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

 

Rialto Theater
Saturday, February 10, 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 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

 

Eh? Cappella is back in the States for another year to make their maple syrup-guzzling, hockey-crazed, Trudeau-tastic country proud. This group is made up of members from UBC A Cappella, which was formed in 2007. They sing anything from pop to hip hop to alternative rock and beyond. With their toques on and their hockey sticks held high, this bunch of canucks will ride into the theatre on mooseback and unapologetically give it their all.

In the year 2016, risen from the urban cacophony of the bustling city life, Vancouver-based a cappella group The Fantastic Beats was born. Hidden in the heart of UBC, this group of 18 aspiring young musicians unite once a week to strive for vocal synergy. Disguised as students by day, these vocalists fight against pitchy harmonies and the incessant rhythmic rushing at night. With butterbeer, chocolate frogs, and their voices as their only craft, Fantastic Beats embrace the impending challenge awaiting them in the secret chamber of Uncle Sam, where they will continue to chase after the golden pitch alongside other practitioners of the musical arts.

HERmonic A Cappella is the premier female a cappella group on Pacific Lutheran University's campus in Tacoma, Wash. HERmonic is an awesome, fun-loving group of 15 very talented women who absolutely love to make music together. They focus on camaraderie and good times, as well as being sassy, brassy, and classy (their motto). HERmonic's favorite pastime (besides rehearsing, of course) is their group-bonding activities like scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and more! They can't wait to sing for you and wish the best of luck to all of the groups at ICCA! 

Major Treble is WWU's women's a cappella group. It was found in the early 2000s making it a fairly young group. Since then, they have gained a fair amount of popularity within the school and are a part of one of the most successful clubs. Major Treble is passionate about advocating for women through music.

PLUtonic Acappella is Pacific Lutheran University’s premier men’s a cappella group, composed of 13 talented and goofy men who come together for the love of a cappella music! They love to sing fun and challenging music, ranging in genre from jazz to pop to R&B and everything in between. They work with complex arrangements, as well as catchy ones! They love to perform, and regularly do so with gigs and events on campus and throughout the greater Puget Sound region.

Rebel Clef is an all-male ensemble from Western Washington University. The group is composed of students of varying ages and from all areas of concentration, and their ultimate goal is to create beautiful music while having fun.

The pride of Montana State University, Rhapsody A Cappella has been raising the bar and bringing the sweet sounds of vocal performance to at least dozens of people since its humble beginnings in 2013. With selections that span the genres and showcase Rhapsody's unique sound, audiences can always count on exciting and memorable performances. Bringing high energy and a love for music, Rhapsody is thrilled to participate in this year’s ICCA, because in a world without music, life would B-flat!

The Trebled Acaholics of the UBCO Beats is the UBC Okanagan's biggest musical club on campus and number one a cappella club. This group brings musical awareness to the community by uniting talents through performance. The Trebled Acaholics is the competitive group in the UBCO Beats, and they will be its first group to apply and compete in the ICCA. Their club is only a few years old and they are so excited to take this opportunity as far as they possibly can!

Underground Sound is the University of Puget Sound's mixed competitive a cappella group. USound loves performing on and off campus and has had the pleasure of sharing music with the community since 1997. Competing in the ICCA is always a highlight of their year, and they were proud to win Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion at last year’s ICCA Quarterfinal! USound is more than excited to share their music for yet another year here at the competition!


GUEST PERFORMER


Garden Level is a 12-part a cappella group voices of lower from the University of Puget Sound. Founded in 2008, their name comes from where the original members lived. The basement of every building on campus is quaintly called “the garden level,” and the name has stuck. Garden Level sings a wide variety of music and prides itself in performing all original arrangements. In 2012, the group recorded their debut self-titled album, which was produced by the a cappella legend Peter Hollens. Garden Level is excited and thankful to perform for the ICCA community this year, and they encourage everyone to join them on campus April 11th for their spring concert, featuring ICCA contestant group, Underground Sound. For more information about a cappella happenings at UPS,  email them at info@gardenlevelacappella.com.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Isaiah Ragland began his a cappella career at Central Washington University in 2010, where he founded the school’s first a cappella group, Nada Cantata. Since then, CWU’s community has grown to include four on-campus groups. While working toward his Bachelor of Arts in music from CWU, Isaiah sang in the University Chorale, Men’s Choir, Chamber Choir, and Opera scenes, while still finding time to act as Nada Cantata’s music director. In 2014, Isaiah was awarded Outstanding Choreography at his ICCA Quarterfinal, while Nada Cantata took their first podium-finishing, second runner-up placement. Currently, Isaiah sings bass with the Seattle Symphony Chorale and in an a cappella quintet, 20/20, which performs and competes around the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, Isaiah was awarded Best Arrangement at the Pacific Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes, while 20/20 finished second overall. He is also on the Board of Directors and is a founder of the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute (CAMI). CAMI aims to educate, empower, and provide resources for a cappella musicians of all levels by hosting concerts, workshops, clinics, and networking events. In doing so, CAMI strives to foster growth in the quality and reach of contemporary a cappella.

Beth Davis grew up with extensive experience singing in choirs, church, musicals, and classic rock. She received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and music education from Ithaca College, and a Master of Music in vocal performance from California State University, Northridge. She studied opera in college, while also participating in musicals, madrigals, choir, and a pop a cappella group, where she began arranging songs. In graduate school, she continued to study opera, and also began teaching voice lessons and singing for recording sessions. Beth directed church music from 2009-2014, and holds K-12 music teaching certificates in the states of Washington, New York, and California. Today, she is a voice teacher, coach, and adjudicator in the greater Seattle area, as well as an active music director and performer. She is also the managing director of A Cappella Academy. 

Matt Mayrhofer’s appreciation for a cappella music comes partially from his background in instrumental music. Playing low brass in high school band gave Matt plenty of experience in jazz, classical, and contemporary music. He began arranging popular music for his high school’s marching band as a student, and refocused to a cappella arranging after helping found Nada Cantata at Central Washington University as a music major. After developing an interest in beatboxing, Matt earned the ICCA award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion with Nada Cantata in his first year as the group’s vocal percussionist. Since his collegiate a cappella days, Matt has contributed numerous arrangements and transcriptions to various vocal groups as a commissioned arranger. His groups have also been recognized for outstanding choreography, arrangements, and various other awards in competition. For his senior project at Central Washington, Matt constructed a full guide on arranging for a cappella, working to create and share resources for other a cappella musicians. After college, Matt continued this spirit of knowledge sharing by founding the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute (CAMI) with three fellow a cappella experts from the Pacific Northwest. CAMI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which seeks to educate, empower, and provide resources for a cappella musicians by hosting concerts, workshops, clinics, and networking events. Matt currently performs with 20/20 A Cappella as a vocal percussionist. He hopes to continue providing resources for musicians and serving the a cappella community.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the host group, Pete and Trina from Yoakum Light and Sound, tonight's emcees, Lydia Bill and Blayne Fujita, our guest performance group, Garden Level from University of Puget Sound, and all the staff at the Rialto Theater, especially Chris and Vanessa; 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