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 SEMIFINAL

 

New Manchester High School 
Saturday, March 24, 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

 

Hype is one of two competitive a cappella groups at Alpharetta High School. This all-female group began in 2015 with a focus on women’s repertoire, and they work to promote the power of women through singing.

Hailing from Charlotte, N.C., Myers Park Vocal Affinity (MPVA) is the first-ever co-ed a cappella group at Myers Park High School. Charlotte N.C. Founded in 2015 as “Mixed A Cappella,” the group’s original goal was to find themselves a better name. This diverse family of 18 musicians believes in the talent of its members, rather than having a particular look or a specific background. From pop to rock to classical, Vocal Affinity has done it all.

rEagle Harmonix
is a second-year a cappella group composed of 22 members from the Seymour High School choral department. Last year, they auditioned for the University of Tennessee 2017 Avi Kaplan Workshop and were one of two exhibition choirs chosen for Avi Kaplan, the bass singer from the Grammy-winning Pentatonix. They also auditioned for the East Tennessee State University Deke Sharon Workshop and were selected to be the exhibition choir for Deke Sharon, the musical producer and director for “The Sing-Off” and “Pitch Perfect” movies.

The A Cappella Group
is celebrating 15 years of amazing music this year. Highlights by the numbers include three ICHSA Finals appearances, 10 studio albums, six Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) wins, 26 CARA nominations, two Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) Favorite Albums of the Year, four RARB Favorite Tracks of the Year, two appearances at NACC in Memphis, one appearance at SoJam, and two appearances at The Betsy A Cappella Festival. The group is very excited to continue the long history of TAG and looks forward to meeting and singing with all of tonight's groups.

After School Specials 
is an exciting group of 20 singers. They attend Palm Harbor University High School in Pinellas County. Under the direction of the irreplaceable Mr. Justin Havard, they are elated to be returning to ICHSA after progressing to Semifinals last year. The After School Specials enjoy singing for nursing home residents, entertaining innocent bystanders, and rocking out some Christmas carols! The After School Specials’ signature sound demonstrates a mix of pop and rock music with a quirky twist that's all their own!

Hailing from Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., First Take is 14 singers strong, representing students in grades 10-12. First Take's members include 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.

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.

InToneNation 
is an award winning contemporary a cappella group from New Manchester High School. They specialize in contemporary pop music, but also sing a variety of genres from jazz, to classical, to musical theatre.

Pitch Please 
is a contemporary a cappella group from Northwood High School in Pittsboro, N.C. These 16 auditioned singers rehearse twice a week after school under the direction of Northwood Choral Director, Matt Hanson. Last year, Pitch Please traveled to New York to participate in Total Vocal 2017 under the direction of aca-legend, Deke Sharon. The group has also placed for each of the last three years of the MIX 101.5 Christmas Choir competition, winning $8,000 for their school choral program. Pitch Please is active in the Chatham County and Triangle area community and performs for various festivals, charity functions, and community events.


GUEST PERFORMERS


The New Manchester Fame Mastery Choir is NMHS’s premier vocal group.  The group consists of 45 FAME vocal majors.  They perform in a variety of genres, ranging from contemporary pop to musical theatre to classical to gospel and more. This group has also performed and completed all over the Southeast region. Winning various awards and honors, including a track record of superior ratings at the Large Group Performance Evaluation. They are currently preparing to compete in the New Orleans Crescent City Music Competition.

No Strings Attached was founded in the spring of 1994, and is Emory University’s oldest and only all-male a cappella group. The group enjoys going on international tours every other spring break, including their most recent tour to Athens, Greece. Every semester, No Strings Attached puts on a free public concert, and looks forward to their upcoming performance on Sunday, April 15th at 8:00 p.m. in White Hall 208 at Emory University.

The Mercer Bearitones
is Mercer University's only student-led a cappella group. When they're not busy singing and making harmonies, they enjoy midnight jam sessions, cookout runs, board games, memes, and long walks on the beach. The group accepts members of any year and major, and strives to perform competitive a cappella music, while allowing their members to grow as musicians. They hope that everyone enjoys the performances!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

John Robinson got his a cappella start in 2005 as a founding member of The UCF Crescendudes. In grad school, he served as music director for Georgia Tech's Infinite Harmony, and recorded and produced its first album. Since that first foray into audio production, he has helped record, edit, and mix albums for several collegiate and post-collegiate groups in the Southeast (he hates live sound engineering, but does that too). He sang bass for Catatonic (2014 Harmony Sweeps Finalist) and has taught masterclasses and courses at SoJam on the science of vocal sound and microphones.

Paige Betts
is the orchestra director at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. This is her sixth year as a music educator, having taught string orchestra, chorus, and musical theatre, and has been a runner-up for Teacher of the Year. She has given clinics with various orchestras, chorus, and a cappella ensembles across the Southeast, and has taught private voice and viola lessons. Paige is a 2009 graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.M. in music education. There, she was a member and musical director of UGA's all-female a cappella group, Noteworthy. Paige lives in Buford, Ga. with her husband Andrew and their rescue dog, Jake.

Stephen Hutchings
is a faculty member at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Ga., and director of the official GC co-ed a cappella group, The Cat's Meow. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Georgia and Master of Music Education from Georgia College. As an undergraduate, Stephen was a member of the co-ed group, With Someone Else's Money, from 2007-2009, and the all-male group, The Accidentals, from 2009-2012. While a member of With Someone Else's Money, he had the pleasure of recording with Ben Folds in his historic RCA Studio A recording studio and being a featured group on the Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! album. During his three years in The Accidentals, the group advanced to ICCA Finals twice and released the critically acclaimed album, A Gentleman's Game. Stephen was music director of The Accidentals from 2010-2012, and served as the group's primary arranger during that span. He has arranged over 150 songs for a cappella groups at the high school, collegiate, amateur, and professional levels. In addition to his work at Georgia College, Stephen is a freelance arranger and clinician in contemporary a cappella.

John Hendrix is a member of Best to Burn and Southern Tonic, bringing a cappella awesomeness to the Atlanta, Ga. area. He was a member of the men's ensemble, Sympathetic Vibrations, while studying at the Georgia Institute of Technology. John is also an accomplished arranger whose work has been featured on several albums.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank New Manchester's FAME Mastery Choir, Emory University's No Strings Attached, and The Mercer University Bearitones; 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