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 MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Drexel University
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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Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and join the conversation using #ICCA and #ICHSA.

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 Lafayette Chorduroys is Lafayette College’s premier all-male a cappella group. Founded in 1992, this group includes students from all different majors who come together to make music. They perform on and off campus at various events throughout the year.

The Drexel Cleftomaniacs is a co-ed a cappella choir established in 2012, featuring Drexel University undergraduate and graduate students with a passion for singing and creating music. The group aims to provide a welcoming environment where Drexel University students can appreciate and produce quality a cappella music, all while bringing a high standard of musical excellence and technique to the a cappella genre. The Cleftomaniacs work hard to provide exhilarating performances for audiences that showcase a diverse selection of genres, from pop to R&B. They mostly perform around Philadelphia and the Tri-state area, and have performed at schools such as Rutgers University, St. Joseph's University, West Chester University, and many others. The Cleftomaniacs have also performed at the Philadelphia Flower Show, First Friday in Old City, as well as for private events such as proposals and dinner parties. Aside from performances off-campus, The Cleftomaniacs host two annual concerts: Spooktacular in the fall and a spring concert that incorporates their entire catalog from the year. The Cleftomaniacs also make music in an effort to connect with others, whether passers-by or longtime fans. Email them for performance requests or if you’re another a cappella group looking to meet up. If you want to show your support and stay updated, follow The Cleftomaniacs on social media.

The Extreme Keys came together in 1981 to sing and have a good time (not necessarily in that order). Verging on three amazing decades together, The Extreme Keys proudly hold the title of the oldest femme a cappella group in the Haverford/Bryn Mawr consortium! Since the group's re-branding in 1983 from The Suburban Squares, The Keys have learned that their electric energy and vibrant personalities are what really set them apart from others. The group is a conglomerate of students with vastly different personalities and backgrounds. Each of them brings something different to the table, and they work hard to utilize their many skills and talents in creating music that ultimately just makes them feel good. The Keys perform many moods, from tenderness to hard-boiled tenacity to coy glances, nary losing their esprit de corps. They value of taking musical risks and make sure that their repertoire always reflects that. Originally focused on jazz and madrigal sets, The Keys' music has evolved to showcase their current preference for alternative and pop songs. They pull from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, as well as indie music from the 21st century, so there is always a song for everyone. Their mission is to form a cohesive wall of sound and to exude a grittier, more palpable flavor than other groups can provide. With every piece, they hone their skill and tap into their collective energy to blast their earthy timbre into the sonosphere.

OwlCappella is Temple University's first co-ed a cappella group, founded in fall 2010. The group performs a diverse assortment of musical styles, with a focus on artistic and energetic music-making. In just seven years, the group has made significant strides and plans to continue moving forward! OwlCappella performs a variety of gigs around Philadelphia and the Tri-state area. Previous gigs have included performing on Philly’s 97.5 radio station, stopping by at the Philadelphia Art Museum’s local artists’ concert, and opening the red carpet at the Philadelphia Auto Show’s annual black-tie event. During December of 2016, the group performed at the White House for the holiday season. OwlCappella enjoys their annual Spooktacular concerts, improv warm-ups and jam sessions, and are legendary for Philly’s best costumes. Stay tuned on the website and social media platforms for updates on this season, sure to be the most exciting year yet!

Profecy is Rowan's first a cappella group and the only all-male group on campus. They pride themselves on having fun, sharing their sound, creating a network beyond their university, improving their individual musical abilities, and they strive to persist as a group once all of their current members have graduated. This is their first ICCA appearance and they hope it will be the first of many.

Rowan Vocals, or “RoVo,” is Rowan University's only co-ed a cappella group. RoVo consists of 14 performers, and includes both music and non-music majors. They competed in their first-ever ICCA last year and were proud to receive 4th place at Mid-Atlantic Semifinals, having just been founded five months prior to that first competition. They have been on a fast rise in the competitive a cappella world, and are excited to make another bold impact at this year’s ICCA. They enjoy every genre of music and perform some from every category. 

Founded in 2002 by Lisa Oliveri, Soulfege was Lafayette College's first co-ed a cappella group. Due to Oliveri's amazing efforts, Soulfege's numbers and popularity have grown immensely over the years, both on and off campus. With a harmonious blend of male and female voices of all ranges and styles, Soulfege covers a wide repertoire of pop, jazz, hip-hop, and everything in between. Group members come from a range of musical backgrounds, some with training in classical music, jazz, or musical theatre, and others who have only sung recreationally. Only three members are music majors, while the rest are focused in areas of study such as engineering, economics, international affairs, and more. Soulfege prides itself on having members involved in an array of other activities and organizations on campus in addition to a cappella. They are eager to participate in the ICCA for their second year in a row after placing 3rd in Quarterfinals last year. They are dedicated to the art of music (especially a cappella!), but are a fun group of friends above all else.

Squawkappella was founded by two Salisbury University students, Brian Kuhn and Adam Miller, in the spring of 2006. Their name is a salute to their school mascot, Sammy the Seagull, and they are still the University's only student-run contemporary a cappella group. Fellow Seagulls on campus see them as a group of friends who love to sing in support of campus, community, and volunteer events. Though people may see them as friends, they consider themselves more of a family - AN ACA-FAMILY! There is never a day when they aren’t together hanging out, studying, getting lunch, and, of course,  singing! They believe that being so close gives them an advantage. If any one of them is having a rough day, needs some encouragement, advice, or just a pick-me-up, they know that 18 people will have their back. This support network allows them to give it their all onstage 100% of the time. For Squawkappella, performing is an opportunity to share their passion for making great music and to have fun with their closest friends and an a cappella-loving audience. They hope you enjoy their sety as much as they do! 

