THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF COLLEGIATE

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 21st season! After two incredible decades of presenting the best student groups – on stage and in the studio – our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever.

Our tournament has grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase it is today, featuring nearly 500 groups and 8,000 singers at 81 events across the US and UK.

Our tournament has inspired the hit movie Pitch Perfect, based on the non-fiction book documenting the true story of rival groups competing against each other in our very own ICCA. Already the highest-grossing musical series of all time, the franchise will release its third film at the end of this year.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors are also the subject on the TV docu-series Sing It On, which follows competing groups on their journey to ICCA Finals. Sing It On aired in 80 million homes on POP TV and is now available on Netflix.

Despite the incredible growth and mainstream popularity we’ve enjoyed, our focus remains sharply on the promotion and development of the talent that crosses our stage. We believe competition fosters growth, as groups work together toward a specific goal and cultivate lifelong friendships.

We provide top-notch feedback from our highly qualified judges – but more importantly, our singers get to connect with a larger audience from across the country, learning from their peers and finding inspiration in other groups.

With those same goals in mind, we are thrilled to launch the International Championship of A Cappella Open this year. “The Open” (#acaopen) is an all-access a cappella tournament that will bring together singers of all ages, regardless of student status, to compete on an international stage.

The 2017 Open Finals will take place in Carnegie Hall on Saturday, September 23, and the winner will receive a cash prize of $25,000 to launch their professional career. The winners of the 2017 ICCA and ICHSA tournaments are automatically entered in The Open Finals.

We hope The Open will encourage the growth of professional a cappella, much in the way the ICCA helped catapult competitive a cappella into the mainstream in Pitch Perfect and Sing It On, or how the development of the ICHSA contributed to the rapid growth of high school a cappella programs across the country.

This is the biggest program extension in our long history, and we think it’s a natural one. After all, our founding goal was “to inspire young people to sing their entire lives.” If we want people to keep singing past the age of 22, well, they’re going to need a stage.

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 21 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2017 season takes us. Committed to promoting our singers and energized by the great music they create, we look forward to another memorable season. Thank you for joining us!
 

Sincerely,

Amanda Newman
Executive Director

ICCA MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Johns Hopkins University 
Saturday, February 25, 2017

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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ABOUT VARSITY VOCALS

 

Since 1996, we have encouraged students worldwide to sing a cappella throughout their lives. Our programs include the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) and the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA). We also produce the annual Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA) compilation albums.

Our a cappella competitions give top-notch a cappella groups the opportunity to showcase their talents for an international audience and to take home valuable feedback from our qualified judges. This year, competing groups will appear in venues all around the world, offering their energetic musical performances for your enjoyment.

The college tournament takes place from January through April in nine regions across the country and around the world. Each region holds anywhere from 2 to 5 quarterfinals, and the top groups from each quarterfinal advance to the semifinal. The winning group at each semifinal is named Regional Champion and advances to the ICCA Finals at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 12th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding quarterfinal rounds in most regions, so that we can feature even more high school groups. The winners of each of 8 semifinal rounds will advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City.

For a full tournament schedule, visit us at www.varsityvocals.com.

ABOUT TONIGHT'S SHOW

 

The performance order was determined by random draw this afternoon and will be announced from stage.        

Tonight’s performers will be evaluated on elements of their vocal and visual performance, which carry numerical weight. The highest and lowest score from the individual judges will be dropped for each group. Our judges may recognize exceptional performances with special awards as they see fit.

There will be a 15-minute intermission. After the final group has performed, a guest performer will entertain you while the scores are tabulated.

After the results are announced, the winners will perform and encore. Please show the winners the same courtesy and respect you’d want your favorite group to be shown and remain in the venue until they have finished their performance.    

Because each group only has 12 minutes to perform, we ask you to keep your applause to an enthusiastic minimum between songs. Please feel welcome to applaud as much as you want after each group has finished its set.

Videotaping and non-flash photography for personal use is permitted during the concert, so long as you do not disrupt our performers or other patrons. Due to licensing regulations, we do not provide a video or audio recording of this performance.

