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 SOUTH SEMIFINAL

 

The University of Georgia Saturday, March 11, 2017

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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

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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

 

The Beltones is a student-run, co-ed, a cappella group at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Founded in fall 2009 by Patrick Dunnevant and Creighton Olsen, the group has quickly developed a reputation on campus, as well as among the national a cappella community. The Beltones is composed of members from every academic year and from various musical backgrounds and majors, including commercial music performance, music education, music therapy, music business, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, audio engineering, marketing, and design.

Over a meal at Bojangles' in 2011, two Appalachian State University students created Enharmonix. This a cappella group prides itself on diversity and acceptance, as it strives for musical excellence. Today’s group is proud to have accomplished the goals of its founders. Winning Best Overall Group and Best Co-Ed Group at Appalachian State's Acappellageddon for consecutive years, Enharmonix (or ENX) has made a name for itself. They are very involved in student life on campus, having fostered meaningful relationships with many other clubs and organizations. The group continues to be successful, having been invited across North Carolina to perform at various college campuses, including a performance with The UNC Clef Hangers in February 2015.

Gemini Blvd comes here from the University of Central Florida in sunny Orlando, Fla.! This group placed 1st last year at Quarterfinals and is back to show off the work they've done. Gemini Blvd prides itself on being a family and performing for one another on every stage. They have accomplished so much this past year, including competing in SoJam's scholastic competition, and they are eager to show you how hard they have worked. Without further ado, here they are: Gemini Blvd.

The Acaphiliacs is a co-ed a cappella group from Florida State University. Led completely by students, the group formed with the intention to create beautiful music within the world of a cappella. Throughout the past year, they have competed in national and international competitions, including ICCA, SOJAM, and VoiceJam. In previous ICCA years, The Acaphiliacs has won 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place titles. In addition to its success onstage, the group recently released its very first album, Overcome.

Founded in the fall of 2015, No Ceiling is striving to make a name for itself in the a cappella community. Many members of the group sing with other ensembles on campus, but created this one to share a cappella outside of the William & Mary community. Last year, No Ceiling's first-ever public performance was at ICCA South Quarterfinals in North Carolina, where they took 2nd place and advanced to Semifinals. This year, No Ceiling looks to share a different story with audiences. Thanks to all of their families and friends for support and love!

Acappology is North Carolina State University's premier co-ed a cappella group, founded in 1994. Known for strong success in the past, including ICCA Semifinal wins in both 2011 and 2012, this group strives to bring a powerful and intricate new style to the table.

Sympathetic Vibrations is Georgia Tech's premier all-male a cappella group. Founded in 1997, SympVibes has been famous for making crowds of fans swoon across Atlanta for nearly 20 years. When they’re not performing on campus, at weddings, and for philanthropic endeavors, the members of SympVibes can often be found on the basketball court. While Sympathetic Vibrations is primarily known for its legacy at Georgia Tech, its newest generation has sparked a change. The group’s new sound and energy are as distinct as ever, and they’re excited to share their gift with the broader a cappella community.

Founded in 1988 in Athens, Ga., Noteworthy is still The University of Georgia's all-female a cappella ensemble. Each member is passionate about achieving vocal excellence and riveting performances, allowing the group to remain unified and student-led. They are so excited to perform for you and hope you enjoy their set. Go Dawgs!

Gestalt is a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Florida in Gainesville. As the newest group on campus, Gestalt seeks to invigorate the a cappella community, both locally and nationally. The set curated for tonight’s show portrays the nuanced frustrations and triumphs of cultivating an artistic vision. Founded only this past August, the vocal unit made its a cappella debut at The Betsy’s A Cappella Festival, performing a show-closing set at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. In January, they crowdfunded over $12,000 with a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their first studio album, Beyond The Archetype. #BTA will be released later this year! Gestalt is excited to be making its ICCA debut this season and wishes all competing groups the best of luck! Dynamic voices, dynamic people #dvdp @GestaltACappella

Named after the beautiful beaches of Key Biscayne, BisCaydence is proud to be representing the University of Miami at Semifinals for the second time in three years. BisCaydence has performed for events across the state, including at a Florida Panthers game, and Cultureshock Miami. They frequently host joint concerts with visiting schools and have performed with The Yale Whiffenpoofs, Semi-Toned from the United Kingdom, and The Vanderbilt Melodores. Please put your hands together for BisCaydence!


GUEST PERFORMER


The Graduates is a semi-pro, coed a cappella group based out of Atlanta, Ga. The group, originally founded by Wake Forest grads, has been seducing the Southeast for 11 years with its broad genre of songs. The Grads recently released its first album, Adult Education, which can be found on CD Baby, Spotify, and other music streaming services. Over the years, through multiple music directors, a rotating and ever-expanding cast of group members, an intra-group marriage and babies, an album release, and far, far too many bottles of wine, The Graduates have stayed true to its founders' vision of delivering stellar all-vocal performances, while never taking themselves too seriously. To find out more about The Graduates, visit thegraduatesatl.com.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

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.

Kristin LoBiondo is no stranger to the a cappella community. She has worked as the assistant director of events for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), and performed with professional groups, Snowday, Vox Pop, and Jaded. She earned her B.A. in vocal music at Elon University, and has judged the ICCA in North Carolina and Maryland. Kristin is super excited to be judging again, and can't wait to see how the aca-bop has transformed over the years.

Thomas King (TeKay) has been singing, dancing, writing, acting and directing for three decades! From 1998-2004, he produced the South region’s ICCA events. He currently  teaches public speaking and directs two main stage performances at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis. He has a master's degree in performance and directing from UNC. TeKay is the marketing director of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), vice-president of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL), and director of CASA's International Ambassador program and executive producer of the SING compilations. He's the performance director for the award-winning DeltaCappella who were headliner at the 2015 Vocal Asia Festival in Shanghai, China. TeKay teaches dance workshops and vocal masterclasses at a cappella festivals around the world, most recently as an invited guest to the SING! Toronto Vocal Music Festival.

Kyle Yampiro holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from James Madison University and is the visiting Assistant Professor of voice for the University of Memphis musical theatre program. A native of Long Island, N.Y., he has performed with numerous opera and musical theatre companies across the country, most recently with The Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio and Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, Fla. He music directed University of Delaware’s Vocal Point as an undergraduate, and JMU's Exit 245 while earning his master's degree. With Exit 245, he contributed to the CARA-winning album, Boyfriend Material, from which his solo track, "Cinema," was also featured on compilation albums BOCA 2013, Voices Only 2013, and SING 10. He currently serves as a reviewer for RARB, a judge for the ICCA, CARAs, and AVAs, and a performer with Memphis-based CAL group, DeltaCappella.

Matthew Velker has been tuned in to the world of a cappella since the mid-90s (read: old). He sang in choirs since the fourth grade and continued to do so through high school and college, where he studied music education (Piedmont College and The University of Southern Mississippi). Matthew is the director of industry relations for the A Cappella Education Association, and director of operations for Camp A Cappella. He has also served the CASA as a CARA nominator and judge, and is on the events team at SoJam, BOSS, LAAF, AcappellaFest, and VoCal Nation. On occasion, he has the privilege of working directly with groups at all levels advising on formation, competition and recording. He is excited to continue his involvement with a cappella.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Steve Ryan, The Accidentals, and The Graduates; 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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