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 SEMIFINAL

 

Cherry Hill High School East 
Saturday, April 1, 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

 

Cherry Hill East High School presents Stay Tuned, directed by Ms. Heather Lockart. Stay Tuned performs throughout the region, with recent showcases at Lincoln Financial Field, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Carnegie Hall. Since its inception in 2011, Stay Tuned has received many awards, including 2nd place in two ICHSA competitions, with additional awards for Best Soloist, Vocal Percussion, and Choreography. The group was awarded 1st place in two additional competitions, “A Cappella at the Rock” and “A Cappella for Autism,” also taking Best Choreography and Best Soloist at both. In 2015, Stay Tuned was selected as one of two a cappella groups nationwide to be featured in Lifetime's “Pitch Slapped,” which aired in the winter of 2016. The members of Stay Tuned are grateful for the opportunities that have come their way while working joyfully and tirelessly for their art. They are excited to share the stage tonight with such outstanding a cappella groups!

Soulfege 
is Millburn High School's student-led a cappella group. The group performs throughout the township and greater community, and holds various fundraisers and events over the course of the academic year. This is Soulfege's third time competing in the ICHSA. In 2015, the group took home the award for Outstanding Arrangement. In addition to music, Soulfege takes pride in its activism, having raised over $2,000 for Tunes to Teens, a charity that donates music supplies to underprivileged schools. To further support music access and appreciation, the group teaches a cappella classes to students at a local elementary school. Soulfege was featured on the Lifetime television show, “Pitch Slapped,” and some of its favorite performances include the New Jersey Delegation of the Democratic National Convention and opening for Vocalosity at the Bucks County Playhouse. Soulfege is thankful for its success and eager to see what the future holds!

Highlands Voices 
has won the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Semifinal for the past six years. Other victories include winning the titles of ICHSA National Champion in 2014 and winner of the first-ever National A Cappella Convention competition in 2015. They were featured on Lifetime’s “Pitch Slapped.” Look for their recordings on iTunes and Amazon and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram @highlandsvoices.

LumeNAtion 
is Newark Academy's competitive a cappella group. LumeNAtion is competing in its second ICHSA, though its first under this name (the group went by “Academy Voices” last year). They are ready to show off their smokin’ pipes, and hope to pop, lock, jam, and break (#HSMreference) their way to victory. They can’t wait to illumeNAte the stage with another electrifying performance and get more people to "join the (Lume)NAtion"!

Dragon Scales 
is a mixed a cappella group formed in 2013. This is its third year competing in ICHSA, and they could not be more excited to be back! Dragon Scales performs music of all genres, mostly arranged and choreographed by members of the group. Some of the seniors have been in the group since day one, and Dragon Scales feels like it's their time to show everybody just how far they've come. Enjoy the performance!

Unplugged
, La Plata High School's one and only award-winning a cappella group, is thrilled to return to this competition. They were ICHSA Finalists in 2014, and Mid-Atlantic Semifinal runners-up in 2015. In 2016, Unplugged's track, “Love Lockdown/Love Runs Out,” was included on the Varsity Vocals BOHSA compilation album. Unplugged performs at school, in its community, and at local and national charity events. The group is thankful for the opportunity to compete, and for the chance to spread happiness through the power of music!

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.

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! 

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Evan Feist has composed, arranged, taught, and performed a cappella music for more than 11 years. As founder of The Creative Vocal Lab, Evan has been teaching singers of all ages to improvise in both small and large ensembles. He earned two master’s degrees from Teachers College at Columbia University and a MusB from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music. Evan has vocal coached for “The Voice,” sung with Bobby McFerrin, helped produce “America’s Got Talent,” and is the general manager of Stacks of Wax, an audio production company.

Gyasi Barber
, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups.


Jonathan Sears
began singing a cappella in 1996 at Elizabethtown College with the all-male group, Phalanx. In his senior year, he led Phalanx to its first-ever ICCA showing, and a 3rd place title at Quarterfinals. This set the stage for future years, when they advanced to Semifinals and appeared on BOCA. After graduating in 2000, he performed with a number of professional a cappella groups at shows and festivals throughout North America. He is a two-time Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominee, first in 2000 in the Best Male Collegiate Arranger category, and again as a professional in 2005 in the Best Contemporary Pop/Rock Original Song category. He is a five-year veteran of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), where he adjudicated over 70 a cappella albums submitted by both collegiate and professional groups. Jonathan lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his beautiful wife, Kelly, and their two girls, Molly and Emma.  2017 marks Jonathan’s 11th year as an ICCA/ICHSA adjudicator, and his 21st year as an active member of the a cappella community.

Candice Helfand-Rogers 
has been active in the a cappella community for over a decade. At Rutgers University, she sang with and music directed Deep Treble, then went on to help found (and music direct) ShockWave, all before graduating in 2005. Two years later, she teamed up with several collegiate a cappella alumni in New York City to form Restated (formerly known as The Red States), and served as musical director for its first three years of existence. She has garnered multiple awards for her contributions to these groups, both onstage and in the studio. Candice's voice can also be heard in Universal Studios' hit a cappella movie, "Pitch Perfect," as well as its sequel. By day, she is a digital media professional and serves as a content producer and secretary for the Women's A Cappella Association. In the past, she has generated content for A Cappella Records and CASA.

Originally from Tustin, Calif., Hannah Juliano attended Berklee College of Music and led its co-ed group, Pitch Slapped, to the Finals stage two years in a row. They were crowned champions the second year. The group went on to win the competition at SoJam 2011, and appeared on season 2 of NBC's "The Sing-Off.” After college, Hannah became a member of Musae, a pro all-female frontier blazer, and Delilah, the all-female powerhouse from season 3 of "The Sing-Off." She has since performed all around the world, taught workshops and masterclasses for all ages of all-male, co-ed, and all-female groups, and arranges for groups around the country. She most recently toured with Deke Sharon's a cappella show "Vocalosity," and performed at Carnegie Hall as a soloist for the "Total Vocal" show. She is honored to be a judge at tonight's event.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the
Cherry Hill High School East venue 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 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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