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 GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

Athenaeum Theatre
Saturday, March 3, 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

 

The Illinois State Acafellaz is the premier all-male a cappella group on Illinois State's campus. Singing since 1999, the group has grown in size and audacity to bring to the most enduring performance you can handle. The Acafellaz specialize in making you laugh, cry, feel uncomfortable, and ultimately make you content with your life. With beautiful singing, mediocre dancing, and sub-par attractiveness, The Acafellaz will bring you a show like no other.

The Carthachords is the women's a cappella group at Carthage College. Founded in 2011, they enjoy singing a wide variety of a cappella music and showcasing their talents with campus and community performances. Past concerts include Miss ConJEANiality, a denim-themed affair, and Pajammin', an a cappella PJ party for the books. This group is seriously dedicated to musicianship, fun, and friendship! 

Downtown Voices was founded four years ago, starting the a cappella scene at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). They have performed numerous times with UIC’s School of Theatre and Music, with student organizations, and even placed 3rd at UIC’s Cultural Showcase two years ago. They have competed in ICCA for the past two years, are excited to be a part of this community again! 

Through the power of music, storytelling and tan suspenders, Fundamentally Sound has captured national attention as UW-Madison’s all-male competitive a cappella group. Founded in 2005, Fundamentally Sound continues to push the boundaries of collegiate a cappella with thought-provoking musical arrangements and high-energy performances. FS conveys passion, brotherhood, and fun with each performance, creating a musically diverse and entertaining atmosphere for their audiences. In their free time, FS enjoys fine dining, Justin Timberlake, long walks on the beach, and short walks on the beach.

The Harmelodics is Northern Illinois University's only all-female a cappella group. Established in 2014, the girls entertain on and off campus throughout the year. They pride themselves on their positivity and love, and they enjoy singing a wide variety of genres. The Harmelodics is a student-run organization.  

Formed in the desolate cornfields of DeKalb, Ill. in the fall of 2011, The NIU Huskie Hunks have developed into a nationally recognized group when they took the ICCA competition by storm for the fifth time this spring. The group is made up of 13 members, from freshmen to super seniors, with a variety of different majors, but one common goal: to rock their audiences’ pants off with electric harmonies and robotically precise choreography. In their free time, these hunky gentlemen love to spot one another's deadlifts, eat way too much Vinny’s pizza, and have totally-not-weird sleepovers.

The Innocent Men is The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's premier all-male a cappella group. In 1985, six members of the men's glee club, The Singing Statesmen, decided to sing “For the Longest Time” at the annual talent competition. The song is from Billy Joel’s album, An Innocent Man, which inspired the group’s name. In an effort to capture their audience and unify their style, the original members wore red Converse All Stars (A.K.A. "Chucks"). The style stuck, and every successive generation of “I-Men” has donned these classic sneakers since. Every semester, all seven members spend a week with middle and high school students, with the goal of inspiring them to experience and support music throughout their futures. In January 2016, the group released identity, their eighth full-length album since their recording debut in 1996. After winning Audience Favorite at the National Harmony Sweepstakes Chicago Contest two years in a row (2015 and 2016), The Innocent Men decided to take 30 years of deep friendship, vocal excellence, and red Chucks to the ICCA stage.'

Formed in 1996, Purple Haze has been singin', dancin' and lovin' for over 20 years! Completely run by students, they rehearse on a weekly basis and put on a killer show each quarter. In the fall, they invite other groups from nearby colleges to perform in their Best of the Midwest concert. In the winter, they combine a cappella with games and improv for an event called Too Much A Cappella Makes the Baby Go Deaf, based on the Neo-Futurists' popular Chicago show. In the spring, they devise a new script to go with their songs and a theme of their choosing. Aside from campus shows, Purple Haze also performs throughout the Chicagoland area at events and school workshops. Purple Haze has released nine studio albums, all of which are available on iTunes and Spotify. Their cover of "Pretty Hurts" was recently selected for the 2017 track list of Voices Only, an annual compilation album featuring the world’s best collegiate groups. The a cappella podcast, Mouth Off, called them "the best you're going to hear out of the whole Midwestern United States" and "the group that everyone wants to party with!" Purple Haze goes on tour every year, to domestic and international locations including Montreal, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Dublin, and Washington D.C. Purple Haze competes biennially in the ICCA, and were proud to make it to Semifinals in 2016. Most importantly, they are a group of friends who love to sing together!

