I am thrilled that Cut Off Studios is launching our new educational program, L.E.N.S., this year! Over the past four months, I’ve been lucky to work alongside some of the most talented and hard working people I know. We’ve been carefully crafting an amazing day specifically geared towards contemporary a cappella groups. We built the program around four core values:
Learn: Our workshops and masterclasses are designed for a cappella groups of various styles or ranges of experience so every participant will walk away having learned something new about themselves, their group, and/or the a cappella world.
Envision: A L.E.N.S. event encourages singers to energize and focus their inspiration so that a group can feel empowered to move forward with direction. Envisioning collective goals is a critical part of success.
Network: At this event, you’ll get an opportunity to meet fellow a cappella singers from your area as well as create business connections with professionals in the a cappella scene. The experience will foster collaboration between groups and strengthen the bonds within your own group.
Sing: At the end of the day, we’ll all meet together to demonstrate what we learned by performing for each other! Plus, we may even have a full group number to all sing together!
I had a chance to talk with Katie, our Director of Education, who has been instrumental in creating the structure and vision of LENS.
Q: What was the first thought that went through your head when I approached you with this idea?
Katie: I thought that this would be an incredible opportunity for us to start doing what we love AND for people in a cappella groups to start enhancing their a cappella experience by growing that bond between them and their group members. The whole point of a cappella is to have FUN and you do that enjoying experiences surrounded by your favorite people.
Q: What has been your favorite part of putting together LENS?
Katie: My favorite part of putting this all together has been conceptualizing the outcome. Every time I picture the day of... it adds a little bit more excitement and a little bit more buzz.
Q: If there was one thing that you want participants to take away from attending, what would it be?
Katie: That there is a lot out there, keep an open mind. Don’t get trapped in your own bubble. Enjoy the community, make friends, and put your heart and soul into every performance regardless of the audience.
Q: What has it been like working with everyone on the Studio team?
Katie: AMAZING. During our first retreat weekend together I thought, “Wow, these people are awesome AND talented.” I love that we are all very focused and hard working, yet easy to get along with. Everyone on the team is so down to earth that it’s a joy to work with every single one of them.
Q: Where do you see this event/program going in the future?
Katie: I would love to see this event spread across to multiple areas. I love the thought of keeping it rather intimate in size, but traveling and offering it in multiple areas a year so everyone has an opportunity to attend. I want it to be something that groups come to every year (despite collegiate group turn over) and get something different out of it every year. But, you never know where the future will take us! Northeast? West? A different country??? You’ll have to wait and see :)
The entire Cut Off Studio Team has put so much time into creating and planning this amazing event and I couldn’t be any more proud to work with them. I hope everyone is as excited as we are! Hopefully we will see you soon at a LENS event near you!
About the Authors:
Matt Zager is the former founder, music director and president of Cut Off (Rochester, NY) and Vocal Infusion (Roberts Wesleyan College). He is the Chief Executive Officer for Cut Off Studios, he also serves as an arranger and clinician.
Katie Lambe is the former music director for Vocal Accent (RIT) and assistant music director for Cut Off (Rochester, NY). She is the Director of LENS for Cut Off Studios.