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

 

Wapakoneta High School
Saturday, January 27, 2018

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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

 

The AcousChicks is the only all-female contemporary a cappella group on the Bowling Green State University campus. They specialize in contemporary pop and dabble in alternative genres. This is their third year in existence and they can't wait to get their name out there and continue building their legacy!

Carmony is the co-ed a cappella group at The Ohio State University at Lima. A self-dubbed "band of misfit toys," the group embraces unique personalities from all walks of life. Carmony has competed twice in ICCA, including a 1st place finish at Quarterfinals in 2017. 

Flash Harmony A Cappella is a diverse, co-ed a cappella ensemble from Kent State University. They use the power of music to tell their individual stories!

The Kent Clarks from Kent State University have been around since 2011. They have been fortunate enough to perform at the White House and on “The Today Show.” This year, they are working on their first EP and album and they can't wait to show off their new sound! They sing all different genres and love to challenge themselves in every way they can. 

Nuance is The University of Akron's premier all-male a cappella group. Since its founding in 2004, Nuance's mission has been to provide high quality a cappella music to various audiences on campus, in the surrounding community, and beyond. Thanks to the group’s hardworking members representing many majors and talents, Nuance has become one of the longest standing and most successful student organizations at the university. Nuance has performed for Fox 8 News, First Night Akron, Cleveland Cavaliers games, the LeBron James Family Foundation, and even at an international choral competition in Italy. The group's first professionally published full-length album, New Suit, features over a dozen favorite arrangements, 28 past and present members, and mixing by a four-time Emmy Award winner. After selling out The University of Akron's largest auditorium four semesters in a row, Nuance upgraded to perform in The Akron Civic Theatre and the EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

Pitch Black is Ohio Wesleyan University's only all-female a cappella group. Established in 2005, the group has grown into 13 women rocking their hearts out to the works of Sia, Robyn, and Justin Timberlake, just to name a few. The smooth sounds of Pitch Black can also be heard around campus and throughout the Delaware, Ohio community, from performing at tree lightings in the winter to admissions events in the spring. The singers of Pitch Black love to perform and to serve their community as well as they can. In 2011, Pitch Black became Ohio Wesleyan's very first competitive a cappella group, after being accepted into that year's ICCA competition. Pitch Black has always been concerned with lifting and empowering women's voices and  promoting diversity in the a cappella scene, and they’re not about to stop now. Pitch Black is shattering the glass ceiling one song at a time!

Founded in 2005, Rhythm and Roos is a co-ed a cappella group based out of Akron, Ohio. The Roos is composed of about 18 members who are mostly non-music majors. They sing at various gigs on campus, including sporting events, special events, charity benefits, and social gatherings. In addition to performing at UA, The Roos love traveling to share their music and represent The University of Akron. They have sung in Washington D.C, Chicago, New York, and Pennsylvania. They have been featured on Fox 8 News, The Akron Civic Theatre, Akron Rubber Ducks games, and have worked with the man himself, Deke Sharon. The Roos pride themselves on creating a family atmosphere while making beautiful music and sharing stories. They are very excited for their third time singing on an ICCA stage.

SŌL is a co-ed a cappella group from Baldwin Wallace University, established in 2013. They pride themselves in the diversity of their group makeup and of their sound, with members from many different majors and and various musical backgrounds. The SŌL family dynamic is tremendously important, so they hope to create a safe space that values everyone equally and spreads trust and leadership among all of its members. Whether arranging music or coordinating outside activities, everyone brings some sort of leadership to the table and is encouraged to share their creative ideas with the group. SŌL sings to inspire and hopes to positively touch its audiences. This is their fourth year participating in the ICCA and they're so excited to share their music again!

Ten40 Acappella is the premier all-male a cappella group at Bowling Green State University. 18 members strong, the group rehearses four to five hours a week and shares a constant desire to entertain. Although the group is best-known for performing within the pop and rock genres, they also sing in a variety of other styles, such as folk, barbershop, and both sacred and secular chamber music. The group prides itself in brotherhood, musicality, and the magical moments of fun onstage and around campus.  Ten40 regularly performs for service and charity events on campus and around the community, including Dance Marathon for Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, St. Baldrick’s, and the Sundae Stroll for Pancreatic Cancer research. Ten40 has released two albums: Ten40 Acappella in 2013 and Round 2 in 2015. 

Vocal Intensity is Kent State's newest co-ed a cappella group! Established in 2015, they love to perform and make great music! This is their first time competing and they really want to push themselves and give the best performance they can.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Eric Neuenschwander currently serves as a choral and theatre director at Xenia High School. He directs the annual musical, the concert choir, and The Xenia Vocal Ensemble, an advanced, mixed-vocal, non-competitive show choir. He continues to perform onstage in improv comedy at The Black Box Improv in Dayton, Ohio, and with various community theatres around Central and Southwest Ohio. A proud graduate of Ohio State University, Eric co-founded the group Dynamic Contrast (now Majors and Minors), and The Acappella Alliance at Ohio State. The alliance is an umbrella organization that helps grow existing and new a cappella groups, and currently includes 10 groups. 

Brad Rees serves as a music professor and director of arts programs at Tiffin University. There, he oversees the school’s cutting-edge commercial music degree, record label and recording studio, and also directs the award-winning a cappella group, Up in the Air. A leader in vocal jazz education and contemporary a cappella for two decades, he has taught at Bowling Green State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Iowa’s School for Music Vocations. He sang with the Grammy-nominated vocal quintet, The Axidentals, and has performed with Ben Folds, Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, and others. He has studied at the University of Northern Colorado, Western Michigan University, George Mason University, and Boston University, and is currently in demand as an arranger, producer, adjudicator, and clinician. 

Dr. Briana Nannen is the Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Marshall University. There, her teaching responsibilities include the University Chorus, the MU a cappella ensemble, and graduate and undergraduate courses in the music education curriculum. Briana has extensive experience working with a cappella ensembles at both the high school and college levels and hopes to share that passion with the next generation of music educators.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Alex Hann, Kathleen Pellington, Isaiah Hawkins, and the Wapakoneta High School staff and community; 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