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

 

Wapakoneta High School
Friday, January 26, 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 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

 

Above the Noise is a select group of top vocal performers from Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. Singing a variety of pop tunes for for every occasion, from homecoming bonfires to large local venues, AtN is renowned for bringing down whatever house they happen to be in. These singers go on to sing and beatbox in collegiate a cappella groups all over the country. AtN will take on any challenge you throw at them!

Free Verse is a student-founded and student-run a cappella group from the all-male Central Catholic and all-female Oakland Catholic High Schools in Pittsburgh, Pa. Currently in its second year of existence, this group includes students ranging from freshmen to seniors, all of whom are involved in various activities, from athletics to theatre to student leadership. Last year, Free Verse was runner-up at the ICHSA Great Lakes Semifinal. All of its members share a passion for music and they are super excited to expand that passion with a cappella! The term "free verse" refers to poetry without regular rhyme or meter. The members of Free Verse believe that this group provides an outlet for them to express themselves through music free of boundaries.

Kaleidoscope, from Clyde High School in Clyde, Ohio, is in its fourth year of existence and competing in its fourth ICHSA. This group is composed of 11 members ranging from sophomores to seniors. Kaleidoscope has performed at the National A Cappella Festival, Downtown Disney in Orlando, Fla., Camp A Cappella, and they have opened for The Filharmonic. The members of Kaleidoscope share a familial bond which makes this group very special.

Midweek is the premier a cappella group at Wapakoneta High School in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Named for the group's Wednesday rehearsals, Midweek is honored and excited to host the 2018 Great Lakes ICHSA and ICCA competitions. They would to thank their family, friends, teachers, and administration for their unending support. Best of luck to all of today's competitors!

Oakappella is a group of passionate vocalists and performers from Oakstone Academy, a social immersion K-12 school. They have been performing for many years, and this will be their third consecutive ICHSA appearance. Many members of Oakappella are also committed to school band, jazz band, and their school's musical theatre program. The group has also worked with BackTrack Vocals on workshops and arrangements. Oakappella released a part-studio, part-live Christmas EP this past December and looks forward to making its fourth consecutive full-length album in the spring.

Phoenix is Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School’s large a cappella group that includes students from all grades. In 2015, Phoenix reinvented itself and changed its name to symbolize rebirth and strength. The group has competed in the ICHSA for two years, as well as the Kettering A Cappella Festival. Follow Phoenix on Twitter @PhoenixCJEagles to stay in touch with this fun and talented group. Phoenix is on fire!

The Seton-La Salle Trebels is a student-run a cappella group in Pittsburgh, Pa. The group was founded in 2013 and has been honored with a 1st place win at ICHSA Quarterfinals in 2015, as well as three Outstanding Arrangement awards over the past two years.

Vega is currently in its seventh year of existence. Consisting of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, Vega has released four recording projects, opened for Grammy-winning jazz/gospel group, Take 6, placed 2nd in ICHSA, and had multiple appearances on the national compilation album, BOHSA.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Eric Neuenschwander currently serves as a choral and theatre director at Xenia High School. He directs the annual musical, the concert choir, and The Xenia Vocal Ensemble, an advanced, mixed-vocal, non-competitive show choir. He continues to perform onstage in improv comedy at The Black Box Improv in Dayton, Ohio, and with various community theatres around Central and Southwest Ohio. A proud graduate of Ohio State University, Eric co-founded the group Dynamic Contrast (now Majors and Minors), and The Acappella Alliance at Ohio State. The alliance is an umbrella organization that helps grow existing and new a cappella groups, and currently includes 10 groups.

Brad Rees serves as a music professor and director of arts programs at Tiffin University. There, he oversees the school’s cutting-edge commercial music degree, record label and recording studio, and also directs the award-winning a cappella group, Up in the Air. A leader in vocal jazz education and contemporary a cappella for two decades, he has taught at Bowling Green State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Iowa’s School for Music Vocations. He sang with the Grammy-nominated vocal quintet, The Axidentals, and has performed with Ben Folds, Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, and others. He has studied at the University of Northern Colorado, Western Michigan University, George Mason University, and Boston University, and is currently in demand as an arranger, producer, adjudicator, and clinician.

Edric Mitchell, a 2014 and 2016 graduate from Ball State University, studied musical theatre and executive development for public services. During his time at Ball State, he got his start in a cappella with the all-male group, Charlie's Angels. He quickly became a founding member of the all-male a cappella group, Note to Self, with whom he spent four years as a member, coordinator, and music director. In addition, Edric was a founding member and music director of Sedoctave, and founder of the Association of Collegiate A Cappella (ACA) at Ball State. ACA is an umbrella organization that unites all collegiate a cappella groups on the BSU Campus, and hopes to eventually expand to other college campuses. When Edric was a competitor in the ICCA, he received two Outstanding Arrangement awards for "Can You Stand The Rain" and "Recovery Stitches," as well as a Best Soloist award with Walter Edwards for "Smash Your Apology." He is currently the vocal music director at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Ind.

Dr. Briana Nannen is the Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Marshall University. There, her teaching responsibilities include the University Chorus, the MU a cappella ensemble, and graduate and undergraduate courses in the music education curriculum. Briana has extensive experience working with a cappella ensembles at both the high school and college levels and hopes to share that passion with the next generation of music educators.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Alex Hann, Kathleen Pellington, Isaiah Hawkins, and the Wapakoneta High School staff and community; 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

varsityvocals

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, September 22, 2018