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 SEMIFINAL

 

Winter Park High School 
Saturday, March 25, 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

 

In Tone Nation is the newest performing group in the New Manchester High School choral program. This auditioned group consists of vocal majors in the school’s Fine Arts Magnet Program. These 10th-12th graders have formed an a cappella supergroup of the choral program’s two other groups, The Bella Voce' and AccaFellas. All arrangements are self-arranged by members of the group, and they are directed by Mr. Trey Giddens.  

Tonal Spectrum
is the premier a cappella group at Crest High School in Shelby, N.C. This diverse group of 13 includes members from all grades and backgrounds. In 2015, Tonal Spectrum placed 1st at the Ohio Valley ICHSA Semifinal, 4th at Finals, and released its first album. They have had songs featured on two compilation albums, Sing 13 and BOHSA. Most recently, Tonal Spectrum released a single of Shawn Mendes' “Stitches,” along with a music video, and opened for the professional a cappella group, Vocalosity. They would like to dedicate their performance this evening in memory of three classmates they've lost this year: Elizabeth, Michael, and Thomas. “We miss you.”

The members of Syncopate’s personalities are as bright and colorful as the shoes they wear! Each member wears a unique pair of shoes with black dresses for unity. This energetic and strong young women’s group was started by eight driven girls at R.J. Reynolds High School in 2002. Terry Hicks, Reynolds’s director emeritus, started the A Cappella Jam for Hope in 2005, which has raised over $60,000 for charities and disaster relief. With the popularity raised by Jam and other community performances, Syncopate has grown to more than double its original number. The group is student-led by Olivia Crowell and Eve Salzwedel, who arrange the group’s music and run rehearsals. Syncopate is excited to be the first of Reynolds’s three student-led a cappella ensembles to compete in ICHSA.

The A Cappella Group
is a 21-voice mixed group from Cypress Lake Center for the Arts in Fort Myers, Fla. TAG has released nine full length studio albums, including seven in the past seven years. Their albums have received six Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and 22 CARA nominations. They have been featured on six BOHSA albums and three Voices Only albums. Their most recent two albums, Stay Gold and Bright, were listed by RARB as a Best Album of 2014 and 2015. The group has been singing contemporary a cappella since 2003. They have opened for The Four Tops, appeared at the ICHSA Finals in New York twice, appeared at SoJam, been a featured performer and a competitor at the National A Cappella Convention in Memphis and a featured performer at The Betsy A Cappella Festival in Miami Beach.

Acapocalypse
has been singing and competing in ICHSA for three years. These singers go to Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. The group is very grateful to have worked with Voicebox, Reverb, and The AcaBelles. Their signature look (especially for their VP, Kaleb) includes the “kiss of death” shade of red lipstick. They also love to sing circle songs, annoy each other by singing Hamilton, camp out in practice rooms, turn people into zombies and take over the world with their kick-butt voices. They may look harmless, but remember, awaken the voices within and let the Acapocalypse begin. They've come so far, but it's just the beginning!

Palm Harbor University High School’s After School Specials was formed 11 years ago by choral director Justin Havard. The group ranges from brainiacs to athletes from all different grade levels, but they love singing together, whether it be cool indie songs or Christmas carols. Impromptu beat-boxing wars have been known to break out at any time without notice between their ever-multiplying VPs. The After School Specials are excited to be back with at the 2017 ICHSA Southeast competition, and would like to wish everyone good luck!

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.

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.


GUEST PERFORMERS


Established in 2008, Take 7 is the select female a cappella group from Winter Park High School. These 13 young women pride themselves on their ensemble awareness, storytelling through song, and interpersonal relationships. Take 7 is a two-time ICHSA Finalist (2012 and 2015), and they have won every specialty award at least once. Take 7 has performed at SoJam and in masterclasses with Deke Sharon, Ben Bram, and Christopher Diaz. Take 7 recently recorded its first album (available Fall 2017) with its brother group, NSO. They would like to thank their families, mentors, and NSO for their support! Facebook and Instagram: @wphstake7

Naughty Scotty and the Octapella
(NSO) is Winter Park High School’s select male a cappella group. Founded in 2008, NSO has performed at SoJam, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and the Washington National Cathedral. These 11 guys know how to have a good time, but take their music-making seriously. Their debut album, Eight Arms, was released in December; it captures NSO’s artistry, musical diversity, and sense of humor. The title song was selected to close out BOHSA 2017. NSO just finished recording a collaborative album (available Fall 2017) with its sister group, Take 7.  The members of NSO would like to thank their families, mentors, and Take 7 for their support! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @wphsNSO

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Tabitha Peck earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in music education at Florida State University. She is currently the associate director of choral activities at Leon High School in Tallahassee, Fla., where she teaches three curricular choirs, Advanced Placement Music Theory, and keyboarding. Tabitha is also the director and music arranger of the school's a cappella ensemble, Mane Event, which came in 2nd at the 2008 ICHSA Finals.

John Hendrix 
is a member of Best to Burn and Southern Tonic, bringing a cappella awesomeness to the Atlanta, Ga. area. He was a member of the men's ensemble, Sympathetic Vibrations, while studying at the Georgia Institute of Technology. John is also an accomplished arranger whose work has been featured on several albums.

Tye Tavaras 
was a member of Emory University's Aural Pleasure from 2005-2009 and from 2012 to 2013. She was also a member of Catatonic, a semi-pro group based in Atlanta, Georgia and the 2104 Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes Champions. In addition, she was Co-Executive Producer of SoJam in 2014.

A member of Actor's Equity since 2009, Erin Rementer sings a cappella music in a professional environment 4-5 days a week! This includes Voices of Liberty and American Music Machine at Epcot, Walt Disney World, the Frog Choir at Universal Studios (Slytherin/soprano), and countless conventions with an eight-member a cappella group, Sing, that performs original and custom lyrics for U.S.-based and international clients. Theatre credits include Nemo and Squirt in “Finding Nemo: the Musical,” a member of the original opening cast of “Celestina Warbeck and The Banshees” at Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando, Andy and Sid in “Toy Story: The Musical” on Disney Cruise Line, and more. Erin holds a B.A. in drama, with an emphasis in musical theatre, from UC Irvine.

Katharine Mosher 
earned her Bachelor of Music at Loyola University Chicago in 2014. In Chicago, she was a member and music director of The Silhouettes, also serving as a choreographer and arranger. Katharine was featured in two albums recorded with The Silhouettes, as well as an album with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Currently residing in Tampa, she continues to sing and would love to open her own voice studio one day.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Johnson Digital, LLC, the Winter Park High School Choral Department, Chorus Boosters (Stacey Cox, President), and Chorus Officers (Paul Newnum, President and Brooke Livingston, Vice President); 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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