HomeContemporary A Cappella League (CAL) Profile: Cut Off [Rochester, NY]

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If there were one thing Cut Off would want you to know about them, it is that they are a close-knit family.  Not only have they grown close by rehearsing together twice a week, they feel a sense of camaraderie with the entire a cappella community.  Cut Off desires to connect with, and contribute to groups across the country by providing master classes, facilitating workshops, and helping to arrange music.  In the often-competitive world of a cappella, this attitude is refreshing.

Cut Off’s collegial approach to their music likely stems from its origins. Formed in the summer of 2010, the group consisted mainly of Roberts Wesleyan College students and alumni. While Cut Off initially numbered fourteen, it has since honed its sound with its eight current members, four of whom have been with the group since the beginning.  They are happy with their balance—in both the musical and interpersonal sense—and now only add members if the group dynamic will be enhanced.  “More than anything else,” Cut Off President Matthew Zager explains, “we are looking for someone that will fit into our family.”  This dedication to group solidarity is demonstrated through the division of responsibility within the group.  Cut Off is organized into three “teams,” with every person serving a role on their respective team.  The executive team oversees the group and keeps everyone on track.  The business team handles the marketing and booking of performances. And the creative team runs rehearsals and is responsible for anything related to the group’s performance, including choreography. By sharing responsibility, Cut Off believes that everyone is equally invested in the group’s success.

Recently, Cut Off also invited the public to invest in its progress by using a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of an EP.  Raising over $5,000, Cut Off surpassed their fundraising goal and was humbled by the outpouring of support from its fans.  “It definitely gave us a huge boost,” Zager relates, “to see how many people were willing to support us.”  Entitled “Get Cut Off,” this EP features seven of their most popular songs, including renditions of Green Day’s “21 Guns,” Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “Let’s Groove Tonight,” and Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl.”  Following their EP release, Cut Off took the show on the road for its first national tour. This tour gave them the opportunity to promote their EP as well as to perform with CAL groups they had met at CASA festivals in the past. Furthermore, Cut Off was able to take their performance to the next level, and in their final show in Charlotte, North Carolina, Zager believes they performed better than they ever have before. 

So what’s next for Cut Off? While their eventual goal is to turn their a cappella passion into a full-time gig, their more significant aim is to ensure that they continue to learn and grow. Cut Off is proud that their group is not the same as it was three years ago—they are better.  And they hope to be able to say that three years from now. At present, they are already hard at work to record and release another CD. As for beyond that… we will all just have to wait and see. One thing is for certain: we can continue to expect exciting things from Cut Off!

Cut Off’s EP is available on iTunes. You can also find more information about Cut Off, including upcoming performances and workshops, on their website at www.cutoffacappella.com

About the writer:
Anna Lee has loved a cappella music since her days of singing with the Virginia Sil’hooettes at the University of Virginia.  She loved it so much that she founded two post-collegiate a cappella groups: The Sally Tomatoes in Los Angeles, CA and The Austonettes in Austin, TX.  Since moving back to Washington, D.C., she is ecstatic to be the newest member of Vox Pop. After an enjoyable day of practicing law, Anna relaxes by binging on Netflix, hanging out with her adorable English Bulldog Moxie Crimefighter, and doing yoga.