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

 

The Riley Center
Saturday, February 24, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

Fuse A Cappella was established as a student organization at the University of Texas at Austin in the spring semester of 2014. It was founded to unite a focused group of students across all majors, hometowns, and backgrounds, by a common love of singing. This group allows all types of students to continue making music throughout their university career. They’ve remained true to these roots, but have also evolved into a selective, co-ed, collegiate a cappella group that competes, serves its community, and performs on and off campus.

HardChord DynaMix is a co-ed contemporary a cappella group from Texas A&M University! HardChord has been an official A&M group since 2009, having competed in ICCA since 2013. Because they go to a school without a music program or degree, this group consists of many unique and different individuals. Some of them are engineers, some history majors, and others are business students, but they all have a common passion for singing! Reaching Semifinals in California in both 2015 and 2016 has made the group fall in love with ICCA and encouraged them to work harder each year to push closer to reaching New York. In addition to preparing for ICCA, HardChord DynaMix has kept busy performing for the different clubs and organizations at Texas A&M. 

Here Comes Treble is Texas Christian University's all-female a cappella group. Founded in 2015, they strive to bring together college women who have a passion for music and a joy for singing. The group members come from all over the country, but they are all connected through a shared love for music and one another. This group has become a family, and each week's practice is a time for laughs, voice cracks, and fun. You can find them on campus at TCU sporting events, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and their concerts every semester. Follow their social media @herecomestreble

One Note Stand is a competitive co-ed group founded in 2009. Since its founding, ONS has become one of the most accomplished a cappella groups in Texas and competitive on a national scale. One Note Stand is a completely self-funded group, with a mission to spread their own stories, struggles, and triumphs, all with the sounds of their own voices. They believe every story should be told and always strive to take their audience on an Emotional Journey™ with their music. The group performs throughout Texas at holiday parties, corporate events, events on the UT campus, and even large-scale events such as the National Robotics Competition Finals in front of 20,000 people at Minute Maid Park! ONS leads and organizes the annual UT Acapalooza, a benefit concert that raises money for various causes, such as interpersonal violence prevention and hurricane relief. The group has competed in BOSS twice, placed 3rd at ICCA Quarterfinals, 4th at ICCA Semifinals in Los Angeles, and earned Best Arrangement for “Latch” in ICCA 2015. One Note Stand was chosen to appear on the BOCA 2017 and Voices Only 2017 albums with two tracks from their full-length album, entitled Yours.

OneSound is Collin College’s only a cappella pop group. Collin County Community College is a two-year school located in Plano, Texas. Their director, Kathy Morgan, has been a full-time music professor at Collin since 2000. Actually a class, rather than a club, this audition-only group is open to both music majors and non-majors. The singers in the group arrange their music in class. The small size of the group allows each individual singer’s voice and personality to shine, creating a unique, one-on-a-part sound, different from many larger a cappella groups. The group performs in the community and on campus, often with other professional groups in the area. OneSound participated in ICCA for the first time last year, and felt they were extremely successful. They look forward to performing again on the ICCA stage.

RISE is the premier, co-ed a cappella group at University of Texas at Arlington. Known for their energetic performances, RISE is a growing success within their community of Arlington, Texas. As the only contemporary pop a cappella group on campus, RISE continually strives to maintain the highest standards of musicality, while still keeping the fun and love alive. Pursuing high degrees of excellence in all aspects of life, these students continue to grow daily as people, friends, and performers.

The Echoes A Cappella is a contemporary a cappella group that resides at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Not your normal a cappella group, this group of non-music majors brings a new life to any song they perform, and a surprise factor wherever they tread. They are quite versatile with their styles of music, ranging from country, modern pop, or even rock! They like to redefine music so that you know it is unmistakably theirs. No one can duplicate their sound

While they may look more like a rugby team, The Horned Tones is your fun-loving, high-octane, incredibly talented group of young men coming from Texas Christian University. From opening for Jesse McCartney to singing songs about food, these guys are known for their contagious energy both on and off the stage. The Horned Tones is the reigning champion from last year's Southwest ICCA Quarterfinal, and they couldn't be more excited to be back here at the Riley Center to show you have far they've come.

Founded in 2008 by Brian Alexander and Trent Bynum, The UNT Green Tones is the premier co-ed contemporary a cappella group at the University of North Texas in Denton. The Green Tones have worked tirelessly to become a staple on campus, in Denton's eclectic music scene, and all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Consisting of 19 unique members from all over the country, the current Green Tones is a diverse group, with music to match! The Green Tones are on their way to the top and hope to someday make it to ICCA Finals!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Wes Davis is in his second year as Head Choral Director at Marcus High School, having been the assistant director for five years. During this time, he founded a female contemporary a cappella group called Fusion. Fusion is very active at Marcus and in the community, performing at school functions, sporting events, community events, and fundraisers for charities in the area. As the group’s director, arranger, and choreographer, Wes has led Fusion to a top-three finish in ICHSA Southwest Semifinals for the past three years. In 2015, Fusion won its Semifinal and competed at Finals in New York. Wes is a member of the A cappella Education Association (AEA), Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA), and the Texas Music Adjudicators Association (TMAA).

Anna Gann has been a high school choir director and private voice teacher for 15 years. She has served as head of all music in Big Spring Independent School District in Texas, choir director for the Big Spring High School choir,and head choir director of both East Central High School and Edgewood Fine Arts Academy. She has a degree in vocal performance from Lubbock Christian University and an M.S. in music/choral conducting from UTSA. She was involved in a cappella groups during college, including Sweet Adelines. Anna is a frequent adjudicator for Texas UIL competitions, as well as ICHSA. Professional memberships include TMEA, TCDA, ACDA, and TMAA.

A native of upstate New York, Erin (Shults) Smith developed her passion for contemporary a cappella while getting her B.A. in voice at Ithaca College. As a member of Premium Blend, Ithaca College’s CARA-winning all-female a cappella group, Erin quickly discovered a love for arranging and vocal percussion. Soon after earning her B.A. in 2010, Erin moved to Florida to pursue her M.A. in arts management at the Florida State University College of Music. Since then, she moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and worked on the development teams for Fort Worth Opera and the University of North Texas (UNT) College of Music. Erin is currently the Director of Foundation Relations Communications for the UNT Division of Advancement, and is pursuing her M.B.A. in marketing at UNT. Since her Premium Blend days, Erin continues to arrange and has previously served as a master clinician, workshop presenter, and panelist at SoJam. She continues to sing as a member of the Lewisville Civic Chorale and with the Denton Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, and remains a dedicated advocate for the contemporary a cappella discipline and the performing arts.

Hailing from the soybean capital of the world, Elliott Robinson is the current bass man and co-founder of Axiom Vocal. El is an a cappella veteran, having toured the globe with professional groups Chapter 6, The House Jacks, Home Free, and more. You also might recognize his rich bass notes as being the sonic foundation of Das Sound Machine in “Pitch Perfect 2.” In his spare time, he enjoys reading, working out, listening to music (with instruments), and being grateful that he no longer lives in Minnesota.



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