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BVHS math teacher’s music career is ‘adding up’
Jacob Daniel to introduce new CD at local event Friday
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

July 16. 2014 9:38AM
A Brandon Valley High School math teacher is realizing a dream outside of the classroom this summer.

This summer, Jacob Daniel or locally recognized as BVHS math teacher Jacob Shoup (pronounced Shop), is promoting his very first musical endeavor, the five-track CD, “Wonderfully Made.” It’s a compilation of Daniel’s five best contemporary Christian originals. His wife, Chezarae, and CD producer Daniel Ornellas co-wrote some of the songs with him.

Daniel, who grew up in Pierre, has a long relationship with music. While he was part of the percussionist section of his high school band – opting not to take an extra credit for choir – music has long been a big part of his life. It became an even larger part when his freshman college roommate taught him how to play the guitar.

“From then on I started writing songs and just very much getting into leading worship,” he said, eventually drawing him to a part-time job in that profession.

“It just became a huge passion for me, and so the idea of actually getting to record a CD came about after writing a bunch of songs and just wanting the music to be available to people,” he said. “I guess music’s always been a big passion in my life, but it’s gotten more so recently.”

He got a big push from his parents, especially his mother, to pursue recording his music, he said.

“She had been bugging me to record a CD for a long time, but I told them that I wanted to do it right,” he said.

Daniel admits he was in the “what do I do next phase” when his prayers were answered through a simple online inquiry.

“I had been praying about it a lot. ‘God, what do you want me to do with these songs?’ I was online – just kind of Googling some things, and came across this thing called CMI Academy, which stands for Christian Music Industry Academy,” he tells. Daniel describes CMI as an online school for aspiring Christian musicians who are wanting to take the next step in recording and learning the business side of the industry.

“I was a part of it for a few months and then they had this live event in Nashville, so I went to that and met this guy named Daniel Ornellas,” Daniel said. Ornellas, who would eventually produce Daniel’s CD, is a former member of the band Tree 363, a popular Christian band from the early 2000s to the late 2000s. The band’s biggest hit, “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord,” is a well-known worship song, Daniel says.

It would be Ornellas who introduced him to “Kickstarter,” an online fundraising program that helped him raise the necessary funds to cover the CD’s costs. In all, Daniel raised about $12,000 through Kickstarter.

“It came to be about $1,800 bucks a song,” Daniel said. “That includes all the recording, the production, the musicians, all the mastering that goes into the CD. The music itself was about $9,000 for the five songs.”

Daniel used the remaining $3,000 for traveling expenses and mass production costs for 1,000 CDs, of which he’s already sold about 600.

“It was really amazing to see people’s willingness to give to this project, and is just really cool to see God use it and move through this whole thing,” Daniel said. “It was just an idea and an ‘I don’t know God if this is want you me to do thing,’ but it was pretty clear after raising $12,000 that this is what He wanted me to do.”

The CD is available for purchase on his website, or, where it can be downloaded or ordered. It’s also available at Crossroads Book Store in Sioux Falls or from Daniel himself.

Although all of Daniel’s songs were originally written for a solo guitar, it was Ornellas who helped him transition them for a band and back-up vocals.

“I think we nailed it,” Daniel says. “The talent of the musicians down there that Daniel got, it sounds as high quality as you hear on the radio. Even though these songs were written for a solo guitar act, that’s been the really cool thing is to see these songs transform from hearing me singing with my acoustic guitar to this full production.”

BVHS Principal Gregg Talcott is helping to promote Daniel’s music on the local scene. This Friday, he’ll perform all five songs from his CD, “Wonderfully Made,” as well as others he’s written in an outdoor concert setting.

“I really want to support his efforts,” Talcott says of his behind-the-scenes role. “He’s just a really good guy, and I’ve always believed in helping people achieve their dreams a little bit, and this is something he’s certainly dreamed about.”

Opening for Daniel are the musically inclined Brown brothers – Joey, Steven, Mark and Ethan – who will play a variety of bluegrass tunes. The free concert is at the rural Brandon home of their parents, Jon and Karla Brown.

One of Daniel’s first opportunities to share his original music locally was this past spring at a high school assembly.

“A lot of the students don’t have me (as a teacher), so they don’t know what I like to do in my spare time. Even some of my own students didn’t really know that I could sing and do music,” Daniel said. “It was kind of cool to share my music with them and get to know a little about me.”

“We were certainly blessed to have that opportunity,” Talcott adds. “It’s a great thing for our kids to understand that our teachers have lives outside of the classroom; that they have all sorts of gifts. Last year (at BVHS) we focused on ‘you can go anywhere from here,’ well, the same for a teacher, too.”

Daniel followed that performance up by singing “Oh My Strength” at this past spring’s Baccalaureate services.

“To share one of my original songs with the seniors at Baccalaureate, that was pretty special,” Daniel said. “That particular song was ‘Oh My Strength,’ the fifth one on the CD, and a lot of people seem to like it.”

“After Baccalaureate people asked me what grade he is in,” Talcott recalls in regard to the youthful looking Daniel. “I had to laugh and say, ‘he’s not a student, he’s a teacher here.’ ”
* What: Free outdoor concert by Jacob Daniel and The Brown Brothers

* When: Friday, July 18 at 7 p.m.

* Where: Jon & Karla Brown home, 25857 480th Ave., Brandon. Directions from Brandon – Take Highway 11 north to 259th Street (left turn) and go to 480th Avenue (left turn). Look for signs.

* To contact Jacob Daniels: Website –;;

* To purchase: Download Jacob Daniel’s music on his website, at or purchase at Crossroads Bookstore in Sioux Falls or from Daniel himself. They are $8 each, two for $12 or $5 each for three or more.

Jacob Daniel (or Jacob Shoup, as known as a math teacher at Brandon Valley High School), has recorded his first CD, "Wonderfully Made." The five-song disc will be available for sale at a July 18 concert in Brandon. Photo by Zeke Hanson

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