Every organization needs the wisdom and guidance of an experienced group of advisors to help shape it into all it can be. The CASA Advisory Board provides oversight and direction for our Operational Staff and the organization as a whole.
Deke Sharon has been singing a cappella since the age of five and spent his formative years with one foot in traditional choral idioms (church choir, San Francisco Boys Chorus, madrigals, barbershop) and the other in rock bands. The two came together during his tenure as music director of the Tufts Beelzebubs, and he formed CASA in hopes of creating a community of like-minded acappellaheads.
Often called the "father of contemporary a cappella” (Entertainment Weekly), Deke has played a prominent and influential role in the formation of CASA's many outreach programs and events, as well as serving as arranger and music director for a cappella movies (Pitch Perfect 1, 2, 3), television (The Sing Off - NBC, Pitch Slapped - Lifetime, Pitch Battle - BBC), and Broadway (In Transit).
He toured the world for almost 25 years in The House Jacks, has written 5 books on a cappella, arranged over 2,000 songs, oversees Camp A Cappella, and appears frequently at a cappella events. His latest project is Disney’s DCappella.
Bill Hare has been a full-time recording engineer/producer for 35 years, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella.
Over the decades, Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known Contemporary A Cappella groups around the globe - from The Swingle Singers to The King’s Singers in the UK, Basix to Vocal Line in Denmark, Italy's Cluster, The Ghost Files, Alti & Bassi and Maybe6ix, German supergroups Wise Guys, Amarcord and Maybebop to name just a few, as well as artists from dozens of other countries from Australia to Zimbabwe.
Of course, at the same time he also covered the USA from his home base in California, working with top American acts including The House Jacks, m-pact, Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, The Backbeats, Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys as well as working on the hit NBC Television show The Sing-Off.
Collegiate A Cappella clients include The Tufts Beelzebubs, University of Oregon On The Rocks and Divisi, The Stanford Harmonics, and scores of others. Bill’s story was also told in the original book version of Pitch Perfect, from which the popular movies were adapted.
Bill is the world’s most awarded individual Contemporary A Cappella producer, including more than 70 appearances on BOCA, over 100 CARA nominations, nearly 40 albums in the RARB "Picks of the Year" lists, and 11 "DeeBee" awards since 1987 in the Vocal Jazz category from Downbeat Magazine. Numerous appearances at the top of Billboard, iTunes, and other major charts. Multiple Gold and Platinum record certifications, as well as multiple Grammy Awards and nominations. Bill's website is http://www.billhare.tv/
Gina Deaton has a background in vocal performance and has been singing as long as she can remember. Unlike most folks in the a cappella community, Gina didn't sing in a contemporary a cappella group until well after college when she helped form the semi-professional group Breakdown. The group performed primarily in the Atlanta area, with Gina writing original songs, arranging, and acting as co-director. After attending SoJam, Gina fell in love with the community and started volunteering with CASA events and judging ICCAs. She continues to work on original music.
Evan Feist has composed, arranged, taught, and performed a cappella music for more than 15 years. As the founder of the Creative Vocal Lab, Evan has been teaching singers of all ages to improvise in both small and large groups He’s earned two master’s degrees in Music Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and a MusB from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music. In 2014, the New York Musical Theatre Festival presented him with the Outstanding Musical Direction and Outstanding Arrangements awards for A Cappella: the musical. Evan has vocal coached for The Voice, sung with Bobby McFerrin, and helped scout for America’s Got Talent. He is the creator of the sold-out 54Below series, "Broadway Goes A Cappella", was the Content Director of the world's first all vocal/a cappella TV channel, FloVoice, and now travels the world as an audio engineer, singer, and vocal percussionist.
DIRECTOR OF AWARDS
As a musician Jessica started at an early age, playing piano and flute throughout her childhood, but she discovered singing and a cappella during high school and was immediately hooked. In college she sang with and directed the Boston University Allegrettos, doing most of the arranging as well as producing an album, and sang with friends in her hometown during the summers in Henry Fonda & the Falsettos. She now works at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, serves as Executive Producer for the N.E. Voices Festival, and has continued to arrange for various collegiate and high school groups around the country. Some of her other interests include Boston sports, video games, and all dogs, ever.
