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 SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

Wekiva High School
Saturday, February 17, 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

 

Acapocalypse has been singing and competing in ICHSA for four years. These singers go to Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. Their signature look (especially for their VP, Kaleb) includes the “kiss of death” shade of red lipstick. They also love to joke around with each other, share lots of laughs, and take over the world with their kick-butt voices. They may look harmless, but remember, awaken the voices within and let the Acapocalypse begin.

Hailing from Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., First Take is 14 singers strong, representing students in grades 10-12. First Take's members are composed of all-state musicians, a drum major, the school mascot, show choir dance captains, thespian troupe members, competitive dancers, instrumentalists, and composers. They look forward to performing and making their ICHSA debut.

This is H20 A Cappella's fourth consecutive year in the ICHSA. H20 A Cappella  is now a part of the Music Ministry of First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee, Fla. and continues to be directed by Scott Weyrauch. The group enjoys all styles of a cappella and sings frequently around the community. As always, the students are thrilled to be a part of the Varsity Vocals experience.

High Key is a brand-new group from Apopka High School in Apopka, Fla. They began in September 2017 and are so excited to show what they've learned and to compete with amazing a cappella groups from around the Southern region.

HyperOctave is an offshoot of the Heritage High School Show Choir. This group has consistently earned superior ratings at Florida Vocal Association MPAs in the field of Special Category at both the district and state levels, including invitations to perform in the Honors Recital at State in both 2015 and 2016. This group has also performed with Foreigner and was selected as a Disney Candlelight Honor Choir for the 2015 and 2017 seasons.

Noise Complaint is a co-ed a cappella group from West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla. Formed in 2015 under the direction of Mr. Daryl Yasay, this group is built from rigorous choral traditions, with a mission to spread unity through the passion of music. Motivated to serve their audiences, the singers of Noise Complaint work rigorously to study, analyze, and polish their craft, so that it might have the power to touch and change lives. They enjoy a cappella singing because it fuses classical choral techniques with the pop genre, but beyond that, they love the a cappella community because it is a welcoming environment that cultivates creativity and collaboration, aligning with the mission of the West Orange Choral Department. Noise Complaint believes in a standard of excellence not for competitive reasons, but because music unites people.

The Tribe A Cappella started humbly in 2011 and has grown to include most of the interesting people at Chamberlain High School. They meet every school day, plus several doughnut and pizza-filled Saturdays, to try their hands (and feet) at choreography. This will be their seventh consecutive ICHSA appearance. They love animals and every type of music imaginable, and they never agree on anything.


GUEST PERFORMERS


Husky Harmony, founded in the fall of 2016 and in its second year of existence, is the premier pop a cappella group from Avalon Middle School in Orlando, Fla. The group is composed of 7th and 8th grade students who are all members of the AMS Chorus family. These students rehearse two mornings a week, and ALWAYS have a blast when they're together. They have loved performing for various gigs around their community and at school. They are thrilled for their first ICHSA experience and are so thankful to their friends and family for their awesome support!

Naughty Scotty and the Octapella (NSO) is Winter Park High School’s select male a cappella group. Founded in 2008, NSO has performed for the Florida Music Education Association, SoJam A Cappella Festival, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and the Washington National Cathedral. These 11 guys know how to have a good time, but take their music-making seriously. NSO has released two award-winning albums, Eight Arms and Rise (with their sister group, Take 7). NSO has appeared on the BOHSA 2017 and 2018 albums, and has been nominated for several Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). The guys would like to thank their families, mentors, and Take 7 for their support! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @wphsNSO

Wekiva Voices is a group of 18 Wekiva High School Chorus students, ranging from grades 10 through 12. It is an auditioned contemporary a cappella ensemble that rehearses after school. They perform at a variety of school and community events, including performances at Walt Disney World, the Amway Center, the Apopka Art and Jazz Festival, conventions, ceremonies, and more.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Drew Griffin is a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Florida State University. He holds a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from FSU and bachelor’s degrees in choral music education and vocal music performance from Appalachian State University. His master’s research explored the world of contemporary collegiate a cappella, culminating in a thesis entitled “All I Need Is the Air I Breathe: Music, Media, and the Practice of Collegiate A Cappella.” He remains interested in collegiate a cappella as both a scholar and an avid fan. His current research concerns the intersections of American popular music, communal vocal traditions, and media, specifically how vocal traditions are depicted in both social and commercial media. He is an active music educator, teaching courses at Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College, as well as maintaining a small studio of voice and piano students.

Skip Stradtman is an a cappella veteran whose biggest claim to "aca-fame" is his involvement with Reverb, FSU's all-male a cappella group. With Reverb, he performed multiple times in the ICCA, including their 2013 ICCA Finals performance in New York City, which placed 4th overall and received the award for Outstanding Choreography. During his two years as music director, Reverb placed 2nd at the 2013 SOJAM a cappella festival competition, placed 1st at the 2014 BOSS competition, and produced the group's first full-length album, Evolve, which went on to receive multiple CARA nominations. Skip was personally recognized with an Outstanding Arrangement award at ICCA 2013 Quarterfinals and Semifinals, SOJAM 2013, and BOSS 2014. Currently, Skip is the chorus director at East River High School in Orlando, Fla. He continues to arrange for high school and collegiate a cappella groups, as well as for various choral ensembles across the Southeast.

Alex Mendez
is an alumnus of the Florida State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in music therapy. Alex also has a passion for teaching and and is pursuing a certification in both theatre and music education. Alex has served in a wide variety of leadership roles, notably with the all-male group, Reverb, in positions such as music director, business manager, and choreographer. Alex has received numerous Outstanding Soloist, Choreography, and other awards at ICCA and other a cappella competitions, and is a three-time CARA winner.

Lauren Menendez-Barreiro has a degree in music from Florida State University, where she began her a cappella career singing with The FSU AcaBelles, eventually becoming music director from 200910. After leaving FSU, Lo pursued a professional career in a cappella as a sought-after adjudicator, arranger, and clinician, working with The Vocal Company, the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), and Varsity Vocals. She founded the professional group Musae and sang with them until 2013. Currently residing in Tampa with her husband, Lo is happy to be returning to the a cappella community.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank our host group, The Wekiva High School Chorus, and our guest performers, Husky Harmony, Naughty Scotty and the Octapella (NSO), and Wekiva Voices; 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 South 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