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

 

West Chester University
Saturday, February 17, 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

 

A Whole Step Up is Lehigh University's only all-male a cappella group. They don't specialize in any particular type of music, but they do specialize in putting on a great show and having a good time! As a general rule of thumb, they enjoy taking long walks on the beach and networking with other a cappella groups. If you're interested in learning more about them, they would love to show you their EP.

Founded in September 2003, Echoes is Lehigh University's premier and only all-female a cappella group. The Echoes’ repertoire spans several genres, including pop, indie, hip hop, rock, country, and jazz. In addition to The Echoes' final concert held at the end of every semester, the group performs on and off campus in various performances throughout the year. These events are often through other groups that aim to empower women, such as the Women's Center and Greek sorority organizations. 14 years later, Echoes is still a strong, proud, and tight-knit group of women that love to create magic with their voices both on and off the stage.

Formed in 2013, High Street Harmonix is an ever-growing group of bass-tenor singers who love to have fun and sound good doing it! They cover any and all types of music, from pop and rock to a hint of jazz and R&B (just kidding). As they have covered artists from Justin Timberlake to Queen to Zedd, it is hard to summarize High Street’s sound in just one or two words. Rather than playing to a specific sound, however, High Street aims for one consistency in its music: the experience. From having a blast getting hyped with their bros to understanding the songs on a personal level, High Street always aims to stay connected to all of the music they perform. They performed in last year’s Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, and have an album called With an X available on Spotify, iTunes, and Loudr. They recorded their second album last May, this time produced by The Vocal Company. Finally, they are preparing to perform at a conference for hundreds of students of the PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) system. While the singers of High Street pride themselves on having various opportunities on and off campus, they consider the ICCA to be one of their most rewarding experiences. Sure, they would love to win, but being able to share their craft with any audience they can is most important. If anyone is able to connect to their music the way they do, then they know High Street has really succeeded.

LiaChorus is a new group at Temple University in Philadelphia. The name refers to Temple University's seventh school president, Peter Liacouras, who pushed the university into the 21st century and aided the surrounding community. The group was started in the fall of 2015 by Cassandra Wood, who sought to bring new life to the otherwise static a cappella community at Temple University. While the other groups at the school are all talented, LiaChorus strives to go above and beyond through excellent musicianship, revolutionary arrangements, and heightened performance quality. LiaChorus performs music of all genres, but has a knack for lesser-known music, often by underground artists. The music that is selected by well known artists is often of their lesser-known work, to maintain the integrity of the group’s core sound.

Founded in 2001, The Lehigh Melismatics is the oldest (and most fun!) a cappella group at Lehigh University. In their 17 years as a student-run organization, they have produced and released a handful of albums, including their most recent album, Addicted, which can be found on Apple Music and Spotify. Coming off of two Quarterfinal wins, they are hoping to impress once again this year. More importantly, they look forward to meeting all of the other amazing talent here tonight and, of course, to having fun!  Here's to a night of jams, moves, hard work, and entertainment!

Lehigh University's Off the Record is known for its energetic and free spirited members. It is the youngest co-ed a cappella group on campus, founded in 2009. Since then, Off the Record has gone on tour to sing with other universities, produce an album, and participate in the ICCA. They released their debut album, On the Record, in fall of 2016, and it’s available on iTunes and Spotify. They took their album on tour that fall and had an amazing time jamming with other groups at Kutztown University and The University of Virginia. Off the Record first competed in the ICCA in 2014 and had a blast.  Last year, they traveled to compete at Temple University and their very own Kevyn McConolgue won Outstanding Soloist. They are excited for this year’s season and can't wait for their newest members to have the ICCA experience. At Lehigh, Off The Record has two performances a year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring, and participates annually in the Lehigh University A Cappella Kick-Off Concert. They also perform on and off campus and have gained popularity in the community over the past few years. Every spring, they host the Hawkapella Invitational with the other groups on campus, and invite universities in the area to join them for a night filled with talent and fun. 

