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 17, 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 CharlieChords is an all-male a cappella group based out of Berklee College of Music in Boston. With the goal of putting a unique spin on a cappella, they select diverse styles of music and create all of their own arrangements. After winning their ICCA Quarterfinal in 2015 and making it all the way to the Wild Card round, this year they're looking to go all the way to New York. With a set composed entirely of songs by female artists, fun choreography, and the perfect blend of excitement and emotion, The CharlieChords are determined to knock your socks off! Follow them on Facebook and buy their EP!

Founded in 1999, The LowKeys is one of Harvard's award-winning, premier contemporary co-ed a cappella groups. The LowKeys perform sold-out shows twice a year in Harvard's historic Sanders Theatre, sing at venues in the greater Boston area and New York, and embark on world tours. The LowKeys is the only a cappella group affiliated with Harvard's Public Service Network, and they are preparing for a service trip to China this coming March. Service is deeply ingrained in the organization's founding values and allows The LowKeys to share their love of music with others. Performing frequently at local schools and nonprofit charity events, The LowKeys recognize the importance of art and music as mechanisms of change and growth. All music performed by The LowKeys is arranged by current members of the group and reflects the group's eclectic tastes, ranging from classic rock and hip hop to top 40, R&B, jazz, and everything in between. Group members hail from all around the globe and bring diverse academic backgrounds, but they are united by a shared dedication to the group and love for one another. Today's performance is the product of a journey towards self-love, as members explore what it means to learn how to truly love themselves, resist conformity, and embrace the parts of their identities that they had felt pressured to conceal or hide away.

In Achord is Boston University's OG co-ed a cappella group. Music is what joins them together, but the secret behind their sound is the personal bond they share. They pride themselves on a diverse repertoire and unique arrangements, all created by group members. This pack of goofy and passionate individuals comes from all over the country and the world with the common goal of creating music.  

Mixed Emotions is Plymouth State University's only all-female a cappella group. They are about as close to being a singing sorority as you can get! Founded in 1994, they have deep roots in the small Plymouth, N.H. community. Some of their favorite performances of the year include singing at the Voice Against Violence domestic abuse awareness vigil, workshopping with the local public schools, and their bi-annual concerts with the all-male a cappella group at PSU, Vocal Order. Mixed Emotions believes that the best music comes from friends and relationships built on lots of laughter and fun! 

Not Too Sharp is an all-male a cappella group from the University of New Hampshire. The group was formed in 2002 and performs live on the UNH campus, at other colleges, for fundraisers, businesses, for private parties in the New Hampshire community, and beyond. Not Too Sharp has had the privilege to sing on “The Today Show,” various televised national debates, and for President Obama.

On The Vox is one of Berklee College of Music's co-ed a cappella groups. Founded in 2014 by Berklee alum Mandie Morris, this group specializes in pop music, but they add special twists in their arrangements.  This group has gone through many iterations over the last three years, and they are very confident in this year’s combination of singers. This is their first ICCA and they are proud to finally feel ready. As students at a music college, performing is a passion they all share. They strive to make the best arrangements they can and to put everything they have into their rehearsals, in order to present the best performances they can. Every year, they have gotten better and stronger, and this year, they’re ready to show off all that they have built.  

Sporting their characteristic “flowerchords” since 2007, PowerChords is the oldest a cappella group at Olin College of Engineering. Despite their wide range of interests, they have found unity in all styles of a cappella through a powerful arrangement style and electric enthusiasm during performances.

Founded in the fall of 2007, Treble on Huntington is Northeastern University's first all-female a cappella group. The group is currently made up of 11 talented members who have come together from around the country and world through a love of music. They like to think of themselves as a group of best friends who are also dedicated singers. Through their repertoire of pop and mixed genre music, they showcase the unique styles of their soloists along with the hard work, fun, and artistry of the entire group. Based in Boston, they have had the pleasure of performing at incredible venues, both on campus and around the city, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women and Fenway Park to sing the national anthem for the Boston Red Sox.

The UNH Wildtones is the University of New Hampshire's newest competitive co-ed a cappella group!  Only one year old, the members of this group strive to grow as musicians and performers through challenging arrangements and by keeping busy in competition.  

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Matt Goldstein fell in love with a cappella in high school when he arranged and founded his own group. He went on to attend Vassar College for music and drama, and continued his a cappella adventures as a member of The Vassar Devils. He became the group’s music director as a sophomore, and after only seven months, he transformed them from a group that had never placed at an ICCA Quarterfinal into the Northeast Champion at the 2015 ICCA Finals. In his next three years as music director, he led the group on to win 1st place at BOSS, to record their first professional album, Coming Alive, and even to perform for President and First Lady Obama at the White House. Matt was featured with The Devils on the POP TV docu-series “Sing It On." Matt’s work with The Devils has garnered him numerous awards, including Outstanding Arrangement at the ICCA, BOSS, and SoJam, multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations, and featured tracks on BOCA, Sing!, and Voices Only. He arranges for YouTube star Malinda Kathleen Reese (the “Google Translate Sings” girl) and currently sings professionally as a member of Cape Cod’s all-male a cappella group, Hyannis Sound.

Philipp Walzer has spent the last 15 years in the Boston a cappella scene, directing three different groups over that span of time. Philipp is currently in his seventh year as a co-director for Boston’s Fermata Town. During his tenure, the group released two award-winning albums and performed at notable competitions and festivals across the globe, including the Harmony Sweepstakes Finals and the London A Cappella Festival. Philipp has been arranging for over twelve years, evolving his style and collecting arranging awards along the way. He is a jazz lover and long-time vocal percussionist, which he usually practices in the shower. 

Originally from North Reading, Mass., Dave Grossman has been active in the a cappella community since high school, most recently serving as music director for Ithacappella, Ithaca College's all-male a cappella group, and producing their most recent album, Off The Hook. Graduating from IC in 2011 with a Bachelor of Music in vocal music education, Dave now works as choral director at Plymouth North High School, where he directs the school's chorus and a cappella group. He remains active in the Massachusetts a cappella scene, coaching groups of various levels and helping organize the N.E. Voices Festival.

Scott Cobban is a singer and vocal percussionist for Boston-based group, Five O'Clock Shadow, and a former member of Overboard. Growing up, he tried his hand at a number of musical instruments, but focused on singing in high school. He's been involved in a cappella since 2000, when he joined Clark University's co-ed group, The Clark Bars. Outside of a cappella, he's a full-time web developer in Boston.

Elle Brigida is a CARA-winning producer, arranger, and teacher with Clear Harmonies Productions, whose work has been featured on Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA) compilation albums. She has performed with the two-time ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinalist group, Vocal Synergy, and Cape Cod's professional all-female group, Cape Harmony. She is currently a member of Snowday, a professional vocal band based out of Washington, D.C. As WACA member, she is an advocate for women and all-female a cappella, and was a member of the original "I Can't Keep Quiet" flashmob at the Women's March on Washington.


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