Stockapella was founded by a group of friends at Stockton University who just liked singing. They gave their first concert in 2007 and steadily began to grow. As a group, they attended an ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinal event in 2010, and fell in love with the idea of competing and meeting other a cappella groups. That same year, interest in a cappella at Stockton grew enough that another group, The Stocktones, was formed. Stockapella competed in its first ICCA Quarterfinal in 2011, and an all-female group, Stockata, took shape that same year. Stockapella has taken part in the ICCA every year since, grabbing plenty of attention and a number of awards. Stockton’s three a cappella ensembles work together and tirelessly support one another. The members of Stockapella send much love to their friends and supporters all across Stockton!

The Towson Trills, also known as "The Trills," is Towson University’s newest a cappella group. The group formed in September of 2015 as a group of friends with a huge passion for singing. Seven members strong, they can't wait to share their music with the rest of the a cappella community. Since they began, The Trills have won Towson's campus-wide talent competition, headlined a stage at a local arts festival, performed for the President of TU at several private functions, acted as the judges’ deliberation group at the Varsity Vocals Open Mid-Atlantic Semifinal, and even made it all the way to ICCA Finals in spring of 2017! They hope you enjoy their set and check out @towsontrills for more!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Before attending the University of Rochester, Kyle Hogan channeled most of his musical energy through an alto saxophone and hardly knew what a cappella was. That quickly changed, however, when he joined The University of Rochester YellowJackets as the group's sole bass singer. During his time with the group, Kyle served as one of its lead arrangers, creative director for its recording projects, and co-director during its first stint at the ICCA. Since graduating, Kyle has collaborated with friends on various a cappella recording projects and sung as a substitute bass singer with “Sing-Off “alums, Street Corner Symphony. Outside of a cappella, Kyle returns to his childhood home of northwestern Connecticut each summer to work with high school students in concert band, jazz band, and choir at a local music camp.

Carissa Pietsch is a proud mezzo-soprano who performs with a variety of ensembles in the Philadelphia area, including collegiate a cappella, semi-professional choirs, and ukulele groups. She fostered her a cappella career at Elizabethtown College by arranging for the all-female group, Melica. Her arrangements helped redefine the group as they evolved their sound from sweet to sassy. Carissa arranges and occasionally writes original songs for guitar and voice. During the day, Carissa changes diapers for two adorable children, but she continues to practice music by night as she prepares to become a board-certified music therapist. 

Steve Weber is a graduate of both Cedarville University (Bachelor of Arts in music) and Boston University (Master of Arts in music education). He has been teaching high school music for 17 years in southern New Jersey, where he directs the a cappella group, Vocal Forte. Vocal Forte has appeared at the ICHSA Finals in New York three times, and has been featured on BOHSA 2016 and 2017, Philadelphia's 101.1 More FM, and Lifetime's a cappella show, “Pitch Slapped.” In his spare time, Steve works with many regional music groups, including The Philadelphia Vocal Conservatory, The Ritz Theatre Company of Oaklyn, and the music faculty of Drexel University.

Kevin Vondrak is a conductor, singer, and arranger based in Philadelphia. As an a cappella music director, he has won awards for competitions, arranging, and recordings with The Washington University Stereotypes and Niles West High School's Echo Effect. In ICCA and ICHSA, he has led these groups to multiple Quarterfinal wins and Top 3 finishes at Semifinals, as well as a "Best First Set" award at SoJam A Cappella Festival in Durham, N.C. Before closing its doors in 2016, Backporch Productions (his a cappella studio with Leo Chang) had produced albums and arranged for 75+ high school and collegiate a cappella groups around the country. An accomplished classical musician, Kevin was a 2017 Conducting Fellow at the Big Sky Choral Initiative with The Crossing, and has sung with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, Mastersingers of Wilmington, and Madison Choral Project. He has a Master of Music in choral conducting from Northwestern University, where he studied with Donald Nally, and a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Kevin is currently Communications & Artistic Associate for The Crossing, Grammy-winning new music choir in Philadelphia, as well as a staff singer at St. Thomas' Church, Whitemarsh. http://kevinvondrak.com 

Jonathan Sears began singing a cappella in 1996 at Elizabethtown College with the all-male group, Phalanx. In his senior year, he led Phalanx to its first-ever ICCA showing, and a 3rd place title at Quarterfinals. This set the stage for future years, when they advanced to Semifinals and appeared on BOCA. After graduating in 2000, he performed with a number of professional a cappella groups at shows and festivals throughout North America. He is a two-time Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominee, first in 2000 in the Best Male Collegiate Arranger category, and again as a professional in 2005 in the Best Contemporary Pop/Rock Original Song category. He is a five-year veteran of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), where he adjudicated over 70 a cappella albums submitted by both collegiate and professional groups. Jonathan lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his beautiful wife Kelly and their two girls, Molly and Emma. 2018 marks Jonathan’s 12th year as an ICCA/ICHSA adjudicator, and his 22nd year as an active member of the a cappella community.

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 Mid-Atlantic 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