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 SEMIFINAL

 

Center Stage 
Saturday, March 31, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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

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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 three to five 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 eight 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 U.S. 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

 

Beyond Measure strives to be a professional, unified group, centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Through their uplifting music, they hope to inspire others to do good works and become closer to the Savior. Beyond Measure is a safe haven for its singers to escape life's hurdles through music, as well as a springboard for those who desire to pursue musical careers. Beyond Measure aims to accomplish these things by physically, emotionally, and spiritually strengthening themselves in order to be able to strengthen others, both through music and through acts of service and charity.

The Highlanders 
is Northern Arizona University's premier all-male a cappella group. Established in 2013, the group was founded by NAU students who simply wanted to create music together and bring joy to the ears of those who listened.  As the group progressed, they began to participate in gigs throughout the community and the ICCA. The group went on to place 2nd in its 2017 ICCA Quarterfinal and went on to place 4th at Semifinals. Throughout the years, The Highlanders have performed for various audiences throughout Flagstaff. Highlights include performing for retirement homes throughout the community, welcoming new freshmen to NAU in their dorm halls, and sending off seniors at their graduation ceremonies. This year, The Highlanders will join other NAU a cappella groups in headlining the Acappellooza festival in Las Vegas and give workshops on a series of a cappella techniques to area high school groups.The Highlanders look forward to expanding their performance horizons from high school recruiting tours to competing in certain California a cappella festivals. The NAU Highlanders plan to continue striving for greatness and strengthening the great friendship they already share.

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."

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.

The ASU TEMPEtations
is the award-winning co-ed a cappella group on campus! Started in the fall of 2010, The TEMPEtations began as a humble endeavor to spread the love of music and start the first co-ed group on campus. Since then, they have grown into a well-known organization that performs at prestigious events around ASU and Arizona. They have competed in the ICCA for four years, earning 3rd place and Outstanding Arrangement in the 2014 Southwest Quarterfinals. All of the music performed by The TEMPEtations is arranged by the members of the group, and the styles range from The Temptations to Imagine Dragons to Alt-J to John Williams. They hope to continue to share their love of music with all of you!

Northern Arizona Unaccompanied
, or Unaccompanied for short, is an eight-member collegiate a cappella group from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz. The group, entering its third year, was founded in September 2015 and became the fourth a cappella group at NAU. With only eight singers, Unaccompanied is uniquely small compared to most groups in the collegiate a cappella world. Each member sings their own vocal line, and the group is known for its one-on-a-part arrangements. The group performs a wide variety of songs that span the decades, favoring hits of the past over the hits of today. Each member has a strong foundation in classical training and choral music, with some vocal jazz flair inspired by groups such as Take6 and The Real Group. They have headlined for various music conferences in the Southwest and actively perform throughout Flagstaff and the state of Arizona. Unaccompanied looks forward to competing in their third ICCA season!

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 Outstanding 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.

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.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Nason Werth has been known to travel the country for a good a cappella show, and currently resides in Baltimore, Md. Originally from the great state of Michigan, Nason studied vocal performance at Michigan State University. There, he served as music director and bass with MSU’s first co-ed a cappella group and ICCA fixture, Capital Green. He gained broad ensemble experience as a student with the University Chorale, Chamber Choir, Jazz octet, and Chancel Choir with the Okemos Presbyterian Church. Since relocating to the Mid-Atlantic area, Nason has performed with the Handel Choir of Baltimore and the Bach in Baltimore ensembles. He looks forward to a great show!

Elise Hackl 
has worked with and performed music for over 15 years. A graduate of Illinois State University's music education program, Elise is currently working towards a Master of Music Education. Elise has held positions such as vocal percussion, arranger, music director, president, and section leader in her collegiate years, and served as the a cappella liaison for four groups at Illinois State University through the School of Music. Most recently, she has arranged pieces for over 20 high school and collegiate level groups throughout the Midwest. She also teaches private voice lessons and assists with solo and ensemble and clinician high school and middle school groups throughout Illinois. In her spare time, she loves judging Varsity Vocals events and writing raps for adaptive musical theatre groups.

Michael Sacket
t has been involved with music for as long as he can remember. He was a member of Brigham Young University's Young Ambassadors for two years, and spent one year with Vocal Point. Michael has been a featured soloist on many albums with Rob Gardner’s Spire Music and Tantara Records, and has his own solo album. In 2014, Michael started INSPIRE Entertainment, a performing arts academy and preschool in Gilbert, Ariz. He loves educating youth about the benefits of music and the arts in their lives. He hopes his efforts will provide the opportunity for many people to be touched by the power of music and the performing arts, both as performers and supportive audience members. In his spare time, Michael likes to read, travel, play soccer, and spend time with his family.

Benjamin Lebovitz
is the choir director at Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Ariz., where he currently advises the co-ed a cappella ensemble, Red Harmony. Serving as the Repertoire and Resources Chair of Contemporary and Commercial Music within the Arizona chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), specializing in contemporary a cappella, Ben is a graduate of the University of Arizona where he sang and arranged music for both Catcall and Noteriety A Cappella. He has recently facilitated workshops on contemporary a cappella music at state conferences for the ACDA and the Arizona Music Educators Association, and has previously served on the board of directors for the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival and as an Arizona state ambassador to the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA). Ben is a dedicated advocate for the contemporary a cappella discipline and the performing arts.

Dave Baumgartner 
is a self-taught vocal percussionist who began developing his craft in high school and hasn't stopped drumming ever since. Dave has toured the world as a sought-after instructor, performer, and workshop panelist. He was declared "The Picasso of Vocal Percussion" by the Washington Post, and has been featured in print, TV, and radio media all over the globe. Dave has performed with Vocal Tonic, Toxic Audio, Voice Play, Staticflow, Almost Recess, InPulse, Street Corner Symphony, and Overdrive, to name just a few of the fantastic groups that he's had the privilege to work with. When he's not performing, you'll often find Dave teaching masterclasses and workshops or judging events like this. If you want to ask a VP question, set up a masterclass or workshop, or just get in touch, you can reach Dave at dave@davebaumgartner.com.

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 placing group advances to ICCA Finals!

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