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Mel Daneke


+ RECORDING Engineer | producer | arranger

Current Location: AUSTIN, TX

Hailing from Brooklyn, 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 all-female a cappella group, Premium Blend.

After graduation, Mel auditioned and was accepting into the internationally renowned vocal band, Musae, as the group’s Vocal Percussionist. With Musae, she’s traveled extensively headlining and performing at festivals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Germany, and all over the United States. Under her artist name, Valor, she releases covers and original work. Her works 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.


Mark Farnum

recording engineer | Producer | arranger


Mark is an audio engineer, producer, and arranger from upstate NY. He earned a Bachelors of Music in Sound Recording Technology from Ithaca College, and was the music director of Ithacappella.

After graduating, he sang with the Hyannis Sound, Cape Cod’s professional men’s a cappella group, for two summers. He’s now based in NYC, where he works as a freelancer audio engineer and sings with a new group, Highline Vocal Jazz. Mark loves working with groups to create arrangements and recordings that highlight their strengths. 



Katherine Bodor


Current Location: Bloomington, IN

Katherine is a professional composer and arranger originally from Minneapolis, MN. She currently lives and works in Bloomington, IN, where she just completed her MM in Composition from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Her musical focus - whether arranging for voices or writing for contemporary chamber ensembles - is on layering, texture, and nuance within emotional story arcs. Katherine’s choral and chamber music has been premiered throughout the US and internationally, and as an arranger, she works with high school, collegiate, and professional ensembles to unlock the depth of their vocal expression. Her work is featured on compilations such as Voices Only, and her arrangements have helped clients make it to the ICCA Open finals as well as advance in ICCA/ICHSA. She regularly judges for Varsity Vocals competitions, masterclasses and teaches at CASA festivals, and dives into score study with her composition and arranging students to pick apart effective music note by note. Count on Katherine for passionate, nuanced arrangements that bring out heartfelt, emotional expression - because that’s what it’s all about.


Jerry Merkel



Though Jerry started to play piano and sing at a young age, his love for arranging wasn’t realized until college. While studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut, Jerry’s a cappella career thrived, directing his co-ed group A Minor from modest to award winning, placing first at the 2017 ICCA Northeast Quarterfinals where he took home Outstanding Arrangement along with the group’s Outstanding Choreography, and Outstanding Soloist. The group then went on to compete in semifinals at Boston Symphony Hall, refreshing Connecticut’s a cappella atmosphere.

Since then, Jerry has continued his arranging career; creating contemporary vocal music with fresh, cinematic takes on songs, drawing from deep emotion, shadowy harmonies and seductive dissonance. He has arranged for groups such as Musae, TCU License to Trill, and UCLA Resonance, as well as international groups like Australia’s Vocally Owned and Vocal Pop & Jazz in The Netherlands. He travels around the country to help bring ICCA competing groups to their full potential.

Jerry aims to create masterclasses and mentorships to help young arrangers and singers succeed in all aspects of a cappella; whether that is in high school, college, at a competition like ICCA or BOSS, or on paper, arranging and composing. He aims to create cutting-edge contemporary vocal music. Jerry is devoted to making every arrangement he works on true to both the singers and his craft.  


Taylor Charles Smith



Taylor is a professional singer, composer, arranger, and instructor originally from Eastern Long Island. Currently residing in NYC, he devotes his time to teaching vocal music of all different genres to today’s youth. Taylor received his Bachelor’s degree in music (voice) from Ithaca College. While in Ithaca, he was a part of an all-male a cappella group called Ithacappella. Throughout his tenure with this group, he wrote and constructed over 60 arrangements, many of which you can hear on their latest albums. 

Taylor’s background with multiple genres as both a singer and writer has formed his professional career. He has performed in over a dozen musicals, most of which took place in a professional equity regional theatre. He has also been a part of a few operas making his vocal and musical abilities span across many genres.

Throughout his career he has written for various groups across the U.S. His writing is constantly fueled by his love and passion for vocal music. He was trained by some of the most influential minds in the a cappella field today. In turn, Taylor has been associated with many CARA nominated works. Taylor’s sunny disposition, positive outlook and caring personality make him a match for just about any group looking for an instructor. His experience as an instructor has helped several ICCA and ICHSA groups advance far within the competition.

Taylor’s love and drive for his craft motivates and inspires him to create great music! Once a project crosses his desk, he is quick on the job and ready to create something beautiful, rich and full of purpose! His belief in how music can be a source and avenue for human connectivity is the reason why he has chosen his career path!


Hannah Sands



Hannah is a graphic designer, marketing expert, and advertising professional residing in Manhattan. She graduated from Ithaca College with a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications, a minor in Music, and also studied vocal performance. She is currently studying Graphic Design at Parsons School of Design.

While at Ithaca, Hannah served as the President of the all-female a cappella group, Premium Blend. She coordinated the group’s concert schedule, fundraising efforts, album recording, and designed all branding and marketing materials (#tealappeal). She has been active in the aca-munity for over a decade, first recording and competing with the Marblehead High School Jewel Tones in 2006. She is currently a member of The Workshop, a semi-professional co-ed group in NYC, and recently facilitated the group’s rebranding efforts.

Since graduating from Ithaca in 2014, Hannah has worked in advertising technology servicing an array of Fortune 500 clients. She believes in the power of a strong brand, and looks forward to helping you create the visual representation your music deserves.