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

 

Osseo Fairchild High School
Sunday, February 10, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

Founded in the fall of 2015, The Accidentals is an a cappella from Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, Minn. After a successful first season on campus, the group became an official part of the SWCHS music department and curriculum. Besides the obvious musical connotation, the group's name refers to how it started almost "by accident," on the whim of a few students who wanted to sing in an a cappella group and started asking around for members. The group performs at all the SWCHS music events and travels to schools and churches, sharing their "happy accident" with anyone who will listen.

The Accidentals is a 20-member, auditioned, a cappella vocal group based out of Arcadia High School in the small town of Arcadia, Wis. The group has freshmen through seniors, and they have become a true family, even though half of the group is new this year. The Accidentals are directed by Mrs. Pam Siewert, and they are excited to now have rehearsals during the school day. The cool thing about this group is that even though they are all involved in different activities, they come together to harmonize as one! They are called The Accidentals because they always look SHARP, their singing is a NATURAL talent, and their personalities are never FLAT.

The Danger Tones is an auditioned a cappella group from Osseo-Fairchild High School. The group was created in 2016 by director Aurora Krajnikconde, and the first-year members collectively chose the name. The group rehearses twice a week before school, and recently acquired enough handheld microphones for the whole group. Although The Danger Tones come from a very small high school, they are grateful for all of the generous support and enthusiasm from their fans and from the community. In the short time that The Danger Tones have been around, they have been fortunate to have already had numerous performance opportunities. In addition to the high school concerts, the group performs regularly at community events, Christmas events, and performs the national anthem for sporting events. In October 2017, The Danger Tones were invited to perform at UW-Eau Claire’s A Cappella Extravaganza, which features the university’s a cappella groups. Please contact their director if you would like The Danger Tones to perform for your event!

Harmonix is an all-female ensemble from Jordan High School. They have prepared a set tonight that showcases the journey of a relationship. From the butterflies felt in your stomach when you've fallen for someone, to wrong turns and actions regretted, from breakups and loss, to finally moving on and realizing that loving yourself is most important, the ladies of Harmonix hope you feel the joys and sorrows of love with them as they express this journey through song.

Minor Details is the first official a cappella group from Dover-Eyota High School, located in a town with a population of only about 2,000. A version of the group began several years back, but was not yet an auditioned group. Over the past two years, the group has stepped up its game by auditioning members and working almost solely on a capella music. While the group is currently focused on the pop style of a capella, they also perform classical choral music from the Renaissance and beyond! Many members of the group are also instrumentalists, thespians, athletes, high-achieving students, and hard workers at jobs outside of school. The group is eager to begin competing in a capella contests and has been rehearsing three times per week before school hours to prepare!

Out of the Blue is in its third year of existence and is excited for its first ICHSA! With the popularity of a cappella at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School, this is one of two a cappella groups at their school.

The Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knotes is in its sophomore year of existence and consists of 16 singers ranging from 10th to 12th grade. In a state known for show choirs, The Red Knotes are breaking into the world of a cappella in a LOUD fashion! They are already one of the premier groups in the twin cities and have performed all over the area. One of their goals as a group is to introduce a cappella into the state of Minnesota and continue to show the world how inspiring a cappella can be! They enjoy performing for all ages, singing at many community events and elementary schools. The Red Knotes just returned from touring New York City and flash mobbing in a variety of iconic locations!

Tonal Recall from Shell Lake, Wis. formed three years ago and consists of 15 to 16 high school students. Shell Lake High school is a small rural school in Northwest Wisconsin, with a school population of about 230. Before Tonal Recall, the previous a cappella group sang mostly jazz, so you can definitely see and hear that influence in their musical approach. They started to get into the a cappella movement last winter, after a trip to Galesville, Wis. There, they had a clinic with Robert Dietz, and got to hear other great a cappella groups perform. This festival was an eye-opener to our group, helping them form their identity as Tonal Recall and inspiring them to audition for their first ICHSA season. 

Vocal Point is a 15-member, auditioned, a cappella vocal band based out of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School, in Galesville, Wis. Previously dubbed Vocal Jazz, they took a new name in preparation for Interkultur's "World Choir Games," back in July 2012. Vocal Point has participated in the ICHSA for the past three years, finishing among the top 20 groups in the country each year and consistently receiving awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Vocal Percussion. In 2015, they were invited to take part in the first ever a cappella festival at Carnegie Hall, hosted by Deke Sharon, musical producer of the “Pitch Perfect” movies. In the spring of 2017, they won the ICHSA Wild Card round and were one of nine groups in the country competing at Finals in New York. Vocal Point placed 3rd and Ethan Giles took home the Outstanding Vocal Percussion award.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Kimberly Raschka Sailor is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), and she has written more than 300 reviews of high school, collegiate, and professional groups since 2005. A former ICCA Finalist, Kimberly is the co-founder and past president of the University of Southern California's Reverse Osmosis. Kimberly has also served as a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominator and judge. In addition to volunteering in the a cappella community, Kimberly is an author and elected school board member for the Mount Horeb Area School District in Wisconsin. 

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 

During his junior and senior years at the University of Minnesota, Avery Wong was a baritone and arranger for both 7days A Cappella and Basses Wild Men’s A Cappella. He has continued to arrange for those groups since 2015, along with the female group, The Enchantments. Avery has musical hobbies in addition to a cappella, including being an accompanist for classical vocal performers and picnic operettas.

Stephen Lanza has been referred to many times by his friends as a walking encyclopedia of a cappella music. He graduated from the University of Missouri in spring 2015. As a student, he ran the all-male group Add9 for four and a half years and was a member of Hitt Street Harmony, the contemporary music group through the School of Music, for a year and a half. In summer 2013, Stephen had the privilege of performing alongside “The Sing-Off” contestant Groove For Thought as a vocal percussionist during their exhibition performance at VoCALnation. Currently working as an industrial engineer in the Milwaukee area, Stephen continues his love of a cappella by writing for RARB and he has penned nearly 50 reviews since fall 2015. He is currently the music director for Focus, an extracurricular a cappella group at Port Washington High School and a member of the Chant Claire Chamber Choir.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jeff Chesebro, Osseo-Fairchild High School and Administrators, Aurora Krajnikconde, Trent Snyder, Alex Krueger, and Jacob Henry; 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