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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Washington University in St. Louis -      560 Music Center
Friday, February 17, 2017

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

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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

 

Wildscats is a diverse group of high school singers from Hazelwood, Mo. Under the direction of Ms. Nicole Peach, Wildscats performs a cappella arrangements from a variety of genres. Wildscats participates in concerts at their school, as well as other community engagements. Last year, Wildscats performed non-competitively in the Black History Month program at their high school and a showcase at a nearby school. The singers of Wildscats are excited to perform competitively this year!

Tonal Uproar is in its inaugural year as an a cappella group. Its members are from all walks of musical life, including orchestra, band and choir! They would like to thank ICHSA for hosting this awesome competition and Jefferson City for the community’s love and support! GO JAYS!

In the fall of 2016, the tides of change coursed through Parkway North High School. After an epic battle of clowns, social injustice, and construction which wiped out the men’s room and powder room, Remix emerged as a force to be reckoned with. This group of survivors is ready to face any challenge thrown its way. Introducing, in its debut season: Parkway North's Remix.

Just as the South and the North finally reunited after the American Civil War, decades of single-gender a cappella recently ended at Parkway North High School, culminating in a long-awaited musical embrace. This group hopes to lead through example and teach others to overcome old grievances and come together. Will Virginia and West Virginia finally become one? They don't know. What songs will they perform tonight? They don't know that either. What they do know is that they’ve joined forces to sing, to be their best, to be.....Relentless.

Pitch the Keys is Warrenton High School’s original mixed a cappella ensemble. PTK, as they are often called, is made up of students of all ages and levels of choir experience. The group was founded in 2012 as an after-school activity, and has since grown to be a staple in the Warrenton community. PTK is so excited to be back at Quarterfinals this year, and is under the direction of Megan Petrie.

Girls Night Out is Warrenton High School’s all-female a cappella ensemble. GNO was formed in 2015 in response to the growing interest in contemporary a cappella ensembles at Warrenton High School. GNO is under the direction of Megan Petrie and thrilled to be back at ICHSA for its second year.

In just its second year of existence, Hawkappella is proud to make its second ICHSA appearance.  Hailing from Hillsboro, Mo., they are proud to represent smalltown America.  A short visit to Hillsboro High School will quickly reveal how contagious Hawk pride is.  They want to thank their families and friends in the HSD-R3 community for all their love and support.  #hawkpride

The Cat's Meow is a mixed a cappella group from Licking, Mo., home of the Wildcats. A new group at Licking High School, this clowder of cats was drawn together by a shared love of music. They represent a wide range of students, everything from smart cats, sporty cats, cheer cats, to, of course, jazzy cats. Growing up in a small, rural community with a funny name, these tomcats and kittens are proving every day that they aren't your average alley cats. They are The Cat's Meow!

Incognito is in its second year of competition. They are a select group of singers from Mayville High School in Mayville, Wis. After an exciting introduction to competition last year, Incognito is back this year to build on what it started. They are directed and led by choral director John Dobbratz, a Mayville graduate. Boasting a largely new group and an eclectic, fun set, Incognito can't wait to get out and perform. Fun fact about the name: Incognito’s name comes from the secretive rehearsals and hush-hush practices that took place at the beginning of the group’s formation.

Urbana High School's VHS, otherwise known as Vocal Harmonies Supplied, is Urbana High School's female a cappella group. VHS is known for singing songs at double their speed, singing whistle tones, and showing up on time. VHS is thankful and excited to perform alongside such talented a cappella groups.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Daniel Fister is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, studying musicology. He earned his undergraduate degree in vocal performance and music history at Chapman University, and his master’s degree in music history at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He has presented and written on collegiate a cappella, musical theatre, and other American music. Before his life as an academic, he directed, sang, and arranged for Wilsonville High School’s Soul’d Out, a group he led to the 2010 ICHSA Finals, and for Chapman University’s SoundCheck, with whom he competed in ICCA and directed production of its debut album, Everything (2012). He remains involved in a cappella as a judge and arranger, and is interning this year as a Varsity Vocals production assistant.

Kristine Gage received her B.A. in music from Saint Louis University and her B.M.E. in choral music education from Webster University. Her love affair with a cappella began in 2009 when she joined Beyond All Reason, an all-female group at SLU that she eventually directed. Not long after, Kristine co-founded the co-ed group, Decadence, and also served as its music director. At Webster, she sang and toured with The Chamber Singers, a group featured at state and national conferences and in an instructional DVD produced by GIA Publications. After graduating, she spent a year singing with the all-female, semi-professional a cappella quintet, Jaded. She now teaches elementary music to students in grades pre-k through 6 at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy. Kristine currently represents the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as the ambassador to all high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate a cappella groups in the state of Missouri, and teaches musical theatre classes at COCA.

Jeffrey Allison is a proud alumnus of The Bare Naked Statues, Saint Louis University's all-male a cappella group. At SLU, he served as the group’s president and business manager, and was also a principal choreographer in their ICCA sets in 2014, 2015, and 2016, winning awards for Best Choreography at Quarterfinals and Semifinals in 2014. For a brief time before pursuing a career in medicine, Jeffrey was a B.F.A. musical theatre candidate at Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts. He is currently a graduate student at Saint Louis University, and continues to arrange for The Bare Naked Statues, listening to opera, and being a forever fan of John Mayer's music.

Jamie Perkins received a B.A. in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang for four years as a member of The Amateurs, as well as Wash U's concert and chamber choirs. Jamie served as The Amateurs' music director for his final two years with the group before graduating in the spring of 2013. After graduating from Wash U, Jamie spent two years at Webster University, and earned a master's degree in choral conducting. At Webster, he sang with the Webster University Chamber Singers and worked as the assistant conductor for Webster's choirs. Jamie currently works for the Washington University Department of Music, and he is happy to back in the a cappella community as an ICCA judge.

Robert T. Gibson, native of Houston, Texas, is currently pursuing a Master of Music in choral conducting at Missouri State University. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas in music education. He has held middle and high school choral texting positions in Dallas and Houston. Robert has been composing and arranging for over eight years and is also an active guest conductor and clinician for schools and organizations across the region. He is an active member of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), and the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses (NCGCC). He is also a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Robert currently resides in Springfield, Mo. with his beautiful wife, Amber Renae Gibson.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jack and The Ghost Lights; 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 Midwest 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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