Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob Dietz.
Hi Rob, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a founding co-director of A Cappella Academy, which was officially founded in 2014, but we really got our start two years before that in 2012 when Avi Kaplan (who was on tour singing bass with Pentatonix) tweeted: “Ok. I’m buying a plot of land, building a huge log cabin for my future family and putting together an a cappella camp every summer #someday.” Ben Bram and I (Rob Dietz) had worked on The Sing-Off with Avi during Pentatonix’s winning season, and as soon as we saw his tweet, we realized that an a cappella summer camp was an idea with incredible potential. We both reached out to see if we could make his dream a reality!
It took two years of planning, but we had our first session in July of 2014 at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Brentwood. In our eight summers since, we’ve welcomed young singers into our family from all 50 states and from dozens of countries all over the world. Over the past two years, Covid has caused us to add a program called A Cappella Academy digital, which takes place entirely online, and has allowed us to expand our program to even more talented young vocalists who might not have been able to travel to join us in Los Angeles!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
A Cappella Academy wouldn’t be possible without the support we have received over the years from our incredible staff and donors. Our staff represents some of the most talented leaders in the field of vocal music, and they all go above and beyond for us each and every year. Some of them have been with us since the very beginning, and all of them work for far below their normal rates for us simply because they believe in the program. Camp wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for the incredible generosity and dedication of our staff!
Our donors are also hugely to thank for the continued success of Academy. We do our best to keep camp as affordable as possible, but there are always students who need financial assistance to be able to attend. The scholarship program we have established, funded largely by our donors, makes it possible for those students to experience Academy and for us to continue to grow.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
A Cappella Academy is a very selective, high-level a cappella summer program! We have online video auditions each year that are open to singers and beatboxers from anywhere in the world who are between the ages of 12-18. Hundreds of singers audition, but only about 80 are accepted to participate in our program, which takes place at the beginning of July each year in Los Angeles.
The core mission of our organization is to use a cappella as the vehicle to teach the next generation of star vocalists how to not only excel as musicians but how to be better members of the music industry as well. A cappella is an amazing art form because it demands both technical excellence and teamwork – it’s hard to sing in an a cappella group by yourself! There are bright stars in high school music programs all over the world, and we want to give them a place to work together, to challenge each other, and to build lifelong friendships that will define their careers.
How do you think about luck?
We’ve been incredibly fortunate to benefit from the incredible explosion of interest in a cappella in the years since Pitch Perfect, The Sing-Off, Glee, etc.! So many young singers who might never have discovered our art form are now so excited about singing together. We’ve been lucky to be part of that expansion in the art!
Covid has obviously been a huge challenge for us since summer 2020, but we’ve been able to use our resources to make the most of it. We’ve started our online program called A Cappella Academy digital, which has offered a lot of the quality instruction and camaraderie that we think makes Academy unique!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://acappellacademy.org
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