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 SEMIFINAL

 

Bowling Green High School 
Saturday, March 18, 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

 

Major VI is a group of 26 Novi High School students that is fortunate enough to meet daily as a class. They are extremely active in their school and community, made up of kids from each corner of their school, including athletes, actors, first year choir members, artists, and instrumentalists. This mix of students from different grades and with different interests are joined by one common passion for making music. This is Major VI’s fifth year competing at ICHSA, placing 1st at Quarterfinals last year. They are honored to perform alongside these other talented a cappella groups tonight!

Skyline Blues
, from Ann Arbor Skyline High School, is a select co-ed a cappella ensemble composed of choir students from all grade levels. Skyline Blues was founded in 2008 and is under the direction of Lindsay CieChanski and John Strader. The group meets twice a week after school and participates in a number of performances and competitions each year, including MSVMA Solo and Ensemble, where they have consistently earned superior ratings. They are thrilled to be participating in ICHSA for the ninth year in a row.

Detroit Voice
began in 2011 under the direction of Brian Haverkate as a celebration of Michigan, Motown, and Detroit artists. Since that time, they have performed with the Legends of Doo-Wop Tour, for Pentatonix, Motown Night with the Detroit Tigers, private events for HDTV, and have appeared on the BOHSA compilation.

Vega
, from Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School is currently in its seventh year of existence and has consistently competed in ICHSA competitions, earning 2nd place in the 2014 Finals. Vega is excited to compete again this year, and hopes you enjoy the result of its members’ passion, creative collaboration, and hard work.

Free Verse 
is a student-founded and student-run a cappella group hailing from the all-male Central Catholic and all-female Oakland Catholic High Schools in Pittsburgh, Penn. The group was formed this past fall, and includes students from freshmen to seniors, involved in a variety of activities, from athletics to theatre to student leadership. All of the members share a passion for music, and they are super excited to expand that passion with a cappella! The term "free verse" refers to poetry without regular rhyme or meter. The members of Free Verse believe that this group is an outlet in which they can express themselves through music, free of boundaries.

From the illustrious Cleveland Heights High School Vocal Music Department comes this new ensemble, combined from two award-winning barbershop groups. Gold Rush is in its first year and includes sophomores, juniors and seniors. They are excited to make their ICHSA debut and look forward to continuing Cleveland Heights’ established standard of excellence.

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, they are also working on a debut single and music video.

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!

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

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 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (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.

Bryan Guffey 
has been singing longer than he can remember (seriously, ask his parents). Since forming his first group, 50/50, in high school in 1997, Bryan has been a passionate advocate and believer in the power of vocal music to change lives for the better. After graduating with his B.F.A. in musical theatre from Kent State in 2006, Bryan worked with Grammy-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn on a remount of the Broadway musical, "The Civil War" in Gettysburg, Pa., which led him to audition for Full Sail, an a cappella group on the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises, where he had the opportunity to work with and learn from the likes of Home Free’s Tim Foust. Bryan returned to the U.S. where he helped launch A Cappella Records and become much more involved in the a cappella community. When he isn't solving technical issues for nonprofits, Bryan spends much of his time coaching a cappella groups in the Great Lakes region and volunteers his time with the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), The Vocal Foundation, the Women’s A Cappella Association and SingStrong, as well as serving as  president of the Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. Additionally, Bryan works closely with Centerville High School’s Forte A Cappella, having co-produced their most recent all-original album, Uncharted Heart, and their upcoming album, Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg

Brittany Taman
is a former member of Florida State University's all-female a cappella group, AcaBelles. Brittany first became involved in a cappella during high school through her choir director Evan Powers, founder of FSU's all-male group, Reverb. Since joining AcaBelles in her sophomore year, Brittany has won awards for her outstanding choreography, been prominently featured in the 'Belles viral cover of "Royals,”  recorded on the CARA-winning album, Rebel, helped her group to become the 2014 SoJam Champions, and represented AcaBelles in the docuseries, "Sing It On.” Brittany is thrilled to be a part of the ICCA tonight, and to give back to the a cappella community.

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.

Tyler Knowles
began playing instruments at an early age, but didn't discover his voice as an instrument until he fell in love with a performance featuring UW-Madison's premier men's a cappella group, The MadHatters. He auditioned for the group, and learned he had a knack for singing really, really low. Tyler sang with The MadHatters from 2002-2005, competing in and hosting ICCA during that time. After college, he sang professionally in the a cappella quartet, The Traveling Sailsmen, on the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, cruising from Alaska down to the Horn of South America and numerous ports in between.



SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Ryan Albrecht and Bowling Green High School, Alex Hann and ASL Audio, Ladies First, Sarah Maskill, 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 placing group advances to the ICHSA 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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