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 UNITED KINGDOM QUARTERFINAL

 

Queens Hall 
Sunday, February 19, 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

 

Founded in 2011, Aberpella is the U.K.'s northernmost collegiate a cappella group hailing (literally) from the grey paradise of Aberdeen. They perform regularly at local events across the icy wastelands of northern Scotland, to the delight of local farmers. Aberpella has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, making appearances at the Scottish A Cappella Championships and the Semifinals of Voice Festival U.K., as well as recording its debut EP. Often bringing hilarity to their performances, Aberdeen's only co-ed group is well-known in the area and looks to make an impression at its first appearance at the ICCA this year. With a back catalogue of songs ranging from heart wrenching ballads to Shania Twain, Aberpella hopes to bring you anything but a grey performance from the Granite City.

The Northern Lights is a mixed a cappella group from Durham University. 2016 was their busiest year to date, marking the release of their first EP, Bright Lights, Small City, and a music video for the track, “Don't Look Back in Anger/Nobody to Love,” which showcases the beauty of a very sunny Durham. 2016 also marked their third year at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with nearly 450 coming to see their show, “The Voice Awakens,” over the six-day run! Northern Lights are excited to get involved in the ICCA again - venturing outside their usual domain of college balls and formals in Durham. With the addition of 6 new members, they can't wait for the year ahead and all the exciting ventures in store!

The Accidentals is The University of St. Andrews' first all-female a cappella group. The current group is made up of nine girls from all over the world and its diversity is reflected in the wide range of music they produce. They are a very collaborative group, and all of their work is an amalgamation of all their efforts and ideas. They pride themselves on being a close group of girls who are fun, sassy, and fierce, and each brings something different to the table. However, they share the belief that enjoying themselves onstage is the key to a great performance! They have placed 3rd in the Scottish A Cappella Championships, released their second music video, “Who Did That To You?,” and their second EP, Welcome To Queendom. They’ve also been working hard on new material that they cannot wait to share! Competing is one of the most exciting parts of being in a cappella group, and they feel it makes them even closer and more motivated to do the best they can. They’re so excited return to the ICCA this year and wish all other competitors the best of luck!

Hailing from The University of St. Andrews, The Alleycats are ready to take on the ICCA after a fantastic 2016! Building from their first ever U.S. tour in 2015, the group won Best Solo at ICCA Semifinals in 2016, and is ready to tackle the competition again this year. The 11 vocalists in this high-energy act combine a full range of male and female voices amid a velvety blend. The Alleycats was set up by a group of friends in 2001 who shared their love of singing over a pint in the pub Originally an all-male group, The Alleycats opened its doors to female members in 2007, and began working toward the rich sound it has today. Combining a range of musical influences, this feisty and fabulous group never shies away from any genre of music, with frequent mash-ups! Fresh from a landmark seventh successive run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they performed their all-new comedy-music fusion show, “Gap Year!,” The Alleycats has fierce new members, an even fiercer new sound, and big plans for the year. Their newest EP, Hiss and Tell, has hit a cappella circles, and there’s more ahead with music videos, tours, and albums on the horizon.

Cosmopolitones is the female a cappella group of Leeds University. Having only been around for five years, they’re still making a name for themselves in the a cappella world and are excited to make their debut performance at the ICCA!

The Other Guys was founded in 2004 by a group of friends who wanted to bring the American tradition of collegiate a cappella to the university town of St Andrews, and has grown into the premier all-male a cappella ensemble in Scotland. Combining the classical with the contemporary, their philosophy has always been to entertain. “Backstreet's Back” is a favourite of the group; it demands a committed performance (even with suspect dance moves!) and helps to start the set with a bang. Annie Lennox's “Into the West” contrasts the high octane opener, and the melodic ebb and flow symbolize passing time to carry the listeners along an emotional path to a comforting end. The final piece, “It's Raining Men,” covers the infamous Weather Girls. First performed by the group in 2015, it helped to raise funds for Prostate Cancer U.K. and reached over 91,000 views on YouTube. It mashes other favourites of the group and shows off their cheekier side. They hope the Weather Girls would agree.

The Songsmiths is the mixed a cappella group from the University of Leeds in the U.K. This group is a regular competitor in the Voice Festival U.K. competition, having successfully reached the Finals for the past two years, winning Best Soloist at the 2015 and 2016 Finals, and Most Outstanding Overall Performance of Semifinals in 2016. They pride themselves on small numbers, and big sounds.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Blessed with fiery red hair and a 6'5” frame, Jonny Stewart is a producer, engineer, and live sound engineer for The Vocal Company, which was responsible for a staggering 54 tracks nominated for the 2015 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). A former music director of three-time ICCA Finalists, All the King's Men, Jonny works regularly with collegiate and professional groups in the U.K. and the U.S., and will be running sound for Voces8 on their 2016 U.S. tour. His work has been selected for a cappella compilation albums in the U.S. and U.K., featured briefly on ITV, and nominated for the CARAs. When not in the studio, he sings bass with the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, and until recently, he played keyboard in Rubin and the Groovy Tuesdays.

Edward Scott was music director of Semi-Toned for two years, leading the group to win the top prize at Voice Festival U.K. championships in 2015, and 2nd place at ICCA Semifinals in 2014. He has since spent over a year performing professionally around the world with “Gobsmacked!,” an a cappella and beatboxing show. He has given workshops on a cappella music both in the U.K. and abroad.

Alex Moore has been singing on the London a cappella scene for six years and was musical director of 2016 ICCA champion, The Techtonics, from  2013-2015. Currently a member of three semi-professional a cappella groups, Alex is also a big band singer, and former boy chorister at Wells Cathedral. He sings with the Wellensian Consort (BBC Choir of the Year 2010), studies singing with Alex Farkas, and is a keen cellist

Luke Stevenson is a musician, composer, and music educator from Melbourne, Australia. He has won multiple national awards, toured internationally with his ensembles, and conducted his own commissioned works for a number of ensembles, choirs, and orchestras around Australia. Luke is a sought-after arranger, composer, performer, and educator, and has been successful implementing singing and arranging programs in schools around Australia and overseas. Recently, Luke has been focused on developing a catalog of new arrangements, producing scores, and learning tracks for ensembles around Australia. His work on “As Long As You Love Me” with his band, Switch, garnered him awards from Aus Aca PLAY and CASA, and the track was selected for the 2014 Voices Only compilation album. His barbershop quartet, The Mellow Diners, placed 4th at the Harmony Goldrush national barbershop competition in late 2015, and represented the country at the 2016 International Barbershop Competition in Nashville. In 2016, Luke relocated to London to pursue further opportunities and continue to perform and engage as part of the international music community. He currently helps lead Meantime Chorus in London, tours with Evoke choir, and works on his own solo projects.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Max Hunter, Midé Naike, Eve Thomas-Davies, Iain McQueen, and The Queen’s Hall; 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 three placing groups advance to the ICCA United Kingdom 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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