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

 

University of Michigan
Saturday, February 10, 2018

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), 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

 

58 Greene is the University of Michigan's premier co-ed multicultural a cappella group. Founded in 1993, their mission is to spread multiculturalism and identity consciousness through music. With songs across every genre, they take on a challenging repertoire that showcases strong soloists, group blend, and beatboxing. The group members come from different backgrounds and experiences, but they share a common love for music.

Amazin' Blue is the oldest and most decorated co-ed a cappella group at the University of Michigan. They recently celebrated their 30th anniversary in conjunction with the University's bicentennial year. Amazin' Blue's membership includes a wide variety of majors and disciplines and they have an alumni base of over 200 active alums. Amazin' Blue prides itself on musical experimentation and storytelling, as well as the development of vocal music as a whole. 

The Dicks and Janes, or DJs for short, is a fun-loving group of people with an intense passion for making eye-opening (or perhaps ear-opening) music. Known for experimenting with all different types of genres and sounds, this incredibly close musical family thrives on pushing boundaries and trying new things, whether that ends with them discovering a great new song to arrange or getting lost in the middle of Illinois on a competition day.

From Rochester Hills, Mich., Gold Vibrations is Oakland University's premier a cappella group. After going to Finals in 2016 and Semifinals in 2017, Gold Vibes is thrilled to take the ICCA stage once more for the 2018 season! When not preparing for ICCA or a concert, GV loves burning all their money on half-off appetizers at Applebees, creating songs about Costco, making s'mores, even when it's thunderstorming, and sending dank memes in their GV group chat. GV is so thankful for all of their friends, family, and fellow golden grizzlies for their support. The main goal of Gold Vibrations is to bond as a family through their music, and they're incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue this year.

GV GrooVe! is Grand Valley State University’s premier co-ed a cappella group. Since 2009, they’ve been rockin’ the GVSU campus and the Grand Rapids area, bringing joy to everyone with ears. Among their many performances around the Mitten State, they have entertained at events such as the Mrs. Michigan Pageant, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Aca-Central at Central Michigan University, AcapalOUza at Oakland University, Acapell-Off, an event hosted by a group from their very own Grand Valley State University, and of course, the ICCA.

Since 1979, the sometimes sassy, always classy Harmonettes have contributed to the ever-growing U of M a cappella tradition with their unique sound,  signature style, and self-written arrangements. As the original all-female a cappella group on campus, these talented young ladies pride themselves on their tight-knit friendships and masterful music.

Macomb Expressions from Macomb Community College is a long-established elite ensemble on campus, but it is in its first year as an a cappella pops group. In years past, the group has performed a variety of jazz music, either accompanied or a cappella. The group is made up of students of the music program at the community college. Members are selected through auditions and meet together as an extracurricular performing ensemble.

Melodytroit is the only all-inclusive a cappella group at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. In their fifth year of existence, they’re eager to make their first entrance into the community by competing at ICCA and show you what the remarkable a cappella voices in Detroit can do. This fun group of people has eclectic musical tastes and repertoire. They have arranged and sung songs and mashups from various genres, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Bill Withers and from Lake Street Dive to Adele to gnash. Some of their favorite things to do are getting together to play board games, go bowling, or go for long walks on the beach (P.S. Encore is their favorite board game, where you compete to see who can remember the most song lyrics with the word yellow in it). This very cool group of individuals also likes to give back to the community around them. Last year, they began a tradition of performing at Detroit-area schools, and had a blast teaching elementary students about the possibilities of the human voice; “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” has never been sung with more enthusiasm! Veteran group members have worked for the chance to compete since the group’s inception. They’re delighted with their progress thus far, and thrilled to utilize the ICCA experience to build the group up, gather momentum, and run ahead at full speed.  The group thanks Varisty Vocals for giving them a goal shoot for. They’re going to give you everything they’ve got! 

The G-Men (or Gentlemen for long) is the premier all-male a cappella group at the University of Michigan. They are known for their massive triceps, fanatical obsession with guppies, and for rocking audiences with the power of 100 raging Mark Ruffalos.


