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

 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Friday, January 26, 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

 

Accent A Cappella is Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School's only co-ed a cappella group. Completely student-run, this group loves singing pop songs with jazzy features, though they probably spend most of their time talking about dogs and eating “hint of lime” chips. Last year, they advanced to ICHSA Semifinals, winning Outstanding Vocal Percussion at Quarterfinals and Outstanding Soloist at both Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Accent is truly a second family for each member and they love singing together every week.

BC Flats is the only contemporary a cappella group at Bristol Central High School. The group has gone through some growing pains in the last six years, having started out as two separate groups, Enharmonics and DyRAMics. Enharmonics changed to BC Flats for a few years, the two groups combined under the name DyRAMics, they finally settled on the enharmonic play on their school's initials, BC Flats, and the rest is history (it makes the head spin just a bit). They work on a variety of pieces, from The Beatles to more contemporary artists. They are all very excited for their third ICHSA. 

Bear Necessities is the co-ed a cappella group from Vestal High School, home of the Vestal Golden Bears. The group was founded in 2011 and has helped many young singers grow into leaders of college groups and lifelong singers. The members of Bear Necessities are respectful, talented, funny, and motivated members of the Vestal, N.Y. community, and keep busy organizing and performing in various activities year-round. Bear Necessities is a subset of the select mixed choir, Vestal Voices.

Dramatic Paws is the premier co-ed a cappella group at Johnson City High School from Johnson City, N.Y. Their group name is a nod to their mascot, The JCHS Wildcats. The group includes students ranging from grades 10 through 12 and they perform a variety of popular music. This is Dramatic Paws’ inaugural year, and although they’ve only been together for a very short time, they've already become the hit of the school (even the math department approves!).

For Good Measure is the a cappella group from Mohonasen High School in Schenectady, N.Y. They have been performing at school and community events since 2012. These 15 singers are highly involved in their high school’s music department as members of different instrumental ensembles, several choirs, and the theatre program. This is their third year competing in the ICHSA and they are excited to be here!

This is Bristol Eastern High School's Strawberry Fields' 10th year participating in ICHSA and they are honored to have been part of the explosive growth of a cappella in this country. There is no musical form that is its equal in energy, popularity, and musicality! Strawberry Fields began five decades ago as a swing choir and evolved through several metamorphoses in the time since, including swing, show, jazz, and now a cappella. The group’s 16 auditioned students meet weekly for 90-minute rehearsals. In addition to the music, the students make decisions for all aspects of performance, including repertoire selection, dress, choreography, social media, and more. Each member has a role and each shares in the group’s successes. They pride themselves in being an inclusive group that reflects the cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity of Bristol Eastern High School.

South Glens Falls High School’s Vocal Point hails from Upstate New York and is returning to the ICHSA for a fifth season. A cappella accomplishments include performing at the National A Cappella Convention and recording two albums. Last spring, Vocal Point embarked on a performance tour of California, which included featured performances at the Grammy Museum and Disneyland. Be sure to follow VP’s social media accounts or email them at SouthHighVP@gmail.com for information on their fifth annual a cappella festival, TuneUp.

In its third year of existence, Vocalibrium aims to make a splash in its first year in the competitive a cappella circuit. Hailing from York Central School, a small rural district approximately 30 miles south of Rochester, N.Y., these girls pride themselves on being all-around "student aca-athletes." They love Disney, dugout pizza, living in the chorus room, and occasionally bursting into song for no reason.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Mackenzie Cohn has been part of the a cappella community since she began college, where she sang with the all-female group, The Girls Next Door, at The College of Saint Rose. After four years of performing, competing, and recording a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-nominated album with GND, she went on to join Cape Harmony, Cape Cod's premier professional all-female a cappella group. She spent three amazing summers as Cape Harmony's social media manager and reliable lady-bass, and remains involved in the professional a cappella world as Director of Outreach for Cut Off Studios. In her rare moments of free time outside of a cappella commitments, Mackenzie enjoys traveling, re-reading the “Harry Potter” series, and baking as many confectionery treats as her kitchen will allow.

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

A
n instrumentalist for most of his early life, Christopher Hoffman found his calling in vocal music as a member (and eventual president) of Hofstra University's Sigma'cappella. He helped bring the group to ICCA Semifinals twice in its first three years of competition, and earned individual awards on the way for Outstanding Arrangement. During this time, he began arranging for and collaborating with various professional, collegiate, and high school groups, and has continued in this work since graduation. Christopher helped SingStrong coordinate collegiate talent for its inaugural New York festival, and has worked with The Vocal Company’s marketing team. He currently lives on Long Island, where he spends his free time working with high school a cappella groups.

Melissa Rashford 
is a proud alumna of The Mandarins, Syracuse University’s oldest all-female a cappella group. Under her direction, The Mandarins competed and performed throughout the Northeast and earned national recognition by advancing to the ICCA Finals in 2004. Melissa holds degrees in music industry and business administration from SU and currently works in the University's Office of Marketing and Communications. She arranges for local ensembles, adjudicates area festivals, and performs with the SU Oratorio Society. Melissa also teaches high school marching band and musical theatre, and takes every possible opportunity to encourage her students to join a cappella groups when they get to college.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Sara Salitan-Thiell and the staff at EMPAC; 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