TONIGHT'S COMPETITORS

 

Named for its melodic and harmonic counterparts, The FSU BelleTones is a group of sassy young ladies who have been representing women's a cappella at Frostburg State University for three years. These  strong women sing, move, sass, and have lots of fun singing together for all who listen. They are excited to make their ICCA debut this year!

This is Music Dynasty, Johns Hopkins University's premier Chinese-interest a cappella group! They sing a wide variety of songs, including Chinese, English, and mixed tracks. Music Dynasty was founded as a seven-person cultural club in 2012 and has since evolved into a competitive performance group. All the songs are arranged by the group’s own members and range across many genres, from pop to jazz.

Named after the unmyelinated sheaths in the nervous system that transmit electricity throughout the body (allowing humans to feel, move, and sing), The Notes of Ranvier is Johns Hopkins' premier service a cappella group. The Notes are dedicated to aiding the community through music. They perform at assisted living facilities, schools, hospitals, and they even occasionally busk in the Inner Harbor, donating all proceeds to foundations such as the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. They also participate in the Homewood Performing Arts program, holding a concert at the end of each semester and performing for nonprofit events at the university.

This is Squawkappella, Salisbury University's one and only a cappella group. They have been competing in ICCA for some years now and it is one their favorite experiences. Over the past few years, they have excelled as a competitive group and they look forward to getting back at it this year.

This is The Towson Trills, also known as The Trills. Towson University’s newest a cappella group, The Trills formed in September 2015 as a group of friends with a huge passion for singing. Seven members strong, they can't wait to share their music with the rest of the a cappella community. Since they began, The Trills have won Towson's campus-wide talent competition, headlined a stage at a local arts festival, and performed at a wide variety of venues. Check them out on social media @towsontrills!

Known as "your friendly, neighborhood a cappella group," The Johns Hopkins University Vocal Chords is a co-ed competitive a cappella group that performs in and outside the Baltimore, Md. area. Performing various gigs and a formal concert every semester, The Vocal Chords cover various genres from oldies to top 20s and choral to R&B.

The Cleftos have been stealing shows and hearts since 2006 and they hope to continue doing so for many years to come. This is their eighth ICCA appearance and they are happy to be back competing with a fantastic set tonight. This group brings a unique ability to simultaneously have fun and work hard to refine its music to the point of perfection (well, almost perfection). Don’t be fooled by their serious side during competition; The Cleftos is a goofy group, composed of all different college majors who just love singing. They hope you enjoy their performance this evening, and remember “Blue is the new Black.”

The Mama's Boys is UMBC's first and only all-male a cappella group. The Boys have been singing up a storm since 2003, when the group was founded by four guys who needed a little more a cappella in their lives. The Boys perform around campus for various functions, host their own concerts every semester, and love performing off campus as well!

Vocal Point is a co-ed group from the University of Delaware. The group is composed of all different majors, including vocal performance, music education, nursing, criminal justice, and business. They released an EP, Phoenix, in the summer of 2015, and they are honored to have some of its songs featured on BOCA and Voices Only. They are very excited to record more music and look forward to collaborating with other a cappella groups this year.

Founded in 2013, Xenharmonics is a co-ed a cappella ensemble from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md. While the word "xenharmonics" refers to a tuning system outside of the 12-tone world, the group prides itself on its love of singing, while keeping things sexy and sassy! The group members range in height from 5'2" to 6'1” and tonight they’ll be sure to put their best one foot, two inches forward!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Joshua Singer is a two-time ICCA Finalist with the University of Maryland Faux Paz. In the group’s 2016 season, he led the group as music director and arranged for its ICCA Finals set, earning him a Best Arrangement award in the Mid-Atlantic region. Josh was featured in the second season of Pop Network's “Sing It On,” which illustrates his passion for a cappella. As an arranger, Josh has worked on tracks for the four-time Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominated self-titled album, Faux Paz, including the track, "Our Own House," by Misterwives, which was nominated for Best Electronic Song. He has also arranged for the upcoming ninth studio album with Faux Paz. Beyond Josh's background in a cappella, he has sung, composed, and played clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, and flute semi-professionally in the Maryland/ D.C. area.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Penn., Amanda Cornaglia started her a cappella career as musical director of Special K at Hamilton College. After graduation, she moved to rural Japan for four years, where she founded, trained, and performed with the award-winning international a cappella group, The Amigos. Upon moving to the D.C. area in 2005, Amanda founded and continues to perform with the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, Euphonism, and Snowday, a group that provides a cappella educational programs all over the world. She is the managing partner of Clear Harmonies Productions, president of CAL, and she served on the CASA Board of Directors from 2010-2015.

