Our team consists of award-winning music educators, professional singers and vocal percussionists, and some of the most successful a cappella directors in the world.
Brody McDonald is the director of choirs at Kettering Fairmont High School in Dayton, Ohio. His choirs have performed regularly at OMEA, ACDA Central Division and ACDA National conferences. In addition, they have performed with international artists such as Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes, The Beach Boys, Kenny Loggins and Rockapella.
His award-winning a cappella group, Eleventh Hour, is the first high school group to be featured on NBC’s The Sing-Off and was featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition. They recently won a gold medal in the 2012 World Choir Games, which is considered the Olympics for singing groups. Eleventh Hour’s studio recordings have been included numerous times on Best of High School A Cappella, the prestigious SING compilation, and have won CARA awards for Best High School Album and Best High School Song.
Brody is at the forefront of the high school a cappella movement, serving as a founder and vice-president of the A Cappella Education Association (AEA). He has presented at numerous educational conferences on pop a cappella in the high school, and regularly lectures on the topic for ACDA chapters throughout the Midwest. He is the author of “A Cappella Pop: A Complete Guide to Contemporary A Cappella Singing“, published by Alfred Music. Brody is also on the faculty at Wright State University, where he directs the a cappella group ETHOS.
Born in San Francisco, California, Deke Sharon has been performing professionally since the age of 8, and as a child toured North America and shared the stage in operas with the likes of Pavarotti. Heralded as “The Father of Contemporary A Cappella,” he is responsible for the current sound of modern a cappella, having created the dense vocal-instrumental sound in college, subsequently spreading it around the world.
As the founder, director and arranger for the House Jacks, the original “Rock Band Without Instruments,” Deke has shared the stage with countless music legends, including Ray Charles, James Brown, Crosby Stills and Nash, Run DMC, The Temptations, LL Cool J and the Four Tops, and performed for luminaries including President Bill Clinton. The House Jacks have eight albums, and dozens of international tours to their names, including multiple appearances Carnegie Hall, and performed the Monday Night Football Theme with Hank Williams Jr. in 2011.
Deke produces “The Sing-Off” worldwide (USA, Netherlands, China), which had the highest ratings of any new, unscripted television show in the US in 2009, and was the third highest rated show on NBC in 2010. In addition, Deke served as arranger, on-site music director and vocal producer for Universal’s “Pitch Perfect” starring Anna Kendrick (2012).
Dave Sperandio has been working with a cappella music for more than 20 years as a performer, producer, and promoter. His work has helped to define and support the contemporary a cappella world for more than a decade.
Dave founded the a cappella production company diovoce in 2000. In 2011 Dave formed Vocal Mastering, and he currently works with producers and artists from all around the world. His production work has afforded him the opportunity to work with many talented artists, including Pentatonix, Ben Folds, Peter Hollens, Home Free, Delilah, Hyannis Sound, Street Corner Symphony, ARORA, Brendan James, and Anoop Desai.
Dave’s clients have been recognized by all of the “best-of” compilations, receiving over 150 appearances on the BOCA, CAMO, Voices Only, and ‘Sing’ series. Dave and his clients have received hundreds of Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards and “Picks of the Year” from the Recorded A Cappella Review Board, both as a performer and while “behind the glass”.
Cy Wood currently works as an educator in the Cincinnati area, teaching musical theater to students at Butler Tech. He recently moved to Ohio after living and working in New York City for nearly a decade. While in NYC, Cy worked as a professional actor, producer, special events coordinator, and creative director. Cy holds a BFA from Brigham Young University where he graduated with a Music, Dance and Theater degree with an emphasis in Music Education.
Cy grew up as a third-generation barbershopper. He and his three brothers love to sing the old songs whenever they are together. His mother sang barbershop with her sisters, as did her father with his brothers. Growing up, the family’s car trips were filled with the whole family harmonizing down the roads of Idaho. The in-laws of the Wood family know that they must sing the melody of Happy Birthday, lest the melody be M.I.A.
Currently, Cy sings baritone with two of BHS’ Top Ten Choruses, Voices of Gotham and Southern Gateway Chorus. He joined NYC’s acclaimed chorus Voices of Gotham (which most recently placed 10th at the BHS International Contest) in 2012 and was quickly asked to be the baritone section leader as well as a board member at large. He has had his work performed on the international stage as well as many stages in North America including Carnegie Hall. Upon his move to the Cincinnati area in 2015, Cy joined up with the ever acclaimed Southern Gateway Chorus, currently ranked 11th in the world!
Marketing & Curriculum
is the Director of Fine Arts at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, TN. He is currently a candidate for the DMA in Choral Conducting Degree at the University of Kentucky. He was chosen by the board of the TN Music Educators Association as the 2011 Outstanding Young Music Educator.
A leader in the contemporary a cappella movement, Frizzell is the co-founder and President of The A Cappella Education Association . His high school a cappella group, OneVoice, is a SONY Recording Artist, winners of many performing and recording awards around the world. Frizzell has founded three companies, CadenzaOne, The Choir Coach, and I Need Sheet Music.
