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 SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

Phillips Center for Performing Arts
Saturday, February 24, 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

 

Hailing from the University of Central Florida, The Crescendudes have been making music and having a blast since 2005 as the university's only all-male a capella group. With a focus on entertaining performances and establishing a strong male a capella tradition on campus, The Dudes form a tight-knit family, fueled by a shared love of music and double-stuffed Oreos. After taking last year off from ICCA, The Crescendudes are back and ready to party!

Gemini Blvd. is the oldest co-ed a cappella group from the University of Central Florida in sunny Orlando, Fla. As a group, Gemini Blvd. prides itself on being a family and making sure they perform for each other on every stage. Year after year, the members of Gemini Blvd. strive to make a name for themselves by presenting their passion for music in every set they perform through a variety of powerful and dynamic songs.

Florida International University’s tropical South Florida campus is just that much more enchanting, thanks to the melodic magic of The HEARTbeats. Founded in early 2014, the alternative/pop/rock-centric group has one overarching goal: to leave a musical mark on the university by sharing their voices and passions through song. Under the new leadership of Gladys Levy (music director) and Daniela Du Qusene (executive director), The HEARTbeats have accumulated a talented bunch of singers to create an enthusiastic a cappella group, focused on brightening whichever room they happen to find themselves in. Peek in on one of their many weekly practices and be prepared for two things in great quantities: music and fun. Even though perfecting their pieces is no laughing matter, smiles and jokes are plentiful among these merry musicians. When they aren’t in practice or randomly bursting into perfect, harmonized song, The HEARTbeats can be found at any number of university events, like student and faculty convocations, internationally significant club events, charity programs, and graduation ceremonies. They’ll be the ones singing their hearts out. 

KeyHarmony is the only all-female group at the University of Central Florida. Founded in 2009, KeyHarmony has always put an emphasis on acceptance and storytelling. Representing women of different backgrounds, this group of ladies can portray diverse stories through their performances. KeyHarmony is not only an a cappella group, but this group of ladies also considers themselves a family. KeyHarmony has released two EPs during the last three years, competed at SoJam twice, and won $10,000 through the Schick and Skintimate's "Rock Your Legs" A Cappella Competition. Rocking their purple laces and combat boots, let's welcome the lovely ladies of KeyHarmony.

Hailing from the University of Central Florida, Mixed Mode is a force to be reckoned with in the South. Since its founding two years ago, Mixed Mode has defied expectations and turned heads in the competitive and recording circuits. Mixed Mode strives to create the perfect blend of delivering innovative, groundbreaking music, while maintaining an unbreakable bond of family and friendship. Mixed Mode is not your garden-variety collegiate a cappella group. They are constantly pushing the boundaries of what the human voice can do.

No Southern Accent is the University of Florida’s premier, co-ed a cappella group. As one of the first prominent groups in the south, the group’s 2001 founders sought to make their respectability as musicians clear; indeed, they do not have southern accents. Today NSA is a tight-knit family, wholly composed of and run by UF students across all years and majors. Their mission statement is simple: To perform purposeful and honest music so that they can establish a genuine connection with one another and with their audience.” #goNSA 

Sugar, spice, and everything nice - these were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect girls’ group! In 2015, though, Professors Elfont and Hecker added a new ingredient: testosterone. The fierce ladies of So Noted from the University of Central Florida have welcomed male voices into their mix ever since. They love to feature powerhouse soloists and angelic harmonies, born out of a collaborative rehearsal process. They believe that every group member has the musicianship both to create and perform. Together, they strive to put on an awesome set, and learn a lot on the journey!

Standing Room Only from the University of Florida strives to get you on your feet with exciting twists on some of your favorite tunes.  Whether it be 8/8 renditions of your favorite school songs or jazz harmonizations of your childhood memories, SRO jumps at the chance to make the ordinary extraordinary.  Leave the expected at the door and join Standing Room Only in answering the question "Why not?"

