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 MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Northern Highlands Regional High School
 Saturday, March 18, 2017

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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 Highlands Belles hail from Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, N.J., and are honored to be participating in their fifth ICHSA. This group was the 2014 ICHSA New England Regional champion and placed 4th at 2014 Finals in New York. Additionally, The Belles have competed in the SingStrong Festival in Chicago, and have also had the privilege of singing the national anthem at the MetLife Stadium for a Jets vs. Patriots game. They have worked extremely hard and are excited to perform for you tonight! Follow them on Twitter @highlandesbelles and Instagram @thehighlandsbelles.

The Rye Neck Uproar 
has represented Rye Neck High School in the a cappella world for several years. The group has performed at community events, such as annual walks for pancreatic cancer, holiday caroling, and various school functions. They have also made appearances at the Westchester A Cappella Festival, Grand Central Station, and even in the ICHSA several years ago. The Uproar is excited about its return to the ICHSA stage, and looks forward to future competitions, thanks to its influx of new underclassmen members.

Rhythm on Rye is a student-run, arranged and choreographed co-ed a cappella group from Rye High School. The group consists of sophomores, juniors, and seniors from the public school. Named after a sandwich pun, this group has competed in ICHSA  many times, and took 3rd place at Quarterfinals in 2015. ROR was unable to attend last year due to snow, and are excited to make a comeback this year. The officers include assistant music director Abi Repetto, co-choreographers Caroline Dailey and Penny Deen, music director Natalie Puglatti, and co-presidents Penny Deen and Teddy Stubbs. They hope you enjoy their performance!


The Mahopac High School PACapellas 
was formed in 2009 and has performed all over the community. They have been competing at ICHSA for several years, and always look forward to meeting other student groups who share their love of music. They have performed at various charity events, including Relay for Life. The group is proud to include many student composers and arrangers.

Scarlet Sound 
is in its second year at Neptune High School. The group’s initial vision was to provide a challenging creative outlet for the vocal performers of NHS, and Scarlet Sound has since become of staple of the community of NHS and the city of Neptune. The group was recently accepted into the Disney Performing Arts OnStage program, and will be a featured performing group at Walt Disney World Resort this April. They are excited to begin their first journey into the world of competitive a cappella, and they would like to thank the NHS community for its continued support of the arts program.

Drastic Measures 
is a student-run, all-female a cappella group, founded in 2006, and composed of high school students ranging from freshmen to seniors. The members of Drastic Measures are extremely close-knit and have formed strong relationships with one another and with their alumni. All arrangements are written and taught by members of the group. Some of their traditional songs include “Torn,” “I Will Remember You,” and “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.” They perform at their high school’s winter and spring Nights of A Cappella and at numerous events throughout the community. Some of their more recent performances can be found on the YouTube channel: Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School A-Cappella Club. All group members are also enrolled in their high school’s choral music program, where they receive weekly group voice classes and learn how to sight-read, build vocal technique, and develop as soloists.

The Testostertones 
is Princeton High School's all-male, all-swag a cappella group! This is their third consecutive ICHSA season. Last year, they reached 3rd place in Quarterfinals and won Best Arrangement, so they’re super excited to be back and hope to do better. They’re a pretty chill group that performs all types of a cappella repertoire. They only had a few seniors last year, so this group is pretty similar. They can't wait to perform!


GUEST PERFORMERS

Highlands Harmonics is a mixed a cappella group from Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, N.J. In January 2017, they placed 3rd at the SingStrong A Cappella Festival in New York. They have performed at the National A Cappella Convention in Memphis, Tenn., the Highlands A Cappella Festival, and have opened ICHSA competitions for the past three years. The group is directed by Mrs. Irene Lahr. 

Highlands Voices has been the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic champion for the past six years.They have been ICHSA National champions and the A Cappella Ed. Assoc. champions, and were featured on the Lifetime show, "Pitch Slapped."  They have performed at 54 Below in New York, the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., the Boston A Cappella Festival in Boston, Mass., and will be featured at the National Music Teachers Convention in Atlantic City in April. Follow Highlands Voices on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/Instagram @highlandsvoices.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Thomas J. West is an active music teacher, composer, adjudicator, and clinician in the greater Philadelphia area. He has over 20 years of experience as a concert band director, marching band director, jazz improvisation instructor, choral director, orchestra director, private instructor, marching drill writer, and contemporary a cappella director, arranger, and performer. He is an adjudicator with Drum Corps International and Cavalcade of Bands. His a cappella credits include director and producer of The Dreamers of Phi Mu Alpha (Penn State), Four The Glory Barbershop Quartet (Penn State), and director of The Pennharmonics (Penn State). Tom is the Director of Education for The A Cappella Project - Philadelphia, and co-arranger and performer with Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) member group, KeyStone A Cappella.

Michael Jones 
maintains active performing and teaching careers and is Founder and Director of Companion Star Inc. He is an international singing artist with 28 years of experience in creating and collaborating on new works for the stage. He has a Doctor of Musical Arts from SUNY-Stony Brook and is a graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas and Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. He was on the faculty of New York University for six years in the music and music professions department, where he taught voice and performance skills. He has accompanied, arranged and created new shows with a variety of artists ranging from cabaret, musical theatre, opera and jazz. Originally from Hawaii, he now resides in New York.

Meredith Strang 
has been active in the a cappella community as a singer, arranger, judge, director, and group mentor for nearly 25 years. She is currently the music director for Treble NYC, which recently appeared in the movie, “How to Be Single.” As an arranger for NYC A Cappella, she creates award-winning arrangements for vocal groups across the nation. During her college years, she directed University of Delaware’s Deltones, who went on to be cast on NBC's “The Sing-Off.” Meredith is a member of CAL, the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA), and was also a producer for CASA’s VoCALnation Festival, featuring headliners The Swingle Singers and Duwende.  In addition to her love of a cappella, Meredith sings in a rock band, a jazz duo, and does backing vocals for artists such as Phillip Phillips, A Great Big World, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

Marc Silverberg
is an adjunct professor at Five Towns College and the director of education for CASA.org. He is the author of “Quest for the A cappella Major,” a blog that discusses the continuing education of contemporary a cappella music and group improvisation. He has presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several CASA.org-sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, as well as the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 national convention. His CAL group, Satellite Lane, was crowned the 2013 and 2014 New York Harmony Sweepstakes Audience Favorite, and received Best Arrangement. In addition to being an a cappella clinician, conductor, and performer, he also writes original musicals and plays. His original work, “He’s Not Himself,” premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Westminster Choir College.

Andrew Cho
is a musician, currently residing in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he was welcomed into Maize Mirchi A Cappella. With Maize Mirchi, he nurtured his love for a cappella music through competitions like the ICCA, countless rehearsals, and big, ringing "ah"'s. Since moving to New York, Andrew has ventured into choral music with the New York Chamber Choir (NYCC), a group of chamber choir and music enthusiasts from the Tri-State Area. Through NYCC, Andrew has had the pleasure of mentoring and singing with youth choir singers. Andrew is thrilled to be part of the ICCA again, and can't wait to witness what all the competitors have prepared for tonight.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank our emcees, Teddi & Loucy Sotiropoulos, Northern Highlands Board of Education & Administration, NH Music and Performing Arts Association, and NH Custodial Staff; 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 two placing groups advance to the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic 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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