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 SOUTHWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Lincoln Southwest High School
Saturday, February 10, 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

 

1-2-5 was founded for the celebration of the Hastings College's 125th anniversary. Since its inception 10 years ago, 1-2-5 has become the premier men's a cappella group at Hastings College, and has competed at ICCA almost every year since. 1-2-5 maintains a rich tradition of cultural and academic diversity. This year's group is the largest in its history, and includes men from over a dozen different academic majors and various cultural backgrounds. Due to their diverse makeup, they’re able to take on a variety of musical styles and genres. Rooted in their liberal arts traditions and Great Plains home, 1-2-5 has become a staple of the Hastings College community.

Boots & Cats, the premier all-female a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, features 17 undergraduate women from all areas of campus. Founded in 2011, these cats love to sing all kinds of music, from Arctic Monkeys to Beyoncé to Adele. B&C was grateful for the opportunity to move on to last year’s ICCA Midwest Semifinals, and they’re so excited to compete again. When they’re not rehearsing, learning to beatbox, or hanging out with one of the other UNL a cappella groups, you can probably find the cats at Village Inn enjoying Free Pie Wednesday.

Cadence A Cappella from Kansas State University was founded at in 1998 by a small group of students who love to sing, and it's been going strong ever since. This versatile group includes men from every class and many different majors, including education, engineering, graphic design, and more! Cadence is a fun, energetic, and entertaining all-male ensemble with around four voices per part. They perform for many Kansas State University events, including High School Senior Days, Alumni Family Days, Sorority Moms’ Days, and many more performances for organizations around northeast Kansas.

The Creightones is Creighton University's premier a cappella ensemble. Formed in 2009, this all-male group performs at events on Creighton's campus and beyond. This year marks the groups' second ICCA appearance, with their first earning raves from judges such as "Not too bad" and "Might have some potential." Striving for similar accolades in 2018, they hope you'll enjoy "That one Group from Nebraska." Get Tone'd!

Crimson & Blues is KU's newest a cappella choir. They bring a diverse group of singers from all across campus together to make a rich sound heard nowhere else. They are honored to have the opportunity to perform at ICCA again this year and are extremely excited to share their set with you. Crimson & Blues wishes their best to the other groups. Rock Chalk!

In 2003, a ragtag group of students from the University of Kansas created an a cappella group fueled by a shared passion for music. Today, Genuine Imitation is  bigger and better than ever, and continues to thrive. They can be found serenading students both in performance and on the streets of Lawrence, Kan. Members of the group are notorious on campus for causing mass outbreaks of the uncontrollable singing of "Africa" by Toto in lecture halls across the university campus. GI hopes you enjoy hearing their drums echo tonight, and although its typically nothing that a 100 men or more could ever do, this merry band of 14 hopes to create a big impact with their performance.

Millennial Vibe is in its first year of existence at Hastings College. The idea for the group took shape after Jonathan, Nathan, Karli, and Andrew realized they had the potential to start a cutting-edge a cappella group. However, they felt that they needed one more voice to fill out the sound; that voice was Kaitlynn, an incoming freshman. Now complete, Millennial Vibe had their debut performance in September and has since performed all over Nebraska and Colorado. This small and mighty group of five is here and ready to vibe.

Pitch, Please! is UNL’s premier co-ed a cappella group. This is their sixth year on campus and their fourth year competing at ICCA. The group members come from all parts of UNL, from cities all around the country, and they perform a variety of musical genres. Throughout the academic year, they rehearse several hours each week and perform on and off campus. Despite the different places that the Pitch, Please! members come from, they are united by a common thread: the power of music and a love to sing. Together, they  create something bigger than the sum of their individual parts, and they are excited to perform for you tonight.

The Rice Philharmonics, also known as "The Phils,” is the premier a cappella group at Rice University located in Houston, Texas. The group is composed of 16 members majoring in a variety of fields (engineering, English, kinesiology, etc.), but all sharing the same love for music. Now 22 years old, the group has released several albums (most recently, Where the Wild Beats Are) to iTunes and Spotify, toured around the country, and hosted six consecutive Acappellooza events. Historically, all of The Phils’ arrangements are created by members of the group, which provides tons of opportunities for these musicians to develop new skills. In addition to getting together and singing several times a week, The Phils love to make time for "Phun," an activity that most often presents itself in the act of eating together. One of the group's favorite traditions is the creation of "Phils Fries." This entails sending one group member to load up a plate of fries and add toppings in whatever manner they choose. There's no better way to bond than over a pile of fried potatoes. They hope that you enjoy their performance almost as much as a large plate of your very own "Phils Fries."

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Catherine Williams received both a Bachelor of Music in media music and a certificate in sound recording technology from Brigham Young University. At BYU, she served as music director for Noteworthy, directing and arranging the group’s 2007 ICCA-winning set, and going on to arrange for them for over 10 years. She has also recorded and produced three albums for Noteworthy. Catherine writes commercial music and writes and produces her own solo music as well. Most recently, she has been recording and mixing for JANE a cappella.

Lindsay Firth has been singing for 15 years and has been part of the a cappella community for the last 10. She attended high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she sang in her school’s award-winning advanced concert and chamber choirs, participated in musical theatre productions, and worked on music with kids at the local girls' chorus outside of school. After high school, she attended the University of Oregon, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in film & media studies with a music studies minor. In addition to participating in the university’s advanced women’s choir, Lindsay spent all four of her undergrad years as a member of Divisi, Oregon’s award-winning all-female a cappella group. During her Divisi tenure, Lindsay sang everything from soprano to bass, was a vocal percussionist, dabbled in arranging, and served as the group’s business manager, ICCA manager, and website and social media manager. In 2010, she was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to compete in ICCA with Divisi, advancing to ICCA Finals at Lincoln Center in New York City. She is featured on the group’s fourth album, which was released in 2012. Today, Lindsay is still involved with the world of a cappella as a core staff member of the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA) and she is married to a “Sing-Off” Season 2 alumnus.

Rachelle Wofford is a vocalist and native Oregonian. She has been involved in a cappella since 2006 when she got her start in Divisi, the University of Oregon’s award-winning female a cappella group, featured in the best-selling book, “Pitch Perfect." Since Divisi, Rachelle has performed with The Backbeats (featured on NBC's "The Sing-Off") and is a current member of JANE, a professional a cappella group based in Salt Lake City. Most recently, she competed with JANE in the inaugural Varsity Vocals Open competition and advanced with them to Finals at Carnegie Hall. Rachelle has been the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement for the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA) since 2012. She has competed in four Varsity Vocals competitions since her collegiate a cappella days and is thrilled to be one of your judges tonight!

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 Southwest 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