THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF COLLEGIATE

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 22nd 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 they are today, featuring more than 600 groups and 8,500 singers at 85 events across North America and the United Kingdom.

Our original tournament inspired the hit movie Pitch Perfect, based on the nonfiction book documenting the true story of rival groups competing against each other in our very own ICCA. The franchise released its third film this past December and remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

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 were thrilled to launch the International Championship of A Cappella Open last summer. “The Open” (#AcaOpen) is an all-access a cappella tournament that brings together singers of all ages, regardless of student status, to compete on an international stage for a chance at $25,000. In its very first season, The Open featured 70 groups from around the world and culminated in a sold-out Finals at New York City's Carnegie Hall -- and we expect even bigger things this summer, as our second season kicks off.

We hope that over the years, 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, right? 

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 22 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2018 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

ICCA CENTRAL QUARTERFINAL

 

Ithaca High School
Saturday, February 10, 2018

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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 (The Open). 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 3 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 13th 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.

The Open tournament took place for the first time in summer 2017 and featured 70 groups competing in six US  semifinals, an international semifinal, and a wild card round. The winners of those events advanced to The Open Finals at Carnegie Hall, where they competed against our reigning ICCA and ICHSA champions for $25,000. The second season of The Open will take place starting this summer and will culminate at Carnegie Hall on September 22.

 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.

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

 

Choral Pleasure is SUNY Purchase College's one and only a cappella group, baked to perfection 13 years ago by Evan Feist and Dave Strumfeld. They are a completely student run co-ed ensemble that arranges all of their material themselves. They primarily gig in the Westchester County, N.Y. area and have a strong presence on their campus.  The group is composed of students from a variety of programs and backgrounds.  This is Choral Pleasure's fourth time in the ICCA, and they are ecstatic to be back. 

IC Voicestream is the premier co-ed a cappella group of Ithaca College. Coming off of a 1st place win at ICCA Quarterfinals last year, IC Voicestream is a dedicated group of vocalists coming from various backgrounds who work together as a democratic organization to make sweet music. Their repertoire consists of mostly indie and rock, and their goal as a group is to create, entertain, and most importantly, to have fun making music with incredible people.

Ithacappella got its start in 1996 as the Ithaca College Men's Chorus (ICMC), founded by four music students who loved singing and wanted to create a men's singing ensemble at the college. Fast forward to today, and Ithacappella sings everything from traditional choral arrangements to current radio hits. In addition to high-quality live performances, Ithacappella has become known for its strong efforts in the recording studio, with critically acclaimed albums that push the boundaries of vocal music. In addition to four exciting mainstage concerts during the school year, the group enjoys bringing its talent to schools in the form of interactive singing workshops designed to educate and inspire musicians of all ages. The group has performed in a number of different venues and continues to reach out and take advantage of exciting performance opportunities. The group has shared the stage with the Grammy-nominated rock group, Incubus, performing the band’s hit song, “Dig,” for thousands of fans. Ithacappella has also appeared on television shows such as “American Idol,” “The Price Is Right,” and on CNN. The group has competed numerous times in the ICCA, including back-to-back appearances in the Finals at Lincoln Center in 2008 and 2009. In the 2008 Finals, Ithacappella was named Best Male Ensemble and received special awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Vocal Percussion.

Founded in 1998, The Midnight Ramblers is a nationally recognized, all-male contemporary a cappella group. Since their creation, they have been entirely student organized and directed. In 2016, The Ramblers won 1st runner-up in the ICCA Central Semifinals, winning awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion. Along with acclaim for their unparalleled energetic and musically ambitious live performances, The Ramblers’ recorded work has been recognized on all four of the major international a cappella compilation albums in recent years. The Ramblers have recorded 10 full-length studio albums since 1998. They have recently released a new single, “Death of a Bachelor,” and a six-track EP entitled This Side Up. For more information on The Ramblers, visit www.midnightramblers.org.

None of the Above, affectionately known as NOTA, was founded in 1991, making them Penn State University’s original co-ed a cappella group! They take pride in being the most colorful singing group at our collegiate campus and putting on free concerts for their friends, family, and peers. They can be spotted around campus and throughout the State College community in their bright tops, spreading the upbeat sounds of their student-arranged music. This year, they came out with their premier music video, put together by one of their own extremely talented members. They are doing great things but always eager to gain more experience and can’t wait to see where the rest of this year takes them!

Pitch Slapped is an all-female a cappella group based out of Oneonta, N.Y. All of them are currently enrolled at SUNY College at Oneonta.

The Potsdam Pitches is SUNY Potsdam's premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2007, The Pitches is an award-winning group dedicated to spreading the love and joy of a cappella through high-quality performances.

Premium Blend is Ithaca College's premier female a cappella group! Founded in 1998, Premium Blend's goal has always been to provide and share a cappella music with their campus and community. PB is also very active when it comes to education, going on two tours each year and workshopping with middle school and high school students. Premium Blend strives to bring fun and meaningful music to its audiences at every performance, while fostering the beauty and resilience of women. Smooth, Fresh, Premium!

