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 Wisconsin
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

 

As the oldest a cappella group at the University of Minnesota, 7Days A Cappella is proud to have a history of strong musicianship, performance quality, and campus presence. Founded in 2003 by Anthony Brown and Brienne Foyt, 7Days began as an opportunity for a diverse group of students to connect over a shared love of music and performance. They compete annually in ICCA and have earned a legacy of success. Last year, they placed 4th in the Great Lakes Semifinal in Chicago, earning Outstanding Soloist there, in addition to wins for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement at Quarterfinals earlier that season. 7Days A Cappella works hard to spread the joy of quality music on campus and across the region. The group frequently performs at concerts, professional events, meetings, and high schools around the Twin Cities area. In November 2017, they recorded a holiday album with some of the best groups in the country, including The Nor’easters, The ScatterTones, Fundamentally Sound, and more. Check it out on Spotify! 7Days is excited to compete at ICCA this year and showcase the group’s ability, culminating in a setlist driven by months of hard work and dedication. If you like what you hear, check them out on social media and follow them for regular updates. Enjoy!

Chispa, from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis. is beyond thrilled to make its ICCA debut. Five women came together five months ago to bring a cappella to their campus, and have already caused a spark in the Milwaukee area. Chispa has opened for the Canadian a cappella group Eh440 for its first gig, and has since performed for campus events and concerts. They are proud to have made it here for their first competition and off-campus performance, and hope their new audience enjoys their set!

The Enchantments is the only all-female a cappella group at the University of Minnesota. They pride themselves on defying stereotypes of women's a cappella by performing songs made popular by both men and women in a variety of genres. The group is passionate about empowering one another and their audiences through music and hope to provide a musical outlet for everyone!

The Iowa Hawkapellas is an all-female a cappella group at the University of Iowa! They’re pitch perfect and ready to sing their way into your hearts, covering classic ballads, today's top hits, and everything in between. You won't find an instrument at their performances, just the beautiful and energetic mix of female vocalists. A fun fact about them is that they are the only a cappella group from their university to audition for ICCA!

The Marquette Naturals, Marquette University’s premier all-male a cappella group, has grown exponentially since its establishment in 2003. The Naturals has developed from a group of several college guys who simply wanted to get together and sing into the bow tie-clad group of talented young men it is today. Offering intricate musical arrangements and energetic choreography, The Naturals have performed all over the Milwaukee area and beyond, spreading their passion for music through the unique sound of contemporary a cappella. Each year brings new events, videos, and tracks, and they are excited for a chance to compete in ICCA 2018.

Parkside Range is the flagship ensemble of the Contemporary Commercial Music - Voice program at UW-Parkside. This contemporary a cappella group sings songs from popular genres of music. Founded in 2016, the group has already performed at the National A Cappella Convention in Memphis, Tenn., and worked with professional clinicians and groups such as Tony Huerta/Sonic Audio, Edge Effect, Six Appeal, and Christopher Diaz. In July, they were the host group of A Cappella University, a new annual camp at UW-Parkside. The group performs both on and off campus and is excited to perform for you tonight.

University of Wisconsin-Madison's very own competitive women's a cappella group, Pitches and Notes, is very excited to compete in the ICCA. Pitches and Notes can always be identified by their signature red shoes.  Since the beginning, they have aimed to contribute to the musicianship displayed in the Madison community by providing women on campus with additional music performance opportunities.  They hope you enjoy their performance as much they enjoy performing.

Under A-Rest, or UAR, is the newest a cappella group from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Formed in 2014, UAR is a co-ed group that performs at various events and businesses throughout the Madison community. Members of Under A-Rest represent various majors on campus and each member is committed to spreading positivity in the community through music. In December of 2017, the group partnered with the Meriter Foundation for their fall concert in order to raise money to provide mental health services for Madison's homeless population. During winter break, Under A-Rest embarks on its annual "Winter Tour" and stops by various Wisconsin high schools during the school day to perform for students and spread musical positivity throughout the entire state. Occasionally on this tour, they pair up with high school choirs and a cappella groups to perform joint concerts. Under A-Rest is very excited to be performing in its second ICCA Quarterfinal and its members have worked hard to showcase what they have to offer.

Founded in 2001, The Undertones is a co-ed a cappella group from Northwestern University. The group’s members hail from all over the place and study in every major school that Northwestern offers. In addition to their mainstage shows every year, they group gigs all over the Chicagoland area. Just this past year, they’ve sung at sorority events, local schools, fundraisers for other student groups, and charity events. Previous tour locations include Washington D.C., New York, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boston, and Edinburgh, Scotland. This past winter, they traveled to Washington D.C. and sang at the White House! The Undertones have released five studio albums. Their latest album, Spit It Out, includes “When We Were Young,” which earned a spot on the 2017 Voices Only compilation album. Their 2013 album, Rock Paper Shotgun, was nominated for a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Mixed Collegiate Album. The album's opening track, "Plain Gold Ring," was nominated for Best Mixed Arrangement, Best Solo, and was included in Voices Only 2013 and the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America's (CASA) sing 10: neon. The track "Gunpowder and Lead" was nominated for Best Mixed Collegiate song, and "Bluebird" was selected for Voices Only 2014. Although the bulk of their time together is spent rehearsing, performing, and recording, The Undertones are also a close group of friends who love keeping the fun and silliness alive in the work that they do!

Voices in Your Head is a student-run a cappella group from the University of Chicago consisting of students whose areas of study span as far as their musical tastes. The group strives to push the boundaries of collegiate a cappella by using the human voice in innovative and creative ways. Voices is honored to have advanced to ICCA Finals in the past, including in 2017. In addition to Voices' successful showings in competitions, their last album, titled LIGHTS, won the 2017 CARA for Best Mixed Collegiate Album.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Laura Kruschke has been involved in a cappella since her collegiate days at University of Wisconsin Madison, singing with the all-female group, Tangled Up in Blue, while earning her degree in instrumental music education. Back then, she served as the group's primary vocal percussionist, music arranger, and director. After graduation, Laura had the opportunity to help launch the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). After a whirlwind trip to San Francisco for an inspiring weekend with other like-minded aca-people, she returned to Madison and founded greenTONE A Cappella in fall 2007. gT is 10 members strong today, and sings for a wide variety of local events including weddings, holiday parties, fundraisers, and flash mobs. Laura is still involved with CAL today, serving as the organization's membership coordinator. Laura has also offered her expertise to local high school choirs through vocal percussion workshops, clinician opportunities, and group coaching. In addition to aca-involvement, Laura also arranges music for high school show choir, sings and plays saxophone in a local cover band, teaches yoga, and helps her three young children remember their F-sharps while practicing piano. 

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for CASA, associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 

Jim Kane graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014 with a B.S. in civil engineering and a minor in music. Most of his time, however, was spent rehearsing, arranging, performing, and recording music with Bare Naked Statues, SLU’s all-male a cappella group. Since graduation, he has been working in transportation engineering with CBB in St. Louis, while using his spare time to work on his own music, arrange, workshop with BNS, and tell every single person he encounters about that time he made it to ICCA Finals.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Fundamentally Sound, Eric Schumacher, Joseph Aquino, Vincent Biskupic, David Grube, Heather Good, Jeff Macheel, Ted Harks, and the staff of Shannon Hall; 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