Ben McLain is a musician and actor who has spent the last 6 years touring the country with his 2 man comedy music act Dakaboom. An avid beatboxer and singer, he was also featured on Season 3 of NBC’s The Sing-Off with his a cappella group ARORA, formally Sonos. He has degrees in Opera and Theatre from UC Irvine and is known for using electronic equipment in his performances to loop and effect his voice.
He is also known for his participation in the Mars-One program. Mars-One is an international organization that hopes to put a permanent settlement on Mars by the year 2035 and Ben McLain was 1 of 100 mission finalists.
Ben Spalding is the head Choral Director at Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio. At Centerville, Ben directs all of the choirs and the a cappella group Forte. Under his direction the number of students involved with the program has more than doubled. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Kentucky.
Ben has served as a CARA judge as well as a judge for the ICCA’s. The past two years Forte has placed 2nd in the nation in the ICHSA (International Championship of High School A Cappella). Forte received 5 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards this year, winning for Best High School Album.
Lee Stovall currently teaches choir for the South Milwaukee school district, where he directs the award winning a cappella groups, Delta V and The Poprockets. A founding member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison a cappella group, Fundamentally Sound, he has been interested in promoting contemporary a cappella education since college, and kept busy arranging and coaching for groups around the world. Lee’s work has earned ICCA awards and CARAs, and spots on BOCA and BOHSA compilations. He has attended seminars with The Vocal Company and Vocomotion studios, volunteered for SingStrong Chicago and A Cappella Fest, and judged for Varsity Vocals, CARAs, and the AVAs.
Lee has also worked with Camp A Cappella, directing ensembles from the middle school to collegiate levels, and is a board member of A Cappella University. Outside of the contemporary a cappella world, Lee sings with two professional classical ensembles: the Madison Choral Project and Present Music Milwaukee.
Alex Phan is the Coordinator of Music and the Director of Choral Activities for the North Olmsted School District. Alex graduated from Avon Lake High School in 2003 and received his bachelor’s degree in choral music education at Bowling Green State University in 2008. He is also a choral arranger for Alfred Publishing, and a clinician and his work is sought after by many middle and high schools, colleges and professional groups around the country.
His charts have been featured on numerous Best of High School A Cappella national compilation albums and have also been nominated for, and received multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Association (CARA) awards. He has acted as an Ohio All-State Choir Chair. Alex lives in Lorain with his family, Kaila and their son, Maximus.
Mike Jankowski has been involved in instrumental and vocal music for much of his life. His a cappella career in college consisted of his tenure with The Buffalo Chips,of SUNY Buffalo, where he helped transform the group into a powerhouse in the Mid-Atlantic ICCA region.
During his time with the group, Mike started A Cappella Productions, a live sound and lighting company specifically servicing a cappella music of all types. ACP has now become one of the leaders in live production for a cappella, and Mike continues to push the boundaries of the art form by adapting and changing to the growing demands of his clients and their fan base.
Mike adds performance coaching, vocal training abilities, and not to mention ACP’s complete live rig to the list of reasons why Camp A Cappella is going to be one amazing experience!
A proud Wright State University alum, Anna King attained her Bachelor Degree of Music Education in May 2015. She also has an International Baccalaureate Certificate in Music from Fairmont High School. While at Wright State, Anna traveled to Carnegie Hall with the Collegiate Chorale under the direction of Dr. Hank Dahlman in February of 2014.
Pop a cappella has always been a major part of Anna’s life. Her junior year of high school, she appeared on NBC’s The Sing Off Season 2 with her a cappella group, Eleventh Hour. Since then, she has always been involved throughout the a cappella community. She is an active staff member and director at Camp A cappella during every summer and the Kettering National A cappella Festival every fall. With Eleventh Hour, The Sing Off, and ETHOS (Wright State a cappella), Anna has tracks on more than six studio recorded CD’s.
Anna is currently the director of the choral program at Northmont High School in Clayton, OH. She directs the 7th and 8th grade choirs, Concert Choir, Treble Choir, and Symphonic Chorale. After school, Anna co-directs the three a cappella groups (Wired, Impulse, and Catalyst) at Northmont with the orchestra director, Ryan Chatterton.
In her free time, Anna works with the MLB Dayton Dragons Entertainment Staff as part of the Green Team, watching multiple episodes of The Office at a time, and spending time with her husband, Jeremy, and daughter, Michelle.
John Pickering is the Director Of Choral Activities for Nordonia Hills City Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Bowling Green State University & Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from Kent State University. Winner of the Louis John Johnen Vocal Competitions, he has appeared on stage in numerous professional and community theatrical productions including Beauty & The Beast, King & I, 110 In The Shade, A Christmas Carol, Pippin, Sound of Music, La Traviata, and Gianni Schicchi, among many others. He has performed with Middletown Lyric Theatre, Canton Player’s Guild, Akron Lyric Opera, Canton Comic Opera Company, Waterville Playshop, Nightengale Opera Theatre & has been guest soloist with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra and the Toledo Choral Society with the Toledo Symphony.
