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

 

Central Connecticut State University 
Saturday, February 24, 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

 

Absolut A Cappella is SUNY New Paltz’s gender inclusive a cappella group!  Their purpose is to bring together a group of awesome students from different backgrounds, interests, and majors, all to do what they love to do. In addition, they perform at school functions, such as convocation and commencement, in residence halls several times throughout the semester, at events held by other school organizations, and at other schools to sing with other groups across the Northeast. The group performs songs from all genres to connect with all kinds of people and tastes. They want as many people as possible to enjoy listening to them as much as they enjoy performing. Each one of them truly loves being able to get together and create something magical. They do all of this in order to bring joy to themselves, their community, and those around them. Disclaimer: Absolut A Cappella of SUNY New Paltz does condone underage singing, singing and operating any vehicle or other form of hazardous machinery, as well as singing while pregnant. Sing Responsibly!

The Dynamics (often referred to as The Dynos) was founded in October of 1995. Grounded in the principles of diversity and cohesion, The Dynos have an eclectic mix of personalities and singing styles. Their love of singing together is made apparent through their rousing performances and interactions with the audience. A true Dyno family, they hold reunions every five years. The 20-year gathering in October 2015 included Dynos from founding members to the newest of the bunch.

The boys in blue are at it again! From humble beginnings, Central Connecticut State University's smallest all-male a cappella group, Fermata The Blue, has worked tirelessly day and night to bring you that sweet, sweet a cappella music. Just five years ago, a few passionate students decided to get together and form a new a cappella group. Fermata quickly earned a reputation as a group of fun-loving individuals who aim to portray their love and passion for music through their performances. This carefree, lighthearted focus has led the group through its formative years, until one day when the boys needed to adopt a new identity. After five years of change, Fermata was not the group it once was, and they decided to step up and get to work. They worked tirelessly, day and night, to change their identity and become what they are today. Music director Didiér Narcisse leads the group of just five boys in blue to show the world exactly what Fermata the Blue has become. Prepare yourselves, because things are about to get BLOO!

The Stony Brook High C’s is Stony Brook University's original a cappella ensemble, and only all-male group. 14 years strong, this group’s active alumni base includes over 50 members. All of The High C’s’ songs are arranged by either current or past members. The songs range from classics by Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder, to new-age artists, such as Bruno Mars and Jason Derulo. The members of the High C’s are seen on campus repping Navy and Khaki, otherwise known to Stony Brook as “Nhaki.” Today, members include future engineers, biologists, and educators, all of whom come together to make exceptional music with heart, soul, and epic beats.

L’Shir first came to be in spring of 2000. Originally an all-Jewish a cappella group, L'Shir has evolved to comprise many denominations.  They still call themselves "L'Shir," which literally translates to “to sing” in Hebrew, referring to raising a glass and cheering for making music!

The Bottom Line is Bryant University's premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2006, this is a group where musicians become friends and friends become family. The Bottom Line performs music ranging from pop hits to emotional power ballads. 

The Legends, from Hamden, Conn. at Quinnipiac University, is Quinnipiac’s first and only a cappella group. A fairly new group, they were established in 2012 by a group of college students to create an opportunity for those who love to sing at a school with a developing music program. They wanted to create an environment where people could pursue their passion, regardless of their major. This group genuinely supports one another in all aspects and provides a true sense of family.  Since its founding, the group has worked tirelessly to get where it is today. They have grown tremendously over the years by participating in campus events, singing the national anthem at sporting games, hosting their own concerts, and even getting to sing during a hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York City! Each year, they are asked to participate in a video sponsored by their University Brand Strategy Office, which gets sent to the entire Quinnipiac Community. The group is proud of the close bond they share, and loves getting to show that closeness in performance. The Legends are so excited to see what the future holds!

The Vassar Devils are known for their tight harmonies, polished sound, complex arrangements, and infectious sense of fun. Their diverse, constantly growing repertoire includes a variety of genres, from pop hits to indie ballads, classic rock, sexy jazz, and even some original music written by the group’s own members! In addition to performing for the Vassar community, The Devils just released a professional studio album, Coming Alive, in May 2017! The Vassar Devils began in the fall of 1987, and is now one of six co-ed a cappella groups at Vassar. The group formed when two members of a different campus a cappella group fell in love and, forbidden by their group to be together, split off and formed their own. The Devils have performed at The Bardavon Opera House, publicity events for “Sing It On!” with POP TV, and the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Annual Diamond Gala. They also performed for President and First Lady Obama and for the Coast Guard. The Devils won BOSS (Boston Sings) in 2016 and is a veteran group in the competitive a cappella scene.

