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I grew up in a dance studio.  My parents (Broadway veterans) were the artistic directors of a non-profit regional dance company.  After school I would watch my parents teach ballet, tap, and jazz class and produce concerts and festivals learning the importance of discipline, dedication, and determination that is needed to be successful in the arts.

Although it would seem obvious that the son of dancing parents should also learn to dance, it was clear to mom and dad that music was my forte.  Admittedly, I found myself focusing less on the dance and more on the music my parents were choreographing to anyway. 

Funny enough, my introduction to a cappella music came from the dance school.  Two of the guys in my parents dance company had started an a cappella group that would eventually become known as The Blenders.  As members of the dance company, they were already adopted into the family, so from their beginning in Fargo, North Dakota, The Blenders have always been like older brothers to me.

In my teens, I spent a fair amount of time after school with The Blenders, experiencing the world of professional a cappella from the inside. I would join them on tour- running their lights, sound and the sales table.  When they were home, I would frequently sit in on rehearsals and late-night recording and mix sessions.  Who knew that these experiences would apply so well to my current career in Blue Jupiter

After high school, I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA pursuing a dual major of Film Scoring and Music Production and Engineering.  My intention was to become a famous film composer and studio mix engineer.  Then, somewhat by accident, an a cappella group was born (then known as 5th Edition) which would become Blue Jupiter. 

During the last 5 years with Blue Jupiter, I’ve produced and engineered all three of our albums, managed the business and bookings, singing baritone and VP, running the lights and sound from stage, and surviving through six membership changes and three major relocations. Nearly every day I call upon the talents given to me by my parents, the insight gained from The Blenders, and the skills I developed in college.  In addition to Blue Jupiter, I am a partner at a studio in New York City, compose music for gymnastics and figure skaters, arrange music for a cappella groups, and do some freelance graphic design and production consultation.

So, why become the editor of CASA?

The aca-world is small, but powerful.  Certainly, we have a lot to benefit from each other, but there is so much we offer to the rest of the world if we could just lead them to our doors.  And for the many among us who swim in all pools a cappella, there are so many resources sitting just outside of our doors that we don’t know about or choose not to see.

To write better music, to arrange better songs, to create better albums, to better understand the music business, to book more shows, to find better agents, to listen more critically, and to ultimately fulfill the mission at hand – to promote and encourage contemporary a cappella, we must look beyond the box we have created for ourselves. 

I’m not here to change the world.  In fact I applaud all that CASA has become in the past year or two.  As editor of CASA, my mission is to bridge the gap between “us” and “them” while exploring every corner of our own community with more interviews, opinions, games, polls, and stories of who, what, where, when, why and how.

I look forward walking this path with you and welcome all comments and contributions. 

- Marty Gasper

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