THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF

A CAPPELLA

OPEN

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 tournaments have grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase it is today, featuring over 600 groups and over 8,000 singers at over 80 events across the US and UK.

Our tournaments have 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 the inaugural 2017 Open season takes it next. 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

THE OPEN MID-ATLANTIC SEMIFINAL

 

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Saturday, August 5, 2017

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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), the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), and the International Championship of A Cappella Open (AcaOpen). 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 (ICCA) took place from January through April in nine regions across the country and around the world. Each region holds anywhere from two to five 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. This year the Nor'easters from Northeastern University were crowned the 2017 ICCA Champions, and will represent the ICCA in the A Cappella Open Finals.

 The high school tournament (ICHSA) finished its 12th year in April 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 eight semifinal rounds advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City. This year Vocal Rush from Oakland School for the Arts were crowned the 2017 ICHSA Champions, and will represent the ICHSA in the A Cappella Open Finals.

The inaugural Open tournament is taking place from July through September, featuring six semifinal events and an international semifinal. The winners of each of the seven semifinal rounds will advance to the Open Finals at Carnegie Hall in New York City along with the ICCA and ICHSA Champions to compete for the A Cappella Open Championship and $25,000!

 For a full tournament schedule, visit us at www.varsityvocals.com.

ABOUT TONIGHT'S SHOW

 

The performance order was determined by random draw 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.

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

 

Broad Street Beat is Philadelphia's premier a cappella group. Performing music ranging from Top 40 hits to indie charts to R&B, the group has been arranging and performing music since 2011.

Euphonism 
was created from a fateful Craig's List post that brought together several musicians at the Metro Center Caribou Coffee in downtown D.C. Those meetings turned into rehearsals, which turned into shows. With bold first steps, Euphonism's first public performance was in front of 20,000 screaming Washington Capitals fans at the Verizon Center in November 2006. Since then, Euphonism has created a name for itself in the D.C. area and the a cappella community at-large, with performances at the London A Cappella Festival, Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes, East Coast A Cappella Summit, SingStrong, SoJam, local music venues, and festivals. They've opened for The Swingle Singers in New York and London, and shared the stage with Duwende, The House Jacks, and Cluster. Euphonism is a proud member of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL).

Proudly repping the diverse, dynamic a cappella scene that is the South, R E M I X is a spectrum of voices composed of singers from all over Florida. Founded on the desire to create powerful music and share their combined experiences, they have collaborated to put together a performance where the music comes alive and you as the audience get to feel why these singers have been brought together.

This is Spectrum Vocals. Spectrum was formed in the summer of 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. They are currently composed of eight members, spanning all occupations and walks of life, joined together by a love of a cappella. Spectrum currently performs contemporary music, all in an exciting, voices-only setting.

Traces
is an all female vocal band based out of New York, N.Y.! With their expansive vocal range, dynamics, tight harmonies, female bass, and hard hitting percussion, this group offers a variety of musical styles and continues to push the envelope of female vocals. Their wide range of musical influence influences (gospel, contemporary Christian, pop, R&B, jazz, blues, rock, spirituals, Caribbean, and African, just to name a few) has lead them to create a unique style all their own. Over the years, the group has had some amazing experiences which include singing at colleges, churches, music festivals....and for millions of people on Season 5 of “The Sing-Off.” Since their “Sing-Off” debut individual, members have been hard at work, school, and even touring with Diana Ross and Adele. Traces desires to leave a lasting impact and to inspire others through their lives and music. They hope to inspire you tonight!

All band, no instruments.Combining soaring leads, smooth harmonies, and a thumping rhythm section, Transit Vocal Band demonstrates the power, versatility, and emotion of the most natural instrument of all: the human voice. Formed in 2005, Transit has performed for thousands of students through the band's educational programs and for audiences throughout the US at numerous festivals, fairs, and performing arts centers. Members of Transit have also been featured on nationally acclaimed television programs, including “American Idol” and “America's Got Talent.”

