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 MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Grunin Center for the Arts
Saturday, January 27, 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 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 Edgertones is an all-girl group from The Hun School, a boarding/day school located on Edgerstoune Road in Princeton, N.J. This diverse group of singers, scholars, athletes, actors, and artists has come together to form a devoted family and true sisterhood. Highlights from recent years include winning their first competition grand prize and two Best Soloist prizes, having their first studio recording session, competing on the Lifetime reality show, "Pitch Slapped," singing for members of the cast of "Jersey Boys" on their Broadway stage, and most recently, opening for the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

LumeNAtion is from Newark Academy in Livingston, N.J. This is the group’s third year in the ICHSA! Last year, the group placed 2nd at Quarterfinals and went on to compete in Semifinals. The group is incredibly excited to perform for you and hopes you enjoy their set!

Rebelation, from Howell High School in Farmingdale, NJ is proud to expand into a mixed aca-group this year! After advancing to the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Semifinal two years ago, they are back and ready to go! This amazing vocal ensemble contains students from many different activities, especially instrumentalists from Howell High School's Marching Rebels. Many of the arrangements are student generated, and Rebelation looks forward to another year of singing for their community and beyond!

Remix is a brand-new a cappella group at Montclair Kimberley Academy. They began this past September after holding auditions the last week of August. They were happy with a large turnout, and excited for the group that came together. Their first two performances included one at school and one in a benefit for Cycle for Survival. The new group chose a pop music repertoire for the year, and meet one night a week to rehearse. They have a director, but also have member responsibilities and committees to run the group. They are very excited for their first ICHSA!

Scarlet Sound is Neptune High School's first-ever a cappella group. Since its inception three years ago, the group has garnered numerous state and regional accolades including Superior ratings at the N.J. State Teen Arts Festival. In addition to numerous local performances, Scarlet Sound has performed at Walt Disney World and has recently been asked to perform for the N.J. Commissioner of Education. Still in its infancy, Scarlet Sound is eager to grow as an ensemble and is excited for this opportunity to join the upper echelon of high school a cappella.

Soulfege A Cappella is Millburn High School's student-led a cappella group. The group performs throughout the community and holds various fundraisers and events over the course of the academic year. This is Soulfege's fourth time competing in the ICHSA. In 2015 and 2017, the group took home the award for Outstanding Arrangement, as well as 2nd place at Quarterfinals last year. In addition to music, Soulfege takes pride in its activism, having raised over $2,000 for Tunes to Teens, a charity that donates music supplies to underprivileged schools. To further support music access and appreciation, the group teaches a cappella classes to students at local elementary schools. Soulfege was featured on the Lifetime television show, “Pitch Slapped,” and some of its favorite performances include the New Jersey Delegation of the Democratic National Convention and opening for Vocalosity at the Bucks County Playhouse. Soulfege is thankful for its success and eager to see what the future holds!

The Tri-Tones was first created in 2015 by director Michelle Lombarski. She first created the name of this group for a college project; little did she know that one day she would be working at Triton Regional High School, where this would be the perfect name for the school’s first-ever a cappella group. Over the past two years, they have entered three competitions and have left with 1st place trophies at two of them. These competitions include the Musical Carousel competition in 2016, and the Music in the Parks competition in 2017, where they won 1st in their division and 1st overall. Besides competing, The Tri-Tones perform at both the holiday and spring school concerts, at the oldest Vietnam memorial in the country, each Memorial Day, at graduations, town meetings, board meetings, and anywhere that may call for a group of carolers. They sing a plethora of songs and genres, but focus mostly on pop music through the years. Each individual voice has a one-of-a-kind sound, which makes a solid foundation for the group. Put together, each voice becomes an important piece to a musical puzzle, and that puzzle is only complete with each piece there. Over the past two years, the group has grown into more than just a club. It has become a home where lifelong friendships are built, and an outlet for dedicated and talented singers to meet each week to sing their hearts out. They are excited and humbled to be here and are grateful for this opportunity!

Varsity Vocals is the premier a cappella group at Carteret High School. Founded only two years ago, Varsity Vocals has performed locally, regionally, and statewide at Carteret Borough Town Hall, Charity Events, Robert Wood Johnson, New York City- Bryant Park, on the field for the Trenton Thunder, and more.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Marcus Thompson has been involved in contemporary a cappella since 2013. During his tenure as director of The Highlands Belles, the group was named New England Semifinal Champion and placed 4th at the ICHSA Finals in New York City. The following year, The Belles won the title of 2015 SingStrong Chicago High School Champion. The Belles’ rendition of "Cosmic Love" was selected for the 2016 BOHSA compilation album. Marcus also founded and co-directed Sirens A Cappella, which placed 3rd in its 2017 ICHSA Quarterfinal. In addition to directing, he served as a clinician for the 2016 Northern Highlands A Cappella Festival. Marcus has arranged music for The Highlands Belles, Sirens, and Leading Tones.

After winning the ICHSA championship title in 2010 with Limited Edition, Brian Brammer went on to earn his B.M. in commercial vocal performance from Belmont University in 2014. Brian has been performing professionally around the United States and Europe for nearly a decade, including work at theme parks, corporate events, industrials, and cruise ships. Brian was a member of the ensemble, Company, at Belmont University for three years, which sings both a cappella and accompanied music. Brian has studied and worked on jazz music with many renowned directors and arrangers in the industry, including Steve Zegree, Kirby Shaw, and Sandra Dudley.

Carissa Pietsch is a proud mezzo-soprano who performs with a variety of ensembles in the Philadelphia area, including collegiate a cappella, semi-professional choirs, and ukulele groups. She fostered her a cappella career at Elizabethtown College by arranging for the all-female group, Melica. Her arrangements helped redefine the group as they evolved their sound from sweet to sassy. Carissa arranges and occasionally writes original songs for guitar and voice. During the day, Carissa changes diapers for two adorable children, but she continues to practice music by night as she prepares to become a board-certified music therapist.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Mark Wilson, Michelle Young, and the production team at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts; The One Voice Parents Association of Howell High School, Mr. Jeremy Braverman, Principal of Howell High School, Mr. Charles Sampson, Superintendent of the Freehold Regional High School district, Emcee Russel Kohlmann, and the national tour cast of The RockNRoll Chorus; 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 the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic 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