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

 

University of California, Los Angeles
Saturday, February 24, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

Acasola is California State University, Northridge’s award-winning premier a cappella group. This diverse group of students aims to deliver unique musical experiences to the CSUN community through the art of a cappella music. Since its birth in 2006, each successive generation of the group has built upon the foundation laid by those who have come before them. They have made several TV appearances on shows such as ABC’s "Castle" and Fox's "Raising Hope," and even had the amazing opportunity to record at Capitol Records with Corbin Bleu! Additionally, they are privileged to have their own house called the Acasola House near campus, where they hold rehearsals, jam sessions, and concerts for their friends and family in the community! 

Dynamix is a co-ed contemporary a cappella group from Moorpark Community College. They are the only competitive collegiate a cappella group in their district, and have enjoyed being the first group to bring this style of music into their local community. This is Dynamix's first year, and they have worked hard to establish a name for themselves in the a cappella community and lay a strong foundation to last for years to come. The group specializes in pop, but has members of diverse singing backgrounds, with experience in classical, barbershop, rock, and more. Dynamix is a tight-knit group driven by a shared love for music, and they look forward to sharing their music at their first-ever ICCA competition.

Naked Voices was founded in 2001, and has been going strong ever since. Stripped of everything but their voices, they love traveling to perform with other groups across California and have competed in the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival. They took 3rd place at Quarterfinals last year and look forward to putting on another great performance this year!

Resonance began in 2012 as a quintet that quickly grew in size and sound to become one of the premier vocal ensembles at UCLA. Over the past several years, Resonance has established itself as a vibrant a cappella group with a unique sound and high level of musical excellence. In 2014 and 2016, the group qualified and performed for an audience of 10,000 at UCLA's Spring Sing, the university's largest, highly competitive musical showcase. In 2015 and 2017, Resonance competed in the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF). Just last year, the group competed in its very first ICCA season, placing 2nd at the Southwest Quarterfinal, 3rd at the Southwest Semifinal, and winning awards for Outstanding Arrangement at both competitions. In 2017, Resonance also recorded and released its first studio album, In This Light. Their first track, “In The Name Of Love,” is featured on Voices Only 2017, a highly selective a cappella album that showcases only the finest tracks from collegiate and high school groups across the world. Guided by their passion for performing and friendship, Resonance hopes to share its music with their community and make a lasting impact. As such, Resonance can be found performing at at a number of philanthropy events and concerts across California, the greater Los Angeles area, and on their school campus.

Soundcheck is one of Chapman's co-ed a cappella groups that has had the privilege of participating in ICCA multiple times. Soundcheck has had the opportunity to progress on to Semifinals several times and to Finals once during the 2016 ICCA circuit. Soundcheck is typically known for having a dark and lush sound, gravitating towards songs that are less poppy and more dark and seductive.

The Accidentals is the treble a cappella ensemble from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif. Founded in 2003 as a part of the Occidental Glee Club, the group is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The Accidentals perform a wide variety of songs at choral concerts, for events on campus, and in the surrounding community. Their members come from all across the country and the world and major in everything from diplomacy and world affairs to media production to biochemistry. The Accidentals first competed in ICCA in 2017 and are excited to be back for another year!

Hailing from UC San Diego in sunny La Jolla, Calif, The Beat distinguishes itself by its values for working hard, playing hard, and, most importantly, loving one another to the max. These singers have diverse interests and backgrounds, but were brought together in 2004 by a shared passion for music, a passion that quickly blossomed into an immense love and respect for one another. Now in its 14th year, The Beat has been privileged to perform at weddings, museums, charity concerts, various campus events, and at the ICCA. They won 1st place at their 2014 Quarterfinal, advancing to the West Semifinals that year, and placed 3rd in 2015, picking up various awards for choreography and arrangements along the way. The group also hosts two main shows during the academic year: a joint concert in the fall that features other San Diegan a cappella groups, and a themed concert/musical extravaganza in the spring! Their unmistakable friendship shines through each soulful performance, creating an enchanting and moving experience. This is not just another talented group of singers, but a true family.

