A purported “cult” based near Albany, New York, seems to have moved from primarily targeting business executives to the potential recruitment of college students, attending singing events.

NXIVM, a corporation that sells workshops also known as “Executive Success Programs” (ESP), is linked to entertainment events for A capella college singing groups. One was staged during December and another event is planned for next month (April 4-6 in) in Albany.

esp7.jpgThere are reportedly 15,000 A capella singing groups at colleges across the country.

NXIVM/ESP devotees are called “Espians,” and they are led by failed multi-level marketing guru Keith Raniere (photo left), whose followers call him “Vanguard.”

It appears that college students, a traditional target for groups called “cults,” may have become the latest focus for NXIVM.

In a paid advertisement run by the Albany Times-Union made to look like a news report Raniere proclaimed, “The event [was] intended to get people out to support these college students and share in their joy for producing music.” He added that the audience would be “uplifted by the art and really experience an inspired closeness towards fellow humans.”

However, a suspicious and much older A capella group called “Simply Human,” which is not composed of college kids and reports that Keith Raniere is one of its “musical directors,” “hosted and created” the event, according to CASA (Contemporary A Capella Society).

A Capella Innovations,” the orgnaization behind the December event, which took place at a large and popular venue The Albany Egg, also seems to be linked to NXIVM. The orgnaization says its purpose is to “promote innovation, evolution and unity in the A Cappella community.”

Long-time NXIVM supporter Clare Bronfman, daughter of billionaire Seagrams heir Edgar Bronfman Sr., was the December event’s producer. And Ms. Bronfman’s brother, Edgar Bronfman Jr. head of Warner Music Group, flew in to judge participating college singing groups.

Interestingly, Edgar Bronfman Sr. once told Forbes Magazine that his daughter was involved in a “cult.”

The Forbes article titled “Cult of Personality” reported, “people see a darker and more manipulative side to Keith Raniere. Detractors say he runs a cult-like program aimed at breaking down his subjects psychologically, separating them from their families and inducting them into a bizarre world of messianic pretensions, idiosyncratic language and ritualistic practices.”

Popular acts were booked at the December Albany event deliberately designed to attract a young audience, such as the House Jacks, Denise Reis and The Fault Line. College a capella groups that reportedly performed included UMass Dynamics, MIT Resonance, Brandeis Voicemale, Binghamton Crosbys, RW Vocal Infusion, BU in AChord, UMass Doo Wop Shop, U Maine Bear Vocals, UVM Hit Pause, Clarkson Golden Knotes and Smith Vibes.ednnovations Conference

kreuk.jpegThe young audience’s interest was probably also piqued by the featured attendance of TV actresses Kristin Kreuk and Allison Mack, from the Warner Brothers series Smallville, who acted as “Masters of Ceremonies.”

CultNews previously reported that Kristin Kreuk (photo right), who plays Lana Lang on Smallville, has been involved in NXIVM.

Apparently Ms. Kreuk’s involvement, which seemed to begin around June 2006, has continued unabated.

Clips of Kreuk hosting the event can be seen on YouTube, she is posed in front of a banner with a quote attributed to “Keith Raniere.”

If all Vanguard and his Espians want is to support the arts, that’s fine.

But if Raniere’s interest in singing is simply a ploy to lure college students into NXIVM, those invited or attending such entertainment events should beware.

See the following reports:

“A Forensic Psychiatrist Evaluates ESP”

“A Critical Analysis of Executive Success Programs Inc.”

“Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria of thought reform as applied to the Executive Success Programs”

Some NXIVM program participants have sought psychiatric treatment subsequent to attending the group’s intensives, one participant was hospitalized and another committed suicide.

Note: Tempermental A cappella enthusiasts often insist on various spellings and combinations regarding this phrase or musical term. 


no comment untill now

Add your comment now