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 SOUTHWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

MacArthur High School
Saturday, February 18, 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

 

Zero Hour is so excited to be back at ICHSA Southwest Semifinals this year. Zero Hour is made up of students from Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, including athletes, dancers, thespians, academics, and all-around fun-loving musicians! The Zero Hour family looks forward to performing, and is honored to share the stage with each of the groups here tonight! They wish everyone the best of luck onstage.

Vocal Legacy is made up of 10th, 11th,and 12th graders from Bryan High School. Its members are very active in other school organizations including football, band, basketball. The group loves to sing and perform all styles of music and is excited for the opportunity to be involved in the Varsity Vocals ICHSA competitions.

Madison Avenue is the best of the best at James Madison High School. These 16 fine performers represent their school throughout the city of San Antonio with great pride and extraordinary talent. They have been featured on local newscasts, private parties, and have even had the pleasure of opening for the legendary 80s Rock band, Foreigner, at the Majestic Theatre. In 2016, Madison Avenue won the Margaret Tobin FAME award. Personally chosen by Deke Sharon to open for the Vocalocity tour in San Antonio, Madison Avenue established itself on the Tobin Center stage as one of the most popular high school a cappella groups in San Antonio. In its first year of ICHSA competition, Mad Ave won the right to represent the Southwest in ICHSA Finals competition in New York. They are here for another shot at that amazing opportunity.

Deer Park High School has a rich choral tradition, and among its groups is a swing choir with an a cappella extension, known as Apex. This ensemble consists of students that are involved not only in choir, but band, football, golf, drill team, theatre, and volleyball. They enjoying singing together and are honored to be a part of such a dedicated singing ensemble.

A-side is the premier vocal ensemble of A-MCHS. Its retro name refers to old albums, or tapes, which had two sides that could play music, with the most popular songs on the A-side. This 13-member group consists of 11 brilliant, hardworking young men and women (the other two are questionable, to say the least). In their free time, you will find them looking suspiciously at the clock and wondering why it is that they even have free time. The variety of group members is reflected in their music, from the mellow message of showing one’s true colors to the unmistakable sound of a Michael Jackson classic. They’ve a-dded their own twist to the music, but they stand B-side its quality. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as they do!

Mixed Company was founded in the spring of 2009 and is composed of 17 auditioned students from Steele and Clemens High Schools, the two high schools in SCUC ISD on the northeast side of San Antonio. From its name, this group is literally a "mixed bag" of some of the brightest, most talented, and most involved students from each school. Mixed Company has had masterclasses with a cappella icons like Deke Sharon, Delilah, and Jeeves Murphy, and has regular coaching sessions with Courtney Jensen. Mixed Company holds three rounds of auditions in the spring before building the group for the following school year, and rehearses only one night a week for three hours. Mixed Company has been an ICHSA Southwest Semifinalist for five straight years, winning 1st place in 2013 and competing at Finals in New York. Noted awards include Best Choreography (2013), Best Soloist (2013), and Best Arrangement (2012 Semifinals, 2013 Semifinals, 2013 Finals). @MixedCompanySC has a HUGE love for the a cappella community, and they welcome you to say hi and sing with them sometime!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Dr. Gary Mabry is a professor of music at the University of Texas at San Antonio. There, he conducts the UTSA Women's Choir (which he founded in 1991), and the Men's Glee Club, and  teaches conducting and voice. His choirs have performed in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, New York's Carnegie Hall, and at the Eighth International Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece. From 1993 to 2006, Gary served as artistic director and conductor of the San Antonio Choral Society and as chorus master for the San Antonio Opera for some 10 years. He has been a church music director for 45 years and served as the church division vice president for the Texas Choral Directors Association from 2012-2014. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Abilene Christian University, a Master of Music in conducting from Hardin-Simmons University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Colin Adams got his start in contemporary a cappella as a singer in Duke University's Something Borrowed, Something Blue. After serving as the group's general manager, arranger, and producing several albums for them, he was inspired to form Starry Night Studios in 2012. Since then, he's had the opportunity to record and produce records with dozens of college groups across the country. Now based in Houston, Texas, Colin continues to serve as a coach, arranger, producer, and traveling recording engineer. He is excited to be involved with Varsity Vocals this year

Evan Bregman is the founder of the University of Southern California's The Trojan Men, USC's only all-male a cappella group. Under his leadership, the group evolved into a 10-man ensemble, placed 3rd at ICCA Quarterfinals and 1st at Absolut A Cappella, and recorded its first album, Take Root. They've since earned numerous placements on BOCA, and will celebrate its 13th anniversary this year. In high school, Evan was musical director and lead arranger for Glenbrook North's Ow!, a men's a cappella group with 27 years of tradition and several BOHSA appearances. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he sings to his wife and daughter.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the MacArthur High School administration, Fine Arts Department staff, and the local community for supporting contemporary a cappella; 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 three placing groups advance to the ICHSA Southwest 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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