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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

560 Music Center
Sunday, February 4, 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 Cat's Meow is a mixed a cappella group from Licking, Mo., home of the Wildcats. Only in its second year as a group, this clowder of cats was drawn together by a shared love of music. They represent a wide range of students, everything from smart cats, sporty cats, cheer cats to, of course, jazzy cats. Growing up in a small, rural community with a funny name, these cats are proving every day that they aren't your average alley cats!

Girls Night Out is Warrenton High School's all-female a cappella ensemble. GNO was formed in 2015 in response to the growing interest in contemporary a cappella at WHS. GNO is under the direction of Megan Petrie, who is in her second year with the group.

Maximum Forte is in its fifth year of existence and is based out of Charleston High School of Charleston, Ill. The group has been active in ICHSA the last few years participating in Quarterfinals in both Dekalb, Ill., and Centerville, Ohio, on top of annual appearances at the East Central Illinois Youth in Harmony Festival at Eastern Illinois University and the Kettering National A Cappella Festival in Kettering, Ohio. The group is particularly excited about their performance tour this spring to Nashville and Memphis. A student-led ensemble, the group takes pride in selecting repertoire for performance that they feel is both positive and empowering.

Pitch the Keys is Warrenton High School's original mixed a cappella ensemble. PTK, as they are informally known, is made up of students of all ages and levels of choir experience. The group was founded in 2012 as an after-school activity and has since become a staple in the Warrenton community.

Purple Reign is the only contemporary a cappella group in the United States which pays tribute to the musical legend Prince by not performing any of his music. This storied tradition continues tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Purple Reign.

KC A Cappella is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing a unique educational and musical experience for high school students around the Kansas City Metropolitan area. This organization houses the contemporary vocal a cappella group, SoundProof, in which ensemble members are introduced to the world of contemporary vocal a cappella and given the opportunity to grow as performers, vocalists, and musicians.

Sugar, spice and everything nice: these were the ingredients to create the perfect a cappella ensemble. Professor Jarrod Hendricks and his arm candy, Shawna Hendricks, accidentally added a few extra ingredients to the concoction: 50 cent corn dogs, a sprinkle of Beyoncé, and a package of Fajita mix. Thus, Tonal Uproar was created. Using their ultra singing powers, they have dedicated their lives to a cappella and bringing joy to those around them!

Treble in Paradise is in its second year of blissful existence at Parkway North. Amidst packed schedules, grueling coursework, and lack of sleep, these 17 talented high school students come together each Sunday night to sing their worries away. Ready for a group with pizazz, lightning quick dance steps, and an attitude that says "we're #1"? Get ready for the spirit and sound like no other: Treble in Paradise! 

VCR is a co-ed group hailing from Urbana High School in Urbana, Ill. The singers of VCR are known for their energy and fun onstage, as well as their passion offstage for things like theatre, stretching, all things Disney, and creating tie-dyed goods for each other. VCR likes to perform music from all genres, including but not limited to, musical theatre, hip-hop, indie music, and current radio hits.

Viva Voce is an all-female a cappella group from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 2016, Viva Voce is a musically talented, highly dedicated group of high school girls who come together to share their love of a cappella music with their peers and community. Currently, Viva Voce has 16 members with a variety of different interests, from ping-pong to computer science, but they unite through a common love of a cappella music. Outside of rehearsals, you can find Viva Voce sharing their music all over St. Louis.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Daniel Fister is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis studying musicology. He earned his undergraduate degree in vocal performance and music history at Chapman University, and his master’s degree in music history at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He has presented and written on collegiate a cappella, musical theatre, and other American music. Before his life as an academic, Daniel directed, sang, and arranged for Wilsonville High School’s Soul’d Out, leading them to the 2010 ICHSA Finals, and then for Chapman University’s SoundCheck, with whom he competed regularly in ICCA and directed  the production of their debut album, Everything (2012). He remains involved in a cappella as a judge and arranger.

Jamie Perkins received a B.A. in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang for four years as a member of The Amateurs, as well as Wash U's concert and chamber choirs. Jamie served as The Amateurs' music director for his final two years with the group before graduating in the spring of 2013. After graduating from Wash U, Jamie spent two years at Webster University, and earned a master's degree in choral conducting. At Webster, he sang with the Webster University Chamber Singers and worked as the assistant conductor for Webster's choirs. Jamie currently works for the Washington University Department of Music, and he is happy to back in the a cappella community as an ICCA judge. 

Braden Foreman holds a bachelor's degree in music - vocal performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree in student affairs administration with a concentration in teaching and learning from Michigan State University. At UNL, Braden competed in numerous ICCA competitions with The Bathtub Dogs and has advanced to Semifinals and won awards numerous times with the group. He also served as The Bathtub Dogs' president, business manager, and secretary during his tenure with the group. Braden has performed in musicals and operas, won regional awards in opera competitions, and was student director for the UNL show choir, Big Red Singers. Currently, Braden works at the University of Kansas as a Residence Life Complex Director where he oversees the creative arts and inclusion community, which uses artistic means to teach creativity, presentation, discussion, and reflection. Braden is also in charge of the residential curriculum, which promotes learning for self-efficacy as part of the residential experience. 

Kristine Gage received her B.A. in music from Saint Louis University and her B.M.E. in choral music education from Webster University. Her love affair with a cappella began in 2009 when she joined Beyond All Reason, an all-female group at SLU that she eventually directed. Not long after, Kristine co-founded the co-ed group, Decadence, and also served as its music director. At Webster, she sang and toured with The Chamber Singers, a group featured at state and national conferences and in an instructional DVD produced by GIA Publications. After graduating, she spent a year singing with the all-female, semi-professional a cappella quintet, Jaded. She now teaches elementary music to students in grades pre-K through 6 at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy. Kristine currently represents the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as the ambassador to all high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate a cappella groups in the state of Missouri, and teaches musical theatre classes at COCA.





SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Trent Snyder, Leah Alrutz, Alex Kreuger, the Ghost Lights, Liquid 5th productions, and 560 Music Center; 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 Midwest 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