Some groups specialize in jazz, others in R&B. The Yale Citations specialize in fields ranging from inorganic chemistry, American history, and closed-course basket-weaving. They sometimes sing music, too. When they aren’t in labs and classrooms, The Citations can be found pumpin' the quads or down by the tables at Mory's. Such is the life of the most attractive, illest, smartest, tallest, and only graduate student a cappella group at Yale, The Yale Citations!

Triple Major is one of many a cappella groups at Wesleyan University, but is the only group that competes in ICCA. It was formed this year by two freshman roommates, Olivia Crowell and Jaclyn Lore-Edwards. Olivia arranges all of Triple Major's music and directs rehearsals, while Jaclyn is the business manager. The group has grown to include 10 members, all of whom are excited to compete! Wesleyan’s reputation as a quirky college where all students triple major ultimately gave the group its name.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Warren Bloom has been a regular ICCA and ICHSA judge since 2002 (including both 2006 Finals). He’s been musical director, bass, and/or vocal percussionist for numerous vocal groups, including professional summer group, The Hyannis Sound, New York rock/R&B septet, Invisible Men (numerous New York City and Boston Harmony Sweepstakes awards), New York pop/jazz quintet, Doo*Wa*Zoo (1998 MAC and 2000 CARA nominees), University of Miami’s Jazz Vocal 2 (1997 DownBeat Award winner), and Brandeis University’s Spur of the Moment. Warren was music director, co-arranger, and sound tech for Minimum Wage's "Blue Code Ringo" at the New York Fringe Festival (Best Musical Comedy Act, 2002 Time Out New York awards) and subsequent off-Broadway productions. He has also run live sound for numerous vocal groups including Naturally 7, Ball in the House, Six13, and Unsung Heroes. He was a composer/lyricist in the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, before getting his music education degree from Hunter College and spending three years as band and orchestra director at Talent Unlimited High School in Manhattan. He has been teaching general music and band at P.S. 8 (Brooklyn) since 2011, and has been a musical director in the theatre department at the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts since 1998. Warren was one of CASA’s official bloggers for NBC’s "The Sing-Off.”http://www.5thjudge.com/

Currently based in Boston, Evan Linsey is a producer and arranger from San Francisco, Calif. He was the music director for The BU Treblemakers from 2013-2016, recording their Quarterfinal-winning 2016 ICCA set, "Like We Were," which received a CARA nomination and a song placement on Voices Only 2017. Upon graduating, he joined local group Birdland Avenue with some of his fellow Treb alums, competing in The Open and placing 3rd at Harmony Sweepstakes' Boston regional. This past year, he created the "head/voice" podcast with colleague Kayla Pichichero, where the two put out weekly episodes with different innovators in the a cappella community. He is now learning from Alex Koutzoukis and Alex Green under the Plaid Productions Pilot Program, and records and arranges for various groups on the East Coast. 

A member of the Greater Boston a cappella community for more than half his life, Adam Levine is a passionate advocate of vocal music. During his time in VoiceMale at Brandeis University, he gained recognition as a soloist, arranger, and songwriter. His original composition, "Phoenix," received CARAs for Best Male Collegiate Solo and Best Scholastic Original Song, as well as placement on various compilation albums, including BOCA, Sing, and Voices Only. Post-graduation, Adam had the opportunity to spend five years as the director of The Suffolk University Ramifications, where he mentored in arranging, performance technique, group leadership, and more. He now sings as part of the Boston-based professional a cappella group, Uproar, and is honored to be participating in local Varsity Vocals events this year. 

Dithu Rajaraman is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. He first learned about the wonders of a cappella by surfing YouTube the summer before college, and was hooked by the time he began his freshman year.. Dithu competed in the ICCA with The Washington University Stereotypes as both a singer and music director. They got closer and closer to the esteemed Finals round each year and finally reached their goal in 2011, Dithu’s senior year! The Stereotypes ultimately placed 4th, and Dithu shared the Outstanding Arrangement award for Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero." He is excited to judge this wonderful competition, and for the opportunity to enjoy some good, old-fashioned, competitive a cappella. 

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