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 SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

Norcross High School
Saturday, February 25, 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

 

fifth measure is a contemporary a cappella ensemble composed of students from Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn. Under the direction of Dr. Billy Rayburn, the group performs a wide variety of music including a cappella pop, jazz, and contemporary music. From its inception over 20 years ago, the group has evolved from a 12-member jazz ensemble into the fully choreographed group of 20+ members performing today. Members are chosen each spring on the basis of musicianship and school/community service. fifth measure performs throughout west Tennessee for various events and social functions. One of its yearly performances is to serve as the final performing group for the Mid-South Make a Wish Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. During the holiday season, the group dresses in traditional Dickens attire, and performs carols in over 15 concerts each season. fifth measure performed at the 2012 National Association for Music Education In-Service in Nashville and the 2016 A Cappella Educators Association National Conference in Memphis. The ensemble was selected as one of the top eight a cappella ensembles in the nation. In December 2015, the group released its first EP, 38/39, with the school’s female ensemble, Dolce Bella.

Dolce Bella is the treble contemporary a cappella ensemble from Houston High School of Germantown, Tenn. This group of young women performs a variety of pop, jazz, and contemporary music and the group size is determined by spring semester auditions. They perform at least five concerts each school year, and are asked to perform at various functions throughout greater Shelby County. Dolce Bella has recently performed at Acafest in Kettering, Ohio, and at the A Cappella National Convention. In December 2015, the group released its first EP, 38/39, with the school’s mixed ensemble, fifth measure. The EP’s title represents the various zip codes that make up their school district. Dolce Bella is one of five choirs available for students at Houston High School, and the Houston High School is very proud of its choral programs’ quality. The group is under the direction of Dr. Billy Rayburn.

DoReHe is the all-male a cappella pop ensemble at White Station High School in Memphis. They perform a variety of music genres, ranging from sacred to Top 40 hits. DoReHe has only existed since October 2014. In that time, the group has stayed busy, performing around the Memphis area, at Total Vocal! in New York City, and at the National A Cappella Convention in Eads, Tenn.

Key of She is the all-female a cappella group from White Station High School in Memphis, Tenn., specializing in pop, indie, R&B, jazz, and everything in between. In addition to performing throughout the Memphis community, this group was a featured performer at Total Vocal! in New York City, placed 3rd at ICHSA Finals in 2016, and placed 2nd at the National A Cappella Association high school championships in 2016.

The Norcross N'Harmonics is an accomplished and dedicated group, and has only been around for two years. In its first year, the group hosted and competed in the 2016 ICHSA South Semifinal. They dedicate hours each week to practicing and perfecting each routine, as well as bonding together as a team. Whether singing their arranged music, or spontaneously breaking out into song, music is their bond. N'Harmonics would like to thank Mrs. Money, who is not only their choir director, but also someone they all look up to. They hope you enjoy the show!

The Tribe A Cappella, from hot and sunny Tampa, Fla., is back for its sixth consecutive ICHSA year. When they aren't performing, they love spending time together, especially for choreo Saturdays with doughnuts and pizza. They would like to give a shout out to the other groups performing tonight: have fun out there, guys!

Does a high school from Harmony, Fla. really have a choice about whether or not to have an a cappella group? Through divine intervention, Harmony Hype was brought into the world in 2014. Its members hypothesize that the small town of Harmony was created by time travelers from the future who desired to form an a cappella group that would entertain and amaze all of its audiences. In all seriousness, the ICHSA is the highlight of Harmony Hype’s year. They feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful event and are thrilled to return. Tonight's performance is dedicated to the memory of Harmony High School Principal Grover Butler, who passed away at the young age of 52.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Amber Sembley has studied music since high school, beginning with classical voice and music theory. At Duke University, she sang lead vocals in jazz ensemble, directed the gospel choir, and participated in numerous stage musicals, including “RENT,” “Chess,” and “Aida.” She continued her musical studies with a minor in music history and a few semesters of vocal lessons. Her most rewarding involvement, however, was with Rhythm & Blue, where Amber spent two years as music director and led the group to victory in SoJam's scholastic competition in 2011, plus a personal award for Best Soloist (“Alone”). Since college, she has had several brief stints in different Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) groups and is currently focused on producing solo music.

Seth O'Kegley is the Director of Music at First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, Tenn., where he leads the music ministry. He is also the assistant choir director at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. In addition to his conducting, Seth maintains an active performance career as a pianist, vocalist, and actor. An advocate for community involvement in the arts, Seth is an active company member of Encore Theatrical Company (ETC), with whom he acts in shows, plays in pit orchestras, teaches educational camps, and music directs productions. Seth holds a Bachelor of Music in music education from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, Tenn. At ETSU, he studied conducting with Dr. Alan Stevens and Dr. Thomas Jenrette, and voice with Karen Smith. Seth also holds a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Tennessee, where he studied with Dr. Angela Batey, Dr. Jaclyn Johnson, and Dr. Gene Peterson. There, he was assistant director of The UT Singers, the school’s co-ed contemporary a cappella group.

John Robinson got his a cappella start in 2005 as a founding member of The UCF Crescendudes. In grad school, he served as music director for Georgia Tech's Infinite Harmony, and recorded and produced its first album. Since that first foray into audio production, he has helped record, edit, and mix albums for several collegiate and post-collegiate groups in the Southeast (he hates live sound engineering, but does that too). He sang bass for Catatonic (2014 Harmony Sweeps Finalist) and has taught master classes and courses at SoJam on the science of vocal sound and microphones.

Donny Rose fell in love with a cappella in 1982 when he discovered The Bobs at his college radio station. He is the director of Music Education for the Barbershop Harmony Society in Nashville, a 22,000-member nonprofit that aims to encourage a cappella singing for a lifetime. He taught public school in the Seattle area from 1986-2014, and has recently retired. He was honored to be named Teacher of the Year in his district, and then later in the state of Washington. He formed one of the first authentic steel drum bands on the West Coast in 1993. Donny has adjudicated for choral, band, orchestra, steel drum, drumline, and a cappella festivals and competitions all over the world. He is an arranger, judge, singer, coach, jingle singer, but is mostly honored to be working with college kids this evening! The level of improvement over the last seven years at ICCA and ICHSA festivals has been remarkable. He thanks all of the participating groups for sharing their wonderful music, heart, and art with everyone this evening.

Tessa Voget is the daughter of a classical concert pianist and was raised with music from an early age. She became a fan of a cappella music recordings while attending the University of Georgia, though it would be another ten years before she actually became involved in creating the music! These days, Tessa focuses on songwriting and composing original music (both a cappella and music with more traditional instrumentation). Tessa can be spotted helping out with many behind-the-scenes aspects of a cappella concerts around the Atlanta area.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the NHS Choral Boosters and parents for all of their help, the NHS Drama Department for the use of this wonderful theater, and the NHS administration for supporting music at Norcross; 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
ICCA UK Co-Producer
ICHSA West Producer

Henry Harrod
ICCA UK Co-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 three placing groups advance to the ICHSA South 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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