, and lives with his wife and three children in Aliso Viejo.
assistant camp director, camp mom
Diana Galeano is a choral director from Lake Worth, Florida. A graduate of Florida State University, Diana studied music education with an emphasis in secondary choral education. While at FSU, she sang with ICCA Southern Champions, the AcaBelles. Since graduating, she has worked as a high school chorus teacher and as a director at FSU's Summer Music Camps. She has started several high school a cappella groups and has participated in the Festival Singers of Florida. Diana now lives in Boston, where she directs and arranges for collegiate and high school a cappella groups and sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Shams is a masterful arranger, music director, and educator from Cherry Hill, NJ. 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. Additionally, Shams delved into the world of musical theater, music directing community productions of RENT, A Tale of Two Cities, and Spring Awakening. He is currently living in Boston, arranging music for The Vocal Company and coaching local a cappella groups.
Hailing from the Washington DC Metropolitan area, Jared Jenkins is a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music. Jared wears many hats as a singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, dancer, choreographer, pianist, and director. While studying Music Business/Management at Berklee, he was able to most notably use those talents as both a member of “Pitch Slapped” (2014 ICCA Champions) and co-founder of the JEvie Pop Series, a student-run production group dedicated to teaching students the various aspects of putting together live shows for pop music icons. Jared currently works as a freelance vocalist/arranger/piano teacher in the DC area, all the while creating new projects that he can’t wait to share with the world!
Erin Bentlage is a singer, songwriter, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist from Burlington, Vermont. She co-founded and directed her high school’s first a cappella group and went on to join the Boston University Treblemakers, but soon transferred to Berklee College of Music where she earned her degree in Contemporary Writing and Production. Erin has been a member of the Singing Tribe, an improvisation-oriented world a cappella group created by Bobby McFerrin, Introflection, a jazz and improvisation based group, and the Berklee Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and has appeared throughout the country at various festivals in groups and as a featured artist and clinician. Erin relocated to Los Angeles in late 2014 where she continues to cultivate her passion for music through writing, performing, and teaching at Silverlake Conservatory of Music and Los Angeles College of Music.
VJ Rosales is a singer, songwriter, arranger, and music director from Los Angeles. Hailing from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music (CSU Long Beach) with a B.M. in Jazz Studies, VJ is a versatile musician who is equally adept in jazz, pop, and R&B. During his college career, he sang in the top vocal jazz ensemble “Pacific Standard Time” at CSU Long Beach, performing at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival. Presently, he works as a voice teacher at the Silverlake Conservatory, founded by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In April 2013, he co-created The Filharmonic and competed on NBC's The Sing Off, making it to the semi-finals. With The Filharmonic's success on national television, he continues to work with them, with plans to record and tour.
Singer, instrumentalist, director and arranger Tracy Robertson maintains a life-long passion for music and vocal harmony. Upon transferring from SUNY Fredonia’s classical vocal and compositional training to Berklee College of Music, he joined the award-winning a cappella group “Pitch Slapped” (SoJam and ICCA Champions) and became their musical director. He has worked with names such as Rhiannon Watson, Joey Blake, and Bobby McFerrin, and performed with renowned musicians of Quito, Ecuador where he also led a vocal improvisation workshop at UDLA. He has performed throughout the US, recently at the 2014 JEN Conference in Dallas with Berklee’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
Jo was born in Austin, TX, studied Art History and Religion at The University of Oregon, and now lives in Houston, Texas. At the UofO she joined the renowned women's group Divisi, winning several awards at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, including Best Arrangement and Best Bass. In winter of 2010 she began singing bass for her first professional women's group, Musae, and the next summer joined Delilah for season 3 of The Sing Off, as well as Element for season 4. Jo now tours the world with her women's groups as well as with an originally all male group called Overboard. She also coaches and arranges for groups across the country, does background and session work, and is the voice of the Bella bass in Pitch Perfect 2.
India Carney is a singer, songwriter, actress and arranger whose talents embrace a wide range of musical genres from opera to musical theater to pop. A native of Brooklyn, NY, India is best known for her appearance on NBC's "The Voice", finishing in Season Eight's Top 5 as part of Team Christina Aguilera. A fourth-year Music major and Music Industry minor at UCLA, India performs for Opera UCLA and has been a featured artist at the JazzReggae Festival and Spring Sing. She is the current music director of the award-winning UCLA ScatterTones and has earned Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement awards at multiple competitions nationwide. India is very excited to spend the beginning of her summer as an ACA Music Director and can't wait to have an incredible a cappella experience with everyone!