Brian Brandler got involved in a cappella long before it was cool, way back in 2004, as a member of Boston University’s Kol Echad. Since then, he has worn many hats in the a cappella community, including arranger, recording project manager, workshop and masterclass clinician, and bass/baritone/vocal percussion performer in several different groups. Currently, Brian sings with Vox Pop, a CAL vocal band, and is helping foster growth in the burgeoning post-collegiate and professional scene in the Washington, D.C. area.

Kelly Post has studied vocal performance for many years. A recent graduate of Florida State University, Kelly was in the prestigious group, All-Night Yahtzee, which was featured on Pop TV's “Sing It On.” Yahtzee competed and won 2nd place for two consecutive years at SoJam, won 1st place in its 2016 ICCA South Quarterfinal, and was crowned the 2016 ICCA Wildcard champion. Kelly is now part of the all-female semi-professional group, The District, in Washington D.C.

Chris Little graduated from James Madison University, where he was a member of the premier co-ed group, The Overtones, and served as assistant music director and music director for successive terms. At JMU, he also sang in the University Chorus and the select all-male choral a cappella group, KOR. With the latter, Chris had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses with Chanticleer and Ladysmith BlackMamazo. Currently, Chris sings with and is president of Vox Pop, an award-winning vocal band hailing from the Washington, D.C. area. These days, he is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to a cappella, including group and vocal coach, performer, master clinician, and arranger. Chris received two 2016 CARA nominations for his arrangements (for Vox Pop and The JMU BluesTones), and has supplied arrangements to CARA-winning albums in past years. Chris is extremely excited to see everyone’s hard work come to fruition onstage tonight!

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank The Vocal Chords, The Octopodes, Dahlia Levin, and Edwin Williams; our judges, hosts, competitors, volunteers, partners, and producers; and you, the audience, for supporting Varsity Vocals programming.

 

Amanda Newman
Executive Director

Dave Rabizadeh
ICCA Director

Andrea Poole
ICHSA Director

Lucy Jackson
The Open Director
ICCA Southwest Producer

ICCA Northwest Producer

Andrew Poole
Director of Digital Media

Emily Sucher
Director of Publications

Erica Tackett
Director of Marketing & Social Strategy

Virginia DeMoss
Album Production Coordinator

Mark Chen
Adjudication Co-Director

Emily Flanders
Adjudication Co-Director
ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Sara Yood
ICCA & ICHSA Finals Producer
ICHSA Northeast Producer

 

Holly Hayes
ICCA Northeast Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Andy Pacer
ICCA Central Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
ICCA Midwest Producer

Matt Shirer
ICHSA West Producer

Henry Harrod
ICCA UK Producer

Elise Hackl
ICHSA Midwest Producer
ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
ICHSA South Producer
ICHSA Southwest Co-Producer

Pearce Illmer
ICHSA Southwest Co-Producer

Courtney Jensen
ICHSA Northwest Producer

OUR TEAM

 

We have an amazing team of people who work tirelessly to make our programs so valuable for our singers and audiences alike — and they all do it while holding down full-time day jobs, too! 

 

The top two placing groups advance to the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinal.

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
Saturday, September 23, 2017

BRING THE HARMONY HOME

 

Find your favorite groups on Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on iTunes and Loudr!

PURCHASE & DOWNLOAD

GET THE GEAR

 

Just in time for the start of the 2017 ICCA and ICHSA season, the official Varsity Vocals store is open for business! Did your favorite group make it on BOCA or BOHSA this year? Are you competing in the 2017 ICCA or ICHSA? Is your favorite group competing and you want to be properly attired at the show? Represent with your very own official Varsity Vocals swag!

 

SHOP VARSITY VOCALS

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