Meet our TAs | UCLA Department of Music














Mark Myers is currently pursuing his DMA in Choral Conducting at the Herb Alpert School of Music. A native of Northeastern Indiana, he arrived at UCLA after many years as a choral music educator and freelance musician in the Chicago area.

For 12 years, Mark taught choral music and music theory at Waubonsie Valley High School, serving an extremely diverse student population from the western Chicago suburbs of Aurora and Naperville, Illinois. During his tenure at WVHS, the music department was recognized on five occasions as a GRAMMY Signature School and twice as a GRAMMY Gold Signature School. Mark helped to develop a large and inclusive program of traditional concert choirs and chamber ensembles, pop a cappella groups, a 135-voice all school unity chorus, and nationally recognized show choirs.

Under his direction, WVHS vocal ensembles performed across the globe, from New York City to Los Angeles and Australia to South Africa in venues including the House of Blues, Sydney Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center. The choirs also collaborated with a number of professional artists and ensembles, including Vusi Mahlasela, Sowah Mensah, Kirk Whalum, Anders Åstrand, Dolora Zajick, the Native Jazz Quartet, Chanticleer, and the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Prior to his time at Waubonsie Valley, Mark was a conductor on the staff of both of Chicagoland’s world-renowned children’s choruses, Anima - Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus and the Chicago Children’s Choir. He has also been extremely honored to serve as a guest conductor for high school and middle school concert choirs and show choirs throughout the United States. Mark also maintains a busy schedule as a freelance arranger.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where he was named the Outstanding Music Major, and a Master of Music from Northwestern University, where he was the Program Honors recipient in Music Education.

Mark may be contacted at:



Ryan R. Brown is a choral conductor and baritone living in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently an Associate Conductor of the National Children's Chorus, Teaching Assistant at UCLA, and an Ensemble Artist with Seraphic Fire and De Angelis. Ryan is studying Choral Conducting with Dr. James Bass at UCLA. Some of his previous appointments include serving as Artistic Director of the professional vocal ensemble "Diamonds From The Dust," Artistic Director of the Wachusett Community Choir, Choral Director at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA, and as singer and conductor in "Triad: Boston's Choral Collective." In 2014, Ryan graduated as valedictorian at Westminster Choir College where he studied Music Education. As a lover of everything very old and very new he especially enjoys performing music of the renaissance, baroque, and contemporary periods. Some of Ryan’s recent performances include the role of "Pontifex" in Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and various modern operas with companies including the Spoleto Festival and Lincoln Center Festival.

Ryan may be contacted at: 



Desiree Balfour is currently pursuing her DMA in Choral Conducting at the Herb Alpert School of Music. A native of southern California, she received the Most Outstanding Student Award in Music Education while completing her music education degree from the CSU-Northridge. While completing her Master's degree in Music from the internationally recognized Choral Conducting program housed each summer at CSU-Los Angeles, she received a special recognition in graduate studies.

After serving for five years as director of choral and guitar activities at Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles, Desiree became one of three music teachers to start the music program at Ramon C. Cortines High School of Visual and Performing Arts. Desiree’s choral, guitar and vocal jazz ensembles, have all been recognized throughout California as performing at Superior levels at Heritage, District, Verdugo Hills a cappella Scholarship, and Forum Music Festivals. In 2013, the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) presented Desiree with America’s Excellence in Guitar Education award. As well, in 2014, Desiree was honored to be named a quarterfinalist, selected from more than 7,000 nominations, for the second annual Music Educator Award presented by the Grammy Foundation.

As a teacher and conductor, Desiree had the privilege of being a two-time honor choir director including the Southern California Vocal Association's Jr. High Honor Choir in 2014 and Los Angeles Unified School District's Eighth Annual Middle School Honor Music Festival in 2011. She has served as both a vocal and guitar adjudicator in LA Unified festivals, and for five years she conducted members of the LAMC Chamber Singers while collaborating with Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Voices Within oratorio project. As a long-term ambassador for the non-profit group Little Kids Rock, as well as during her term as president of the Los Angeles Secondary Music Teacher’s Association, Desiree worked on developing curriculum, organizing events and opportunities for both teachers and students. She has also continued to work with guitar students as a director for the first annual GFA 2017 week-long guitar summit.

Prior to starting her doctorate program, Desiree served as the first assistant conductor of VOX Femina, Los Angeles under the direction of Dr. Iris Levine where she was instrumental in launching VOX's Youth Outreach program, and which she continues to be a proud member of today.