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 NORTHEAST QUARTERFINAL

 

Berklee College of Music
Saturday, February 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

 

Acapocalypse is the co-ed group from Emmanuel College! They sing at events around campus and around Boston. They love performing with their fellow Boston groups and they’re so excited for the opportunity to perform in ICCA this year. Check them out in their signature black and red ensembles as they sing their hearts out!

As one of the newer groups on the UMass Amherst campus, Duly Noted has made a lasting name for itself in the a cappella community. Growing each year, they pride themselves on embracing the musical individuality of each and every one of its members. They strive to support the growth of one another as musicians and to  continuously expand their musical abilities. As a result, all Duly Noted arrangements are original creations of current group members. They work tirelessly to compose full, interesting, unique arrangements that are sure to get crowds on their feet. As a "gold standard" for a cappella, Duly Noted aims to share their passion with all who will listen!

In 1980, two Harvard-Radcliffe students, Simin Yazdgerdi and Suzanne Goldsmith, transformed a loosely organized singing group known as the Harvard Squares into Harvard’s first full-fledged mixed a cappella ensemble, The Harvard Opportunes. Over the years, they’ve won widespread acclaim for their intricate harmonies and bold stage presence. Though they are all seasoned musicians, their interests span Harvard's vast curriculum and they participate in countless clubs, athletics, publications, service programs, and other performance groups. As Harvard's oldest co-ed a cappella group, The Opportunes strive not only to produce consistently high-quality live and recorded music, but also to engage their dedicated network of supporters of family, friends, fans, and alumni, and to do business in a way that reflects the group's mission to build a sustainable organization. They operate on core principles that emphasize expanding the reach of their music to new audiences at both the local and national levels, as well as maintaining an environment that is both professional and lighthearted.

Pitch, Please! is the newest all female a cappella group at Northeastern University. These ladies first appeared on the scene in the fall of 2012, with their hearts set on becoming a passionate and dynamic group who can play hard with the boys, but do it in stilettos. In their whirlwind first two years, they advanced to the 2013 and 2014 Northeast ICCA Semifinals, and placed 3rd in the National Wild Card Round in 2013. An EP, TESTIFY, followed that winter and picked up accolades from the Women's A Cappella Association’s first-ever compilation album. In 2015, Pitch, Please! was 1st runner up at Boston Sings Collegiate Competition, and in 2017, they won an award for the original spoken word incorporated into their set. In 2015, they released their first full-length Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning album, Aurum. They have a brand new website (nupitchplease.com) and are active on all forms of social media (@nupitchplease) so check them out to keep up on #thepitchpleasejourney. These women love nothing more than performing for an incredible audience and can't wait to share that with you!

Tonal Recall is the premier competitive a cappella group based out of Wentworth Institute of Technology. Tonal Recall strives to push the boundaries of a cappella with massive amounts of energy and arrangements complex enough to blow your mind. TR's members come from all different academic backgrounds, from engineering to nursing, industrial design to computer science, and they come together in order to create a massive sound and emotionally charged performance every single time.

Treble Threat, founded in 2014, is Berklee College of Music’s only all-female a cappella group, led by director Beth Faria and assistant director Julie Edelston. They’re a kicking group of lady-types whose attitudes pack a punch, and they’re here to remind you that you don’t need a bass clef weighing you down.

Upper Structure is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group from Berklee College of Music. Founded in 2015, Upper Structure is taking the a cappella community by storm, most recently placing 2nd in the Northeast ICCA Semifinal, and again in the Wild Card round! Based in Boston, Upper Structure strives to bring a modern and edgy take on music to the a cappella community. With members from around the world, Upper Structure creates a sound that is innovative, refreshing, emotional, and fun.

