COLUMBIA ARTS TEAM (CAT), INC. is dedicated to showcasing new work by local performing artists and writers in the northern Hudson Valley region. CAT also provides educational and performing opportunities for young people and adults. CAT's programs are accessible and affordable to all, regardless of income, bringing people together and enriching their lives and communities through the performing arts.
CAT Founder Bios
A 40-year veteran of the music business, Sandy has been a producer, a songwriter, a musician and a solo artist. Starting out in Brooklyn with garage bands, he went on as a bassist to play everything from jazz fusion to disco, metal to pop, and by the late 70s had developed his signature powerpop sound. Beginning in the 80s, he began producing young up-and-coming acts, and lived not only in New York City, but also London, Los Angeles, and finally Hudson, NY, an area he's been in intermittently since 1971. For years, he has been involved in advancing the indie music scene, with his label, '22 records', and by producing such annual events as the Hudson Valley Songfest and the Capital Area Indie Fest. As a writer, he has had his work seen on TV, film and stage. He's the head writer of the long running live variety/sketch comedy show 'Saturday Night Liv'. His memoirs of his experiences at 1969's Woodstock Festival were recently published in a book called 'Woodstock Revisited'.
A retrospective 66-song box set of his best songs, called 'How I Changed the World', was recently released to rave reviews. His songs have been covered by numerous artists, and both his renditions as well as recordings by other artists are featured on the album. His songs can often be heard on television, in films, and on the radio.
Find Sandy's work online: CDBaby.com.
Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Liv is an alum of Skidmore College, as well as New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program. Liv writes, produces, directs, and performs in musicals and variety shows across the country, in addition to working with young people of all ages.
As a lyricist/bookwriter, Liv's musical, Vanishing Point, written with collaborator Rob Hartmann and Scott Keys (both NYU alums), is produced at venues across the country, including the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis, Grand Central Theatre in Santa Ana, CA, and American Stage Theatre in St. Petersburg, FLA (2012). Liv's second collaboration with Hartmann and Keys, Wild Blue - a musical revue exploring the magic and mystery of flight throughout the years - was commissioned by Dayton, Ohio's Human Race Theater as a part of Dayton's 100-year celebration of the Wright Brothers. With Sandy McKnight, Liv co-wrote the musical comedy The Big One, exploring a group of struggling songwriters in L.A., which Liv directed in 2011 at Columbia Greene Community College, with future productions on the horizon.
Liv directs performing arts workshops for young people ages 8-16, including a popular summer program she and McKnight run at Hudson Valley Community College in collaboration with Columbia Arts Team. At the college level, Liv has taught playwriting, screenwriting, English Composition, literature, and theater courses at Marist College, Berkshire Community College and Hudson Valley Community College. She is currently on the faculty at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA.
Liv is also a singer/songwriter. Her first album, "Some Days," was played on over 65 stations nationally. She was the subject of a piece on NPR's "All Things Considered," and has performed at top venues across the country, including The Egg in Albany (with Livingston Taylor), Margaritaville in New Orleans and The Bitter End in NYC. Her most recent CD, "...exactly," received great reviews and international interest. Her music is available on the web at CDBaby.
Liv loves her work with the variety show Saturday Night LIV because she gets to flex her writing, directing and performing muscles all at the same time. She enjoys collaborating with consummate pros like John Wallace and Andrew Joffe -- not to mention her joyful partner Christina Dellea, and her most talented hubby, Sandy McKnight. Her favorite role is Marilyn Monroe, whom she plays with great reverence and love, and a twinkle in her eye.
How Did CAT Come to Be?
IN 2002, collaborators Liv Cummins and Sandy McKnight of Copake began producing Saturday Night LIV (hosted by Liv Cummins), a live variety show featuring a talented, eclectic group of local actors, musicians and variety performers. They performed in Hudson at the Pleshakov Music Center on Warren Street and then added shows at North Pointe Cultural Arts Center in Kinderhook. The show began to gain a following and much publicity; local singer Christina Dellea of Hillsdale heard about the show from the papers and friends who talked about how funny it was. In 2004, Liv and Sandy finally met and began working with Christina, who was producing a coffeehouse concert series in Copake. The three identified the need for more performing arts opportunities for the talented local artists they worked with, in addition to educational programs for young people in Columbia County, and wanted to combine their efforts. Thus, in 2004, Cummins, McKnight, and Dellea joined forces and formed Columbia Arts Team (CAT), a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.
Since 2004, CAT has produced many comedy/variety shows featuring over 100 local performers; music coffeehouse concerts featuring local music acts; three new musicals written by Cummins & McKnight, two produced in coordination with Columbia-Greene Community College featuring student actors, and the other commissioned by Russell Sage College's Performing Arts Department; an annual Songwriting Workshop & Festival; and performing arts workshops for young people, including the holiday theater workshop for children and CAT Kids Spectacular.