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 CENTRAL SEMIFINAL

 

Buffalo Center for the Arts Saturday, March 25, 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 Coda Conduct is a co-ed a cappella group from Penn State University. At just over four years old, the group has quickly become known as one of Penn State's top a cappella groups. Composed of 15 members, Coda's darker sound has become a staple in its repertoire, and can be heard on its first-ever studio EP, Out of the Dark, which released last spring. Coda is excited to be back on the ICCA stage after its last appearance ended in being crowned the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal Champion.

Vocal Point is University of Rochester’s only all-female a cappella group. Founded in 1969 as a women's ensemble of 12 women accompanied by piano, the group has transformed over almost five decades to the voices-only power singers they are today! Vocal Point has performed everywhere from the Metropolitan Club in New York City to the White House, and they are so excited to perform for you today!

Carmony is the only a cappella group at The Ohio State University in Lima. They are excited to compete for their second ICCA, and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to sing alongside such talented groups!

The Buffalo Chips are excited to bring you their innovative vocal stylings with a unique Buffalo twist. If you listen closely, you may be able to hear the calming sounds of a Lake Effect Snowstorm, the groan of a Zubaz-clad crowd as The Bills miss yet another field goal, or the synchronized snaps of a thousand chicken wing bones at the Taste of Buffalo. This is the only all-male a cappella group hailing from the University at Buffalo.

IC Voicestream is the premier co-ed a cappella group at Ithaca College. They perform two full concerts each semester, featuring a cappella arrangements of popular indie, rock, and hip hop music. Created in 2001, IC Voicestream is approaching its 15th anniversary!

Pittch Please originated from a men's alumni a cappella group composed of Pitt graduates. After what was thought to be the group's last concert, a push from student fans and current members led the group to seek registration as a bonafide student organization. Pittch Please now provides fraternal solidarity for its members, sentimental commemorations for its alumni, and musical excellence for the Pittsburgh community.

The Potsdam Pitches is SUNY Potsdam's premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2007, The Pitches is an award-winning group, dedicated to spreading the love and joy of a cappella through high-quality performances. Coming on their 10th year, the singers of The Potsdam Pitches are excited to compete at ICCA once again.

Greetings from The Water Boys from the University of Waterloo! This all-male collegiate a cappella group loves to focus on intricate arrangements, high musicianship, and entertaining performances. Founded in 2008, they have come a long way, both as an a cappella group, and as friendly neighbors from The Great North. While they’re not melting polar ice caps with their captivating presence, they generate copious amounts of voluptuous puns to empower their singing abilities. So, put on your seat belts and get your trays in your upright position for take off, before diving deep into the watery trenches of supersaturated a cappella music, with a dynamic splash and a sizzling drizzle.

The Treblemakers is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group at Carnegie Mellon. Founded in 2010, they’ve quickly grown into a musical force to be reckoned with. They host Carnegie Mellon’s spring a cappella concert each year and regularly perform at events on and off campus. At heart, they’re a close knit and fun loving group of friends who love to share their passion for music with each other and the community. The group includes all kinds of singers and styles of music, and they work together to bring their visions to life.

Pitches & Tones started out in 1972 just outside of Philly as a Steve Buscemi fan club. They turned to crime in the mid-90s, made a small fortune, got in too deep, and were left with no choice but to disguise themselves as an a cappella group. They still worship Steve Buscemi though.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Angela Longo began her a cappella career at Florida State University, where she directed the award-winning all-female group, The AcaBelles, and led the ladies to represent the South in 2009 ICCA Finals. After graduating, Angela relocated to New York and studied audio production at SAE Institute of Technology. There, she also sang with Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, The Red States (now known as Restated), and co-founded an all-female CAL group, Empire. Angela currently lives in Rochester, N.Y., sings with the powerhouse female vocal band, Musae, and is a producer with the awesome a cappella production team, The Vocal Company. Her work has been nominated for over 100 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), and earned compilation placements on SING, BOCA, BOHSA, Voices Only, and Voices Only Forte.

Selame Scarlett hails from Okemos, Mich. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she was part of Capital Green A Cappella, and served as music director, arranger and vocal percussionist. Currently, she is an ICHSA producer, Varsity Vocals judge, and clinician for high school and collegiate groups in the Midwest. She serves as a percussionist and vocalist for the CARA-winning, all-female sextet, Lady Jaye, and the all-female gospel powerhouse group, Traces, which was featured on Season 5 of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” In the summertime, Selame is an instructor and counselor at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based vocal camp for young adults (ages 13 to 17). Selame has been fortunate enough to record alongside groups such as Naturally
7, The Boxettes, Pentatonix, Duwende, and Traces of Blue (formerly Afro-Blue)! She has led percussion workshops and masterclasses, both on her own and with her beatboxing colleagues.

Melissa Rashford is a proud alumna of The Mandarins, Syracuse University’s oldest all-female a cappella group. Under her direction, The Mandarins competed and performed throughout the Northeast and earned national recognition by advancing to the ICCA Finals in 2004. Melissa holds degrees in music industry and business administration from SU and currently works in the University's Office of Marketing and Communications. She arranges for local ensembles, adjudicates area festivals, and performs with the SU Oratorio Society. Melissa also teaches high school marching band and musical theater, and takes every possible opportunity to encourage her students to join a cappella groups when they get to college

Matthew Zager spent the last 13 years involved in a cappella. He is honored and excited to be an ICCA judge for the third year in a row. He graduated with a B.S. in music education from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2008, where he founded and directed an all-male a cappella group called Vocal Infusion (he also founded and directed 8 Men Out at Penfield High School). Since then, Matthew has co-founded and directed the CARA-nominated CAL group, Cut Off, based in Rochester, N.Y., and serves as the vocal percussionist for the newly formed group, Remote. In addition to working at Roberts Wesleyan College in the Student Finance Services office, Matthew works as an arranger and clinician.

Jeff Magee is a vocal music education graduate from the University of Toronto, and currently teaches high school vocal and instrumental music. He has been an active part of Toronto's a cappella community for twelve years as a beatboxer, singer, director, arranger, and vocal coach. Jeff has experience in a variety of a cappella choirs, ranging from jazz and classical to pop music. He has directed collegiate a cappella choirs for eight years, incorporating award-winning choreography, soloists and arrangements. Jeff is passionate about bringing the fun and excitement of a cappella music to new audiences.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the University At Buffalo Center for the Arts, Katherine Trapanovski, Makenzie Mcguire, The Enchords, A Cappella Productions, Mike Jankowski, Emily Flanders, and Michaela Pawluk; 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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