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 NORTHEAST SEMIFINAL

 

Worcester State University 
Saturday, March 11, 2017

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

W.A.V.E. is a co-ed a cappella ensemble from Wellsville High School, featuring students from all grade levels. Founded in 2012, W.A.V.E. traveled to Centerville, Ohio in 2014 to compete in the ICHSA. That June, Liquid 5th Productions, an award-winning a cappella recording studio based out of North Carolina, traveled to Wellsville to record W.A.V.E.’s first album, Madness. In 2015, the group traveled to compete in ICHSA, this time to Ann Arbor, Mich. In 2016, ICHSA took W.A.V.E. to Guilderland, N.Y. and then Boston, Mass. W.A.V.E. has developed its musical and performance abilities in masterclasses with RIT’s Eight Beat Measure and The SUNY Potsdam Pointercounts. W.A.V.E. performs throughout the southern tier of western New York, both in Wellsville, and the surrounding counties. The group’s second album, In Too Deep, was also recorded by Liquid 5th and released in December, 2016. W.A.V.E. is special because of its dedicated members and passion for music. W.A.V.E. members spend countless hours in the choir room, auditorium, gyms, and stairwells of Wellsville High School, striving toward excellence in a capella. W.A.V.E. also takes pride in its location; there is nothing comparable to W.A.V.E. within a two hour drive from Wellsville, and definitely nothing like it in Allegany County.

For Good Measure
is from Mohonasen High School in Schenectady, N.Y. Since 2012, they have been performing at local school and community events. The 15 members of this group are highly involved in different facets of their high school music department, including instrumental ensembles, choirs, and their school theatre program. Last year was the group’s first competing in ICHSA and they were thrilled with the experience! They look forward to competing again this year!

Accent A Cappella 
is Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School's only co-ed a cappella group. Accent is completely student-run, and travels the Boston area to perform in concerts, fundraisers, private events, and competitions. This is Accent's fourth consecutive year performing at ICHSA, and they are excited! When they aren't rehearsing, they like to eat, dance, and spontaneously break into song. The members of Accent love sharing their music and hard work with their audiences, and hope you have as much fun as they do!

Falconize 
is Danvers High School's co-ed a cappella group, made up of students in grades 9-12. In 2015, Falconize placed 3rd at ICHSA Finals and its recordings have appeared twice on the Varsity Vocals BOHSA albums. The group has been nominated for multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards  (CARAs) and performed as an opening group for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America’s (CASA) Boston Sings Festival. Falconize sings at school concerts, community events, and performed the national anthem at Fenway Park last spring. They would like to thank their friends, family, and school community for their continued support.

Founded back in 2009, WitchPitch? is Salem High School's premier a cappella group. They are so excited to return to ICHSA this year, and can't wait to see the other amazing groups take the stage with them!

Luminescence
, an all-female a cappella group from Marblehead High School, was founded in 2005 and has been entertaining audiences ever since. From a competitive standpoint, they attended an a cappella summit in Las Vegas (2010), received awards at ICHSA and N.E. Voices for Best Choreography and Best Soloist, and won the N.E. Voices competition in both 2014 and 2016.

The Thursdays
is Chelmsford High School's co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2014, this is the group's second year in the ICHSA. Last season, the group was proud to represent the Northeast region at Semifinals, and they are excited to be back for 2017!

The 18 Wheelers
enjoys sharing its music with schools in the Northeast, as well as singing to raise awareness and funds for various nonprofit organizations. They have won tracks on the BOHSA and the Contemporary A Cappella Society’s SING compilations. Last spring, the group appeared on “SING THAT THING,” a series that showcases the best choirs in the greater Boston area, for its second consecutive year. In 2015, The 18s won its ICHSA Semifinal, which advanced the group to Finals in New York with groups from around the country.

She Major 
is Wakefield High School's all-female contemporary a cappella group, and comes from Wakefield, Mass. Formed in 2014, they are a partially student-run group and have collaborated with groups such as The Exchange, Ithacappella, WitchPitch, Voices of Steel, and The Northern Lights.


GUEST PERFORMER


Formed in 2013, Sound Off is an award-winning semi-professional a cappella group based in Boston, Mass. and proud member of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). These young men and women come from all different career fields, and have been brought together by an unabashed love for a cappella music and performance. Performing regularly around the Greater Boston area, Sound Off continues to develop a diverse repertoire of modern pop with a soulful twist.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Alexander Koutzoukis is co-owner (among other titles) of Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production studio based in Boston. While attending Tufts University for computer science, he spent five years in The Beelzebubs, two of them as music director. He got his start in a cappella production with Ed Boyer and Bill Hare on two award-winning Bubs albums (Pandaemonium and Play the Game) and went on to help record and edit BATTLE and Helix, as well as about half of The Warblers’  tracks from season 2 of “Glee.” He won a 2010 Best Male Collegiate Arrangement CARA for “All the Love In the World,” was runner-up in 2012 for “Kings and Queens,” and was also runner-up for Favorite Vocal Percussionist in the 2010 ACAs. He currently executive  produces BOSS and graphic designs for BOSS and SoJam.

Diana Galeano is a graduate of Florida State University, where she studied music education with an emphasis in secondary choral education. At FSU, she sang with 2009 ICCA Southern champions, The AcaBelles. Since graduating, she has worked as a high school chorus teacher, director at FSU's summer music camps, and is currently the assistant director and proud camp mom at A Cappella Academy in Los Angeles, Calif. When she's not teaching or taking care of her aca-children, Diana teaches at a cappella festivals, arranges, offers masterclasses to groups in the greater Boston area, and sings with semi-professional groups, Sound Off and The Hexachords, as well as the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

A former ICCA producer, Brian Chambers has founded or helped found three award-winning collegiate groups, including, at the time, the youngest Finalist in ICCA history. He has earned three ICCA awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and the first Outstanding Arrangement award for a hip hop song in ICCA history. He created and founded The Red States, named a best a cappella group by “Time Out New York.” He helped launch the first digital A&R agency for A-list and Billboard 100 artists. Brian is director of communications and marketing for CASA and serves on its board of directors. If you don't blink, you can catch him in “Pitch Perfect 2.”

Monty Hill is no stranger to a cappella. A longtime fan of groups such as The Blenders and Rockappella, he always longed to be a member of one himself. After earning his degree in vocal music performance and education, Monty became a high school teacher and created three a cappella groups in his school, one of which eventually evolved into a fully credited class. He enjoys singing baritone for his own group, Ball in the House, as they travel across the country to spread the good news of a cappella!


Shannon McNulty 
is excited to see this year’s incredible lineup of ICHSA competitors! A graduate of Ithaca College, Shannon currently teaches at Marlborough High School, where she directs two choirs, and teaches the award-winning a cappella recording class, Music Production. Shannon joined The Vocal Company in 2013. As TVC's Director of Education, Shannon plans the popular Next Level seminars, as well as the acappellaEd events held across the country. Shannon has a B.M in vocal performance and music education (Ithaca College, 2007) and a M.M. in music education (Boston University, 2012). She is a member of NAfME, ACDA, CASA, and AEA.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Caleb Wheldon, Joan and Robert Yood, the staff at Sullivan Auditorium and Worcester State University, and our guest performance group, Sound Off; 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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