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 SEMIFINAL

 

Northern Highlands Regional High School 
Saturday, March 24, 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

 

Highlands Voices is from Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, N.J. “The Voices,” as they are called around the school, were featured on Season 1 of Lifetime’s “Pitch Slapped.” They were the winners of the first-ever National A Cappella Convention Competition in 2015, consecutive ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Champions from 2011-2016, and ICHSA 2014 National Champions. They have performed in workshops for NAfME, NJMEA, and Bergen Teen Arts, and they host the Highlands A Cappella Festival each year. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @highlandsvoices.

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 the set!

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!

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!

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.

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!

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 Highlands Belles have made their home at Northern Highlands Regional High School. The Belles are honored to participate in another ICHSA, and are the defending 2014 ICHSA New England Regional Champions. The Belles have also competed in the SingStrong Festival in Chicago and had the privilege of singing the national anthem at the MetLife Stadium for a Jets/Patriots game. Last year, The Belles placed 3rd in their Quarterfinal, and are excited to share their hard work and perform for you tonight! They wish good luck to all the groups and  are excited to make tonight aca-awesome! Follow them on Twitter @highlandesbelles and Instagram @thehighlandsbelles.

Vocal Synergy 
is the premier a cappella group from Dwight Morrow High School and the Academies @ Englewood in Englewood, N.J. It is composed of 22 young men and women ranging from 14 to 19 years of age. They sing a cappella locally, at school and community events, and were chosen to sing with Kenny Rogers at his Christmas Show at BergenPAC in Englewood in 2015. Their diverse musical interests range from renaissance to jazz to contemporary. Vocal Synergy is also driven to use their talents philanthropically, and for the past five years, they have been featured as a group and as soloists in an event called Cabaret for a Cause. During this time, they have raised about $7,000 for organizations including the Make a Wish Foundation, Save the Children, and a local food bank. They also break down into smaller groups for Valentine’s Day to sell sing-a-grams and donate the proceeds to Operation Smile. For this particular activity, they write their own arrangements of the songs that they perform. This year, the group is already planning an event to raise money for Puerto Rico, which suffered inconceivably from Hurricane Maria. Vocal Synergy brings a unique combination of diverse backgrounds to the stage, translating  into a passionate, enlightening, and authentic performances. They are very excited to be competing in their first ICHSA.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Grammy-winning conductor and singer Frank Albinder directs the Washington Men’s Camerata, the Virginia Glee Club at UVA, and the Woodley Ensemble. A native of Hollywood, Calif., Frank holds degrees from Pomona College and the New England Conservatory of Music. He was Director of Choral Activities at Davidson College in the mid-1980s, and for 11 years, he was a singer, associate conductor, and finally acting director of the world-renowned vocal ensemble, Chanticleer. During his tenure with the group, Frank performed in all 50 states and in 20 foreign countries. He appears on 21 of the ensemble’s recordings, including Wondrous Love, which was recorded under his direction, and the Grammy-winning Colors of Love, for which he designed the concept and selected the repertoire. Other performance credits include the Boston Camerata, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, the Washington Bach Consort, and the Concord Ensemble. He recently served two terms as the National Chair of Repertoire and Standards for Male Choirs for the American Choral Director's Association, and sang for 12 years as part of the professional music staff at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, and the Church of the Presidents. Frank is currently President of Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses, a member of the steering committee for ChoralNet, the online portal for information and resources relating to the choral field, and the D.C. representative of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. 

Marc Silverberg is an adjunct professor at Five Towns College and former Director of Education for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA). He is the author of “Quest for the A Cappella Major,” a blog that discusses the continuing education of contemporary a cappella music and group improvisation. He has presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several CASA.org sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, the Nassau County PEAK Festival, as well as the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 national convention. His Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, Satellite Lane, was crowned the 2013 and 2014 New York Harmony Sweepstakes Audience Favorite, and he won Best Arrangement in the 2013 and 2016 Harmony Sweepstakes competitions. Under his pseudonym “Docacappella,” he has released several humorous a cappella parodies, including “I’ll Never Be In Pentatonix,” which was nominated for a 2016 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA). In addition to being an a cappella clinician, conductor, and performer, he also writes original musicals and plays. His original work, “He’s Not Himself,” premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Westminster Choir College.

Kyle Yampiro 
holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from James Madison University and is the visiting Assistant Professor of voice for the University of Memphis musical theatre program. A native of Long Island, N.Y., he has performed with numerous opera and musical theatre companies across the country, most recently with The Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio and Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, Fla. He music directed University of Delaware’s Vocal Point as an undergraduate, and JMU's Exit 245 while earning his master's degree. With Exit 245, he contributed to the CARA-winning album, Boyfriend Material, from which his solo track, "Cinema," was also featured on compilation albums BOCA 2013, Voices Only 2013, and SING 10. He currently serves as a reviewer for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), a judge for the ICCA, CARAs, and AVAs, and a performer with Memphis-based CAL group, DeltaCappella.

Originally from Tallahassee, Fla., Caitlin Nelson graduated from Florida State University, where she majored in music and sang with All Night Yahtzee, FSU’s premier co-ed a cappella group. During her years in All Night Yahtzee, Caitlin served as an arranger and choreographer, and received Outstanding Choreography awards at her 2007 ICCA Quarterfinal, Semifinal, as well as 2008 ICCA Finals, at which All Night Yahtzee placed 2nd. Caitlin’s voice was featured on Voices Only 2009, singing Ben Folds’ “Missing the War” with All Night Yahtzee. Since graduating, she has served as music director of Boston’s The 508s, the founder and music director of Seattle’s Shot in the Dark, and as music director of New York’s Empire A Cappella. She currently serves as music director for Concrete, a mixed-voice vocal band based in New York. In addition to arranging for and performing with Concrete, she is a member of the Founder’s Board for the CAL.

Brittany Taman first became involved in a cappella during high school through Evan Powers, her choir director and founder of Florida State University's Reverb. Brittany matriculated to FSU, where she sang with the all-female a cappella group, The AcaBelles. Since joining AcaBelles in her sophomore year, Brittany has won awards for her choreography, been prominently featured in The Belles' viral cover of "Royals,” worked on the CARA-winning album, Rebel, helped her group to become the 2014 SoJam Champions, and represented AcaBelles in the docu-series, "Sing It On.” Since 2017, she has served as the social media fellow for The Betsy’s A Cappella Festival in Miami, Fla. Currently, Brittany lives and works in New York City as a public relations associate at Manhattan School of Music and is part of the semi-profressional group, The MetroChords.

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