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

 

Monmouth University 
Saturday, March 3, 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

 

Casual Harmony is Rutgers University's premier all-male a cappella group. Founded in 2003, Casual Harmony is no stranger to competition. After competing in BOSS in 2016, they are thrilled to sing at this year’s ICCA! Over the past few years, Casual Harmony released an EP on Spotify entitled Transitions, which includes songs like “Toxic” by Britney Spears, and “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. On top of that, they create short music videos of their favorite songs to share on Facebook, Instagram (@Casualharmonyru), and Twitter (@Casualharmony). While none of them are music majors, their musical education stems from 30 minutes of listening to music on their Spotify free trials. They’re super excited to perform at the ICCA and hope their sound makes up for their lack of physical fitness!

The Hofbeats is a co-ed a cappella group from Hofstra University, located in Hempstead, N.Y. Established in 2009, the group has grown tremendously over the years and is proud to bring student-arranged music to life while having an amazing time. The Hofbeats are so excited to be back in the ICCA competition! Check them out on Facebook (The Hofbeats), Twitter/Instagram (@thehofbeats), and Snapchat (thehofbeats)!

Makin' Treble, from Hofstra University on Long Island, is the only all-female a cappella group on campus. Founded in 2007, these fiery ladies are always looking for fun pieces for their repertoire, often throwing it back or trying something completely different. Although these singers juggle busy college schedules, the group still finds time to come together through their shared passion for music. They have competed in the ICCA for the past two years alongside other Hofstra groups, and they’re happy to share tonight’s stage with such talented groups. The girls of Makin' Treble wish luck to the other competitors and send their  love to the people who helped them flourish.  

The Phantoms is Georgetown University's oldest co-ed a cappella group, founded in 1988. Originally a holiday group called “the phantom singers” for their elusive presence on campus, they now sing pop, rock, and R&B from a variety of artists. However, they continue to perform their 1989 arrangement of “Africa” by Toto at DCAF, and even recently sang it in the White House after coincidentally running into a member from over a decade ago. Last fall, they hosted the 27th annual D.C. A Cappella Festival, which brought together groups from Georgetown and up and down the East Coast. They’ve performed in the White House, the State Department, the Museum of Natural History, and a number of other locations around D.C. They love to sing at weddings, parties, community events, and local competitions on and off campus. Their newest album, Legacy, is due for release this winter, bringing their total number of albums to seven. They’re so excited to return to the ICCA after a too-long hiatus, and can’t wait to perform alongside such talented groups!

The Rider Vibes is Rider University's premier a cappella group and was founded in 2004. These performers hail from all over the country, including Nor and So Cal, New York, Washington State, and Connecticut, and include various majors and minors, such as business, liberal arts, education, communications, and performance art. They have been competing in the ICCA since 2016 and are excited to share some vibes with Varsity Vocals again this year! 

The Sea Sharps is Monmouth University’s first and only a cappella group. Founded in 2013, these singers provide a cappella music from different genres to the campus community. As of this year, The Sea Sharps is officially co-ed, and they couldn't be more excited! The members have successfully introduced many students to the world of a cappella and have created a diverse and fun outlet for both music and non-music majors to freely express themselves and their love of singing!

Founded by a bunch of music nerds as a casual singing group back in 1998, Hofstra University’s Sigma'Cappella comes from humble beginnings. Flash forward 19 years, and although they have definitely evolved and grown, the group largely stays true to its roots as a tight-knit group of nerds who live, breathe, and thrive on music.The members of Sigma'Cappella belt, riff, and harmonize in a wide variety of music. Performing the work of artists from Delta Rae to Bonnie Raitt to Avicii (and everything in between!), Sigma'Cappella has covered lots of ground in the Northeast region, including venues such as Boston Symphony Hall. They look forward to singing for you tonight and showing what they bring to the table!

'Til Further Notes is one of many a cappella groups at Rider University. The group performs at many events on and off campus. They sing a variety of styles and genres and love exploring the range of what they can do. ‘Til Further Notes is very excited to be back at the ICCA!

