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 SOUTHWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Deer Park High School
Saturday, February 24, 2018

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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

 

A-side is the premier vocal ensemble of A-MCHS. Their retro name refers to old a-lbums or tapes, which had two sides that could play music, with the most popular songs on the A-side. This 14-member group consists of 12 brilliant, hard-working young men and women (the other two are questionable, to say the least). In their free time, you will find them suspiciously looking at the clock and wondering why it is that they even have free time. They’ve a-dded their own twist to the music, but they stand B-side its quality. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as they do

Apex is the a cappella ensemble for Deer Park Choir. They have been part of the Deer Park Choir Program as a swing choir for many years. Students are selected based on auditions in a choral program with over 500 students. In addition to being active choir members, the current Apex students also keep busy in drill team, cheerleading, soccer, football, and many other school activities.

Encore is the a cappella ensemble of Carroll Senior High School. Members of this ensemble represent every walk of student life in their community. This newly formed group looks forward to exploring the world of a cappella.

Natural State of Mind (formerly known as JHS Vocal Jazz) is the auditioned ensemble for select voices at Jacksonville High School, and the feature ambassador ensemble for the Vocal Soul Program. These students demonstrate advanced sight singing skills and dedicate themselves to high levels of vocal music education and literature. A one-of-a-kind group, Natural State of Mind performs a myriad of genres with a jazz focus, and has already earned renown in its second year of existence. They have won superior division 1 ratings at regional assessments, state competitions, and at national competitions, and are frequently invited to perform at local venues, on the radio, and in competitions alongside collegiate and semi-professional recording groups. They were honored to be the first Arkansas-based group to make top six at the Voicejam International A Cappella Music Festival, where they tied for 2nd place in the Crowd Favorite category. The Postmodern Jukebox of a cappella, Natural State of Mind is excited to showcase its unique and stylistic harmonies, timely expression, fresh improvisation, and audience engagement.

Remedy is a contemporary a cappella ensemble made up of students from Argyle High School in Argyle, Texas. These students proudly represent the entire student body of Argyle, including all grades, and can  be found blocking on the football field, serving on the tennis courts, pumping up the crowd, starring in musicals, leading academic teams, and volunteering throughout the community. Built on their love for one another, Remedy thrives on the contagious spirit that each member brings to each rehearsal and show. These students are more than just ensemble members, but a true family. Remedy desires to share their love of music with anyone willing to listen, and hope is that people will be positively affected by their music and performances. Remedy’s core values are kindness, respect, and the belief that music can cure negativity, and the aim to share these sentiments with the world. Their performances have been described as "high-energy," "passionate,” and "engaging." Remedy is so excited for the opportunity to perform at ICHSA for the very first time! Remedy can be seen performing at a variety of events throughout the year, including choir concerts, pep rallies, community events, holiday festivals, arts showcases, and many more. Remedy is under the direction or Mr. Will Griswold, who is in his second year as Director of Choirs in Argyle Independent School District.

Vocal Legacy is the mixed contemporary a cappella group from Bryan High School. The group is made up of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. The group loves all things music (musicals, choral music, a cappella, even sight-reading).They are excited to share their set with you tonight!

Vox Cor is the new a cappella group from Rudder High School in Bryan, Texas! They are a tight knit group of musicians, always looking to push the boundaries in a cappella music. They are a dynamic group made up of 16 people, with a great blend of classic and modern sounds. Though this only is their third year competing, they already look forward to many more opportunities. Their name derives from the Latin words for “voice” and “heart,” and they strive to use both so completely in their music, that one can’t tell where one starts and the other begins.

Walk the Line is in its third year competing in ICHSA. Last year, they were named Quarterfinal and Semifinal Champions of the Southwest, and were honored to attend ICHSA Finals in New York City! It was a memorable experience that they will keep with them through the rest of their lives. After their success last year, they have been repeatedly sought out to perform on campus, around the Rockwall community, and in the North Texas area. Walk the Line, above all else, enjoys meeting other a cappella groups and connecting with their audience. They are hopeful for another year of ICHSA success!


GUEST PERFORMER


The Femmatas, Texas A&M’s all female a cappella group, was founded in 2009. This elite collegiate a cappella group performs around College Station, at Texas A&M, and surrounding cities in Texas. The life of a Femmata is a busy one, and they perform frequently throughout the semester. The Femmatas invests their time in local performances rather than competitions, and aim to share their love for music, as well as their shared sisterhood and passion for their community. The Femmatas host auditions every semester, and are always looking for fresh talent! Check them out on Facebook or Instagram to learn who they are and for upcoming audition dates.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Sue Schreiner received her B.A. in vocal music performance from the University of Missouri in 1973, and M.A. in vocal music performance from California State University-Northridge, in 1975. After earning her master’s, Sue was chosen to sing with the Los Angeles Opera Company. She has been a featured soprano soloist with symphonies and choruses throughout the country, and has sung the national anthem for professional sports teams including the New England Patriots and the Portland Trailblazers. Sue has taught at the university level, private studio voice, and is currently in her 20th year teaching choral music at Wilsonville High School. In 2007, she founded the contemporary a cappella group, Soul’d Out, which has been in the national spotlight with ICHSA Finals appearances in 2014, 2010, and 2011, as well as NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2011. Her greatest professional joy is working with the amazing singers at WHS.

Todd Kennedy has been in the music world since the tender age of 7. He has been onstage with various vocal and instrumental groups throughout his high school and college careers. Todd started his college career at Butler University in Indianapolis in 2009 as a vocal and instrumental education major, and founded The Butler University Glee Club, there. In 2010, he moved to Texas to join the University of North Texas and sang and arranged for The UNT Glee Club for two years, helping to arrange music. In 2012, he was inspired to found and direct UNT's premier male a cappella group, Forte. He organized shows, directed, and arranged music for UNT Forte for two years. In his spare time, he keeps himself busy with local singing groups and playing
his upright bass at home. 

Greg Rowsey has been involved with music since his youth, studying classical piano, theory, and singing in all-state choir. He matriculated to Washington University in St Louis, where he sang with the all-male group The Stereotypes, and served as assistant music director, choreographer, and arranger for the group. He also has performed with, led, and competed with a professional barbershop group. While he now works full time as a Discover Debit marketing associate for Discover Financial Services in Houston, Texas, he still will occasionally answer to his Stereotype nickname, Mr. Sassy.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Deer Park ISD for use of the Performing Arts Center, Barry Talley, Executive Director of Fine Arts Sabrina McBride, Secretary to the Executive Director of Fine Arts Don Wile, PAC Manager David Barney, Jared Creel, Andy Moore, and the Deer Park Choir Booster Club; 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 Southwest 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