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Why I Am Excited for Our Future

I could not be more excited about our future.

To me, the most important word in that sentence is “our”.

LENS: DC 2018

Cut Off Studios is a team. A team of incredibly talented and passionate individuals that are all connected because of our love of contemporary a cappella. To use the frequent (and quite honestly, overused) description in our aca-bubble, we are a family.

I am not usually one to take credit for our success. Cut Off Studios has always been a team effort. I have been lucky enough to lead this team of 15 (which is insane!) over the last four years. I will say that the two best decisions I have made for Cut Off Studios are these:

1. Surround myself with people who are more talented than I am.

2. Promote and encourage leadership from within and empower your team.

Sadly, I can’t say that haven’t always used these ideals in my leadership roles...I’d go as far as saying that, it probably wasn’t until the last couple years that I realized this was as important as it really is.

Each individual that is a part of Cut Off bring their own unique set of skills and experiences to the team. While most a cappella people tend to be a “jack of trades”, each one of them have an individual skill or experience that is critical to our success.

From Alli’s experience as a LENS attendee, to LENS host, to now the Director of LENS or Lishni’s attention to detail, to her business proposal for a new program, to now being the Vice President of Operations or Kyle’s email about wanting to continue arranging after graduating college, to learning how to recording / edit / mix, to now being our Vice President of Production - each one of our team members has a story like this and each one brings their talents and passion to this great team.

As I have done for the past few years, I spent the end of 2018 thinking about what I wanted our focus to be in 2019. 2018 brought a lot of changes for our team - marriage (woot!), new jobs, moving to new cities, grad school, etc. - the new year seemed like the perfect time to reorganize and refocus. As heavily involved as I was with all the various programs and projects that we are doing, I was starting to lose track and things were starting to fall by the wayside. I needed help but I also knew the key to success was to empower whoever was interested in taking a leadership role and ask for their help in shaping the future of the studio. The results - well, I could not be happier.

Set high standards, find individuals with passion and integrity, trust your team and empower them to set goals and achieve them.

Well, if you’ve made it this far, I am sure you’re wondering about the “what” behind the “why”. Aside from some fantastic new team members, we have been working hard on bunch of new things!

Consulting Services: A fantastic new educational program for individuals to groups to learn and get feedback on a wide range of topics through individual or a series of classes.

Partnerships: We are investigating new partnerships to provide our clients with an even wider range of products and services.

Sponsorships: We will look for opportunities to promote community and passion within a cappella by providing resources for various competitions and events.

Internship Program: Rachel Hammelman has taken on the role as the Director of Internships and has revamped our internship program to provide individuals the opportunity to have exposure to a wide range of programs and projects within the studio and a cappella.

We are also in the planning stages of a fun video series and are looking into the possibility of hosting a different type of performing event for groups! All this and each one of us work jobs outside of the studio. Yes, that’s right, each one of us has continued to use our free time to work in a cappella. We hope to encourage and inspire others to have the same joy and passion for a cappella that we have. We do this because we love it.

Matt with the Ramifications (VCU) at Richmond Rhythm 2019

A BIG THANK YOU to all of our fantastic clients / friends. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with you and we are looking forward to seeing your continued success!

Master class with Extreme Measures (CNU) 2019

And to the team, thank you for your investment and commitment to our mission. We have so much to be excited for and our future is bright!

About the Authors:

Matt Zager is the Chief Executive Officer for Cut Off Studios, he also serves as an arranger and clinician.

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