DIRECTOR OF EVENTS
Meron is originally from New York and got her start in a cappella in 2004 with Duke University's Lady Blue. She has been an active member of the a cappella community ever since, working for CASA in various roles, judging at Varsity Vocals events, performing at festivals across the country, and collaborating with some of the best in the business. Meron was a member of NYC CAL group, Empire and after moving to Los Angeles in 2012, she co-founded the award-winning CAL group, Premiere, serving as their President for 3 years. Meron is currently a member of professional vocal group, VXN. She previously served as executive producer of the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF) from 2015 to 2017. Since becoming Director of Events in 2017, Meron oversees all of CASA's festivals and events including LAAF, BOSS and SoJam in addition to shepherding new event initiatives like LocalVocal. She lives in Los Angeles and works full-time as a TV/film producer.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Jacob Berglin joined the music education faculty at Florida International University in the fall of 2018. His research interests include access to music education based on race, class and gender; the social and vocal concerns surrounding transgender student participation in choral music programs; and incorporating contemporary a cappella process and practice into the secondary choral classroom. His scholarly writing has been featured in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Arts Education Policy Review, and theChoral Journal. He has presented his work at state, regional, and national conferences including the Michigan and Illinois Music Educators’ Association Conferences, the Symposium on Music Teacher Education, the College Music Society’s 60thAnnual Conference, and National Association for Music Education’s Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference.
Jacob holds degrees from the University of Michigan (M.M. in music education) and Valparaiso University (B.M. in vocal performance) as well as teaching certification from Western Michigan University. Before entering higher education, Jacob spent six years teaching urban public middle and high school, where his responsibilities included directing choirs, teaching traditional secondary general music courses (piano and guitar) and developing new courses focused on music technology and beat production. He is an active clinician and adjudicator in both classical choral and contemporary a cappella settings.
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY
Shane began arranging music at an early age and ventured into arranging a cappella music at the age of 16. She started her contemporary a cappella career at Georgia Tech as a performer, arranger, and eventual president of the all female group, Nothin' but Treble. While still in college, she also began singing in a rock/gospel semi-professional group, Breakdown, in Atlanta. Shane continues to arrange and coach groups as well as judge for the ICCAs. An engineer at heart, Shane spends her days as a web software developer. @shaneardell
Andrew "Berko" Berkowitz is a full-time touring a cappella musician and award-winning songwriter based in Minneapolis, MN. He works primarily as the Vocal Percussionist for the internationally-acclaimed and 2012 National Harmony Sweepstakes Champions Six Appeal Vocal Band. This last Spring, they returned to Moscow, Russia to defend their title as Grand Prize Champions in the world's largest a cappella competition. A founding member of 7 Days A Cappella at the University of Minnesota and creator of a few a cappella musicals at the MN Fringe Festival, you might say that Berko has a sort of - fondness (obsession) - for a cappella. When he's not making music, Berko enjoys playing board games, trying to fix his bicycle, or cosplaying as Kylo Ren. @beatboxberko
Jessie Louise Mark
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Jessie joined the CASA Board in 2019 as the Director of Human Resources. Jessie holds a BA in History of Medicine, Science & Technology from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. While a student at Duke, Jessie sang with Duke's award-winning a cappella group, Lady Blue. After graduating, Jessie moved to New York where she sang with Empire A Cappella and co-founded VXN, a five person vocal group, with fellow CASA board member Meron Mogos. Jessie served as the Scholastic Festival Producer for The Betsy's A Cappella Festival in Miami Beach, FL from 2014-2019 and has taught music theory for vocal arranging workshops at SoJam, LAAF and BOSS. Jessie is currently based in San Francisco where she works at Cisco Systems as a People & Communities Business Partner.
SOJAM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Brooks found a cappella in his freshman year at North Carolina State University; He joined The Grains of Time where he became the Business Manager and Executive Board leader. Brooks has dedicated his time to all forms of a cappella and experiencing it in schools, competitions, and festivals. After college Brooks joined the Sojam Production team as the Showcase Coordinator and has since become the Executive Producer of the festival. When hes not working on a cappella events and education, Brooks works as a bio-pharmaceutical research in Durham, NC at KBI Biopharma.