our faculty


Artistic Director

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Andrew John Kim is an a cappella producer, performer, recording engineer, and arranger from New York City. He is the musical director and recording engineer for the award-winning five-person a cappella group, Backtrack. The group was recently featured on The Steve Harvey Show where they participated in a "Sing Off" competition and took the winning prize. Under Andrew's leadership, the group has performed his eclectic arrangements at notable venues across the country including Carnegie Hall, Apollo Theater, and Beacon Theater. 

Andrew received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition from Northwestern University and his Master of Music degree in Film Scoring from New York University. At Northwestern, Andrew was the musical director and founding member of the university's a cappella group, Extreme Measures.

As a member of Backtrack, Andrew has enjoyed conducting educational a cappella workshops for students of all ages as a guest artist in public and private schools throughout the country. His passion and commitment in supporting young singers also includes coaching, recording and writing arrangements for middle school, high school and collegiate groups. Andrew has arranged over 250 songs including top 40 hits, classic ballads, as well as holiday music for large corporate events. 

During the summer, Andrew serves on the faculty of Camp KO A Cappella Program at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, CT in addition to his role leading Camp A Cappella of CT. 

 

A Cappella Coach

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Mallory Moser is a singer, actress, and teaching artist based in New York City. She received her B.A. in Theatre with a musical theatre concentration at Northwestern University. In addition to directing and performing in numerous musicals and plays, she was a faculty member  at the "Cherubs" summer theatre program. Mallory also fulfilled the role of show producer for her a cappella group, X-Factors. After earning her bachelor's degree, she completed the prestigious professional training program at Actors Theatre of Louisville before joining Backtrack full time.

Mallory sings soprano for the award-winning ensemble Backtrack. In addition to a rigorous tour schedule across the nation, the group actively participates in educational outreach programs. Mallory enjoys conducting workshops throughout the school year with elementary to college-aged students and is proud to serve as an a cappella instructor at Camp KO Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, CT and Camp Timber Tops in Greeley, PA. She loves helping aspiring performers find their confidence and voice!

 

A Cappella Coach

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Jacqueline Sugrue is the choir director and general music teacher at Long Lots Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut. She performs as a soprano with the Connecticut Choral Artists (Concora), and is the conductor of the Concert Choir of the Fairfield County Children's Choir (FCCC). Jacqueline recently earned her Master of Music Education degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in piano and voice, from the Hartt School where she was fortunate enough to study with Dr. John Feierabend. Jacqueline is fully certified in the Feierabend Approach, as she holds her First Steps in Music, Conversational Solfege, and Conversational Solfege Upper Levels Certifications. Jacqueline has earned the first two Kodály Levels from the InterMuse Academy in Provo, Utah, and will be returning this summer for the final Level 3 Certification. 

 

Executive Director

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Danielle Merlis is a Connecticut based music educator and film composer. Her passion lies in sharing her diverse musical background with young students who want to enjoy music as a lifelong hobby, as well as those who would like to pursue music as a career. 

As both a composer and performer, Danielle's music spans traditional and contemporary styles including classical, world, electronic, pop, and jazz. Danielle has composed music for numerous films and documentaries as well as for ABC Television. 

Danielle has won numerous awards and competitions for her cello playing. She was invited to perform with the Norwalk Symphony as a featured soloist with renowned jazz musician Chris Brubeck and his band Triple Play. She also performed with Glenn Frey at Town Hall to promote his solo album After Hours and with the entire Eagles band at the Beacon Theater.

Danielle studied music at the Manhattan School of Music, Boston University's Tanglewood Institute, McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, in addition to New York University's Steinhardt school. She earned her bachelor's degree in cello performance under the instruction of Matt Haimovitz and Marion Feldman and her master's degree in film composition at New York University. While she was a student at Staples High School Danielle studied cello with Lois Errante and was a member of the Norwalk Youth Symphony Principal Orchestra. Danielle has performed as a soloist, orchestra member, chamber musician, and band member at various venues including Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Beacon Theater, Ozawa Concert Hall, Town Hall, CAMI Hall, The Shed at Tanglewood, Joe’s Pub, Lowe Theater, Provincetown Playhouse, and the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Read an article about Danielle here.

 

 

Assistant Director

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Long-time Westport resident Joan Merlis has a background as a music educator and choral conductor. She was on the music faculty of the Calhoun School in New York City, and at The Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts in Massachusetts. Founder of the TCS chorale in 1994, she has served as its music director for 23 years. She also performs with the Boston based choirs "Koleinu" and "Zachor."

Joan holds an MBA from Columbia University and worked in finance in New York City. She is also  a certified teacher of the GYROTONIC® method of movement, used by many musicians, dancers and others to maintain free movement of the body to enhance their professional and daily activities.