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

 

University of Rochester
Saturday, January 27, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

University of Rochester's After Hours has been moving audiences with its innovative arrangements and intense performances since 1998. This quirky family loves to travel the country, but is always most at home in Rochester, the city that brought them together. When they aren’t rehearsing or performing, you can find After Hours members going on midnight trips to Wegmans, engaging in ultra-competitive rounds of Mario Party, or eating copious amounts of pasta at 3 a.m. Check out www.urafterhours.org for regular updates on all things After Hours, including videos and recordings!

Active on campus since 1999, The RIT Brick City Singers (lovingly known as BCS) have been defying borders, crossing genres, and pushing the limits on stage, with entertaining performances that leave everyone looking for more. With a broad repertoire, wacky antics, amusing skits, and just a bit of class, BCS is a force to be reckoned with.

Call4Backup is an all-female a cappella group from Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. The group was founded in 1998, and has only recently began singing competitively. With a wide range of majors, ages, and personalities, everyone in the group brings something different to the table, creating a diverse and unique mix. Call4Backup is completely student-run, which inspires greater dedication and excitement among its members and room to use suggestions and ideas from each of them. Their two student leaders are juniors, have been in the group since their freshman year, and happen to be twin sisters! They personally raise their own money, schedule their own gigs, and arrange all of their own songs. The group thrives on girl power, their passion for singing, and mutual love of potatoes. Their main goal is to have fun while doing what they love, and they hope to spread that enjoyment to every audience they can. 

Hailing from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Eight Beat Measure is the original all-male a cappella group on campus. Eight Beat Measure began in 1987 as The RIT Men’s Octet. Originally faculty-led and formed as an extension to The RIT Singers, they quickly expanded their horizons and branched into the world of contemporary a cappella, changing their name to Eight Beat Measure to reflect the new attitude, and growing from only eight members. The group sings a variety of genres, including hip-hop, rock, R&B, and folk, so there is something for everyone in their repertoire. The boys continue to raise the heat for their audiences at two annual concerts and they're ready to compete on stages all across the country.

Founded in 2003 as Vocal Fusion, Exit 8 is SUNY Geneseo's oldest all-gender a cappella group and currently has 14 members. Their musical repertoire includes today's hits, as well as pop standards. Exit 8 performs twice a semester in SUNY Geneseo's all a cappella concerts, at local businesses and organizations, for charity events, and for special events on and off campus. Occasionally, Exit 8 collaborates with collegiate peers by performing together at invitationals. 

The Harpur Harpeggios (more affectionately known as The Pegs) is Binghamton University's first and only all-female a cappella group! Founded in 1983, The Pegs perform a variety of music ranging from 60s classics to songs on the radio today. They perform at many different events in the community and on their annual winter tour, compete at the ICCA, host invitationals, and put on one large show each semester. They are lucky to be composed of extremely talented and fierce ladies who conquer and rule, onstage and off. Peace, Love, Pegs.

Mic Drop A Cappella is a co-ed group that consists of 11 singers, but a total of 16 members in the organization itself. This brand-new group just celebrated its first anniversary this past December. They sing all styles of music, from current pop and alternative music to contemporary and madrigal choral scores. This is Mic Drop’s first performance experience as a group. They may be the new kids on the block, but that will not stop them. They are called Mic Drop for a reason, and they bring it.

Trebellious is one of the University of Rochester’s premier all-gender a cappella groups. Officially established in 2015, Trebellious is making its mark in the world of collegiate a cappella by delivering unique arrangements that show off the raw power and talent of its members. They are very humbled to have already been featured by College A Cappella’s news page this past summer for their arrangement and performance of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind.”

The Monroe Community College Tributones are excited to be a part of ICCA for the fifth year in a row. The Tributones have set the bar high for singing at MCC. This two-year college group of talented, dedicated, and strong-spirited individuals enlightens audiences and school attendees alike, through performances that leave them amazed. This year's ensemble is made up of many new members, but they are still the rock-housing, showstopping performers like those that came before them. They are a community college group, but their talent, teamwork, diversity, and, most importantly, friendship soars above and beyond. 

