Sue Ann Park Endowment Pledge Drive

Dear Lessac Members, Friends and Colleagues,

“A voice that is free, that feels its inherent right to speak, will have no fear of calling out, whenever and wherever it is needed.” -Arthur Lessac

        It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since Arthur left us, and this past year we who have undertaken the Lessac work suffered another serious lost with the passing of Sue Ann Park.  It is safe to say that not a day goes by that all of us don’t think about them, and remember with fondness that their mentoring literally changed our lives.  Teaching was their life and we all know that they will live on forever both in us and in the Lessac Kinesensic work we pass on to our students and clients.

        In searching for a way to properly honor these two icons, the Lessac Board has decided to undertake a fundraising drive in order to help fulfill the mission of the Lessac Training and Research Institute to “promote, strengthen and disseminate our work” through our “workshops, training and certification.”  In order to do this, we must raise the operating funds needed to finance these workshops and training. As all you know, all of our workshops were important to both Arthur and Sue Ann, but the cost to sponsor these workshops has increased over the years.  In an effort to make the workshops more cost effective for the potential students, a significant portion of the Institute’s available financial resources is set aside for tuition assistance to many of the attendees.  In fact, over 50% of the workshop attendees are given some tuition assistance in order for them to be able to pay the fees

        But an organization can’t continue to function simply existing on a yearly budget to cover costs-it needs to establish an endowment to insure future growth as well.  It is through an endowment that the Institute can fully fund both scholarship and invest in research for the future.  That being the case, the Board has approved a Lessac Institute Fundraising Drive.  In the short term, the goal for this drive is to provide tuition assistance for our workshops and begin to raise money to establish the Sue Ann Park Endowment.  With thoughtful investment and sound business practices in place, we can expect our working capital l will increase and more of our funds will go into the Endowment. Each member of the board has pledged a contribution to this drive, and now we turn to you our Lessac membership (you who have benefited so greatly from this work) and ask if you would do the same.  We would like to begin this drive on November 1st, and complete our donations by December 31st.  Because of our organizational status, all of your contributions are tax deductible.  TO MAKE YOUR PLEDGE, please use this linkhttp://www.lessacinstitute.com/forms/view.php?id=33048. The donations do not have to be sent in until December 31st (especially if you would like to claim this donation in your 2016 tax year). 

        We thank you for your generosity, and thank you for showing your support and gratitude to both Arthur and Sue Ann!
Buzz On,

Robin Aronson, President
Lessac Training and Research Institute

Remembering Sue Ann Park

SueAnn Award

It is with deep sadness that we share with you the passing of our beloved Senior Master Teacher and Director of Training Emerita, Sue Ann Park, who died on the morning of Saturday, February 27, 2016.  Sue Ann (Susie) suffered from an acute infection that didn’t respond to antibiotics.  But her passing from this earth was very peaceful.  Surely, she is now ‘dancing with Arthur’.  We will remember her as a legend, an icon, a brilliant teacher and champion of Arthur’s work; actor, mentor, and trailblazer.  She will be truly missed, and her like will not be seen again.

Sue Ann Park had a remarkable career—an accomplished professional actor, director and teacher even before she became acquainted with Arthur Lessac’s work in 1961 while teaching voice at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. She received her B.S. from Syracuse University (Speech and Drama) and her MFA from Yale School of Drama.  For 43 years, she taught with Arthur, and sometimes without Arthur, but always sharing his vision and passion for sharing this work with actors, singers, directors, teachers and anyone who wished to uncover creativity within, using the voice and body.

Sue Ann’s lifework was the perpetuation, development, and protection of this body of work.  Arthur shared once that Sue Ann, when she discovered this work, fell in love with the book and its possibilities. Because of her love of this training, she found herself teaching so creatively and with such talent that she became its most loyal standard-bearer.  She carried it with her from the Goodman School to SUNY Binghamton in 1969, where she taught with Arthur, and subsequently began the partnership that continued until Arthur’s death in 2011.  She co-taught at least 28 Lessac Summer Intensives with Arthur, led countless shorter workshops throughout the years, presented at numerous ATHE and VASTA conferences, and authored many articles for various publications. Her achievements were recognized with the Career Achievement Award in Academic Theatre, given by ATHE, a Distinguished Life Member Award by VASTA, and Honorary Membership in and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Lessac Training & Research Institute.

But nothing was as important to her as the journey she experienced within the work itself. As she stated in her Vocal Visions article, published in 1997, ‘It has been a long and joyous journey of discovery, problem-solving and satisfaction.’

We all have benefited tremendously from that journey.  Sue Ann, you were our teacher, our mentor and our inspiration.  As it says on the crystal face of the Lifetime Achievement award, given to her at our Inaugural Annual Conference in 2006:  “The Lessac Training and Research Institute extends heartfelt gratitude to Sue Ann Park for her lifelong devotion to maintaining the highest standards of teaching excellence in Lessac Kinesensic Training.” 

The Lessac Institute is gathering stories and recollections of students of Sue Ann Park to share at her memorial service.  If you have a story you’d like to share, please send it to:  Deborah Kinghorn: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)