San Francisco Bay Area native Mario Jose is a seasoned singer/songwriter, session vocalist and true entertainer. Mario attended Berklee College of Music and was a part of the award-winning group Pitch Slapped. In his post-graduate life, Mario has been featured on several TV shows including NBC's The Sing-Off, ABC's Duets, and most recently on American Idol, where he was one of the Top 40 male vocalists on season 12. Mario has shared the stage with music icons including John Legend, Prince, Justin Bieber, Michael McDonald, and many more! Now based in Los Angeles, you can see Mario perform all over town and every Sunday night as a part of the Jazz Night Band at The W Hotel in Hollywood! Mario will be releasing his first EP in September of 2015. He could not be more thrilled to be back with the rest of the incredible ACA staff for another unforgettable summer!
Marisa is a seasoned vocalist living in Los Angeles who has over 15 years of experience in choirs, musical theatre and a cappella. She studied Psychology and Musical Theater at USC, and also sang with and was president of the award winning a cappella group, Reverse Osmosis. Marisa also worked at acclaimed performing arts camp Arts Unlimited for 5 consecutive summers, working as a counselor, coordinator, teacher, choreographer and musical director. After graduating, Marisa helped found award-winning a cappella sextet Simply Put, who shared the stage with Sing Off champions Nota and Committed. Marisa now manages and sings in the L.A. Choral Lab and is also the Co-Founder and COO of Endeavor Studios, LLC, a recording studio located in West Los Angeles. Marisa has also been lending her voice to various recording projects, and is currently working on writing an original EP to be released Fall 2015.
Selame Scarlett hails from Okemos, Michigan. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she was a part of Capital Green A Cappella, where she served as beatboxer, music director, and arranger. Currently, she is an ICHSA producer, Varsity Vocals judge, CASA ambassador and clinician for high school/collegiate groups in the Midwest. She serves as the beatboxer for all-female CARA winning sextet Lady Jaye and all-female gospel powerhouse group Traces, who were featured on NBC's The Sing Off Season 5! Selame has led beatboxing workshops and masterclasses, both on her own and with her fellow beatboxing colleagues.
Tory is a singer, actor and photographer hailing from Boston, MA. She is a graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, where she earned her BFA in Acting, and was a proud member of the acclaimed SoCal VoCals. During her time with the VoCals, Tory served as President and helped lead the group to two ICCA titles. As an actor, Tory has won the Jack Nicholson Award and the LA Stage Scene Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. As a photographer, she has had the honor of photographing artists such as the legendary Stevie Wonder, Tegan and Sara, and Pentatonix. Her passion is for capturing the power and beauty of young artists through still and video photography.
Taylor is a singer and teacher living in Los Angeles, California. She earned her B.A. in English and Masters in Education from UCLA, where she sang with the award winning co-ed a cappella group, the ScatterTones. During her time in the group, she performed at prestigious venues all over the country including the White House, the Hollywood Bowl, and the ICCA Finals stage in New York City. Currently, she is a full-time English teacher at Manhattan Beach Middle School and serves as a vocal coach to both Unstrumental and Bare Rhythm of Calabasas High School. At camp, Taylor teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts and Care of Magical Kittens.
Sean Patrick Riley
camp nurse, counselor
SPR is a classically trained vocalist, seasoned competition judge and a cappella coach, as well as a registered nurse. With roots in the Midwest and wistful branches that have carried him all the way to NYC, Sean got his start in third grade with his break-out role as Brigitta in a local production of The Sound of Music. He continued with musical theater through high school, broke into a cappella and opera in college, and his love affair with musical performance has never ended. He earned his bachelor’s in both vocal performance and advertising, as well as his master’s in nursing from Saint Louis University where he music directed the award-winning - recent ICCA finalists - Bare Naked Statues. Along his way, he's grown comfortable singing anything from Britney and Beyoncé, to Bach and Buxtehude. Highlights from the past year include: relocating to New York, judging ICHSA Finals, and performing alongside the soundtracks of Pitch Perfect 1 & 2. SPR currently works as a surgical ICU nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Quinn D'Andrea is a singer/songwriter from Santa Monica, California. She is currently finishing her undergrad in the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California.She has spent 15 years studying classical piano, and 10 years performing in musical theatre. While at USC, she formed a folk/pop band, "Trousdale," with fellow classmates and has been performing and recording with them for past two years. Last summer she toured the east coast and spent time songwriting with her band-mates in Nashville. Four years ago, Quinn started a choir at a Los Angeles high school that was lacking a music program, and teaches there once a week.She is also currently the Music Director of the 4-time ICCA champions the SoCal VoCals, and hopes to use some of her experience with VoCals this summer at academy!
Taylor Fugit is a singer, arranger, music producer and instrumentalist from Napa, California. As a college student Taylor directed the UCLA Scattertones for 2 years, taking them to their first-ever appearance at ICCA Finals in 2012. In addition to receiving several "best arrangement" awards during ICCA's, Taylor's work has been recognized by popular a cappella compilations such as Sing and Voices Only. As a member of the UCLA ethnomusicology department he studied Chinese music theory and Pipa performance, playing alongside living legends like Chi Li and Gao Hong. Aside from his musical activities Taylor enjoys playing video games, participating in Star Trek-related cosplay, and writing about himself in the third person.