Founded in 1956, The YellowJackets is the University of Rochester’s oldest a cappella group. Apart from their bright yellow blazers, what makes this group of young men stand out is their dedication to music and service on a global level. The YJs strive to become an integral part of all their communities, beginning an after school a cappella program for inner-city children at home in Rochester, traveling to Maseno, Kenya, for a musical exchange with a children’s choir in 2011, and visiting places as diverse as Valencia, London, and Los Angeles to share culture and music through workshops and performances. The YellowJackets feel strongly about their philanthropic pursuits and are proud to have helped to raise over $100,000 for the Rochester-based cancer support foundation, the Hannah Metzler Memorial Fund. In 2011, The YellowJackets competed on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” alongside Grammy-winning group Pentatonix, and have performed with the show’s live tour for the past several years. In April 2016, The YellowJackets released a music video for Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” which has amassed almost 2 million views on YouTube. Earlier this year, the group was honored to win the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award  (CARA) for Best Male Collegiate Album for their 18th studio album, Y2J.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Jeff Magee is a vocal music education graduate from the University of Toronto, and currently teaches high school vocal and instrumental music. He has been an active part of Toronto's a cappella community for 12 years as a beatboxer, singer, director, arranger, and vocal coach. Jeff has experience in a variety of a cappella choirs, ranging from jazz and classical to pop music. He has directed collegiate a cappella choirs for eight years, incorporating award-winning choreography, soloists and arrangements. Jeff is passionate about bringing the fun and excitement of a cappella music to new audiences.

Katie Goodman
(née Riegal) first experienced a cappella while working toward her Bachelor of Music Education from Roberts Wesleyan College. A member of The Sirens (now Key of She), Katie was music director for three semesters before moving on to teach full-time at York Central School in 2010. A founding member of Cut Off, Katie moved on from the group after a year to focus on growing her middle/high school vocal program at York. She has founded two a cappella groups in the high school: the all-female Vocalibrium and the all-male Aria 51. Vocalibrium has had a standout year, and is currently preparing to make its ICHSA debut and record its first EP with The Vocal Company. Katie resides in Rochester, N.Y. with her aca-husband, Josh, and dog, Lexi.

Matthew Zager 
spent the last 14 years involved in a cappella. He is honored and excited to be an ICCA judge for the third year in a row. 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 (he also founded and directed 8 Men Out at Penfield High School). Since then, Matthew has co-founded and directed the CARA-nominated Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, Cut Off, and serves as the vocal percussionist for the newly formed group, Remote. In addition to working at Roberts Wesleyan College in the Student Finance Services office, Matthew works as an arranger and clinician.

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 RARB, a judge for the ICCA, CARAs, and AVAs, and a performer with Memphis-based CAL group, DeltaCappella.

Shannon Connor 
is a board-certified music therapist working at the Holy Childhood, Hochstein School of Music and Dance, and Roberts University. She also currently serves as Director of Arranging for Cut Off Studios in Rochester, N.Y. Within this studio, she serves as an educational speaker for their LENS (Learn. Envision. Network. Sing) a cappella events. She has studied piano for 17 years, and has accompanied musicals, soloists, and choirs. Her musical background ranges from bands, jazz bands, pit bands, choirs, and a cappella groups. She has a passion for a cappella and directed Melica, the all-female a cappella group at Elizabethtown College for three years, leading them to a 1st place finish at Quarterfinals her senior year. She is excited to judge this year's competitors.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank The University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers, The Alumni and Advancement Center, A Cappella Productions, Mike Jankowski, Carol Personte, Heather Maclin, Brian Magee, AnneMarie Cucci, and Natalka Iwaskiw; 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