VXN
is one of the top professional all-female vocal groups in the country. Though the group was formed in 2014, the women of VXN have been singing together in various capacities for over a decade on the collegiate and semi-professional levels. Members Anna, Holli, Jessie, Lauren, and Meron currently hail from different states, and each of them comes with an impressive resume of both classical training and a cappella expertise. Since 2014, VXN has been featured at some of the most prominent a cappella events in the country, including their most recent appearance at ICHSA Finals at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The group has also been nominated for multiple Contemporary A Cappelle Recording Awards (CARAs), featured on various compilation albums, and grown a significant online fanbase. VXN aims to deliver an impressive sound that is equal parts purposeful, polished, and creative.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Steve Weber is a graduate of both Cedarville University (Bachelor of Arts in music) and Boston University (Master of Arts in music education). He has been teaching high school music for 17 years in southern New Jersey, where he directs the a cappella group, Vocal Forte. Vocal Forte has appeared at the ICHSA Finals in New York three times, and has been featured on BOHSA 2016 and 2017, Philadelphia's 101.1 More FM, and Lifetime's a cappella show, “Pitch Slapped.” In his spare time, Steve works with many regional music groups, including The Philadelphia Vocal Conservatory, The Ritz Theatre Company of Oaklyn, and the music faculty of Drexel University.

Dr. James Reddan
is director of choral activities and choral music education at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., where he conducts the University Chorale, Chamber Singers, vocal jazz ensemble, and is artistic advisor for two vocal a cappella ensembles, Xenharmonics and BelleTones. Ensembles under James’ direction have been featured at local, regional, national, and international conventions and choral festivals, including the ICCA. His ensembles have performed at Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin), Royal Academy of Music (London), Beijing Conservatory of Music (Beijing, PRC), the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and won a World Championship in the Mixed Chamber Choir Category at the eighth World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia in 2014. He has appeared as adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, presenter, and panel member throughout the United States. In 2010, James received the Special Citation for Excellence in Music Education from the American Prize in Choral Conducting.

Joshua Singer 
served as music director and arranger for two-time ICCA Finalists, University of Maryland Faux Paz. In 2016, he was awarded Best Arrangement for the Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Josh arranged the winning 2017 BOSS Scholastic Competition set for Faux. His work has been nominated for multiple CARAs, including a 2016 nomination for "Best Electronic Song" for his arrangement of "Our Own House" by Misterwives. This past year, Josh won the CARA award for "Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement" for the recent Faux Paz single, "Where Are Ü Now" by Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo. Josh was a featured director on the second season of Pop Network's “Sing It On," which followed his group's ICCA journey to Finals. Josh continues to engage with the a cappella community through his arrangements, collaborations, and workshops, and actively works to inspire groups across the country to take their music and performance to the next level.

Originally from Tallahassee, Fla., Caitlin Nelson graduated from Florida State University, where she majored in music and sang with All Night Yahtzee, FSU’s premier co-ed a cappella group. During her years in All Night Yahtzee, Caitlin served as an arranger and choreographer, and received Best Choreography awards at her 2007 ICCA Quarterfinal, Semifinal, as well as 2008 ICCA Finals, at which All Night Yahtzee placed 2nd. Caitlin’s voice was featured on Voices Only 2009, singing Ben Folds’ “Missing the War” with All Night Yahtzee. Since graduating, she has served as music director of Boston’s The 508s, the founder and music director of Seattle’s Shot in the Dark, and as music director of New York’s Empire A Cappella. She currently serves as music director for Concrete, a mixed-voice vocal band based in New York. In addition to arranging for and performing with Concrete, she is a member of the Founder’s Board for the CAL.

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 the former director of communications and marketing for CASA and served on its board of directors. If you don't blink, you can catch him in “Pitch Perfect 2.”

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank RDX Productions, The Trills, Edwin WIlliams, Dahlia Levin, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Centre; 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

The Open Mid-Atlantic Producer

Andrea Poole
 ICHSA Director

Lucy Jacobs
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

The Open New England Producer
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Sara Yood
 ICCA, ICHSA, & Open Finals Producer

The Open Northeast Producer
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Henry Harrod
 ICCA UK Producer

Elise Hackl
The Open Midwest Producer 

ICHSA Midwest Producer
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South Producer
 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 Open Finals.

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
 of A Cappella Open Finals

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!

PURCHASE & DOWNLOAD

GET THE GEAR

 

The official Varsity Vocals store is open for business! Represent with your very own official Varsity Vocals swag!

 

SHOP VARSITY VOCALS

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