Founded in 1985 by a small group of passionate undergraduates, The Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones is Harvard College’s premier contemporary, co-ed a cappella group. They are known for the originality of their student-composed arrangements, their poise and stage presence, and the traditions that bring their tight-knit group together. While they are a contemporary a cappella group, their musical tastes reflects the assorted interests of all Veritones members. Along with current pop hits, they have performed other musical genres, such as jazz, country and indie/alternative. They strive to create a collaborative musical environment for all members, and to continually transform themselves to push the envelope of vocal music. A passion for complex harmony and musical excellence has afforded them once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunities, including booking celebrity engagement parties, performing for Laverne Cox, Jason Alexander, Henry Cavill, Nikki Reed, Ian Somerhalder, and hosting and singing on the Harvard campus with Josh Groban and Bobby McFerrin. Above all, The Veritones is a diverse group of Harvard students brought together by their immense passion for music and their commitment to pursuing a cappella excellence. Their unique blend is only strengthened by the love they have for one another. Becoming a Veritone is a bond for life, and members keep in touch long after Harvard’s halls have been left behind.

The Vocal Suspects is the oldest mixed a cappella group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Founded in 1999, The Vocal Suspects have always had a reputation for blending contagious energy with adept musicality. Aside from being self-arranging, self-choreographing, and brimming with enthusiasm for a cappella, all members share two essential characteristics: a deep love for music performance and for one another. The 'Spects are unique in their ability to balance the dichotomy of being a close-knit musical family and a group that prides itself on professionalism and excellence.

VoiceMale is an award-winning all-male a cappella group from Brandeis University. They are so excited to be back at ICCA after a several-year hiatus. Founded in 1994 by Josh Namais as a traditionally small collegiate group, VoiceMale emphasizes the role of each individual in creating a full, balanced sound. Through its dedication to combining award-winning arrangements, original music, and passionate performances both onstage and in the studio, VoiceMale has worked to earn its place in the national a cappella scene. In addition to competing, they travel internationally and coast-to-coast, and their work in the studio has brought them 15 CARA nominations and five wins. Their 10th album is currently in the works. This family of of silly guys loves making music together and they’re passionate about making it good.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Italian vocalist Giorgia Renosto was born and raised in a musical family. Her grandfather, a clarinet player, introduced her to classical music and opera, and she enriched this background with jazz with formal training at Centro Jazz Torino (Italy). Her ability to focus on individual vocal styles within the diverse world of vocal jazz allowed her to take in sophisticated elements of vocal technique, and at age 17, she was selected as one of the winners of the "Giovani Proposte" of the Italian contest, "Sanremo Giovani.”  While pursuing her bachelor's degree in art history (Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy) with a minor in theatre (Universitée de Caen Normandie, France), Giorgia kept her passion for music alive, touring Europe as a soprano with the award-winning a cappella group, L'Una e Cinque, as well as the Free Style Orchestra, the jazz big band directed by Maestro Diego Borotti. Through these experiences, Giorgia developed her voice into a powerful and clear instrument, capable of expressing emotions through the solid foundation of vocal technique, conscious stylistic vision, and profound understanding of her repertoire. She was honored twice as a recipient of the World Scholarship Tour from Berklee College of Music and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in performance. At Berklee, she performed in some of the school's most prestigious shows and has also performed musical theatre in both Europe and the United States. Giorgia is one of the core members of the award-winning quartet, Women of the World (2017 AcaOpen Champion, 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes Champion), which has been touring nationally and internationally since 2008.

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 

Amanda Roeder is a high school choral and a cappella director in Chelmsford, Mass., where she directs The Thursdays and The Crescendos. She has previously led an award-winning a cappella program in Marblehead, Mass. In 16 years of teaching, her groups have earned multiple CARAs, ICHSA titles, and spots on BOHSA compilations. Amanda is a co-founder and board member of the N.E. Voices high school a cappella festival. She performs as a freelance vocalist, flutist, and pianist, and teaches private lessons and masterclasses in the greater Boston area.

Emily Benjamin is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she spent most of her time pursuing a degree in comparative human development and singing with the a cappella group, Voices in Your Head. Emily has always found lasting friendships and endless joy through the a cappella community, having competed in the ICCA three times. Holding a minor in music from the University of Chicago, Emily has arranged for Voices in Your Head and composes in her free time.



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 Northeast 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