TNA (The Nightingale A Cappella) is the only all-women, student-run a cappella group at St. Mary's College of Maryland. The group has been singing around the SMCM campus for over 15 years now, but last year was their first time competing in ICCA and they are excited to return. TNA is made up of members from various musical backgrounds, with tons of different interests and majors, but they all converge on their love of music. The group prides itself on its variety of voice types and singing styles, which allows each member to contribute something unique to the group. Basically, they are a crazy family that loves to sing together, and they are excited to be able to share their music with the audience tonight.

Under A Rest A Cappella formed in the fall of 2014 as the first co-ed a cappella group on West Chester's campus. They consider themselves the first group to dub the term "angstapella" and you'll frequently see them warming up with some chi ball. Recently, with the popularity of a cappella on the rise, Under A Rest decided to use some of its star power to help those in need. Last year, they hosted an invitational for the nonprofit, Rise Against Hunger, and raised over $1,000. This year, UAR aims to help two nonprofits, all while still having a bundle of fun! This will be Under A Rest's third year entering the ICCA. 

Vocal Point is a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Delaware.  They have competed in the ICCA and made it to Semifinals for the past five years. This has allowed them to perform in amazing spaces such as The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and The Beacon Theater in New York City for ICCA Finals. Vocal Point has also been featured on a cappella compilation albums Voices Only and BOCA for the past three years.  They’re thrilled to compete again!

Xenharmonics from Frostburg State University is excited to be returning to the ICCA for a third year. This eclectic group of goofy, witty, funny, and cheesy people is having a blast singing together this year. When they aren't singing, they are busy being as sassy as ever!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Tony Wang sang with The Washington University Sensasians from 2011 to 2015. During his one and a half-year stint as music director, Tony led the newly-found group to their first-ever ICCA competition, where his arrangement of "Human" won Outstanding Arrangement. Tony's love of music began on the piano, but continued through voice, guitar, and percussion, as well as arranging. Since graduation, Tony has stayed involved in the a cappella community, serving as a musical adviser for his former group and singing with a recreational a cappella group. Tony is an avid music theory junkie and vocal percussionist, and would love to trade some beats with anyone who asks tonight!

Chris Little graduated from James Madison University, where he was a member of the premier co-ed group, The Overtones, and served as assistant music director and music director for successive terms. At JMU, he also sang in the University Chorus and the select all-male choral a cappella group, KOR. With the latter, Chris had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses with Chanticleer and Ladysmith BlackMamazo. Currently, Chris sings with and is president of Vox Pop, an award-winning vocal band hailing from the Washington, D.C. area. These days, he is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to a cappella, including group and vocal coach, performer, master clinician, and arranger. Chris received two 2016 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations for his arrangements (for Vox Pop and The JMU BluesTones), and has supplied arrangements to CARA-winning albums in past years. Chris is extremely excited to see everyone’s hard work come to fruition onstage tonight!

Alex Ochs is excited to be judging his third season for Varsity Vocals. He is an alumnus of Elizabethtown College, where he studied social work and music, with concentrations in piano and vocal performance. While in school, he served as music director for the all-male a cappella group, Phalanx, and was also a member of the co-ed group, Vocalign. Under his direction, Phalanx advanced to ICCA Semifinals for the first time in its 20-year history. He is an experienced accompanist for choirs, instrumentalists, and vocalists, and enjoys singing and playing piano for weddings. When he isn't performing, Alex is a clinical social worker and therapist in Philadelphia.

Allison Hutchison studied voice at York College of Pennsylvania and graduated in 2015. During her time there, she was fortunate enough to be the music director of YCP Rhapsody for three years, forming arrangements, choreographing, and instructing the group. She was involved in their first-ever competition and loved the thrill and reward of competing. She led the group to pursue local competitions throughout eastern Pennsylvania, as well as the ICCA in 2015! Since graduating, Allison has continued to pursue music as a private vocal and piano instructor and by music directing productions at York College. Currently, she resides in York, Pa., works at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, and enjoys leading worship at the LCBC York Campus.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank WCU Gospel Choir and The Towson Trills; 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