Active as a choral clinician and judge, choral ensembles under his direction have had the honor to sing for President George W. Bush, have opened for nationally recognized acts, appeared on statewide teaching conventions and B.O.H.S.A. (Best Of High School Acappella) National Compilation recordings. They, also, have consistently received Superior ratings at both OMEA District and State Contests. Mr. Pickering is a member of Ohio Music Education Association & American Choral Directors Association. He lives in Cuyahoga Falls with his wife, Julie, and their 3 children; Caleb, Leah & Micah.
Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by Pitch Perfect and The Sing-Off vocal producer Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, arranger, and choral music educator.
She has shared the stage with Taylor Swift, Imogen Heap, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s The Sing-Off with Kinfolk 9. Recent publications include the chapter “Vocal Percussion for Everyone” in So You Want to Sing A Cappella? published by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
She is currently a vocal teaching artist with Midori & Friends, and recently made her Lincoln Center debut as a featured beatboxer in the 4th annual Total Vocal. Kari is an active lecturer and clinician, giving workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the States. acappellaprofessor.com
Kristine Slipson is a photographer and a cappella aficionado from Orange County, California. She attended the University of California, Davis and spent her years there as a soprano in a co-ed a cappella group, The Lounge Lizards. After going to the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival with her fellow Lizards, she began to fully immerse herself in the a cappella community. She is now a CASA Ambassador and often works at CASA festivals as the event photographer.
On the video production side of the world, she has gained recognition for her work with Sing-Off champs, Home Free. When she isn’t holding a camera, Kristine is probably directing her Contemporary A Cappella League group, ‘Scenic Root, in which she is also the vocal percussionist.
Drew Wheaton is in his 23rd year as a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. He is currently the tenor of the International Gold Medalist quartet, Forefront, and director of the Thoroughbred Chorus. Drew holds bachelors degrees in Music Theory and Music education and is currently completing a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Louisville. There he founded the new a cappella group, Cardinal Rule.
Drew is a regular coach of both barbershop quartets and a cappella groups, and has been a clinician at Camp A Cappella, Kettering National A Cappella Festival, Harmony University, and various other a barbershop workshops. He also owns a learning track business at www.AKWRecording.com and resides in Louisville, KY with his wife, Kris.
Christina Smith is currently the Director of Choirs for Mad River Local Schools in Riverside at Stebbins High School and Mad River Middle School. Choirs under her direction have traveled around the Miami Valley and across the United States performing in New York and Florida.
She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. An active performer, Christina has sung such roles as “Maria” in West Side Story, “Narrator” in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and “Maria Rainier” in The Sound of Music. She also has directed several musicals for Stebbins High School, Kettering, Beavercreek, and Normandy UMC in Centerville.
A member of the Ohio Music Education Association for the past sixteen years, she is a busy adjudicator and has served as both a member of the editorial board for the state journal TRIAD as well as the choral committee for the 2007 State Conference.
Joe Whatley was the founder of Vega at Chaminade Julienne, and directed the group for four years. Under his direction the group released 2 studio CD’s, both with tracks selected for BOHSA and Voices Only. Vega has also made the National Finals for ICHSA 2 years in a row and placed 2nd in the nation the second year.
Joe also directs the Remedy a cappella at the University of Dayton. Recently Remedy has qualified for ICCA Great lakes Semifinal. They also placed 3rd in the Harmony Sweepstakes last year. He is now at Winton Woods High School and directs the a cappella groups Evolution and Redemption.
John DeFerraro is the Director of Choirs at Conner HS. He completed his Masters at Western Kentucky University and his Bachelors at the University of Kentucky, where he was a baritone/VP and arranger for the acoUstiKats.
Professionally, John currently serves on the KMEA State Choral Council as the District 2 Choral Chair. Additionally, he is active in the field of contemporary a cappella, serving as a nominator and judge for the CARA Awards, and as the Treasurer and Director of Outreach for the A Cappella Educators Association.
Rachel Chalhoub is excited to be back this summer with Camp A Cappella sharing her talents as a videographer and percussionist.
Rachel C has been the host of Inside A Cappella, performed on NBC’s The Sing-Off with NYC’s Element, and served as The Director of Video Production for The Vocal Company.
If you see her this summer, make sure to smile, cause you’ll probably be on camera!
Matthew Swope is the Director of Choral Activities and Performing Arts Department Chair at Winter Park High School in Winter Park, FL, where he directs Take 7 as well as Naughty Scotty and the Octapella. His choirs have performed at FMEA (2016), Florida ACDA (2011, 2015), and the ICHSA Finals (2012, 2015). Matthew serves on the voice faculty of Rollins College and was a founding member of the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers.
He received the MM degree in Voice Performance & Pedagogy and BA degrees in Music and Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies from Penn State University. Matthew was the 2013 recipient of the Penn State Outstanding Alumni Music Educator Award.
Still have questions?
Click on the chat icon below to speak with one of our friendly counselors.