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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Ball State University
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

 

Founded by a few tenacious students, The Echoes is one of the University of Notre Dame's competitive co-ed a cappella groups. They perform a diverse lineup of original arrangements, from Disney medleys to classical holiday songs, Beatles mashups to top 40 hits. They pride themselves on musical excellence, as well as having engaging and fun performances (trust them, they have a good time so that you will too!). At the end of the day, they’re just a group of friends who love to sing!

Halftime is the University of Notre Dame’s premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2004, this group is an outlet for both genders to sing and perform on campus. They have worked hard to achieve a reputation of excellence both on and off campus by creating amazing music and having fun doing it! All arrangements are done by members of the group. They sing in on-campus competitions, hold concerts every semester, and have performed at Grand Valley State University and the Kalamazoo A Cappella Festival. The group participated in ICCA for the first time in 2016 and hopes to continue learning from years past and have a successful ICCA run! Halftime has bigger plans than ever for the future after being invited by UW-Madison Mad Hatters and NU's Purple Haze to participate in joint concerts. They’re so excited to continue to share their love of music with the Notre Dame community and beyond.

Hooshir is a mixed a cappella group composed of men and women from across the nation. Hooshir performs at venues all over the country, singing a mix of modern pop, sacred Jewish music, and everything in between. As three-time winners of the Kol Haolam competition in Washington D.C., Hooshir is excited to compete on the ICCA stage this year. The members of Hooshir would like to wish the other competing groups luck and are thankful for the chance to represent Indiana University for another year.

Created in 2012 and formerly known as Bollyhood, UC Junoon is a group from the University of Cincinnati. They sing American pop music, but add a flavor of South Asian music with their American-South Asian mashups. Their unique musical genre connects with both the South Asian community and the general American community. While the group is considered a South Asian-American fusion a cappella group, it includes singers of diverse cultures. UC Junoon performs at cultural events, competitions, fundraisers, and has created original music videos for mashups such as “Sunday Candy” and “Rolling in the Deep-Bachana.” Junoon means “passion” and the group brings passion with their efforts to share their love for music with others.

Ladies’ Choice is an all-female a cappella group from Ball State University and was founded in 2012. Their members come from all over the Midwest and convene in their current home of Muncie, Ind., land of the Cardinals! Chirp Chirp! Ladies’ Choice is a group of fun-loving women who love to create music together. They perform a wide variety of music genres, including pop, jazz, alternative, and R&B. The women of Ladies’ Choice use their passion for a cappella not only to spread love and happiness, but also to encourage female empowerment!

What’s going on, ICCA? This is Note to Self, an all-male a cappella group with a dynamic sound that brings the jam to your day, the groove to your night, and the beat to your life. This is Note to Self's fifth year performing in the ICCA and the guys couldn’t be more ecstatic to show what they’ve got. From their humble beginnings of singing in dining halls, to the high of performing at ICCA Semifinals in St. Louis in 2016, and everything in between, Note to Self has found itself through the sound the group has created for the people they care about. They hope you enjoy the show. Peace, love, and rock and roll!

Originally a fun project for music-lovers, On A Side Note has evolved into a dedicated group of friends. They pride themselves in being the premier a cappella group at the Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. Formed in the fall of 2016, this will be their first competition. Although none of the group members are music majors, they arrange many of the songs they perform. Their greatest struggle was finding a consistent place to practice, so they found entertainment in playing “room hop,” singing in classrooms and lecture halls and always managing to escape out the back door just before students walked in. In addition to these shenanigans, they love long walks on the beach, fueling themselves on coffee, and can often be spotted at the downtown Indianapolis Taco Bell. They look forward to seeing you out there!

The Parallels is the newest all-female a cappella group at Ball State University. Founded in 2015, this is their second full year performing. They perform a wide variety of music both on and off campus several times each semester, and can be recognized by their signature blue shoes!. Their members are just as varied as their music choices, coming from different majors and all across campus! They’re excited to take the stage at their second ICCA competition!

Sedoctave is Ball State University's only mixed a cappella group, composed of 17 amazingly talented and diverse singers. They sing a variety of music, but specialize in soul, R&B, and jazz. This is their fifth year as a group and they hope to continue to grow their brand and message. Their main goal is to spread a message of love and acceptance for all through the power of music. 

Unexpected Resolution (UnR) is one of five a cappella groups from Ball State University. In the five years since its founding, Unexpected Resolution has built its reputation by performing throughout the school year both on campus and throughout the Midwest. The group takes pride in performing a wide variety of music and can be heard singing pop tunes, barbershop, and everything in between. Its members are just as varied as its music, with plenty of different majors represented among its ranks. Easily identified by their lime green ties and dashing good looks, UnR’s members are known for their charming personalities and never passing an opportunity for cracking a good joke. They’re excited to be performing at ICCA Quarterfinals for the fourth time and hope to put on a great show!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Selame Scarlett hails from Okemos, Mich. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she was part of Capital Green A Cappella, and served as music director, arranger and vocal percussionist. Currently, she is an ICHSA producer, Varsity Vocals judge, and clinician for high school and collegiate groups in the Midwest. She serves as a percussionist and vocalist for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning, all-female sextet, Lady Jaye, and the all-female gospel powerhouse group, Traces, which was featured on Season 5 of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” In the summertime, Selame is an instructor and counselor at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based vocal camp for young adults (ages 13 to 17). Selame has been fortunate enough to record alongside groups such as Naturally 7, The Boxettes, Pentatonix, Duwende, and Traces of Blue (formerly Afro-Blue)! She has led percussion workshops and masterclasses, both on her own and with her beatboxing colleagues. 

A singer since age 6, JR Neal met the piano at 12 and they've been friends ever since. Both voice and piano remain a big part of his life, as he plays a piano bar show, performing on cruise ships with Royal Caribbean Cruises. He joined his first a cappella group, The Beartones, in 2005 at Missouri State University and met the likes of Greg Baird, who directed BYU's Vocal Point back in the early 2000s. JR and Greg collaborated on arranging, choreography, costuming, and stage appearance. While other groups in 2005 performed in horseshoe formations, singing everything from barbershop classics to 90s hits, JR was determined to change the a cappella scene and raise the quality of experience. A few years later, his group was performing at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and took 3rd place. After college, he continued "a cappella-ing" on cruise ships in the four-man Top Shelf. There, he lived, learned, and loved everything a cappella, and it has taken him all over the world. 

Cory Ellis is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where he studied music education, performance, and music industry leadership. He is a founding member and former musical director of The NIU Huskie Hunks, the first all-male a cappella group on campus. Cory led the Hunks to perform at the VoiceJam A Cappella Festival in Arizona., as well as the National A Cappella Convention in Tennessee. In addition to his a cappella contributions to NIU, Cory was also the head drum major of The Pride of the Midwest, the Huskie marching band, and a member of the world-renowned NIU Steelband. 

Katie Schuman has been performing onstage since age 6 and is still in love with live performance. She holds a Bachelor of Music in musical theatre from Florida State University, where she was a member of All-Night Yahtzee from 2002-2006. With ANY, she won multiple Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement awards at the Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds of ICCA. She also served as ANY's music director from 2004-2006, during which time the group first advanced to ICCA Finals in New York. She co-founded the semi-professional a cappella group, Threadbare, an experiment in long-distance a cappella collaboration. Katie continues to perform and teach in the Indianapolis area, where she lives with her husband and daughter. To all of tonight’s competitors: break a leg!

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 Midwest 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