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.
Christopher is a singer, songwriter, arranger and vocal coach from Newport News, VA. A graduate of the FSU School of Music, he led the co-ed All-Night Yahtzee to three consecutive ICCA Finals appearances and is a two-time winner of the Outstanding Soloist award. As a coach, Christopher has adjudicated, sung and instructed at vocal festivals across Asia, Europe, Australia and the US. In 2012, Christopher joined the music eam of The Sing-Off (Season 3). After the show, he co-founded the international touring group, The Exchange, which has performed hundreds of shows for audiences in over 25 different countries on 6 continents. The Exchange joined The Backstreet Boys as support for their 32 city “In A World Like This” stadium tour, and competed on Season 5 of NBC’s The Sing-Off, taking the runner-up title. In 2016, Christopher and The Exchange will tour central Asia as part of a cultural diplomacy tour supported by the US Department of State.
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.
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.
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.
Jamond is an improvisational jazz and gospel influenced vocalist, pianist, composer, arranger, session singer, and accompanist creating music for various venues and other fellow musicians. He is dedicated and committed to giving each musical endeavor the passion, energy and respect it deserves. His current endeavors include teaching at studios, and working as an assistant director at the Monterey Jazz Summer Camp, and giving back to the church communities that helped shape him as a music director. Jamond is looking forward to pushing the limits and carrying on the legacy of m-pact music group for which he now sings baritone. Outside of music, he absolutely loves all things food and puts as much passion into eating and making food as he does music.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Jessica Fox is a native of Richmond, VA. She studied classical voice at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and is now traveling with two national recording bands, Resound and Urban Doxology. She also leads worship at a local church in Richmond. She is passionate about songwriting, arranging, and cereal.
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.
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.
Trist Ethan Curless is a member and co-founder of the award winning pop-jazz group, m-pact. Trist has written, arranged, and produced songs for the group, as well as other ensembles. Prior to m-pact, Trist majored in Music Education at the University of Northern Colorado. When not singing with m-pact, he works as a live audio engineer for Pentatonix, Straight No Chaser, and occasionally Take 6, among other vocal groups and bands. Trist makes time to teach private voice, coach groups, and participate as a clinician and adjudicator in clinics and festivals worldwide. Trist is having the time of his life, making music in recent years with m-pact, Bobby Mc Ferrin, New York Voices, Vox Audio, VoicePlay, Straight No Chaser, Take 6, and The Manhattan Transfer. Trist's hometown is Cheyenne, WY, but currently lives in Glendale, CA.
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.