Founded in 2004, The Sedoctaves is the University of Florida's award-winning all-female a cappella group. Over the past 10 years, this group has grown into the strong, fierce, and lovable ladies known across the UF campus. When they’re not singing, you can usually find them studying in the library, grabbing dinner, or singing at tailgates before a Gator game. They aim to spread their love for a cappella throughout the community. 

Unpredictable and unreserved, competitive and collaborative, Tone Def is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of Florida. They found their niche on campus as "that unpredictable aca-family with the genre-bending covers." They are seamlessly coordinated, daringly creative, and unabashedly competitive. Their creative process is freely collaborative between members, as a completely student-run and student-led organization. TD's repertoire is unhesitatingly diverse and they are determined to make their mark in contemporary a cappella. They’re always ready for some friendly competition between groups. As the group’s founder, Waylon Zeng intended, Tone Def is on a mission to reDEFine music as you hear it. Tone Def has performed in cities including Atlanta, Ga., Durham, N.C., Tampa, Fla., Orlando, Fla., and of course, their home city, Gainesville, Fla. They won 1st place at the University of Florida's Hispanic Heritage Month Talent Show in 2016 and compete every year in ICCA (you know, that competition in “Pitch Perfect”). TD has one recorded single, soon to be unveiled on iTunes. Other projects are in the works, so watch out for news! Keep track of their activities on social media @TDacappella!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Drew Griffin is a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Florida State University. He holds a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from FSU and bachelor’s degrees in choral music education and vocal music performance from Appalachian State University. His master’s research explored the world of contemporary collegiate a cappella, culminating in a thesis entitled “All I Need Is the Air I Breathe: Music, Media, and the Practice of Collegiate A Cappella.” He remains interested in collegiate a cappella as both a scholar and an avid fan. His current research concerns the intersections of American popular music, communal vocal traditions, and media, specifically how vocal traditions are depicted in both social and commercial media. He is an active music educator, teaching courses at Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College, as well as maintaining a small studio of voice and piano students. 

Currently a beatboxer and tenor for The House Jacks, John Pointer got his degree in cello performance and composition from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. While there, he founded Schrödinger's Cat and defined the big beat a cappella sound. He went on to do a series of commercials as a beatboxer, including one for Chili's baby back ribs. He has won 12 Austin Music Awards, including Best Acoustic Guitarist, performed bolero music for 20 years with Trio Los Vigilantes, and received accolades for his musical theatre work, including the roles of Judas in the first bilingual version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Roger in “Rent.”

Tabitha Peck
is the Director of Choral Activities at Leon and currently in her 16th teaching year. She holds a B.M.E. and M.M.E. from the Florida State University College of Music, where she studied voice with Janice Harsanyi (undergraduate) and Roy Delp (graduate). At Leon, Tabitha teaches freshman girls’ chorus, concert chorale, The Capital Singers, The Melodears, as well as classes in A.P. Music Theory and technical theatre. Her A.P. Music Theory class boasts an overall 95% passing rate under her instruction! In 2003, she founded the a cappella group, The Mane Event, which has competed nationally and earned runner-up twice at the international Finals. In 2005, Tabitha (then known as Miss Hall) won honors for her musical arrangements at the district, regional, and state levels. She frequently judges ICCA events at the state and regional levels and is an active member of FMEA, FVA, and ACDA, serving as FVA District 3 Treasurer and Florida ACDA state webmaster and treasurer. She has also been a member of the professional choir, The Festival Singers of Florida. Tabitha is an active adjudicator and soloist, and has presented sessions at the FMEA State Conference on A.P. Music Theory and pop a cappella ensembles. She and her husband Tim have two beautiful daughters.

Nick Powers is a chorus director and keyboarding teacher at Apopka High School. Previously, he was the chorus director at both Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. and Central Middle School in Melbourne, Fla. Nick was the founding director of the high school a cappella group, Acapocalypse, which has placed at ICHSA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Currently, Nick directs an a cappella group at Apopka High School called High Key. He holds his Bachelor of Music Education from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank No Southern Accent, Virginia DeMoss, and Jeremy Wilson/JDVBBS; 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 South 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