THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF HIGH SCHOOL

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

ICHSA GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

Grand Ledge High School
Friday, February 23, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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

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@varsityvocals

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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 six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six regional champions, a wild card champion, an international champion, and our 2017 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those ten groups competed at Carnegie Hall in New York City this past September.

 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

 

Chicappella is the all-female a cappella group at Brighton High School. Since the group was formed in 2009, it has aimed to encourage self-confidence in young women, develop musicianship, and create an extraordinary musical experience. Chicappella was featured on Varsity Vocals' 2017 BOHSA album. The group has also won awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Choreography at previous ICHSA competitions.

Detroit Voice, from Clarkston High School, has been around since 2011. They specialize in singing the music of Motown, Michigan, and Detroit artists. Since the group’s beginning, they have sung for the Detroit Tigers, been featured at HDTV events, have released two full-length albums, and been featured on the BOHSA compilations three times. They are very excited to be here and share their music with you.

Major VI from Novi, Mich., is competing for its sixth year at ICHSA, and has placed 1st at Quarterfinals for two years in a row. This group was formed seven years ago as an after-school group, and now is fortunate enough to meet daily as a class. This group is the smallest it has ever been, having once competed as a group of over 30, and they are so excited to compete against these other talented groups, with all of their members onstage for the first year ever!

Newly formed in 2017 at Brighton High School, Pandemonium is made up of superstar vocal athletes from the Brighton High School choir program. This group is student-run, and sings mostly self-arranged music. Talent, infused with a touch of funk and a whole lot of attitude, makes Pandemonium the perfect name for your new favorite high school a cappella team!

Skyline Blues is a select co-ed a cappella ensemble composed of sophomore, junior, and senior choir students. Skyline Blues was founded in 2008 and is under the direction of Lindsay CieChanski and Austin Terris. The group meets after school twice a week and participates in a number of performances and competitions each year, including MSVMA Solo and Ensemble where they recently earned a superior rating. Last year, they earned 3rd place at the Great Lakes Semifinal and they are excited to be part of ICHSA once again!

Synergy has been performing in the Clarkston area for performances large and small since 2013. They've released a few singles to iTunes and would love for you to follow them on Instagram @clarkstonsynergy. They are excited to be here and perform for you tonight!

Hailing from the walleye capital of the world in Port Clinton, Ohio, Touch of Class is the top auditioned vocal ensemble at Port Clinton High School. Touch of Class has competed in the ICHSA Finals and the NACC National A Cappella Championship in previous years. They have released three studio albums and one music video in conjunction with Route 53 Records and Sicily Studios. This group is excited to be competing in another season of ICHSA with so many great groups! Follow them  on all forms of social media for updates @PCTouchofClass!

GUEST PERFORMER


Ladies First is Michigan State University’s only all-female a cappella group. Founded in 1985, this lively group of women loves to perform at gigs all around the community and share their passion for music. Over the years, Ladies First has become a rising presence across the a cappella world, through participating in festival showcases, winning awards, and performing across the country. Their unique blend and empowering presence continues to captivate audiences everywhere. When they’re not busy performing, they are hard at work recording. In fact, just this year they released their latest EP, Run this Show. Since its release, it has been nominated for Best Collegiate Female Song in the 2017 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and selected to be featured on the 2017 Voices Only album. With such an action-packed year, they are excited to see what the future holds!


TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Jake Przybyla began his musical life when he started piano lessons at the age of 6. He joined the school choir in 3rd grade and continued singing in choirs through to high school in Grand Ledge, Mich., where he also became active in musical theatre. At Michigan State University, Jake joined The MSU Accafellas in the fall of his freshman year. Becoming one of the "Fellas" was a pivotal experience for Jake and he went on to lead them as president and music director during his junior and senior years. At the group's 2012 ICCA Quarterfinal, Jake shared the award for Outstanding Arrangement with two of his fellow Fellas and the group placed 3rd overall. After four years of college, Jake took a year off his studies in order to pursue professional music opportunities. He, two of his group-mates, and a final auditioned member formed an a cappella quartet and landed a six-month contract with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines singing on the Celebrity Summit. Since coming home and finishing his degrees, Jake works as a chemist by day, but carries his passion for music with him by continuing to arrange music for a cappella groups.

Laura Quinn has been a member, arranger, and managing director of Two Weeks Notice, a semi-professional (CAL) group in the metro Detroit area since 2007. In 2014, she attended a workshop with Tony-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, and later directed his show, "Songs For A New World" in Birmingham, Mich. Laura brings a unique perspective to the judging process with an extensive background in vocal music, musical theater, piano, ukulele, and percussion. She met her tap-dancing husband in 2000 while singing karaoke, and today they have one daughter, one dog, one cat, and a ferret. Laura works in advertising by day for MRM//McCann and spends her evenings as a dance mom, traveling to regional and national dance competitions throughout the year.

Grant Hendrickson majored in music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, he sang with and directed the University of Wisconsin men's a cappella group, The MadHatters, from 2001-2005. After graduating in 2005, Grant moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. After playing the Los Angeles club circuit for a couple years, he joined The Cat's Pajamas vocal band and traveled the world singing on cruise ships and national tours for four years. Grant helped launch The Cat's Pajamas at the Dutton Theater in Branson, Missouri in 2010, where they performed 230 shows a year. Grant became a music director for Second City and toured with them on cruise ships in 2011-2012. Grant sang with the legendary Alley Cats for three years and performed in multiple national tours from 2012-2015. He has taught private voice and piano lessons for 15 years. Grant has owned and operated Entertain You Productions (EYP) since 2010, a live entertainment company now based in East Lansing, Mich. EYP focuses on wedding entertainment and corporate events.


SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Timothy Daniel and Grand Ledge High School, Joseph Aquino, Andrea and Andrew Poole, Selame Scarlett, Christopher Brody, and Bryan Pennington; 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 three placing groups advance to the ICHSA Great Lakes Semifinal.

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

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THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, September 22, 2018