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 WEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Claremont College
Saturday, February 3, 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

 

Acamazing is a co-ed a cappella group from UC San Diego, but they’re not like the other groups. They love playing board games on Friday nights, taking long walks on the beach, and getting drinks with their friends. They know their profile says they’re 18, but they were REALLY established in 2010 (shh, don't tell!). They sing songs they feel like singing and LOVE performing like, all the time. Make sure to swipe right for a fun time!

The After School Specials! hails from the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of liberal arts colleges in the southern California area. Characterized by their upbeat attitudes, green attire, and signature A.S.S. (After School Specials) hats, they sing their own arrangements that cover an expansive range of music. Their members are as diverse as the music they sing, with members from all corners of the country and world. They also major in fields spanning all academic disciplines, across the gamut of the humanities and sciences. The group believes in creating a space for passionate individuals that share a love for making music, regardless of their backgrounds, in order to create a community to share great music. The After School Specials have also had the privilege of performing and recording at various exciting locations. Past venues include The Fonda Theatre, Diane Warren's recording studio, and the White House. It is their great pleasure to showcase their assets in front of as many people as possible, and they hope that they can continue making music wherever people want to listen. This will be the group’s third appearance at the ICCA. Each time has not only been a great competitive experience, but also a time to celebrate our members (soloists, vocal percussionists, and arrangers) and other groups. They are very excited to share their music for you at this year’s ICCA!

The UCSD Daughters of Triton believe in the power of women through music. Constantly in search of new boundaries to push, they do not apologize for breaking the rules of all-female a cappella. They sing bass, they rap, they have a sense of humor. They may solo like Beyoncé, but they can break out of that diva stereotype in an instant. Every woman has a voice, and every DOT amplifies it. Every group loves to sing, but for The DOTs, it's a matter of identity.

UCSD’s Duly Noted, a co-ed a cappella group, was founded in 2012 and has been rapidly growing ever since! Members share not only a love for singing, but also for each other. Their dedication to both has led them to perform upwards of 30-40 arrangements written by their own members and alumni, host several of their own concerts each academic year, and compete at the ICCA. They are a spirited group of people who work hard to achieve the group’s goals, and still have time to devote to their other passions and studies. Some group members and alumni are successful programmers at Smule, Financial Analysts in SF, artists at AX, double majors, activists in their community, and medical students. As a family of singers, they spend just as much time devoted to hanging out, having fun, and supporting one another as they do honing their skills as an ensemble.

Proud. Distinguished.  Elite.  These are words that have absolutely nothing to do with the group known as Fermata Nowhere. You might try other words like “distracted”, “frolicking”, “ravenous,” or “devastatingly handsome.” After donning their trademark jump suits and Converse high tops in 2003, they made their first trip to the ICCA Finals in the spring of 2004, taking 2nd place. In 2009, they made a return trip, this time becoming the first community college to win the title of ICCA Champion.

First established in 2009, Not So Sharp A Cappella has grown tremendously as a musical group and gained fame as a force on campus. As the first co-ed a cappella group at the University of California, Riverside, Not So Sharp boasts a highly diverse team with members from a variety of backgrounds. They are known for their wide array of music selection, which ranges from ethnic music to hip-hop to electronic dance music (EDM). Not So Sharp is highly involved on campus, holding fun a cappella workshops for students and social events for the general community. In the past, Not So Sharp has held concerts both on and off campus. They most recently performed at the first annual Rhythmside benefit concert, where proceeds and donations from the concert were donated to the Path of Life charity. Not So Sharp loves to reach out to those in need, performing at children's hospitals and senior homes in the surrounding Inland Empire area.

The SoCal VoCals, founded in 1996, is composed of 17 members, varying in majors from popular musical performance to environmental studies. In the last year, The VoCals sang for the President and First Lady, toured Hong Kong and London, and released their newest album, VoCabulary, on Spotify and iTunes. They have sung at the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, and the Staples Center, for such audiences as Chris Martin, Taylor Swift, Chaka Khan, and Sara Bareilles. VoCal alumni have been featured on NBC's “The Sing-Off,” won multiple Grammy Awards, and are currently starring on Broadway. Above all, The VoCals are about to making music and having a good time, and are so excited to compete in ICCA! 

