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 SEMIFINAL

 

Kimmel Center for the Arts 
Saturday, March 31, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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 three to five 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 eight 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 U.S. 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

 

No Ceiling is a mixed a cappella group from The College of William & Mary, established in 2015. They aim to represent the vocal talents of their school on a national stage and to give students the opportunity to engage in positive competition with talented groups from other schools. Though they enjoy singing lots of different types of music, No Ceiling found its niche in lesser-known songs that allow space for creative arrangements. The lack of audience expectation allows them to craft their selections into a dynamic set, and they strive to complement their music with equally unique choreography. Persistence is at the core of No Ceiling’s identity. Founded as an unofficial group, No Ceiling prepared its 2016 ICCA set at odd hours in vacant classrooms, stairwells, and even the living rooms of generous hosts. The 15 music-loving students went through the difficult process of earning recognition from The College, and each subsequent achievement further proved the group’s perseverance. Since becoming an official organization on campus, No Ceiling continues to persist in the face of heavy workloads and busy schedules, and continues to push itself in order to be the best that it can be. Beyond its competitive aspect, No Ceiling is a group of close friends who enjoy spending time together. They love long road trips, group dinners, and late nights jamming to their favorite tunes. They like to think that their closeness as friends makes them stronger performers, and they strive to convey that connection each time the pitch pipe is blown. As they say after each rehearsal: No Ceiling, lots of feeling.

The Vibes 
is the premier co-ed a cappella group at George Washington University. “Giving the GW community aural pleasure since 1999,” The Vibes cover a repertoire ranging from 1960s R&B to current indie rock hits. The group can be found performing at the highest levels of collegiate a cappella in the ICCA, at the White House, Disney World, and beyond. More than just a bad-ass a capella group, The Vibes is a big family that always aims to entertain and have a great time doing it.

Formed in 2006, The Cleftomaniacs have been "stealing the show" for more than a decade now. From University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), The Cleftos is the premier co-ed a cappella group on campus, and as ICCA veterans, they have traveled to New Jersey, Tennessee, and throughout their native Baltimore area for performances and competitions. The Cleftos are a family, and in addition to singing and goofing off together every week, they love bonding over terrible hashtags, snapping candid shots of one another in passing, and making organized mouth sounds.

DaCadence 
is a co-ed a cappella group hailing from the University of Maryland. The group puts on emotive performances and prides itself on building close family bonds. The group formed in 2010, and has taken off ever since. DaCadence placed 3rd in the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal and took the award for Outstanding Soloist. Apart from creating music, DaCadence loves to support TerpThon and Children's National every year, and was the top fundraising organization in 2016. Last year, DaCadence released its first full-length album, SURGE, on all major platforms. Their single, "River" by Bishop Briggs, was released this past fall as part of their upcoming album, expected to release early this year.

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!

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!

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!

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.

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)!

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.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Shams Ahmed is an arranger, music director, and educator from Cherry Hill, NJ. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., where he directed a cappella heavy-hitter group, The Nor'easters, while double majoring in finance and Mandarin. During his tenure, the group earned several compilation placements and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and Shams earned numerous arranging awards. While directing and singing with the Sojam X and ICCA 2013/2017 champions, Shams also founded the all-female group, Pitch, Please. More recently, he was featured alongside The Nor’easters in Season 1 of POP TV’s reality docu-series, “Sing It On,” and can be seen coaching groups on Season 2. He is also a director and a teacher of musicianship and arranging at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based summer camp founded by Avi Kaplan, formerly of Pentatonix. In the fall, he can be found bringing a cappella music to South Beach alongside a panel of experts, including Ben Bram, Robert Dietz, and India Carney at The Betsy's A Cappella Festival. Shams serves as a regular judge at ICCA, ICHSA, and Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) events all over the country. Outside of a cappella, he also serves as Director, Talent & Creative for Northeastern University's $1.4 billion Empower fundraising campaign. He currently lives in Boston, working in business intelligence, arranging, coaching, and overseeing projects in the a cappella world. @theonlyshamsyouknow

Candice Helfand-Rogers 
has been active in the a cappella community for decades. At Rutgers University, she sang with and music directed Deep Treble, then went on to help found (and music direct) ShockWave. After graduating in 2005, she teamed up with several collegiate a cappella alumni in New York City to form Restated (formerly known as The Red States), and served as musical director for its first three years of existence. She has garnered multiple awards for her contributions to these groups, both onstage and in the studio. Candice's voice can also be heard in Universal Studios' hit a cappella movies, "Pitch Perfect" and "Pitch Perfect 2." She performs to this day with numerous New York ensembles, including Restated, Broadway Inspirational Voices, and Ghostlight. By day, she is a writer at a nonprofit called The Story Exchange and serves as a content producer for the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA). She has written for CASA and A Cappella Records.

Dr. James Reddan 
is director of choral activities and choral music education at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., where he conducts the University Chorale, Chamber Singers, vocal jazz ensemble, and is artistic advisor for two vocal a cappella ensembles, Xenharmonics and BelleTones. Ensembles under James’ direction have been featured at local, regional, national, and international conventions and choral festivals, including the ICCA. His ensembles have performed at Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin), Royal Academy of Music (London), Beijing Conservatory of Music (Beijing, PRC), the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and won a World Championship in the Mixed Chamber Choir Category at the eighth World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia in 2014. He has appeared as adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, presenter, and panel member throughout the United States. In 2010, James received the Special Citation for Excellence in Music Education from the American Prize in Choral Conducting.

Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” vocal producer, Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, composer, and educator. Based in New York, Kari has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. She taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School, and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women's Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a Conducting Fellow at the Young People's Chorus of New York City. She directs "The Art of A Cappella" at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing contemporary a cappella music. In addition to her vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the U.S. Kari graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in music education from the Eastman School. Find her online at acappellaprofessor.com.

Heather Lockart
teaches vocal music at Cherry Hill East High School, where she conducts several award winning choirs and contemporary a cappella ensembles. Consistently receiving "Superior Gold" ratings at choral festivals, Heather's ensembles have performed throughout the east coast in venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Riverside Church in New York City. Stay Tuned, Cherry Hill East’s top mixed competitive a cappella ensemble, has performed at Eagles Stadium, Kimmel Center, and Carnegie Hall. They were featured in the Lifetime Network docu-series,”‘Pitch Slapped,” where they were coached by Deke Sharon. Heather has conducted the All South Jersey Junior High Honor Choir and is a sought-after clinician for many a cappella groups at the high school and college levels. She is currently the a cappella chair on the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Eastern Division board. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Stay Tuned and Vocal Forte; 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 placing group advances to ICCA Finals!

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