The Trentones is The College of New Jersey's first co-ed a cappella group! Founded in 2002, The Trentones are featured at various events around campus, including Acapalooza, an event they created to bring all of TCNJ's a cappella groups together. They have traveled around the nation and performed at Ithaca University, Pittsburgh University, Monmouth University, and more. The Trentones also enjoy holding workshops and performances for middle school and high school students. The Trentones hold winter and spring concerts and compete annually in the ICCA.

Vocal Synergy is both the premier and the sassiest a cappella group at Wagner College on Staten Island. As the only all-female group on campus, they are ecstatic to be back performing alongside their aca-peers at their third ICCA. This spring will mark the group’s 10-year anniversary, celebrating its 2008 founding by Kate “Mama Bear” Burns. In the past decade of swelling and blending, the group has been fortunate to travel on tours to California, Tennessee, and Washington D.C., and aims to tour New Orleans next, for the sole purpose of tracking down some genuine beignets. They are planning a 10-year gala this spring, and VS alumni will come in from all over the country to learn an original song in celebration of the past, present, and future of Vocal Synergy. The group has two full-length albums, an EP, and two singles to show for their collective talent. The current group includes 13 members, hailing from various majors, from arts administration to nursing, all of whom work hard to balance academics and city internships with touring, competing, rehearsing, recording, filming music videos, volunteering, fundraising, and putting on high school workshops. Most VSers were involved in the arts prior to attending Wagner College, and this group is a wonderful artistic outlet for this group of beautiful fools, especially for those involved in non-artistic majors. They are so grateful for the opportunities they have had thus far and for the countless people who have supported them over the years, allowing them to keep doing what they love in the greatest city in the world.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Gyasi Barber, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups. 

Elie Landau is a Tony and Emmy-nominated theatre and film producer. He currently serves as Executive Producer at Triptyk Studios, where he oversees the company's slate of theatre, film, and television projects in development and production. He a Founding Partner of Ergo Entertainment, currently represented on Broadway by Steve Martin's "Meteor Shower," starring Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti, and Jeremy Shamos. He is also a co-producer of numerous other Broadway shows including "Speed-the-Plow," "You're Welcome America," "The Homecoming," and "November," and several films, including the award-winning documentary "Paper Clips." Select prior management credits include the Broadway productions of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (and served as Executive Producer of its Grammy-nominated original cast recording), "Lucky Guy," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "Seminar," "The Addams Family," "Red," and "Spamalot." He is a member of The Broadway League and the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM). In his past life, he performed with several a cappella and choral ensembles and remains actively involved in the a cappella community as a master clinician, competition judge, awards nominator and voter, concert host, and music critic, with more than 300 album reviews published by the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). 

Alex Green is a recording engineer, producer, and arranger from New York City. He is a graduate of Tufts University with a dual degree in music and archaeology, where he sang with and directed the Tufts Amalgamates and with whom he recorded 2011′s Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning Hands Off The Mannequin. He is a co-owner and producer at Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production company with dual home bases in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Somerville, Mass. Alex shares two RIAA-certified Platinum and Billboard-charting albums with Ed Boyer and Ben Bram for his work with Pentatonix, while other clients of Plaid Productions have had songs featured on SING, BOCA, Voices Only, and have garnered over 100 CARA nominations. Since graduating in 2010, he has regularly served as a masterclass leader and instructor at a cappella festivals nationwide, sung with Overboard (Boston, Mass.), and written for RARB.

Marcus Thompson 
has been involved in contemporary a cappella since 2013. During his tenure as director of The Highlands Belles, the group was named New England Semifinal Champion and placed 4th at the ICHSA Finals in New York City. The following year, The Belles won the title of 2015 SingStrong Chicago High School Champion. The Belles’ rendition of "Cosmic Love" was selected for the 2016 BOHSA compilation album. Marcus also founded and co-directed Sirens A Cappella, which placed 3rd in its 2017 ICHSA Quarterfinal. In addition to directing, he served as a clinician for the 2016 Northern Highlands A Cappella Festival. Marcus has arranged music for The Highlands Belles, Sirens, and Leading Tones.

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