Tag Archives: Cassano Studio

Village of Webster business news

3 Nov

There’s a lot to celebrate for some of our Village of Webster businesses, beginning this weekend at Lala of Webster.

Believe it or not, Lala is celebrating its fourth anniversary this Friday and Saturday Nov. 4 and 5. In the last four years, the shop has doubled in size, opened a sister store, Whimsies, right next door, and always seems to be busy. Every time I visit the shops there’s something new to look at, and I always find them a great place to find holiday gifts.

In celebration of the anniversary, both Lala and Whimsies will be hosting an open house on Friday and Saturday, and offer 30% off all items. Plus, they’ll be giving away a beautiful gift basket. Fill out the entry form you see here and make sure to bring it with you when you shop.

Lala’s is located at 38 East Main Street in Webster. (Click here to read the blog I wrote when Lala opened.)

Cassano Studio has expanded to a second location in East Rochester.

Cassano Studio, owned and operated by Chad Cassano, specializes in teaching voice and acting workshops to children and adults with disabilities. Chad has operated his Village of Webster-based studio for about four years, but just recently opened up a second studio at The Piano Works mall in East Rochester.

The new studio is double the size of his original space, has a blackbox theater, two recording booths and an additional podcasting room.

Chad writes that he chose The Piano Works specifically because of its historical significance. He also said, “I also wanted to network alongside people who are already working with people with special needs, which is definitely something I wanted to concentrate on.” Between the two studios, Chad now has more than 120 students.

Click here to read the blog I wrote about Cassano Studio earlier this year, including lots more about how Chad found his calling to help those with special needs find their voice.

The Village Quilt Shoppe, at 21 East Main, will host a Holiday Open House on Saturday Nov. 19 at 11 a.m.

There will be several demos, some great holiday gift ideas and the reveal of five new patterns, which will be featured in December’s upcoming classes. There’s no charge for the event, but Vanetta and Monique are asking that you register ahead of time. Give them a call at 585-626-6916, email them at thevillagequiltshoppe@gmail.com, or stop in and see them!

They’ll also be collecting non-perishable food items at the open house for Webster Community Chest, and will be collecting them all month.

Speaking of anniversaries, our village’s very own award-winning Irish pub, Barry’s Old School Irish, will celebrate its 11th anniversary with a huge party on Saturday Nov. 19, beginning at 7 p.m.

More details to come about that, but — as always — there will be live music, Irish dancers, bagpipers, giveaways all night, an official Irish whiskey toast, and more. You definitely want to put this one on your calendar right now, because it’s always a great time.

Cassano Studio has expanded to a second location in East Ro

Finally, I picked up this exciting news when I was wandering around the village during the Trick-or-Treat Trail.

M/Body fitness studio is opening up a new location in Webster. It will be offering cycling, barre, yoga, boxing, pilates, HIIT and more.

The new studio will be located at 44 East Main St., and plans are to be up and running later this month. Much more to come about that.

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(posted 11/3/2022)

Local recording studio helps people with special needs find their voices

28 Mar

Tucked in the basement of an unassuming Webster village home, there’s a recording studio. It’s a very professional operation which features two studio booths, a recording room, podcasting space and a classroom.

At-home recording studios are not that unusual. But this particular one has found a way to stand out from the crowd. Cassano Studio, owned and operated by Chad Cassano, specializes in teaching voice and acting workshops to an under-served population: children and adults with disabilities.

It’s a calling, Chad readily admits, that he never actually went looking for. Instead, it kind of found him.

Chad Cassano has been interested in acting from a young age. He performed with the Webster Theater Guild in middle school, and continued working on his craft through high school and college. After graduation, life led him in a different directions for a while, including getting married and having five children.

Several years ago, though, he found his way back to acting, and also started to learn about the very different skills and techniques involved in voice acting. Then, one day out of the blue, he got a phone call from some friends who hired him to teach an acting class.

After completing that class, Cassano’s friends suggested he put an ad in KidsOutandAbout.com. He did, and a mother reached out. Her son has autism, and she was looking for an acting studio that would work with children with disabilities. So far, every other one she’d contacted had turned her down.

“She was desperate,” Cassano remembered.

I was honest with her. I’m not a speech pathologist, I’m not a Hollywood actor. I’m just somebody who can maybe teach him a few techniques that I learned and maybe some concepts.

That’s exactly what happened. It was magic. Because of his autism, and because of his interest in this kind of thing, it just stuck. He was speaking better, his intonations were better, his inflection, his volume control. He was able to do things he’d never done before with his voice. And that started the whole thing.

From that single student about five years ago, Cassano’s client list now numbers 80. They range from 9 to 45 years old, and 95% of them present some kind of special need, including autism, Down syndrome and brain injury. He teaches them in small groups, individually and even remotely, conducting online classes with students as far away as New York City.

A typical class begins with vocal warm-ups, where Cassano leads his students through a variety of vocal slides, tongue twisters (“I saw a kitten eating chicken in the kitchen”) and “shout phrases,” especially emphasizing inflection and diction.

After warmups, each student gets a turn in the studio, where they record songs (guided by a karaoke-like teleprompter), dramatic readings or multiple-actor scripts. Each exercise, from the warmups through recording, is carefully adapted to the student’s ability level and objectives.

“Some kids just want to have an activity where they can express themselves, singing or yelling,” Cassano said. “Others have specific goals in voice or acting.” Those goals can be as diverse — or focused — as the population he works with.

That was especially the case with 13-year old Lorenzo, who had selective mutism. “He has autism,” Cassano remembered. Wouldn’t say a word. He would write everything down, just the same as he would do with his parents and his clinicians.” 

The goal? Just get Lorenzo to talk.

Cassano started with a rapid-fire, verbal/nonverbal word-for-word exchange with him. It took weeks, but finally he got Lorenzo to whisper the word “cat.” Eventually, he got Lorenzo to increase his volume to the point where he was fully speaking.

Cassano said, “That was the moment where I was like, ‘I don’t know what this is for, but clearly it has a purpose.'”

That calling to work with the special needs population had found him.

“I was not looking for working with kids with disabilities,” Cassano said. “I would have, but I just didn’t think about it. I was just going to teach acting classes, but once I found out that this had a therapeutic side to it, that this was helping kids be more confident and able to speak better than they’d ever spoken,” he knew he’d found his niche.

Cassano Studio became an acting workshop which concentrates on the voice for all people with all abilities.

“What I’m hoping will happen for each of my students is that they’ll find success in any of their acting endeavors, gain more confidence, and ultimately happiness in the way they communicate. … I realize not everybody is going to find a career in acting,  but whatever they decide to do, I hope their voice brings them joy.”

To learn more about Cassano Studio, check out the website here, or email ChadCassano@gmail.com.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

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