The Desert Aires Directing Team

Cary Burns, Director

Cary Burns is a music director, arranger, singer, voice instructor, judge, clinician, and vocal ensemble coach who shares his wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and love of music throughout the United States and Canada.

Cary has extensive vocal and instrumental music experience, including jazz, pop, big band, a cappella, marching band, theater, electronic music and more. He is currently a certified Music category judge for the Barbershop Harmony Society and Harmony Incorporated organizations.

Cary has been the director of the Tempe Community Chorus since 1998, where he built the membership from 40 to 150 members by ensuring equity and a safe place for everyone in the community.  He also directs the Mill Street Singers, the Desert Aires senior men’s chorus, and Wicked Pitch of the West, a contemporary a cappella women’s chorus. 

Cary has studied the Bel Canto technique and has seen vast improvements in all of his ensembles from youth through seniors by employing Bel Canto.  Every singer should be treated as unique, talented, able, and worthy to achieve.  Everyone can sing!

 Cary Burns

Bill Shaw, Assistant Director


Bill Shaw of Sun City West is a second-generation barbershopper and 50+ year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Bill comes from a musical family – his parents were both involved in barbershop harmony and his wife is a 40+ year member of Sweet Adelines International. Daughter Cathie Sturm directs the Las Vegas Chapter of Sweet Adelines International and son William is a local musician in Minneapolis, MN.