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 SOUTHWEST SEMIFINAL

 

University of California, Los Angeles 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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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

 

VirtuOSO has quickly risen to prominence among America’s collegiate a cappella groups. Of its 2015 ICCA Finals debut, a Newsweek article commented, “My pick for first place goes to Baylor University’s VirtuOSO… because they are authentic. Professional but not produced.” Their runner-up finish at the 2016 VoiceJAM competition in Arkansas earned them an invitation to perform at the 2016 Vocal Asia Festival in Taitung, Taiwan. This Baylor School of Music ensemble, directed by Dr. Stephen Gusukuma, works to bring unique vocal offerings to the school’s choral program through pop, a cappella, and jazz.

Howdy from HardChord DynaMix, Texas A&M's premier mixed a cappella group. This is their fourth year competing at ICCA and they are so ecstatic to be back! Each year, the group hosts a massive show called Acappellooza, which brings a cappella groups from all over Texas to perform for a great audience. Feel free to whoop or yell out for them if you like what you hear tonight! Thanks and Gig'em.

Hailing from the snowy mountain town of Flagstaff, Ariz., The Axecidentals is a group like no other. This all-female ensemble from Northern Arizona University prides itself on its musical prowess, stemming from a strong choral background. With its sweet blend and killer harmonies, The Axecidentals is a group of ladies you won't forget.

The Northern Arizona University Highlanders reside in the 2016 snow capital of America, Flagstaff, Ariz. This group of rugged mountain men emerged from the forest four years ago on a mission to serenade the masses. In Flagstaff, at 7,000 feet, The Highlanders makes its mark as the highest all-male group in Arizona. These lumberjacks will steal your hearts with their soulful harmonies and kick-axe talent.

The ChapTones is Chapman University’s newest co-ed a cappella group based in Orange, Calif. Established in 2014, the group developed a dynamic sound that makes for a fun and engaging set list. This is their second year participating in the ICCA and they are proud to make their competitive debut.

Proud. Distinguished. Elite. These are words that have absolutely nothing to do with the group known as Fermata Nowhere. You might try other words like “distracted,” “frolicking,” “ravenous,” or “devastatingly handsome.” After donning their trademark jumpsuits and Converse high tops in 2003, they made their first trip to the ICCA Finals in the spring of 2004, taking 2nd place. In 2009, they returned, this time becoming the first community college to win the national championship. Fermata Nowhere would like to thank all of you for coming tonight, but especially their friends and family for their continued support.

The ScatterTones is a co-ed group of students from UCLA in the hills of Westwood, Calif. They have opened for Pentatonix, performed for President Obama, and accompanied Taylor Swift at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Last year, they also had the opportunity to work with JoJo on ABC Family's “25 Days of Christmas” campaign. Most recently, The ScatterTones won the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Mixed Collegiate Album in 2016 for its fourth studio album, Being Young. No strangers to the ICCA stage, they have made it to Finals in New York three times in the last five years. They can't wait to perform for you!

Founded in 2012, Resonance began as a quintet and has grown in both size and sound, becoming one of the premier vocal ensembles at UCLA. As one of the youngest groups on campus, Resonance has established itself with its unique sound and musical excellence. In 2014 and 2016, the group qualified and performed for an audience of 10,000 at UCLA's Spring Sing, the university's largest, highly competitive musical showcase. In 2015, Resonance competed in the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF) Scholastic Competition. Resonance's members take pride in their passion for performing, friendship, and music. Guided by their love for music and singing, they hope to have a lasting impact on the Los Angeles community, in addition to the entire a cappella community.

Meet Texas Christian University's all-male a cappella group: The Horned Tones. They are known all around campus for their personalities both on and offstage, and with the combination of their impressive vocals and incredible stage presence, these guys are sure to make you smile. The Horned Tones have performed in a variety of venues around Fort Worth, including both concerts on campus and performances at surrounding locations in Fort Worth. Originally founded two years ago, this is the group's second trip to the ICCA and they are ready to show you what they’ve got!