The Rhythm Method is Binghamton's only 80s-90s a cappella group. One of nine groups on the SUNY Binghamton campus, they sing “the songs you grew up to" and are excited to celebrate their 25th anniversary this spring. A co-ed group, their signature colors are red and black. Over winter break, this group loves to tour  and perform at various schools and events to raise money. They value their friendships in the group and love having an outlet to work together. All of their arrangements are done by members, past and present, and they love adding lively choreography to complement their arrangements. They record all of their own albums with an alum from the group, and will be releasing a new album in the spring with the group's newest arrangements, just in time for their anniversary show. While the group specializes in 80s-90s music, they are continuing to move into repertoire from the early 2000s as well. They would like to thank all of their supporters, including their parents, friends, and alumni. They are excited to continue growing and evolving in the future!


TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Matthew Zager has been involved in a cappella since 2006, when he formed his first a cappella group in high school. He graduated with a B.S. in music education from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2008, where he founded and directed an all-male a cappella group called Vocal Infusion. Since then, Matthew has co-founded and directed the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-nominated Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, Cut Off, and now serves as the CEO for Cut Off Studios. In February 2018, Matthew was selected to serve on the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) Board as Director of Development. When not consumed with a cappella, he works as Assistant Director of Development for the Monroe Community College Foundation and is a puppy dad to an energetic golden retriever, Lucy. He is also helping plan a wedding with his beautiful fiancé, Jennifer. Matthew is honored to have been an adjudicator for Varsity Vocals since 2013.

Kyle Yampiro holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from James Madison University and is the visiting Assistant Professor of voice for the University of Memphis musical theatre program. A native of Long Island, N.Y., he has performed with numerous opera and musical theatre companies across the country, most recently with The Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio and Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, Fla. He music directed University of Delaware’s Vocal Point as an undergraduate, and JMU's Exit 245 while earning his master's degree. With Exit 245, he contributed to the CARA-winning album, Boyfriend Material, from which his solo track, "Cinema," was also featured on compilation albums BOCA 2013, Voices Only 2013, and SING 10. He currently serves as a reviewer for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), a judge for the ICCA, CARAs, and AVAs, and a performer with Memphis-based CAL group, DeltaCappella.

Born in Oregon and raised in Rochester, N.Y., music has been with Mickey Hamilton for as long as he can remember. He found a cappella at Mansfield University as a singer, arranger, and music director for The Ellison Collection, and fill-in for the former Ithaca-based group, The Sons of Pitches. Mickey has since graduated with a degree in voice performance, and earned subsequent degrees in recording technology and entertainment business from Full Sail University. In the midst of his schooling, he has participated in various Rochester-based groups including Innerloop, The Smoking Hot Pipes, and Cut-Off, and even had the opportunity to learn from Bill Hare and Deke Sharon through the Soup 2 Nuts program. Now, Mickey is happy to be working for Cut Off Studios as an engineer, arranger, and producer. In addition to his a cappella background, Mickey runs live sound for local bands in the Rochester area, sings with Nik and the Nice Guys, and DJs for private and public events.

 Hannah Tobias doesn’t like good a cappella; she likes good music. When Hannah arrived at Vassar College, she hadn’t even heard of a cappella until one of the eight campus groups snatched her up: The Vassar Devils. After a stint as music director in her second year, Hannah propelled the group to compete at the 2014 ICCA Finals, winning her two Outstanding Choreography awards and two Outstanding Arrangement awards throughout the season, and then the BOSS competition in 2015, where the group took home 1st place, and Hannah earned individual awards for her choreography and solo. Hannah’s artistic expression originated outside of vocal music, having begun her arts career as a professional dancer. She has since made her way into composition and theatre, with experience music directing, conceptualizing and directing various productions, as well as starring in several small Off-Broadway performances in the city. She has also co-written two musicals, both of which had successful runs in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Hannah brings her varied artistic background to her arrangements, recordings, and the rest of her work, always striving to create things that subvert or exceed expectations, rather than simply satisfying them. She currently works for BCDF Pictures in upstate New York.

Stanislaw “Staś” Hoholuk has been an a cappella music enthusiast, vocalist, and vocal percussionist for many years. He attended SUNY Potsdam, where he performed with The Potsdam Pointercounts, and went on to complete his Bachelor of Music Education at Nazareth College of Rochester. He is currently working toward his master’s degree in music education at Syracuse University. Staś is a former member of Rochester’s semi-professional group, Inner Loop, and currently sings with the Senecaland District’s Chorus of the Genesee, as well as the area’s 2017 novice champion quartet, Homecoming. He has taught general music and chorus in the Syracuse City school district, and is a substitute music teacher for districts in both Monroe and Onondaga Counties. Staś also has the privilege of being the Vice President of Music and an Asst. Front Line Music Director/Conductor for the Chorus of the Genesee of Webster, N.Y.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 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 Jacobs
The Open Director
 ICCA West Producer

Andrew Poole
 Director of Digital Media

Erica Tackett
 Director of Marketing & Social Strategy

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Emily Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Sara Yood
 ICCA & ICHSA Finals Producer
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Henry Harrod
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South & Southwest Producer

Mark Chen
ICHSA Southwest Co-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 two placing groups advance to ICCA Central Semifinals.

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

varsityvocals

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, September 22, 2018