GUEST PERFORMER

Maize Mirchi is a South Asian a cappella group at the University of Michigan. They dabble in a variety of music genres, from Bollywood to top 40 to instrumental, and strive to tell unique stories in every performances Besides traveling and competing, the singers of Maize Mirchi like to sell samosas and play competitive games of mafia. They are open for gigs in Michigan, so please reach out if you would like them to sing at your event! Check out their newest EP, Silent Call, on Spotify or iTunes

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Selame Scarlett hails from Okemos, Mich. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she was part of Capital Green A Cappella, and served as music director, arranger and vocal percussionist. Currently, she is an ICHSA producer, Varsity Vocals judge, and clinician for high school and collegiate groups in the Midwest. She serves as a percussionist and vocalist for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning all-female sextet, Lady Jaye, and the all-female gospel powerhouse group, Traces, which was featured on Season 5 of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” In the summertime, Selame is an instructor and counselor at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based vocal camp for young adults (ages 13 to 17). Selame has been fortunate enough to record alongside groups such as Naturally 7, The Boxettes, Pentatonix, Duwende, and Traces of Blue (formerly Afro-Blue)! She has led percussion workshops and masterclasses, both on her own and with her beatboxing colleagues.

Kathleen Pellington is in her third year of teaching at Wapakoneta High School. She graduated from Otterbein University in 2014 with her degree in music education. During college, she co-founded and co-directed the a cappella group, Ottertuned. She also served as the president of their touring ensemble, as well as OCMEA. In her first two years working at Wapakoneta, she led the show choir to multiple top-five finishes in addition to several Best Soloist and Best Costumes awards. Kathleen also created the a cappella group, Midweek, which quickly earned acclaim competing in the 2016 and 2017 ICHSA seasons and was invited by Deke Sharon to perform at Carnegie Hall in April 2018. Kathleen is also an avid performer, arranger, and clinician. 

Tyler Knowles began playing instruments at an early age, but didn't discover his voice as an instrument until he fell in love with a performance featuring UW-Madison's premier men's a cappella group, The MadHatters. He auditioned for the group, and learned he had a knack for singing really, really low. Tyler sang with The MadHatters from 2002-2005, competing in and hosting ICCA during that time. After college, he sang professionally in the a cappella quartet, The Traveling Sailsmen, on the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, cruising from Alaska down to the Horn of South America and numerous ports in between. 

Lindsay CieChanski is the Director of Vocal Music at Skyline High School, which houses four choirs, including the a cappella ensemble, Skyline Blues. Lindsay graduated from the University of Michigan in 2002 with a dual major in voice performance and choral music education, and completed her master’s degree in music education in 2007, also at U of M. She has worked as a guest clinician and enjoys participating in music conferences. Lindsay has also directed musicals and performs in several ensembles. Lindsay has led Skyline’s choirs to successful performances at ICHSA, Solo and Ensemble, and Choral Festival. Skyline Blues has performed for numerous events around the Ann Arbor Community and has consistently competed in ICHSA. Lindsay has greatly enjoyed her time working with Varsity Vocals and is inspired to continue promoting the art of a cappella singing.

Grant Hendrickson majored in music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, he sang with and directed the University of Wisconsin men's a cappella group, The MadHatters, from 2001-2005. After graduating in 2005, Grant moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. After playing the Los Angeles club circuit for a couple years, he joined The Cat's Pajamas vocal band and traveled the world singing on cruise ships and national tours for four years. Grant helped launch The Cat's Pajamas at the Dutton Theater in Branson, Mo.i in 201, where they performed 230 shows a year. Grant became a music director for Second City and toured with them on cruise ships in 2011-2012. Grant sang with the legendary Alley Cats for three years and performed in multiple national tours from 2012-2015. He has taught private voice and piano lessons for 15 years. Grant has owned and operated Entertain You Productions (EYP) since 2010, a live entertainment company now based in East Lansing, Mich. EYP focuses on wedding entertainment and corporate events.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank A Cappella Productions, Maize Mirchi, Alexa Zielinski, UMichigan Sirens, volunteers, and the Raas Team; 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