Vocaversity Instructors

Marc Silverberg, Owner and Manager

Dr. Marc Silverberg has established himself as one of the leading voices in a cappella education today. He has served on the executive board of CASA.org as Director of Education and presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several AEA sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, the Nassau County PEAK Festival, the National A cappella Convention, and the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 National Convention. In spring of 2018, Dr. Silverberg became the first guest conductor for the Suffolk County Music Educator Association’s All-County Contemporary A cappella group. 

 

Beginning in 2020, Dr. Silverberg pioneered two new breakthroughs in a cappella education: A cappella Masterclass (acappellamasterclass.com) and VocaVersity, the world’s first, certified online school for contemporary a cappella (vocaversity.org). He is also the creator of Acappellapparel, the online a cappella-based clothing store (Dr. Marc Silverberg has established himself as one of the leading voices in a cappella education today. He has served on the executive board of CASA.org as Director of Education and presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several AEA sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, the Nassau County PEAK Festival, the National A cappella Convention, and the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 National Convention. In spring of 2018, Dr. Silverberg became the first guest conductor for the Suffolk County Music Educator Association’s All-County Contemporary A cappella group. 

 

His professional performing group, Satellite Lane, was crowned the 2013, 2014, and 2018 New York Harmony Sweepstakes “Audience Favorite,” and he has won the award for “Best Arrangement” in the 2013, 2016, and 2018 Harmony Sweepstakes competitions. Satellite Lane also recently took second place at the 2018 Varsity Vocals Aca-Open Semi-Finals. Under his pseudonym “Docacappella,” (docacappella.com) he has released several humorous a cappella parodies, which have been nominated for 6 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards. 

 

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 (B.M.), Westminster Choir College (M.M.), and Five Towns College (D.M.A.).

Andrew Berkowitz, Instructor

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. He has also worked as their chief video producer for the past 6 years, creating unique music videos that show off the band’s dynamic music style. 2-time Grand Prize Champions of 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 could say that Berko has a sort of - fondness (obsession) - for vocal music.

When he's not making music or editing videos, Berko enjoys playing board games, trying to fix his bicycle, or cosplaying as Kylo Ren.

Nicky Brenner, Instructor

Nicky Brenner is an a cappella performer, arranger, recording engineer and producer based in NYC. Nicky works for Viridian Productions where she does production as well as education with ELEVATE, an educational program  designed to help students build the necessary skills for a cappella audio and visual production. Nicky is currently the Music Director and Founder of VICE A Cappella (@viceacappella), a 5-person all female a cappella group. Nicky was the Music Director of the NYU Cleftomaniacs and with them won awards such as Outstanding Arrangement at the 2019 ICCA Quarter Finals in NYC and the 2020 CARA Award for Best Female Collegiate Arrangement. Nicky is a 2019 graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts/NSB. 

 

Learn more at https://nickybrenner.com/a-cappella

Mel Daneke, Instructor

A New Jersey native, Mel Daneke is a contemporary performer, arranger, producer, and instructor. Mel graduated from Ithaca College in December of 2013 with a B.M. in Vocal Performance, minor in Audio Production, and also studied Music Education. While in college she performed in three of her own conceptual recitals and in the IC Opera Studio, Opera Workshops, IC Opera, Choral Ensembles, Percussion and Steel Band Ensemble, and smaller ensembles. She’s traveled to Germany performing in the International Performing Arts Institute to further her performance training. While at school, Mel was the conductor, arranger, and choreographer of Ithaca College’s female identifying a cappella group, Premium Blend.

Mel currently performs with two internationally renowned and award winning vocal band. Musae (Beatboxer + DJ) and Six Appeal (singer). She’s traveled extensively headlining and performing at festivals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Germany, and all over the United States. Her performances and CARA-nominated production has appeared on compilations like Sing, BOHSA, Voices Only, and Voices Only Forte.

Mel’s passion for music continues through teaching and sharing her musical knowledge. With an extensive knowledge of vocal techniques and pedagogy, she specializes in in-studio coaching and masterclasses. Her workshops (“Exploring the Voice”, “Vocal Percussion”, “Bodymind Awareness”) and masterclasses have been featured at Boston Sings Festival, SoJam A Cappella Festival, Kettering A Cappella Festival, Sing! Texas, UK Voices Festival, New Jersey A Cappella Festival, the National A Cappella Convention, and NJ American Choral Directors Association (NJ ACDA). 

 

Mel has a knack for exploring and creating new sounds produced from the human voice. Her production work stems from a love of percussion and vocal music. Mel consistently draws inspiration from her diverse background in many styles of music, including Percussion Ensemble and Steel Band Music, EDM, R&B, Funk, Gospel, Opera, Glo-Fi, Rock, and Reggae. She fully believes that there’s diva/rock star inside of every performer, and she can help you find yours.

Bryan Guffey, Instructor

Bryan Guffey (they/them) has been singing longer than they can remember (seriously, ask their parents). Since forming their first group, 50/50, in high school in 1997, Bryan has been a passionate advocate and believer in the power of vocal music to change lives for the better. After graduating with their BFA in Musical Theatre from Kent State in 2006, Bryan worked with Grammy Award-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn on a remount of the Broadway musical The Civil War in Gettysburg, PA, which led them to audition for Full Sail, an a cappella group on the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises, where they had the opportunity to work with and learn from the likes of Home Free’s Tim Foust. Bryan returned to the US where they helped launch A Cappella Records and become much more involved in the a cappella community. Bryan has been a Varsity Vocals judge for the past 7 years, has taught all over the country at festivals like SoJam, NACC, WeSing, Milwaukappella, LAAF, and SingStrong, and has coached many award-winning groups including Voicebox, Ithacappella, Forte, Limited Edition, and more. 

Andrew Kim, Instructor

Andrew John Kim is an A Cappella Producer, Recording Engineer and Arranger from New York City. He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Composition from Northwestern University and his Master of Music in Film Scoring from New York University. At Northwestern, Andrew was a founding member and music director of his collegiate a cappella group, Extreme Measures. He also founded, music directed, and arranged for the professional a cappella group, Backtrack. With Backtrack, Andrew had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall, the Beacon Theatre, the UN, during the Broadway show, Kinky Boots, and on the Steve Harvey Show. Andrew founded and currently manages and directs Iris Vocal Trio, winners of the 2018 International A Cappella Open.

Jon Smith, Instructor

Jon Smith is a vocalist, arranger, director, vocal coach, and recording engineer from New York. He currently sings Tenor in the five-time Grammy-winning vocal group, The Swingles.

While on tour with The Swingles, Jon has had the chance to sing alongside world-renowned artists such as Gareth Malone, Kurt Elling, New York Voices, and The Real Group. The group has also been featured on OnlyConnect and The West Wing Weekly. In addition to touring with The Swingles, Jon is an accomplished session singer specialising in pop, jazz, gospel, and classical/choral music. You can hear his voice on movie soundtracks such as “Downsizing,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” and “Cats.” Jon’s award-winning arrangements can be heard on many a cappella compilation albums (BOCA, Voices Only, Sing) and have also been featured on SKY 1’s TV Show “Sing: Ultimate A cappella.” While working on the show, Jon arranged for the Billboard chart-topping British band, The Vamps.

 

Jon specialises as a coach and masterclass clinician for high school, collegiate, and professional singing groups all across the world, many of whom have gone on to receive high placements and special awards at competitions for their performances. He teaches voice with a holistic approach, understanding that all types of singing can be taught in tandem, with long-term vocal health remaining paramount.

 

When he is not travelling the world with his fellow Swingles, Jon resides in London.

 

To find out more, go to www.jonjsmithmusic.com