UnderSCore A Cappella is the only outreach-based, co-ed a cappella group at the University of Southern California. Not only do they perform at on and off campus events such as USC’s semesterly All Hail A Cappella concert and Conquest Music Festival, UnderSCore is also dedicated to promoting the vocal arts in the Los Angeles area. Whether it’s singing at local schools or educating youth on music theory and the power of music, UnderSCore members utilize their talents to give back to the community. Their repertoire consists of an eclectic mix of songs that reflect the individual tastes and personalities of their members, including pop, jazz, and musical theatre. From classic numbers by the Jackson 5 to contemporary-indie gems by Marian Hill, UnderSCore truly values the unique tastes and musical values of their members. Their debut EP, Punctuation__, showcases this diverse repertoire, featuring the group members’ abilities to meld as a group and to break out as soloists, whether via voice or mouth-trumpet. Every song UnderSCore A Cappella performs is arranged by one of the group’s own members or alumni, adding a personal touch to their music. This tight-knit group believes that competing in their first ICCA will be an incredible opportunity to connect with the greater a cappella community, while proudly showcasing the hard work they have done as a group since its founding in 2013.


GUEST PERFORMER


Groove Nation Dance Crew is a 5C student-run hip hop dance crew. Although its members come from different dance backgrounds (including ballet, b-boy, jazz, tap, popping, street, and lyrical), they focus on showcasing hip hop pieces. GNDC strives to become a space for these dancers to grow through opportunities such as free-styling, choreography, and off-campus workshops.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Los Angeles-based musician Jeff Smith is best known to a cappella fans for his role as beatboxer/vocalist for the award-winning vocal group, m-pact. Since joining the band in 2004, he has toured all over the world, performing in venues ranging from jazz clubs and festivals to concert halls and opera houses. Outside of m-pact, he is a full-time freelance musician, producer, clinician, and arranger. His voice (and vocal percussion) can be heard on numerous film/TV soundtracks, as well as in countless live performances throughout SoCal and across the U.S. Jeff serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as the commander and conductor of the 300th Army Band in Los Angeles, and he has been a featured vocalist and worship leader at numerous churches in southern California. He works as a performing arts coach for Burbank Public Schools and is music director for West Valley Christian School. In his spare time, Jeff is also a solo recording artist and has several Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-nominated all-vocal releases on iTunes and other digital music outlets. Jeff lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Heather, son Noah, and new baby girl Sophia. 

Originally from Bristol, Conn., Andy Degan is an active singer and vocal arranger. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with degrees in classical vocal performance and business management. During his time at Central, Andy music directed CCSU’s all-male a cappella group, Divisi, and toured internationally with the university’s elite chamber choral ensemble. Over the summers, Andy performed with award-winning a cappella group Hyannis Sound and served as musical director in his final summer. Post-graduation, Andy spent time on a Carnival Cruise ship fronting an 80s and Motown band before moving to New York City. Over the course of two years in the city, he was part of two a cappella groups, Blackout and Switch, and professional choir Choral Chameleon. Andy relocated to Los Angeles in early 2017 and now sings with the professional touring a cappella group, M-Pact, serving as the group’s tenor and a frequent arranger. He also works as a session singer and with corporate bands across the greater L.A. area.

Josh Huls is an arranger, composer, and music director originally from Grand Island, Neb. While studying music education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he sang with and directed The UNL Bathtub Dogs. Since graduation, he has been working full-time as an arranger/composer for a variety of musical groups in California, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and New York. Best of luck to all the competitors today. May the aca-Gods be with you.

Rachel Zumberge has a strong and varied background in performance, direction, and instruction of vocal and instrumental music. She currently serves as music director for two groups: The Over Tones A Cappella, a multi-generational a cappella group in the San Fernando Valley she founded in 2015, and Premiere A Cappella, an all-female a cappella group based in the Los Angeles area. While attending Lincoln High School, a performing arts magnet school, Rachel served as Concertmistress for the Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble and performed with Lincoln’s elite vocal a cappella jazz ensemble, winning many performance awards in orchestral and vocal ensemble competitions throughout the United States. Rachel went on to study violin performance the University of California, Santa Cruz, under Roy Milan, concertmaster of the SF Ballet., and has been a first violinist with the San Fernando Valley Symphony. She was a violin instructor for several years at Cazadero Performing Arts, led its All-Camp Choir l Program in 2010, and was its guest conductor in 2012. As music director for All About Theater in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley Performing Arts Company, Rachel directed adults, teens, and children in many musical theatre productions. She has performed as a freelance violinist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and from 2008-2012, she ran a private studio in San Jose where she taught voice, violin, music theory, and piano lessons. Rachel was also a music teacher at East Palo Alto Academy, RJ Fisher Middle School, and Lincoln High School.

Bri Holland is a recording and mixing engineer, producer, arranger, composer, and singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, Calif. Bri studied music at the University of Chicago and her arrangements, vocals, original songs, and recordings have garnered various nominations and awards. Bri currently produces albums for musicians across the country, performs as a live-looping artist, writes and sings vocal charts, and teaches vocal students.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the host group, The After School Specials!, especially Spencer Louie, and the Bridges Auditorium staff, especially Sharon, Matt, and Jon; 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 West 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