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 NORTHEAST QUARTERFINAL

 

Danvers High School
Friday, February 3, 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

 

Dynamix is Foxborough Regional Charter School’s select high school a cappella group and chorus, composed of students in grades 9-12. Primarily a contemporary a cappella group, this co-ed ensemble prepares for several performances throughout the school year, such as the annual Winter Concert before winter break and the Celebrate the Arts showcase in the spring. Dynamix can also be seen performing at school pep rallies and other school spirit events. In this academic school year, Dynamix will be working on their pop music and holiday repertoire and will also be working towards presenting their first musical theatre show, an adaptation of Disney’s “Moana,” tentatively planned for the end of the school year. Dynamix practices during the school day and after school hours to prepare for competitions and adjudications. Dynamix is a participating ensemble in the Great East Festival. If you would like Dynamix to perform at your event, please contact FRCS’s High School Choral Director, Melissa Salcedo via email at msalcedo@foxboroughrcs.org.

Falconize is Danvers High School's co-ed a cappella group composed of students grades 9-12. Falconize rehearses during the school day and performs and competes both nationally and locally. Past performances include placing 3rd at the 2015 ICHSA Finals, singing the national anthem at Fenway Park in 2016, and regular local events / school concerts. Falconize's recordings have been selected to multiple BOHSA compilations and been nominated for multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).

The Jewel Tones is a co-ed a cappella group from Marblehead High School. Founded in 2003, the group has since shared its music with the community and beyond. The Jewel Tones have participated in many competitions, including ICHSA and New England Voices. Over the years, the group has participated in other exciting endeavors, such as performing at Governor Baker's Inaugural Ball. The Jewel Tones released a joint EP, C105, with Luminescence in September 2017. Find C105 on iTunes and Spotify. Be sure to follow The Jewel Tones on instagram @mhsthejeweltones.

Luminescence, an all-female a cappella group from Marblehead High School, was founded in 2005 and has been entertaining audiences ever since. From a competitive standpoint, the group received awards for Outstanding Choreography and Soloist (ICHSA and N.E. Voices) and won the N.E. Voices competition (2014). Over the years, the group has partaken in other exciting endeavors, such as performing at Governor Baker's Inaugural Ball. Luminescence released a joint EP, C105, with The Jewel Tones in September 2017. Find C105 on iTunes and Spotify. Be sure to follow Luminescence on Instagram (@mhsluminescence)

The Newtones is Newton South's oldest student-run co-ed a cappella group. One of three a cappella groups at South, they specialize in pop music. They were founded in 1998 by a group of young and talented musicians looking to expand Newton South's music scene. Totally self-sufficient, The Newtones arrange music and organize events without any assistance from a faculty advisor. They love caroling during the holidays in the greater Boston area and they find time to do fun activities like apple-picking or ice-skating at least once a month. They like to say that they are a group of friends that just happened to form an a cappella group.

NOTEorious began as a part-time club in 2008 and has grown in the years since. As a semi-student-run activity, NOTEorous has participated in “Sing That Thing” on WGBH and won runner-up at the 2017 Haunted Harmonies competition, along with special awards for Best Costume and Best Arrangement. Last year, they also won Outstanding Arrangement at ICHSA Quarterfinals and performed at numerous festivals and concerts throughout the Northeast. Their love of flash-mobs is shadowed only by their love of ice-cream. Copious amounts of ice-cream.

The Sachimes, Saugus High School's first and only a cappella group, is officially two years old as of January 2018! Though a small group for high school, The Sachimes pack a punch with their unique soloists, a bass that is a professional dancer, and an Instagram-famous beatboxer! The Sachimes is a busy group, performing and competing as often as possible. At previous competitions, they have won Outstanding Soloist twice, and Outstanding Vocal Percussion numerous times. They are excited to compete in ICHSA for the second time, and are pumped to show everyone how much they have improved in a year!

