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 SEMIFINAL

 

Mechanics Hall 
Saturday, March 24, 2018

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

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!

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.

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.

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).

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!

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!

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.

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. 


GUEST PERFORMER

Elle Brigida is a CARA-winning producer, arranger, and teacher with Clear Harmonies Productions, whose work has been featured on Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA) compilation albums. She has performed with the two-time ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinalist group, Vocal Synergy, and Cape Cod's professional all-female group, Cape Harmony. She is currently a member of Snowday, a professional vocal band based out of Washington, D.C. As WACA member, she is an advocate for women and all-female a cappella, and was a member of the original "I Can't Keep Quiet" flashmob at the Women's March on Washington.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Shannon McNulty is excited to see this year’s incredible lineup of ICHSA competitors! A graduate of Ithaca College, Shannon currently teaches at Marlborough High School, where she directs two choirs, and teaches the award-winning a cappella recording class, Music Production. Shannon joined The Vocal Company in 2013. As TVC's Director of Education, Shannon plans the popular Next Level seminars, as well as the acappellaEd events held across the country. Shannon has a B.M in vocal performance and music education (Ithaca College, 2007) and a M.M. in music education (Boston University, 2012). She is a member of NAfME, ACDA, CASA, and AEA.

Alexander Koutzoukis
is co-owner (among other titles) of Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production studio based in Boston. While attending Tufts University for computer science, he spent five years in The Beelzebubs, two of them as music director. He got his start in a cappella production with Ed Boyer and Bill Hare on two award-winning Bubs albums (Pandaemonium and Play the Game) and went on to help record and edit BATTLE and Helix, as well as about half of The Warblers’ tracks from season 2 of “Glee.” He won a 2010 Best Male Collegiate Arrangement CARA for “All the Love In the World,” was runner-up in 2012 for “Kings and Queens,” and was also runner-up for Favorite Vocal Percussionist in the 2010 ACAs. He currently executive produces BOSS and graphic designs for BOSS and SoJam.

Italian vocalist Giorgia Renosto was born and raised in a musical family. Her grandfather, a clarinet player, introduced her to classical music and opera, and she enriched this background with jazz with formal training at Centro Jazz Torino (Italy). Her ability to focus on individual vocal styles within the diverse world of vocal jazz allowed her to take in sophisticated elements of vocal technique, and at age 17, she was selected as one of the winners of the "Giovani Proposte" of the Italian contest, "Sanremo Giovani.” While pursuing her bachelor's degree in art history (Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy) with a minor in theatre (Universitée de Caen Normandie, France), Giorgia kept her passion for music alive, touring Europe as a soprano with the award-winning a cappella group, L'Una e Cinque, as well as the Free Style Orchestra, the jazz big band directed by Maestro Diego Borotti. Through these experiences, Giorgia developed her voice into a powerful and clear instrument, capable of expressing emotions through the solid foundation of vocal technique, conscious stylistic vision, and profound understanding of her repertoire. She was honored twice as a recipient of the World Scholarship Tour from Berklee College of Music and graduated summa cum Llude with a degree in performance. At Berklee, she performed in some of the school's most prestigious shows and has also performed musical theatre in both Europe and the United States. Giorgia is one of the core members of the award-winning quartet, Women of the World (2017 AcaOpen Champion, 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes Champion), which has been touring nationally and internationally since 2008.

Evan Feist 
has composed, arranged, taught, and performed a cappella music for more than 11 years. As founder of The Creative Vocal Lab, Evan has been teaching singers of all ages to improvise in both small and large ensembles. He earned two master’s degrees from Teachers College at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Music from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music. Evan has vocal coached for “The Voice,” sung with Bobby McFerrin, helped produce “America’s Got Talent,” and is the general manager of Stacks of Wax, an audio production company.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Caleb Whelden, Elle Brigida, Yaasee Mohebbi, Karen McDonald and the staff of Mechanics Hall, and Joan and Robert Yood; 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 placing group advances to ICHSA Finals!

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