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

 

Ironwood Ridge High School
Saturday, February 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

 

Gila Ridge High School and In Tone Nation are from Yuma, Ariz. Composed of freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, this group sings and performs a variety of music genres, including pop,rock, R&B, hip-hop, soul, alternative, and country. They rehearse as group after school and on weekends and many members also perform with other choirs and organizations on campus and around town. They are excited for their second year in the ICHSA. 

Red Harmony (Walden Grove High School, Sahuarita, Ariz.) has been bringing contemporary a cappella to southern Arizona since 2015. This student-led ensemble rehearses outside of school hours and they always put their time where their mouth is, bringing dynamic energy and passion for singing to every performance. Frequent performers at school and community events, they've established a reputation for creative takes on established repertoire. From self-arrangements to refreshing spins on older tunes, Red Harmony has done it all and puts it all onstage.

Ironwood Ridge High School's Treble Rebels is a passionate performing arts group in its second year competing in the contemporary a cappella arena. Composed of beauties and a beat, the vocalists fell in love with a cappella during the 2017 ICHSA Semifinals. Treble Rebels aims to connect with the community, facilitate musical growth, and provide widespread entertainment.

Originally created as an extracurricular group, The Unaccompanied Minors of Phoenix Country Day School is a co-ed ensemble of students from all high school grades. Currently in its fifth year, this ensemble performs at multiple events on campus, as well as in the community. Having learned from all of their experience, The Unaccompanied Minors are excited to return for their second ICHSA and be better than before!

Vocal Effect is Montrose High School’s first-ever contemporary a cappella group. Last year was their first year competing in ICHSA and they are excited to be a part of the amazing experience again this year. Their 7:00 a.m. rehearsals are brutally early for these high school singers, but this is the only time they can meet, as many of them are involved in after-school activities, including softball, marching band, speech and debate, rock-climbing, dance, and color guard. Vocal Effect is passionate about strengthening the community of vocal and choral music at Montrose High and in the rural community of Montrose in general, where a cappella music is a new phenomenon. During the past year, this group has become a huge hit at many local businesses’ Christmas parties, country club festivities, church group gatherings, and school board meetings as a student showcase. They are often requested to sing around the community, especially during the holidays. Although it's unusual, this group does have two vocal percussionists. Both VPs are a part of the state-qualifying marching band program at Montrose High School and double as singers when needed. Vocal Effect is grateful to have a practically full-time volunteer sound tech, Terry Byrd, known by most members of this group as Papa Byrd. He always finds a way to make them laugh on long road trips or tough rehearsals and continues to push them to be their best. The group is also thankful to have advising on visual presentation from one of their member’s sisters, Kaci Drye, a former color guard captain and experienced dancer. Vocal Effect may be from a small town on the western slope of Colorado, but they don’t have a small town sound!


GUEST PERFORMERS

The IRHS Choir Booster Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving the school’s four choirs by promoting excellence, a positive community image, and competitive opportunities through volunteerism and fundraising.

Amplified A Cappella is a co-ed group from the University of Arizona. Founded in 2012, Amplified has competed several times in the ICCA, earning awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Choreography, as well as advancing to Semifinals in 2016. Amplified constantly strives to share its love of music and a cappella, bringing energy and excitement to every performance. Get Ampli-fired up!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

After directing the University of Central Florida’s oldest all-male a cappella group, The Crescendudes, Harrison Acosta founded UCF’s award-winning, competitive a cappella group, Voicebox. Under his musical direction, Voicebox earned the title of 2016 SoJam Champions, performed for the Betsy A Cappella Festival in both 2014 and 2015, and as a guest for NBC’s “The Sing-Off” live tour. In its first two years, Voicebox has been awarded nine Outstanding awards at the ICCA, two awards at the SoJam collegiate competition, 1st place at ICCA Quarterfinals and Semifinals, and placed 4th at the 2016 ICCA Finals. Harrison has been awarded Outstanding Arrangement a total of six times, including at the 2016 ICCA Finals and multiple SoJam competitions. Harrison completed his Bachelor of Arts capstone at the UCF School of Performing Arts by researching a cappella as a compositional medium. After studying instrumental music performance, game soundtrack design, and film score for two years, Harrison is now studying composition, theory, and education while preparing for graduate school.

Nason Werth has been known to travel the country for a good a cappella show, and currently resides in Baltimore, Md. Originally from the great state of Michigan, Nason studied vocal performance at Michigan State University. There, he served as music director and bass with MSU’s first co-ed a cappella group and ICCA fixture, Capital Green. He gained broad ensemble experience as a student with the University Chorale, Chamber Choir, Jazz octet, and Chancel Choir with the Okemos Presbyterian Church. Since relocating to the Mid-Atlantic area, Nason has performed with the Handel Choir of Baltimore and the Bach in Baltimore ensembles. He looks forward to a great show!

Celine Durney
recently earned her bachelor’s degree in choral music education from Northern Arizona University. During her time in college, she participated in many elite vocal ensembles of various styles (choral, jazz, a cappella, opera, etc.) and was a founding member/music director of the nationally acclaimed all-female NAU Axecidentals. She has been named an Honorable Mention under the VOICE: POPULAR category by the National YoungArts program and is a professional recording artist and composer for her own musical projects and those other musicians. She has performed live on several radio shows and in many different venues alongside many elite ensembles such as the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Groove For Thought, The Real Group, and even Grammy-winning a cappella group Pentatonix. Celine stays involved in the a cappella community as a frequent workshop leader at festivals for creating a cappella arrangements. She has arranged various a cappella and orchestral works for many groups across the country, including The Axecidentals and Side Note, an eight-member professional a cappella group based out of Phoenix, Ariz.


SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Amphitheater School District Governing Board, Principal Natalie Burnett, the IRHS Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, Director Ben Lebovitz, and Walden Grove; 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