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 NORTHEAST SEMIFINAL

 

Boston Symphony Hall Sunday, March 26, 2017

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

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Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #ICCA and #ICHSA.

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

 

The Nor'easters is a co-ed a cappella group from Northeastern University in Boston. As the oldest group on campus, The Nor’easters strives to maintain the highest standards of musicality, while keeping the fun and love alive. They had the honor of being named ICCA champions in 2013 and Wildcard champions in 2015 while being featured on PopTV's reality docu-series, "Sing It On.” They have performed all over the world, including the White House for the President and First Lady's Christmas Gala, as well as Australia to promote "Sing It On.” This past year, the group focused on creating its award-winning fifth album, entitled RISE. They are so thrilled to be returning to the ICCA stage; The Nor'easters wish all competing groups the very best of luck! @NUNoreasters

Founded in 1999, The Harvard LowKeys perform an eclectic repertoire of contemporary music arranged by current members of the group. They perform sold-out shows in Harvard's historic Sanders Theatre twice a year, embark on an annual winter tour, and are the only a cappella group affiliated with Harvard College's Public Service Network, performing regularly for nonprofit causes.

Originally founded in a resident hall basement in 2003, Distilled Harmony is known as the most dapper co-ed a cappella group on Northeastern University’s campus. Despite such humble beginnings, Distilled Harmony has made a name for itself with award-winning performances and recordings, including appearances on the BOCA compilation and a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Collegiate Song. The music they perform ranges anywhere from mainstream pop to indie rock, and reflects the group’s members, who come from different backgrounds to create music as a unified a cappella force. Distilled Harmony strives to have fun and entertain audiences with its novel take on collegiate a cappella.

The New Hampshire Notables 
is the University of New Hampshire's original all-female a cappella group. Founded in 1985, The Notables are dedicated to bringing a cappella to the seacoast and New England area. As an all-female group, they compose their set lists with female empowerment in mind. Their current group is 11 members strong. Though they sometimes outsource our arrangements to alumni, family, and friends, they strive to arrange our own music to highlight each of our members strengths. They are passionate about making music together, as well as creating long-lasting friendships and following the mantra, "Once a Note always a Note."

Upper Structure 
is a new and edgy a cappella group. They create strong yet unexpected music, and are making their way through the Northeast and beyond. With members stretching from across the globe, Upper Structure takes current music and blends a combination of styles to create a big sound, filled with varying traditional and experimental music techniques. As a group, Upper Structure is very involved in the collegiate a cappella community, and strives to be welcoming, friendly, happy, and excited to make music with each other and the musicians around them. Follow US on twitter @UpperStructure, THIS IS US!

The Downbeats
not only aims to create and perform music, but to also encourage one another to grow as musicians and individuals. Each member’s contribution helps form the uniqueness and style of the group as a whole. Through this process, The Downbeats create invaluable bonds among its singers, all while having an aggressively fun time. Whether wrapped up in onesies for their fall show or performing in their formal black and blues, they understand that commitment to the group does not have to sacrifice the pleasure of singing and the love for one another.

The N'Harmonics
is just as unique as its city: constantly evolving and impossible to define. They use music as their paint and their audiences as canvasses, fusing all kinds of styles to create radical versions that give their listeners new reasons to cheer. Housed in Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, these artists are committed to innovative processes that redefine a cappella.

The Hot Notes 
is Fordham University’s smoothest, jazziest, and best-dressed a cappella group. Founded as a vocal jazz ensemble in the Bronx in 2011, The Hot Notes provide a unique musical perspective to the a cappella scene. They are known for their unique, innovative arrangements that put vintage twists on current hits. Last year, they were runners-up at their ICCA Quarterfinal and were recognized with an award for Outstanding Arrangement. Recent highlights include performing at the Kimmel Center for ICCA Semifinals and at the New York City Jazz Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

A Minor
, the University of Connecticut’s first co-ed a cappella group, was founded in 2004 by a small group of friends from the Asian American Cultural Center who simply loved making music together. Since then, this inseparable family has striven for musical excellence and showmanship in every performance. They remain passionate about their craft and thrive on the challenge to better themselves. Their repertoire has hit almost every genre in the books, from pop to indie, alternative to Broadway. In addition to performing at many on-campus events, A Minor is proud to be involved in charity events, benefit concerts, showcases, and more. With the upcoming release of its first album in four years, Ignite, A Minor is excited to share its music and spirit at its first ICCA competition!

Divisi
is one of Central Connecticut State's male a cappella groups. Divisi prides itself on its ability to sing a fun, entertaining, and supremely musical repertoire, while balancing great internal and external relationships. The most important part of Divisi’s mission is that its audiences leave feeling entertained and encouraged to spread its music to others.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” vocal producer, Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, composer, and educator based in New York City. She has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” Project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. While at Eastman she taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School, and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women's Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a conducting fellow at the Young People's Chorus of New York City. She directs "The Art of A Cappella" at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing music in the contemporary a cappella style. In addition to myriad vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the States. Kari graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in music education from the Eastman School. You can find her online at acappellaprofessor.com

Gyasi Barber
, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs
with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups.

Alex Grover 
is the choral director at Danvers High School (Massachusetts), where he created and leads the a cappella groups, Falconize and Ingrid Sound. Both ensembles have represented the Northeast nationally in competition at ICHSA Finals and NACC, respectively. He is also the founder and former director of Salem High School's a cappella group, WitchPitch? (three-time ICHSA Northeast Champions). Alex's groups have made appearances on the Varsity Vocals BOHSA compilations and been nominated for CARAs. He was a four-year member and three-year director of his undergraduate collegiate group, The Gentlemen Callers, and recently co-founded the group's Alumni Union. Alex currently sings with The Cylcle, a semi-professional group he formed out of Boston's Northshore, and serves as the executive director for the Haunted Harmonies A Cappella Festival in Salem, Mass. He holds B.A. in music from Wheaton College (Massachusetts) and a M.M. in music education from Boston University. www.grovervocals.com

Marc Silverberg
is an adjunct professor at Five Towns College and the director of education for CASA.org. He is the author of “Quest for the A cappella Major,” a blog that discusses the continuing education of contemporary a cappella music and group improvisation. He has presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several CASA.org-sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, as well as the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 national convention. His CAL group, Satellite Lane, was crowned the 2013 and 2014 New York Harmony Sweepstakes Audience Favorite, and received Best Arrangement. In addition to being an a cappella clinician, conductor, and performer, he also writes original musicals and plays. His original work, “He’s Not Himself,” premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Westminster Choir College.

Ana Morel 
is the choral director at Wakefield High School, in Wakefield, Mass., where she directs five ensembles, including the award-winning groups, She Major and Voices of Steel. In addition, she works as music director for the WHS Theater Arts, is the Advisor of the WHS Tri-M Chapter, and teaches courses in music theory and electronic composition. She is a graduate of Ithaca College (B.M. in music education, 2003; M.M. in choral conducting, 2009), where she performed with and directed Premium Blend. She is an active clinician, adjudicator, and festival manager, and also performs with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Boston Symphony Hall, The Boston University BosTones, Emily Flanders, AJ Marino, Brittany Penn, Miles Avila, and Victoria Hurley; 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 placing group advances to ICCA Finals.

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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