The Ransom Notes is a tight-knit group of musicians from the University of Chicago dedicated to reimagining current hits, classics, and songs that you’ve never heard before. This co-ed a cappella group recently celebrated its 20th anniversary by releasing its sixth studio album, Blueprint, now available for download on iTunes and Spotify. They also enjoy shot-gun arranging classics, such as their annual holiday repertoire and their personal favorite, “Go Cubs Go (let’s go!).” When they’re not singing around campus, they enjoy leading workshops at local high schools in South Chicago, busking across America’s great cities on biannual tours, and procrastinating together in their campus libraries. Above all, The Ransom Notes love to stay hydrated and they hope you do too!

Unaccompanied Women is the oldest a cappella group at the University of Chicago, known for its diverse repertoire and fun-filled traditions. Established in 1989, UW has spent the last 29 years serenading Hyde Park through arch sings, concerts, and fundraisers. In addition to singing together, the members of UW love marathoning movies, making brownies, and hanging out anywhere and everywhere together!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Andrew M. Wallace is an avid arranger and composer and has explored numerous genres of music, from traditional choral music to contemporary a cappella, for over 15 years. After over 10 years of teaching music education on the North Shore suburbs of Illinois, Andrew is now the Director of Accounts for a marketing and advertising firm in the fitness and endurance industry. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music Education from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and serves as the Artist in Residence for the amazing Youth Choral Theatre of Wilmette, crafting original compositions and arrangements for them to premiere. Andrew has been the guest conductor for several music festivals, notably the 2013 Illinois Music Educators Association District VII Junior High Music Festival. Andrew also performs, directs, and arranges for a professional cabaret group in Chicago, The Chicago Red Line.

Erin Egan earned her master's degree in music education at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, as well as a bachelor's degree in choral music education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  As a student at the U of I, Erin spent several years as a member and music director of the co-ed group, No Comment A Cappella. Erin previously spent four years as the music director of Guys & Dolls, the co-ed a cappella group from Niles West High School in Skokie, Ill., and continues to arrange music for groups at the high school and collegiate levels.  Erin has been a music educator for six years and continues to teach vocal and general music at Lincoln Hall Middle School in Lincolnwood, Ill.

Anna Corbett attended the University of Oregon and was part of the founding generation of Divisi, the school’s all-female a cappella group. Since graduating, she has continued her involvement in a cappella as a team member of the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), helping to put on their annual festival, SheSings, as well as participating in various bands and vocal music projects in the Portland, Ore. area. While she is in the book “Pitch Perfect,” none of the characters in the subsequent movies are specifically based on her. She is currently pursuing her J.D. at Chicago-Kent College of Law and is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as a judge for Varsity Vocals.

Aubrey Malito is delighted to be judging these talented groups! Aubrey attended Illinois State University for musical theatre and music business, and served as music director for the women’s a cappella group, Secondary Dominance. After graduation, Aubrey performed in musicals and cabarets in New York, and worked in house management for six Broadway shows. She continued to arrange a cappella music, and even was commissioned by the cast of “Jersey Boys” to arrange a piece for their Hall & Oates concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Since returning to Chicago, Aubrey has been an active performer and teacher. She recently graduated summa cum laude from Saint Xavier University with a degree in choral music education, and has gone on to direct choirs, musical theatre voice, and theatre at high schools across Chicago, including Whitney M. Young, Plainfield South, Carl Sandburg, and Marist High Schools. She also maintains a private voice and piano studio. Aubrey is represented by Lily’s Talent.

Colleen Sinclair 
has been singing in choirs and chamber groups for many years, and began performing a cappella music in the Buffalo Grove High School champion show choir, The Expressions. Her love of music continued into her time at Monmouth College, where she studied music education and started the school's first all-female a cappella group, The Sassy Lassies. Colleen currently teaches choir at Algonquin Middle School, where she directs three choirs, an a cappella group, and a spring musical!

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 Great Lakes 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