A Cappella at the Rock Clinicians
Shams is an arranger, music director, and producer from Cherry Hill, NJ. Currently based in Los Angeles, Shams spends
his time bringing vocal music projects to life. He attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where he studied Finance
and Mandarin while directing collegiate a cappella heavyhitters, The Nor’easters. During his tenure, the group picked up countless
compilation placements and CARA awards, earning numerous personal arranging awards. Shams was featured alongside
The Nor’easters in POP TV’s reality docu-series, Sing It On. He is also a director and a teacher of musicianship and
arranging at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based summer camp founded by Avi Kaplan, formerly of Pentatonix. Shams recently launched a female pop/R&B vocal group called Citizen Queen along with Scott Hoying, Ben Bram, and Jonathan Kalter. Within 2 months of its existence, the group already has over 200k subscribers and 7 million views on YouTube. The four are also poised to launch a kids a cappella brand called Acapop! later in 2019. Shams also serves as Director, Talent & Creative for Northeastern University’s $1.4 billion Empower fundraising campaign. He is based in Boston, arranging, coaching, and overseeing projects in the a cappella world.
Shane is a freelance choreographer, adjudicator and clinician based in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Teays Valley High School where he was apart of the award winning “Prominent Rendition.” Shane is a graduate of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Popular Culture and a minor in music. Shane also studied music education for four years while at BGSU. He currently choreographs for many show choirs across the country and has won many best choreography awards working with these groups. Shane has also choreographed for collegiate operas, musicals, A Cappella groups and barbershop choruses. He was a member of the BGSU Men’s Chorus as well as a founding member of the Pop – A Cappella group, the HeeBeeBGs. While with the HeeBeeBGs, he helped the group with best choreography at ICCA. In his “free” time, Shane enjoys reading and hanging out with his dog, Wrigley.
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 educator based in New York City. She has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” Project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s The Sing-Off with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. While at Eastman, she taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women’s Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a Conducting Fellow at the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
She currently directs “The Art of A Cappella” at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing music in the contemporary a cappella style. In addition to myriad vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the States.
Ben is the Choral Director at Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio, where he directs all five of the choirs: Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, Bella Voce, Symphonic Choir, and the a cappella group Forte. In 2016, Forte was crowned the winner of the International Championship of High School A Cappella, and has been named the International Runner-Up a total of four times. Forte has recorded 9 albums including 3 albums of all-original a cappella music that have won numerous Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). Forte has performed as part of The Sing-Off tour and has collaborated with artists like JoJo, India Carney, Andy Grammer, and Kirstin Maldonado of Pentatonix. His Symphonic Choir was a consortium member for Eric Whitacre’s Good Night Moon, and the Centerville choirs have also performed with Eliot Sloan of Blessid Union of Souls. Ben holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Kentucky and a Masters of Music Education from Kent State University. Ben’s a cappella roots go back to college, when he was a member of the University of Kentucky AcoUstiKats (as seen on NBC’s The Sing-Off ) and a semi-professional group called 5 by Tuesday. Ben is an avid supporter of a cappella music and recently wrote a book with Deke Sharon and Brody McDonald, called A Cappella (available at Amazon.com and other resellers). He is a founding member of the A Cappella Education Association and is associated with several other a cappella organizations. He is an instructor at Camp A Cappella and an active clinician for vocal groups across the country.