Founded in 2014, The ChapTones is the youngest and fastest-rising group at Chapman University. Based in Orange, Calif., they pride themselves on being first and foremost, a family who takes care of one another, that also happens to perform an eclectic mix of chart toppers and old favorites on campus and beyond! This is their third consecutive year competing in the ICCA, and after a Quarterfinals win last year’s season, they’re so excited to return to the stage!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

VJ Rosales (aka VRO) is a singer/songwriter and vocal arranger from the greater Los Angeles area. He started singing at a young age and followed this love of music to high school, where he was a successful drum major. He went on to the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, where he sang with top vocal jazz ensemble, Pacific Standard Time, and completed a degree in choral-vocal education and jazz studies. He currently sings with and music directs the Filipino-American pop a cappella group, The Filharmonic (“The Sing-Off,” “Pitch Perfect 2”). From directing and arranging riff-offs on “The Late Late Show” with James Corden to singing favorite Top 40 covers on YouTube, VJ strives to perfect the incredible phenomenon that is a cappella music.

Rebecca Kneubuhl is a composer, vocalist, and classically trained pianist with a degree in music composition from the University of Southern California. Her credits include several prime-time network television shows and AAA video game titles. Rebecca also co-owns Asylum Recording Studios, a commercial recording facility that has produced numerous award-winning albums and game scores. The studio has been especially recognized for its contribution to recording contemporary vocal music. She was a founding member of the groundbreaking a cappella group, Spiralmouth, and she regularly contributes vocals to games, television, and film.

Jim Raycroft holds a master’s degree in voice from the California Institute of the Arts and has performed all over North America and in Europe. He is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and sang with the Los Angeles Opera for 12 years. He has soundtrack credits for movies including “Home Alone,” “Jurassic Park,” “A.I.,” “Lady in the Water,” “Godzilla,”and more. He appeared as a singing pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” in numerous television shows, and has performed at the Grammys, for the President of the United States, and the Queen of England. He founded and sings with the vocal jazz group, Pacific Swingline, the barbershop quartet, The Nickelodeon, and The Singers Elite Vocal Big Band. He is a published arranger and orchestrator, choral director for the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, music director at First United Methodist Church of Redondo Beach, and has prepared choruses for the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra. His singer referral service, Singers Elite, has entertained Southern California audiences for more than 30 years, and in 2002, he founded the annual “Choral Taste of Los Angeles,” a reading session of choral music by area composers.

Kelsey Stanker is a graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, where she earned her bachelor's degree in vocal performance and jazz studies. Her love for a cappella began in 2009 when she auditioned for the University of Illinois co-ed a cappella group, No Comment. In her four years as a No Comment member, Kelsey has served as arranger, choreographer and music director, leading the group to their first-ever appearances at the ICCA Semifinals and Nationals, as well as winning Outstanding Soloist for their group’s Quarterfinal and Semifinal performances. She is currently working on her debut album in addition to performing professionally worldwide and can be heard on the latest Pentatonix album.

Laura Dickinson founded Groove 66 (now “Vybration”), at the Disneyland Resort with creator Deke Sharon, and is the only member to perform in all three female vocal tracks (plus appearances on the baritone and vocal percussion tracks). She is Vybration’s current music director and arranger, and has previously performed with Voasis (assistant music director) under Deke Sharon and Greg Jasperse and Voices Of Liberty in Epcot. She is especially proud to be the only female to perform in the male soprano track of her favorite group, m-pact. Laura is a singer and voice actress in Hollywood, best known for her extensive work on Disney animated hits, and numerous TV/film credits, including "Pitch Perfect" and "Pitch Perfect 2." Laura's debut album, One for My Baby – To Frank Sinatra With Love (2014) is available on iTunes and Amazon. www.lauradickinson.com. Check out her Twitter and Instagram @elsielaura.

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 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