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 WEST SEMIFINAL

 

Lesher Center for the Arts 
Saturday, March 11, 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

 

Hawkappella is Ironwood Ridge High School's newest vocal ensemble. Just in its first year of existence, this group is on a journey to find its style and sound. So far, they know they have a nerd-level love of music, an eye-roll worthy level of randomness, and an epic level of desire to create a legacy of a cappella music at Ironwood Ridge!

Initially created as an extracurricular group, The Unaccompanied Minors is a co-ed class ensemble composed of students in all high school grades. In the four short years of its existence, the ensemble has performed at multiple events on campus, as well as in the community. While this is The Unaccompanied Minors’ first opportunity to perform on such a large stage, they look forward to this new adventure.

hOWLers 
are characterized by their proclivity for making musical noise with their mouths. They can be found humming, whistling, beatboxing, and singing at almost any given moment, and particularly when they are together in their natural habitat. Freestyle rap and mellow acoustic guitar-vocalist duos are frequent. When they're not making noise, The hOWLers are often observed eating in creative ways, doodling on manila folders, and writing acrostics. h: haggard high schoolers, O: Ornate octaves, W: Whimsical, wild wanderers, L: Lethargic lyric lovers, e: eccentric edelweiss enthusiasts, r: rippin’ ragged reggae rap rhymes, s: splendiferous, subharmonic-singing students.

The Satonics 
is a co-ed a cappella group from San Francisco University High School, alma mater of a cappella icon Deke Sharon. The Satonics is a fairly new group, founded in 2013 and named in honor of their mascot, The Red Devils. Group members come from grades 9-12, and they pride themselves on being completely student-run and directed. The Satonics are thrilled to return to ICHSA for their fourth year, after winning 3rd place and Best Soloist in 2016.

Take Note 
is celebrating its first birthday this fall! In lieu of a smash cake, they’ve decided to indulge themselves by competing in the ICHSA. When they’re not buried in studies, extracurricular activities, and college applications, they love singing together and enjoy the process of creating a cappella music of many different styles and genres.

Four years ago, a few music-loving high schoolers decided that they wanted to put their passion for music to use and have some fun. The Soundwaves, though new to a cappella, are not new to music. From San Mateo, Calif., these singers love exploring diverse genres through a cappella, from classic folk rock to original jazz tunes to brand-new versions of chart-toppers. Though their interests are as varied as their voices, The Soundwaves come together to share their love of music with each other and with those who will listen.

"She" 
is the newest high school a cappella group out of Oakland, Calif., made up of students from Oakland School for the Arts, as well as surrounding area schools. Founded in September 2016, the group is made up of passionate, dedicated young vocalists who meet after school once a week and learn music outside of rehearsals. Founded and directed by award-winning a cappella educator, arranger and vocalist, Lisa Forkish (Divisi, Vocal Rush, The Riveters, WACA), "She" is ready to hit the stage for the first time!

Vocal Rush 
is a four-time national champion a cappella ensemble based out of Oakland School for the Arts (OSA), and composed of singers ages 16 through 18. Combining passion, talent, and dedication, along with the vision of director/founder Lisa Forkish, Vocal Rush has become one of the most respected high school a cappella groups in the U.S. since its inception in March 2011. Vocal Rush has received numerous accolades, including national championship titles in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016, a 1st place win at the L.A. A Cappella Festival, and perhaps most notably, a 3rd place win on NBC's hit a cappella competition show, “The Sing-Off." Past members of Vocal Rush have performed for President Obama as well as OSA founder, California Governor Jerry Brown. The group has released two full-length albums and one EP (all available on iTunes) and has been nominated for six Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), including Best High School Album. The ensemble has a soulful stage presence that reflects all that is unique to OSA, and sets them apart in the a cappella scene. Vocal Rush brings the heart and soul of OSA to life, putting their all into every performance. See these young singers in action at www.youtube.com/osavocalrush.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Greg Casper is a professional singer/actor/director/teacher/coach with over 40 years of experience. He has done everything from fronting rock bands to singing in classical chorales, and has performed everything from opera to country, from The Messiah to musical theatre. He has performed as a vocalist on television, radio, stage, and several independent albums, as an actor on numerous stages throughout the Bay Area, as a director with several theatre companies, and as a singer/musician in a number of bands, as well as a solo act, both with instruments and a cappella. He has been singing with The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers, the world’s largest professional a cappella Christmas caroling company, since 1989. He has taught and directed several local and regional choral groups and taught voice and guitar at the Northern California School of Music for four years. As a performance coach, Greg coached the nine-woman a cappella group, Noteworthy (BYU), to a 1st place finish in the 2007 ICCA. He has been a nationally certified adjudicator for the ICCA for over 15 years.

Bret Peppo 
is beginning his 11th year as Director of Choral Activities and Music Department chair at Diablo Valley College. Prior to his appointment, Bret held the same position at Alderson-Broaddus University, University of South Alabama, and Illinois State University. He holds degrees in music education and conducting from Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and the University of Iowa. His concert, show, and jazz choirs have toured throughout the country and have performed at multiple all-state conferences. Bret has conducted many high school and collegiate all-state festival honor choirs and jazz choirs. He is a frequent adjudicator and clinician with national music festivals, and judge for show choir and vocal jazz competitions.

Bryan Kendall 
is former member of the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, former musical director of The Friars at Michigan, and a student of music. Playing piano since age 5, Bryan learned music early and started singing at 12, performing with multiple groups during his time at Michigan. Since graduating, Bryan continues to advise The Friars, study music, and perform in San Francisco. He now works as a software engineer in San Francisco, Calif.

Julia Hoffman started her a cappella career as a member, and eventual director, of Stanford's Harmonics. She was seated on the CASA Board of Directors from 2003-2014. She served as Director of Awards & Compilations (including the CARAs and the ACAs) from 2004-2014 and was the Executive Producer of the acclaimed Sing! and CASC compilation albums. She has produced and judged many ICCA and ICHSA Semifinals and Finals, led a cappella workshops, and been featured on BOCA albums as a singer and an arranger.

Brian Clanton 
has been involved with music from a very young age. His interest in a cappella began when he joined InToneNation of Montgomery Blair High School as a freshman, and flourished in college when he joined Rochester Institute of Technology's Eight Beat Measure. Brian served as the group’s  music director, which culminated in the production of Eight Beat's third studio album, Polarized, which went on to receive excellent reviews from RARB! He currently works as a Software Engineer at Zynga and continues to feed his a cappella needs by arranging for college groups.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Diablo Regional Arts Association, Lesher Center for the Arts, Kaiser Permanente, Peters Suh, Toni Kilcoyne, Peggy White, Lisa Mansfield, Carl Taylor, and Andrea Poole; 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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