Take 5 is a five-member group composed of students from the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn. Formed in September 2017, this new a cappella group sings mainly pop songs. All of the members have previously performed together in musicals, a cappella groups, and choirs at the school. Although this will be the group’s first ICHSA season, the group consists of seasoned leaders of the Loomis a cappella group, The Acapelicans, and the musical performance group, Musical Review. Individually, each member brings valuable experience. Alexa was a leader of The Acapelicans for two of her three years in the group. This is Cameron’s first time in an a cappella group, but she has participated in the CMEA Northern region and all-state choruses. Noah is also new to a cappella, but he has performed in the CMEA Northern regional chorus, and is a two-time member of the NAFME national choir. Josh has also been in charge of The Acapelicans for two years and has also participated in the CMEA Northern region chorus. Logan has been beatboxing for two years, but he is primarily a singer, with experience in the CMEA Northern region and all-state choruses, as well as the ACDA Eastern choir and two other a cappella groups. This tournament will be the group's first time performing together, and they are excited to show you what they can bring to the stage!

The story of The Town Criers begins with a group of friends who simply loved to sing together. After rehearsing infrequently over the course of a year, the boys had over a dozen songs that they had arranged and could perform by the summer of 1976. Fast forward 41 years later and Weston High School's favorite a cappella group is still holding true to its core values of being student-run, sheet-music-free, and putting entertainment first. With a blend of highly choreographed energetic medleys and slow crooning soul sounds, The Town Criers has established itself as a premier example of student-run high school a cappella. In addition to their focus on harmonies and sound, the guys pride themselves on enjoying themselves onstage and keeping the audience as entertained as possible. Criers performed in 2015 at the ICHSA Semifinals and they’re very excited perform again with so many other talented groups. The group has been able to perform at a very high level with no funding from their school and only having rehearsals outside of class. They look forward to seeing what people have to say about their performance tonight!

WitchPitch is Salem High School’s first a cappella group, formed in 2009, while the current director was in the group as a student. They compete and perform as much as possible, with multiple appearances at ICHSA and the Pitch Trials. They even performed for President Barack Obama! They are incredibly excited to have a chance at ICHSA again this year!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Allie Spurling has been involved with a cappella since 1994. At James Madison University, Allie started the school's first co-ed a cappella group, The JMU Overtones. The group appeared on BOCA in 1998. After graduating, Allie started The Flint Hill Major Minors, a co-ed high school group in Fairfax, Va., and directed them from 2001-2005. The group appeared on BOHSA for multiple years. When Allie returned to her New England roots, she co-directed an all-female group at the Wheeler School for three years, and directed and advised a co-ed group at the Moses Brown School for three years. In addition, Allie runs workshops and arranges for high school and college groups up and down the East Coast and mentors high school groups through the process of recording an album.

Amy Malkoff is the Media Director of the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA), Marketing Director for the A Cappella Education Association, and one of the producers of Haunted Harmonies in Salem, Mass. Amy served on the board and as web content director for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and is a longtime ICHSA/ICCA judge, as well as a certified judge for other events. She is a frequent workshop teacher, master clinician, writer, designer, runner of social media campaigns (www.amymalkoff.com), and a singer/songwriter and studio musician (www.amymalkoffmusic.com). She was a founding member of award-winning groups All About Buford and Deadline Poet, and has appeared onstage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonathan Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University and master’s-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy's music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels. @amalkoff 

Matt Goldstein fell in love with a cappella in high school when he arranged and founded his own group. He went on to attend Vassar College for music and drama, and continued his a cappella adventures as a member of The Vassar Devils. He became the group’s music director as a sophomore, and after only seven months, he transformed them from a group that had never placed at an ICCA Quarterfinal into the Northeast Champion at the 2015 ICCA Finals. In his next three years as music director, he led the group on to win 1st place at BOSS, to record their first professional album, Coming Alive, and even to perform for President and First Lady Obama at the White House. Matt was featured with The Devils on the POP TV docu-series “Sing It On." Matt’s work with The Devils has garnered him numerous awards, including Outstanding Arrangement at the ICCA, BOSS, and SoJam, multiple CARA nominations, and featured tracks on BOCA, Sing!, and Voices Only. He arranges for YouTube star Malinda Kathleen Reese (the “Google Translate Sings” girl) and currently sings professionally as a member of Cape Cod’s all-male a cappella group, Hyannis Sound.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Caleb Whelden, Alex Grover, Alabaster Blue, and the parents, faculty, and staff of Danvers High School; 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 Northeast 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