Returning for their second year at the ICCA, License to Trill is back and ready to show what they've got! With five returning members and 11 new members, License to Trill has grown in size and visibility in the last year, and they are here to deliver a powerful message. From performing with the local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society to gigs around the Fort Worth and TCU communities, License to Trill is a growing force in the Texas a cappella scene! In addition to performing and competing in the last year, L2T has also partnered with the LUNGevity Foundation to support and bring awareness to lung cancer. For more information on License to Trill's philanthropy, please visit: http://licensetotrilltcu.wixsite.com/l2ttcu Facebook: LicenseToTrillTCU, Instagram: @tcu_l2t, Twitter: @TCU_l2t Post using #L2T so License to Trill can see what you thought about their performance!


GUEST PEFORMER

Premiere is an award-winning, all-female a cappella group in Los Angeles. Bringing a diverse repertoire and range of voices, the group sings with attitude, dynamic leads, and messages of female empowerment. Premiere has had the honor of performing at such venues as the House of Blues Sunset Strip, hosting the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival twice, signing with the AwesomenessTV Network, TBS Network, and collaborating with acclaimed groups from across the country. Each woman brings a unique musical background and balances commitment to Premiere with her individual professional career. As a group, Premiere seeks to create powerful music and raise the bar of all-female a cappella.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Tom Keyes is a passionate and dedicated a cappella facilitator, event producer, and music director. He is the former executive producer of the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, former director of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) for CASA.org and director of operations at the A Cappella Academy in California. With a considerable background in vocal and instrumental music, Tom was bitten by the a cappella bug in 2009 when he created and directed his own group, the award-winning semi-professional group, Frequency. Currently music directing three vocal groups, as well as a spiritual center, he balances music, work, and family, and lives with his wife and three children in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Originally from the suburbs of New York, Meron Mogos got her start in a cappella in 2004 with Duke University’s Lady Blue. She joined New York CAL group, Empire, in 2011 and then moved to Los Angeles and co-founded the all-female CAL group, Premiere, in 2013, serving as their president for three years. Meron is the executive producer of the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival and also a member of professional vocal group, VXN. Meron is an active member of the a cappella community, working for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA)in several roles, performing and teaching at festivals across the country, and collaborating with some of the best in the business. Her work has been featured on television, compilation albums ,and has received multiple CARA/AVA nominations. Outside of a cappella, Meron works in talent management and production in entertainment.

Kelsey Stanker is a graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, where she earned her bachelor's degree in vocal performance and jazz studies. Her love for a cappella began in 2009 when she auditioned for the University of Illinois co-ed a cappella group, No Comment. In her four years as a No Comment member, Kelsey has served as arranger, choreographer and music director, leading the group to their first-ever appearances at the ICCA Semifinals and Nationals, as well as winning Best Soloist for their group’s Quarterfinal and Semifinal performances. She is currently working on her debut album in addition to performing professionally worldwide and can be heard, most recently on the latest Pentatonix album.

Alana Loewe Weiss has been an active part of the a cappella community for 16 years. She coaches Calabasas High School's award-winning a cappella groups, Unstrumental and Bare Rhythm (Los Angeles A Cappella Festival  winners 2014, runners-up 2012/2013, LAAF Best Choreography, Audience Favorite, and Best Soloist recipients 2012-2014, Total Vocal with Deke Sharon at Carnegie Hall 2015, LAAF hosts 2017). Alana was also a founding member of UCSB's premier a cappella ensemble, Naked Voices, and received the ICCA Outstanding Soloist award twice when competing with this group. Alana is currently a private voice and performance coach in the Los Angeles area (alanavoice.com).

Stacy Burcham entered USC in 1995 on a trumpet scholarship. In 1996, she was one of the founding members of The SoCal VoCals. She served as musical director and producer on several CARA-nominated VoCal albums and has received the ICCA Best Arrangement award every year an arrangement of hers has been entered. After graduating in 2000, Stacy’s arrangement of the national anthem has been featured at Clippers, Lakers, and Kings home games and the 2008 Democratic National Debate. As a vocalist, she has performed at the Hollywood Bowl and The Greek Theater, and has sung backup for Roger Daltry and Kristin Chenoweth. As a trumpet, euphonium, and alto sax player, she was featured on projects by Molly Bryant and Justin Miner and the soundtrack for the video game, "The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night." She is thrilled to help judge this year! Visit her at www.stacyburcham.com.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Joshua Jacobs, and Royce Hall, especially Christina Montano, Jon Henson, and Patrick Taylor; 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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