THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF HIGH SCHOOL

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

ICHSA GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

Centerville High School Friday, February 24, 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

 

Ars Nova is a fresh group from Dayton, Ohio, created in 2015. “Ars Nova” is Latin for “new art,” and as such, this is the first a cappella group to emerge at The Miami Valley School, and it has risen with a colorful spark. They made it to ICHSA Midwest Semifinals last year and performed at Camp A Cappella in June 2016. In addition to the group’s performance and competition schedule, Ars Nova is also working on a debut single and music video.

The Jacket Company is an auditioned vocal a cappella ensemble from New Riegel Schools (home of The Blue Jackets). Jacket Company began as a show choir in 1989 and leapt into the world of a cappella in 2008. Hailing from New Riegel, Ohio (literally a one stoplight town with around 30 students per grade), The Jacket Company performs 20-30 shows each year for school and community events, coffee shops, company meetings, and various festivals. This is their second year competing in the ICHSA and they are excited to take the stage! @JacketCompany

Kaleidoscope, from Clyde High School, in Clyde, Ohio, is in its third year of existence and its third ICHSA. This group is composed of 14 members, ranging from sophomores to seniors. This year, Kaleidoscope opened for The Filharmonic and performed at Camp A Cappella. In years past, they have performed for surrounding nursing homes, at Camp A Cappella, and Downtown Disney at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. They were also the guest performer for an ICCA Quarterfinal at Centerville High School. For the past two years, they have participated in the Kettering National A Cappella Festival. The members of Kaleidoscope share a familial bond that makes this group what it is.

DYNAMIX was formed this past fall in Harrison, Ohio by director Kelsey Withrow. The group is one of three a cappella groups at Southwest Local Schools, and they are honored to be involved with Varsity Vocals and participate in this year's ICHSA Quarterfinals. Consisting of 18 members, DYNAMIX has performed at an NKU Basketball Game, hosted BeatBox and Rap Battles in Harrison, and will be hosting a concert, "Mic'd," on May 12th in their home theater.  They love to sing songs of all genres and styles, and look forward to continuing their aca-journey and attending many of the great a cappella festivals in this area of Ohio!

Evolution is made of the very best vocal students from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is Evolution’s second year competing, and they are very excited to see all the wonderful groups! They are coming off their Valentine’s Day annual concert, and are ready to warm your hearts with their smooth sounds!

Trebels is a co-ed group from Seton LaSalle High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. The group is entirely student-run and its members have written many of its arrangements. They are thrilled to be back for their third season of competition. They would like to thank their families, Mr. Bowen, and the school faculty for their continued love and support.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Deepak Kumar entered the a cappella community as a freshman at the University of Michigan, when he joined Maize Mirchi A Cappella, the South Asian a cappella group on campus. Throughout his time in college, he became heavily involved in a cappella, both within the context of Mirchi and in the greater Michigan a cappella scene. He joined the Michigan A Cappella Council (MACC) executive board in order to enable a stronger sense of community across groups at the university. As a member of Maize Mirchi, he pushed the group to invest more in the a cappella community. As music director, Deepak aimed put Maize Mirchi on the map as a group that could bring South Asian a cappella to major venues (like the ICCA) and still create relatable and enjoyable musical experiences. Throughout college, he wrote arrangements for other college groups (UMD Anokha) and high school groups across the country, and continues to arrange for groups on request. Deepak is excited at the opportunity to be a judge for this ICCA season.

Eric Neuenschwander currently serves as a choral and theatre director at Xenia High School. He directs the annual musical, the concert choir, and The Xenia Vocal Ensemble, an advanced, mixed-vocal, non-competitive show choir. He continues to perform onstage in improv comedy at The Black Box Improv in Dayton, Ohio, and with various community theatres around Central and Southwest Ohio. A proud graduate of Ohio State University, Eric co-founded the group Dynamic Contrast (now Majors and Minors), and The Acappella Alliance at Ohio State. The alliance is an umbrella organization that helps grow existing and new a cappella groups, and currently includes 10 groups.

Ryan Hutcherson is a believer in the power of music to give students a voice, passion, and a creative outlet for finding both. He has a special fondness for a cappella in giving life to this belief and beyond.. Ryan graduated from Otterbein University with a bachelor's degree in music education. There, he co-founded and co-directed Ottertuned, Otterbein's first mixed a cappella group. Ottertuned continues to compete in ICCA, was invited to sing at Carnegie Hall with Deke Sharon for DCINY, and has a single available on iTunes. He currently teaches at Maysville Schools in Zanesville, Ohio, and arranges for groups around the globe. Ryan looks forward to seeing passionate performers showcasing their hard work, and would like to say "Break a leg (but no more than one) and make memories that will last a lifetime."

John DeFerraro is the Director of Choral Activities at Conner High School in Hebron, Ky. Under his direction, choirs consistently earn state distinguished ratings with Sweepstakes honors and collaborate with other artists, such as the African Children’s Choir and Point of Grace. John is active in KMEA, ACDA, and NAfME, as a clinician and on a national NAfME recruiting and mentoring task force. In a cappella, he serves as the Small Group Coordinator for Camp A Cappella, and is a regular judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). John is also the co-producer for the National A Cappella Convention and Voices in Harmony (Lexington, Ky.), and is proud to be an alumnus of The University of Kentucky acoUstiKats.

Katie Schuman has been onstage since age 6 and is still in love with live performance. She holds a Bachelor of Music in musical theatre from Florida State University, where she was a member of All-Night Yahtzee from 2002-2006. With ANY, she won multiple Best Soloist and Best Arrangement awards at the Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds of ICCA. She served as ANY's music director from 2004-2006, during which time the group first advanced to ICCA Finals in New York. She co-founded the semi-professional a cappella group, Threadbare, an experiment in long-distance a cappella collaboration. Katie continues to perform and teach in the Indianapolis area, where she lives with her husband and daughter. To all of tonight’s competitors: break a leg!

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Ben Spalding, Bryan Miller, the Centerville administration and staff, Centerville Choir Boosters, Forte, Riley McMahon, and Isaiah Hawkins; 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 ICHSA Great Lakes 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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