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

 

Galvin Middle School
Saturday, February 10, 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 18 Wheelers hails from The Wheeler School, in Providence, R.I. They enjoy sharing their music with other schools in the Northeast, as well as singing to raise awareness and funding for various nonprofit organizations. Throughout the years, they’ve won tracks on BOHSA compilation and the Contemporary A Cappella Society’s (CASA) acclaimed compilation, SING. In addition, they have appeared on WGBH’s “Sing That Thing!,” a television series designed to showcase the best choirs in the greater Boston area, and participated in many ICHSA competitions. With ICHSA, they have made it to Finals twice, and placed in the Quarterfinal and Semifinal levels multiple times over the past 20 years. 

Founded in 2016, The Crescendos is Chelmsford High School's female a cappella group. In their first year, they performed at numerous school and community events, including their first competitive experience at the Salem Pitch Trials. This will be their first ICHSA season, and they are so excited to perform alongside wonderful groups from the Northeast region.

DaChords is a co-ed a cappella group from Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H. DaChords has members from all four grades and is entirely student-run and student-arranged. They are one of three a cappella groups at Hanover High and perform in three school concerts throughout the year. DaChords members come from many different social circles but share a love of freedom, food, and free food. This is their third year participating in the ICHSA and they’re thrilled to be back!

Encore proudly hails from Whitinsville Christian School in central Massachusetts. Directed by Joshua Lawson, Encore has performed jazz, pop, R&B, rock, musical theatre, and gospel music. Encore engages in dozens of performances throughout the New England region every year, and has toured Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, Providence, and Boston. Notable performances include the Lincoln Memorial, DCU Center, Jefferson Memorial, Mass Mutual Center, Massachusetts State House, and highly praised anthem performances at numerous MIAA playoff games. Massachusetts State Senator Ryan Fattman has remarked that Encore is "the pride of the Blackstone Valley...bringing absolute joy to all those listening," while Rotary International Director Dr. Julia D. Phelps called them "flawless" and their performance "a special gift." In 2016, Encore became the first vocal group in recent memory to perform in the well of the Massachusetts Senate during a full budget session. Encore was honored to make it into ICHSA Quarterfinals last year and is thrilled to be back!

The Photosymphonizers is from the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, Mass. Being a STEM school, they don’t have a music program, but this group is student-run and all of its arrangements are created by its members. This diverse group of individuals also puts together diverse music selections, with anything from pop mashups to alternative songs. Although they aren’t the biggest club at school, they work together to create as beautiful a sound as they can. They perform in front of their school at Arts Nights in the winter and spring, and in assemblies throughout the year. Their name, Photosymphonizers, is a pun on “photosynthesis” and “symphony.” The name gets laughs from others, but it’s a part of their identity and specific to their group, reminding them that although they come from a STEM background, you can always find a symphony in science. While they might not have all the credentials that make up a more experienced team, this close group of friends loves what they do and has fun while doing it.

Wakefield High School's She Major is all-female contemporary a cappella group from Wakefield, Mass. Formed in 2014, the group is partially student-run, with a student director and co-choreographers. They have collaborated with groups such as The Exchange, Ithacappella, WitchPitch, Voices of Steel, and The Northern Lights. In 2017, She Major placed 3rd at ICHSA Semifinals.

The Subway Dwarves, in its 17th year, is Needham’s oldest and male-iest a cappella group. Their name, Subway Dwarves, is a play on a musical term, and they want to see who can figure it out by the end of the night! The Dwarves are returning to the ICHSA for the second time with a vengeance, after placing runner-up in their 2015 Semifinal. When they aren’t riding the subway, The Dwarves are often observed eating Comellas pizza, wearing ski boots to concerts, and opposing those who rebel in the name of treble. The Dwarves perform at a variety of events throughout the year, and you can find out when those are on their Facebook page (cleverly titled “The Subway Dwarves"). They have worked very hard to create fun and compelling performances, are ecstatic to be here, and hope you enjoy the music they have to share with you tonight!

The Thursdays is Chelmsford High School's first a cappella group, founded in 2014. They are excited to embark on their third ICHSA season, having represented the Northeast at Finals in 2017. The Thursdays have appeared on WGBH's "Sing That Thing" and were ranked a winning group at the 2017 N.E. Voices festival.

Established in 2009, Voices of Steel is the co-ed a cappella group from Wakefield High School, in Wakefield, Mass. As a semi-student-run group, they arrange most of their own music and use all original choreography. They have collaborated with groups such as the The Exchange, The Nor'easters, and Ithacappella, and have worked with Deke Sharon, Kevin Guest, and Caleb Whelden. They love to make music almost as much as they love their red Converse.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Monty Hill is no stranger to a cappella. A longtime fan of groups such as The Blenders and Rockappella, he always longed to be a member of one himself. After earning his degree in vocal music performance and education, Monty became a high school teacher and created three a cappella groups in his school, one of which eventually evolved into a fully credited class. He enjoys singing baritone for his own group, Ball in the House, as they travel across the country to spread the good news of a cappella!

Andrea Asuaje is an alumna of No Southern Accent, University of Florida's first mixed a cappella group, with whom she was a member for four years and served as music director for three. After college, Andrea worked as the social media manager for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and became a founding member and bass for the group, Jaded. As an a cappella grown-up, she spreads her passion for vocal music by conducting master classes and covering the art form via audio and online journalism. Andrea is currently a radio associate producer at WGBH and an independent podcast producer in Boston. She sings alto (and sometimes tenor) with The Jameson Singers in Belmont.

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 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

Elliott von Wendt was born in raised in a musical family. After learning violin, viola, and piano, Elliott began his arranging career in high school. Through this practice, he developed a love of vocal and instrumental music that would grow into his profession as well as passion. Elliott developed his a cappella career at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., where he took the reins as music director for the school’s all­-male group, The CharlieChords. During his tenure, he guided them from modest beginnings to ultimately placing at the 2015 Northeast ICCA­ Semifinal. Since graduating, Elliott continues to mentor and arrange for many groups in the Boston area and beyond. He currently serves as music director, arranger, and bass for The Nor’easters, most recently leading them to to their win at the 2017 ICCA Finals.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank UMass Lowell Hawkapella, Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Smith, Director of Performing Arts Thomas Bankert, Principal Richard Metropolis, Wakefield Music Boosters, GMS Custodial Staff, WHS Tri-M, WHS Student Volunteers, Caleb Whelden, and Tim Fahey; 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