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 SEMIFINAL

 

Bowling Green High School 
Saturday, March 17, 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 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

 

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.

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!

In its second year, DYNAMIX is ready to compete in ICHSA and tour the community. With their grunge/rock sound, they are ready to share their talents with all. Led by director's assistant Max Wilke, DYNAMIX consists of 11 men and six women. DYNAMIX attended the Kettering A Cappella Festival in Kettering, Ohio last November, and heads to the Voices in Harmony Festival in Lexington, Ky. this March! With pieces like "My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark," "Death of a Bachelor," and "Believer," there's no doubt that DYNAMIX will rock your world! Check out Harrison A Cappella on Facebook and Youtube and subscribe today!

Forte 
is the champion contemporary a cappella group at Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio. Forte was the ICHSA Champion in 2016, is a three-time ICHSA runner-up, and also won the 2012 Voices in Harmony Festival in Lexington, Ky. Forte has recorded eight albums and is currently working on their ninth. Three of their albums (Life's So Lyrical, Uncharted Heart, and Recovery) consist of all original music and they are proud to have been the first high school group to release an all-original album. Life’s So Lyrical was nominated for five Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), and won for Best Overall High School Album. Their album, Save My Soul, won for Best Pop/Rock Album in 2017. Forte’s recordings have been featured on the BOHSA albums every year since 2012, as well as on the prestigious Sing 9 compilation. Forte’s music can be purchased on iTunes and streamed on Spotify. They have opened for world-renowned a cappella group, The House Jacks, and performed with artists such as Andy Grammer, Pentatonix, Kirstie Maldonado, India Carney, Mario Jose, Ben Bram, Matt Bloyd, Sonos, Delilah, Overboard, and Deke Sharon (musical director of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and the box office hit movie, “Pitch Perfect”).

The SCALiWAGS
of Charlestown High School is in its 10th season. They perform at area festivals, schools, and have opened for groups such as The Philharmonic and Eh440 at IU Southeast. They have two albums and participated in ICHSA Great Lakes Quarterfinals last year.

Shades of Blue
, from Hilliard Bradley High School is currently in its first year as a contemporary a cappella group, and this is their first year competing in ICHSA. The group is made up of 18 members, ranging from sophomores through seniors. Shades of Blue performs around the greater Columbus area, including performances at the Schottenstein Center for OSU Men’s Basketball. Shades of Blue is very excited to share the stage tonight with all of the incredible groups and to compete ICHSA stage for the very first time!

Evolution
includes some of the most talented vocal students from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Outside of its regular concerts, Evolution performs at school events such as graduation ceremonies, open houses, and the annual school talent show. Many members are also involved in the school musicals, which will will be the Broadway classic, "The Wiz," this year. This is Evolution’s third year competing in ICHSA. Last year, they made it all the way to Semifinals, and they look forward to challenging themselves to make it even further this year.

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!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Cory Ellis is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where he studied music education, performance, and music industry leadership. He is a founding member and former musical director of The NIU Huskie Hunks, the first all-male a cappella group on campus. Cory led The Hunks to perform at the VoiceJam A Cappella Festival in Arizona, as well as the National A Cappella Convention in Tennessee. In addition to his a cappella contributions to NIU, Cory was also the head drum major of The Pride of the Midwest, the Huskie marching band, and a member of the world-renowned NIU Steelband.

Melanie Aue 
is a 2005 graduate of Michigan State University, where she earned a degree in vocal performance and education. There, she was proud to perform with Capital Green, which at the time was MSU's only co-ed a cappella group. While living in Baltimore, Melanie co-founded and directed the co-ed group Boh Re Mi. After moving back to Michigan, she helped found Avenue A Cappella, and continues to direct and sing with that group. Melanie also finds time to be the vocal director and act in various shows with the Downriver Actors Guild. Highlights include vocal directing “The Full Monty,” “Chicago,” and “Heathers” and performing in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Sister Act,” and “Heathers.”

Eric Neuenschwander 
currently serves as a choral director at Eastmoor Academy, a High School in Columbus City Schools. A proud 2011 graduate of The Ohio State University, Eric co-founded and music directed the group Majors & minors and created an organization to help other a cappella groups form, four of which have qualified for ICCA thus far. Since graduating, Eric stays connected with Ohio State a cappella by helping the various groups prepare for competition season. He is continually amazed at how far these groups have come since 2009 and cannot wait to see what they will accomplish in the years ahead. In college, Eric performed with The Ohio State Men's Glee Club, The Statesman, The Ohio State Chorale, and OSU Athletic Band, all while pursuing his Bachelor of Music Education. His time with a student-led group, Off The Lake Productions, instilled a passion for musical theatre that has shaped him as a performer. Eric continues to perform onstage and in the pit for various community theatre productions in Central Ohio, and has spent the last five years as a regular performer at The Black Box Improv in Dayton, performing improvisational comedy and musicals.

John Bragle
is a former member and coach of The Michigan State University Accafellas. He provided a cappella arrangements for MSU’s Capital Green and The Friars, as well as SUNY Buffalo’s Royal Pitches. He found his college a cappella singing experience very influential in training to be a musician and is happy to have the opportunity to give back. He joined the Interlochen Arts Academy faculty as Director of Choir and Instructor of Voice in 2008. Previously, he was Director of Choirs for the Williamston Community Schools in Williamston, Mich. John has been on the Interlochen Arts Camp faculty as an Instructor of Choral Arts since 2005. In the past, he has been a visiting professor at Northwestern Michigan College, assistant director of the Michigan State University Men's Glee Club, and Director of Choirs at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in East Lansing.

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.

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 placing group advances to ICHSA Finals!

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