Nathan is a singer, producer, director, and arranger from the Chicago suburbs. A recent graduate of USC, he studied in the Thornton School’s Popular Music Program, with an emphasis in songwriting. While at USC, Nathan joined the SoCal VoCals and took on a role as arranger/music director, helping lead them to their fourth ICCA victory in 2015. He recently oversaw their latest release, VoCabulary. Nathan currently makes his home in Los Angeles and is working on his original material. He can’t wait to spend a week singing with so many excited and inspiring voices!
Amanda Taylor was born in Seattle, Washington. Growing up, she participated in a number of the city's prestigious ensembles, such as the Seattle Youth Symphony, Vocalpoint! Seattle, and the Seattle Girls' Choir. During these years of growth, she was accepted into the Grammy Jazz Ensembles (one of eight students selected from the USA). Through this organization, she was able to perform throughout Grammy week, at such events as the Blue Note Records party, the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute, and the Grammy Celebration After Party (which included performances with artists Cassandra Wilson, Terence Blanchard, and Herbie Hancock.) Amanda graduated from Central Washington University with her BM in Music Composition. She is an active studio singer (World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Destiny, music teacher (Mt. Si High School, the Northwest Choirs, and more), and composer/arranger.
Donald 'James' Harper is an LA-native composer/arranger, songwriter, studio vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. He received his B.A. in music composition from UCLA, where he also sang/arranged for the award-winning collegiate group, the Scattertones. Shortly after he graduated, he was overcome by a powerful desire to confuse all of his friends and family, so in 2014 he asked everyone to start calling him James instead of his given nickname, DJ. James has since had the pleasure of working with artists including Bob Dylan, Allen Stone, Pentatonix, Taylor Swift, and Giorgio Moroder, and has also written music for multiple live Disney shows and a cappella television ads. He is currently producing for several up-and-coming artists, playing funk shows throughout LA, and developing a brand spankin' new personal project. It's his first year at ACA, and he's incredibly excited to be involved!
Allie Feder Kramer
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Allie works in LA as a studio singer and performer. Trained in theatre and jazz at USC, with fifteen years of experience singing in a cappella groups (including the USC SoCal VoCals and high school group 'Til Dawn), Allie is currently a member of jazz/pop group Level and chamber choir LA Choral Lab. She can be seen performing as a member of Das Sound Machine in the hit musical comedy film Pitch Perfect 2, and has appeared on shows like The Voice, The Grammy Awards, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and The Sing-Off. Allie records for film, television, and commercials in a variety of genres, including pop, jazz, rock, classical, and soul, and can be heard on films and TV shows including Star Wars: Rogue One, Hairspray Live!, Suicide Squad, Disney’s Descendants 2, The Simpsons, Modern Family and more. In addition to singing, Allie also has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and works as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, helping teens, kids, and adults cope with the stresses of everyday life.
Lily is a singer and beatboxer, originally from LA, and is currently studying musical theatre at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is the assistant music director and choreographer for NYU's premiere a cappella group, The N'Harmonics. Before college, she sang with Vivace - a nationally ranked women's choir from Calabasas High School. She also toured China and performed at Carnegie Hall with her award-winning high school a cappella group, Unstrumental. Aside from music, Lily studies improv at UCB, drinks too much coffee, and tweets a lot.
live sound engineer
Chris Juengel is an award-winning studio album producer and live sound engineer with more than a decade of experience. He is part owner and Chief Creative Officer of Liquid 5th, a leading international a cappella production company headquartered in Durham, NC. Chris has run sound for hundreds of shows, which has earned him an acute ear for the specific needs of a cappella groups in an amplified performance setting. He toured with Pentatonix as their sound technician in 2013 and has also worked with Varsity Vocals, PopTV's Sing it On, A&E's Pitch Slapped, CASA and many more. Chris and his family currently reside in Burlington, NC.
Austin Kiley is a vocal music teacher at his hometown high school in Vestal, NY. He received a BM and MM in Music Education from Ithaca College, where he served as the president of Ithacappella. At Vestal, he directs the annual musical, two a cappella groups, a jazz choir, and a select choir, and teaches music theory and history classes. One of his groups, Bear Necessities, has won multiple awards at the ICHSA's and is represented on BOHSA. Austin runs The Vocal Connection in upstate NY, which pairs up high school and collegiate a cappella groups for year-long mentorships. He loves community theatre and reading fantasy/sci-fi!
Beth received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from California State University, Northridge. In college, she studied opera, while also participating in musicals, madrigals, choir, and the all-female a cappella group, Premium Blend. In graduate school, she continued to study opera, and also began teaching voice lessons. She worked many administrative jobs along the way, and also directed church music from 2009-2014. Today, she is a voice teacher, coach and adjudicator in the greater Seattle area, while actively performing in local plays and musicals.