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

 

La Plata High School
Saturday, February 3, 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 Acabellas is an all-female a cappella group at Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. Founded in 2008, they describe themselves as “sassy and classy,” and enjoy singing and performing. They love to stretch themselves with different genres of music. They perform throughout the school year at competitions, school performances, and throughout the community. The Acabellas bring a modern, fun energy to their songs with creative choreography that keeps the audience entertained. The group is based on sisterly love and the girls work hard to achieve a high level of excellence and show that girls are strong and powerful.

The Chromatics is the co-ed a cappella group at Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. Currently in their second year, they are a supergroup combination of multiple talented co-ed groups at Wootton High School. Combining forces, The Chromatics focus on all kinds of music and put their own unique twist on every genre. The group’s wide-ranging musical influences and diverse group members make them a powerhouse. They look forward to making a name for themselves and pride themselves on bringing emotion to every performance.

The Dobbs 16 is a co-ed contemporary a cappella ensemble from The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. This group of wandering minstrels takes pride in demonstrating the joy and connectivity that singing together creates. When not rehearsing and performing together, they are typically still found singing together!

Dragon Scales is a co-ed a cappella group from Appomattox Regional Governor's Scales for the Performing Arts and Technology. This diverse group loves singing for their school, community, and ICHSA competitions. They pride themselves on entertaining performances with their powerful voices.

Hall Pass is the flagship middle school a cappella group at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School. Don't let their age or energy fool you into thinking they don't work hard! This group is on a mission to get many other a cappella groups started at the middle school level, and hopes that last year’s coaching from Deke Sharon and Diana Preisler with Blue Jupiter pays  off as they shoot for new goals. They come from a diverse background of people, including dancers, singers, actors, instrumentalists, artists, gymnasts, and sportists. Or is it sporters? Oh well! It doesn’t matter - they have a Hall Pass to say it however they want, because they’re creative like that. They love meeting new people, singing at other venues, and making food disappear faster than you can make an analogy about it. This year, they hope to record an EP, sing a lot, and most of all, double the amount of middle school a cappella groups to perform at their spring concert. They wish everyone good luck in the aca-world and encourage you to call on them if you need a Hall Pass. They have what it takes!

A tribute to their mascot, the Spartans, The Spartones hail from St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Md. Still fresh, The Spartones formed three years ago as the new school, St. Charles, was built. The Spartones have performed with Blue Jupiter, Ball in the House, FreePlay Duo, and Pitches Be Crazy. They have also appeared at Singstrong D.C., where they took home the 3rd place trophy and awards for Best Arrangement, Best Vocal Percussion, and Best Male Soloist. This high-energy group will wow audiences to their feet and leave them wanting more.

The 2005 formation of The Supertonics from Rockville, Md., was the start of a cappella at Wootton High School. As the school’s first a cappella group, this all-male ensemble sings a mixture of current songs and classics. The Supertonics has guys involved in all aspects of high school, from varsity athletics to theatre productions, and prides itself on performing with soul and a sick beat. The diversity of the individuals within The Supertonics provides the group with a mixture of talent and energy. They have performed throughout their region at school events and community performances. They pride themselves on inspiring younger boys to continue singing throughout their education and their sportsmanship is always high energy and memorable. There’s a reason they don’t call them The Regulartonics!

The UnAccompanied Minors is the first a cappella group to grace Bowie High School. This student-run group incorporates fun and emotion into all of its songs. So far, every song they’ve performed has been student-arranged. Want an example of their fun?  Here’s a joke: What did the Bartender say to G, Bb, and D as they walked in? “Sorry, we don't serve unaccompanied minors here!”

La Plata High School's Unplugged is an award-winning, high-energy a cappella group that loves spreading happiness through song. Founded in 2009, Unplugged has not only captured audiences' hearts, but has been honored as a 2014 ICHSA Finalist and a 2017 ICHSA Semifinalist. Additionally, Unplugged has released several tracks on iTunes and was included on the 2016 BOHSA compilation. The group is most proud of their work in the community, where they raise money for local and national charities through their Coffee House concerts. Get ready to rock out and have a blast tonight with Unplugged!

Vocal Resolution is the first a cappella group established at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, N.J. They transformed from an after-school select chamber choir into a modern a cappella group in 2013, and they started participating in ICHSA in 2016. The members of Vocal Resolution love finding new ways to make awesome music with just their voices. When three or more Vocal Resolution members are gathered, you can often hear spontaneous bursts of song in Highland's hallways. The organic art form of a cappella music is more than just a hobby or form of entertainment for this group; it is therapeutic and essential to life. They are so grateful for this opportunity to perform and look forward to meeting others who share a similar passion for singing. Above all, Vocal Resolution is resolved to share their joy for singing in this musical journey.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Penn., Amanda Cornaglia started her a cappella career as musical director of Special K at Hamilton College. After graduation, she moved to rural Japan for four years, where she founded, trained, and performed with the award-winning international a cappella group, The Amigos. Upon moving to the D.C. area in 2005, Amanda founded and continues to perform with the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, Euphonism, as well as Snowday, a group that provides a cappella educational programs all over the world. She is the managing partner of Clear Harmonies Productions, president of CAL, and she served on the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) Board of Directors from 2010-2015.

Tony Wang sang with The Washington University Sensasians from 2011 to 2015. During his one and a half-year stint as music director, Tony led the newly-found group to their first-ever ICCA competition, where his arrangement of "Human" won Best Arrangement. Tony's love of music began on the piano, but continued through voice, guitar, and percussion, as well as arranging. Since graduation, Tony has stayed involved in the a cappella community, serving as a musical adviser for his former group and singing with a recreational a cappella group. Tony is an avid music theory junkie and vocal percussionist, and would love to trade some beats with anyone who asks tonight!

Dr. James Reddan is director of choral activities and choral music education at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., where he conducts the University Chorale, Chamber Singers, vocal jazz ensemble, and is artistic advisor for two vocal a cappella ensembles, Xenharmonics and BelleTones. Ensembles under James’ direction have been featured at local, regional, national, and international conventions and choral festivals, including the ICCA. His ensembles have performed at Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin), Royal Academy of Music (London), Beijing Conservatory of Music (Beijing, PRC), the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and won a World Championship in the Mixed Chamber Choir Category at the eighth World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia in 2014. He has appeared as adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, presenter, and panel member throughout the United States. In 2010, James received the Special Citation for Excellence in Music Education from the American Prize in Choral Conducting.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Denise Childers, the La Plata High School Adminstrative Staff, the LPHS Building Service Staff, the LPHS Faculty and Staff Volunteers, the LPHS SGA/English Honor Society, Tara Larkin, Brooke Shnipes, Jennifer Joyner, Unplugged Parents, and our emcee, Austin Gore; 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 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