A Cappella guru Rob Dietz joins me this week to tell his story of passion for the “Pop A Cappella” genre of ensemble vocal music. Rob is well known in this sub-genre of choral music for his work on “The Sing Off” and collaborations with groups as wide ranging as Pentatonix, to Flo Rida and Incubus. In this conversation, we explore the common threads of “A Cappella” and “Traditional” choral ensembles as well as what makes the small pop vocal groups special to Rob and the genre’s growing number of practitioners. We also discuss how choral directors, like me and many others who are NOT well versed in this style can effectively begin to expose our students to this outlet. Tune in and stay at least for the beatboxing demo! 😉
Rob Dietz is a multiple CARA winning singer and vocal percussionist who has been arranging, composing, teaching, and performing contemporary a cappella music for over twenty years. Based in Los Angeles, Rob is best known for his work as an arranger and group coach for NBC’s The Sing-Off. Through his work on the show, Rob has had the pleasure of collaborating with some of the top talent in the vocal music world, including Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, The Filharmonic, Voiceplay, and many more. He has been a contributing arranger for performances by world renowned artists including Smokey Robinson, Flo Rida, Sara Bareilles, Incubus, and Pat Benatar. His arrangements have been featured on several TV shows, including America’s Got Talent (NBC), To All The Boys: P.S I Still Love You (Netflix), and Pitch Slapped (Lifetime).
A native of Ithaca, NY, Rob got his start singing in high school as a member of the a cappella quintet, Ascending Height, with whom he wrote and produced the first ever album of all original music at the high school level. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in music and an outside field in business. While at Ithaca, Rob had the honor of directing the all male-identified group, Ithacappella, with whom he twice advanced to the finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. He was also a member of both the Ithaca College Chorus and the Ithaca College Choir -the college’s select, touring vocal ensemble.
As a performer, Rob is an award-winning vocal percussionist, and his distinctive sound has been featured on several TV shows, including FOX’s Glee and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Rob was the founding vocal percussionist for both The Funx and Level, groups that gave him the opportunity to work with legendary performers including Jay Leno and Demi Lovato.
Rob has a deep passion for a cappella education, and is a founding co-director (along with Ben Bram and Avi Kaplan) of A Cappella Academy. In addition to his work with Academy, Rob is also the director of Legacy: an auditioned, community youth a cappella group based in Los Angeles. Since the group’s inception, Legacy has performed twice at Carnegie Hall, and has won the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival’s Scholastic Competition, the Southwest semifinal round of the Varsity Vocals A Cappella Open, and the Finals of the International Championship of High School A Cappella at Lincoln Center. Rob is a sought after presenter and clinician who has led vocal music workshops at events such as the National A Cappella Convention and the ACDA National convention. He is the author of “A Cappella 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary A Cappella Singing” available from Hal Leonard.
Alongside his work in contemporary a cappella music, Rob is also an avid choral composer, with work published by Alfred Music Publishing and GIA Publications. In 2021 his piece “The Gift” received a jury commendation as part of the King’s Singers New Music Prize competition. His pieces continue to be performed by choirs from all over the world.
- Car Thoughts
- Choir Director Probs
- Choralosophy Book Club
- Covid Conversations
- Educational Philosophy
- Human Diversity
- Instruction and Assessment
- Lori Sonnenberg
- Oxford Series
- Politics and Current Events
- Student Perspectives