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

 

James Madison High School 
Saturday, March 3 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

 

Coming from Marcus High School, Fusion is happy to be back in the ICHSA competition this year after taking a year off to record its first EP, Stand in the Light. The women of Fusion are active in choir at Marcus, as well as band, theatre, drill team, TAFE, church, service organizations, and numerous honor societies. They hope to show the strength of women united to share a common story, and to inspire other young women to join a cappella.

The Connally High School Headliners is only in its second year of existence. Director Kelly Howard founded this contemporary a cappella ensemble to help build and strengthen the choir program at Connally. All of the group members are in formal choir ensembles in addition to a cappella, because they believe that fundamental vocal skills come first. However, they are all fired up for what they are doing in a cappella as well. After watching ICHSA Quarterfinals in San Antonio last year, The Headliners decided that was their next goal, and they are thrilled to be included in the 2018 ICHSA. They are figuring this out as they go and having a blast!

This is the first year and first competition for Iron Maidens, the all-female a cappella addition to Harker Heights High School Choir Department. 

Madison Avenue is the best of the best at James Madison High School. These 17 fine performers represent their school throughout the city of San Antonio with great pride and extraordinary talent. They have been featured on local newscasts, private parties, and even had the pleasure of opening for the legendary 80s rock band, Foreigner, at the Majestic Theatre. In 2016, Madison Avenue was chosen as the winner of the Margaret Tobin FAME award. Personally chosen by Deke Sharon to open for the Vocalocity tour in San Antonio, Madison Avenue staked their claim on the Tobin Center stage as one of the most popular high school a cappella groups. In its first year of ICHSA competition, Mad Ave won the right to represent the Southwest in ICHSA Finals in New York City. They are here tonight for a shot at that amazing opportunity once again.

Pitch Black is in its third year as the primary pop a cappella ensemble at Harker Heights High School. The previous iteration of this select ensemble was Les Chanteurs, one of the finest vocal jazz ensembles in Texas for 15 years. They worked with and were raised by such legends as Bob Chilcott, Paris Rutherford, Kerry Marsh, Michele Weir, Rosana Eckert, and Jennifer Shelton Barnes. Pitch Black thrives on performing some of the most elaborate and difficult a cappella arrangements around. This will be its first-ever pop a cappella competition.

Rhapsody is the dynamic pop a cappella group for Big Spring High School in Big Spring, Texas. The group is made up of 11 highly-energetic and fun-loving seniors, juniors, and sophomores. Rhapsody students are all enthusiastically involved in many school activities, but still find time to do what they love the most: sing their hearts out! In 2014, Rhapsody competed in and won an a cappella contest giving them the opportunity to perform onstage with the infamous band, Foreigner. Rhapsody is excited to return for its second ICHSA after making it to Semifinals last year. They love to perform and hope to inspire you tonight by sharing their passion for music!

VoiceMale is the men's a cappella ensemble from Marcus High School. This auditioned group of 10th through 12th graders rehearses before school each Tuesday and Thursday morning. This will be the first year for the group to compete in the ICHSA. After workshops with great performers such as The TCU Horned Tones, these guys are ready to showcase what they've learned. In April 2017, VoiceMale won a Golden Mickey at Disneyworld for the 1st Place Jazz Ensemble, along with their Marcus sister group, Fusion. These young men love to sing together and are making a great name for themselves. The Marcus High School Choral Department is proud to present VoiceMale!

Zero Hour is so excited to be back at ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinals this year. Zero Hour is made up of students from Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, including athletes, dancers, thespians, academics, and all-around fun-loving musicians! The Zero Hour family looks forward to performing, and is honored to share the stage with each of the groups here tonight! They wish everyone the best of luck onstage.


GUEST PERFORMERS


The Madison Choir Department is proud to host the ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinals and support their favorite a cappella group Madison Avenue.  Good Luck to all competitors and may everyone make beautiful music!

One Note Stand
is a competitive co-ed group founded in 2009. Since its founding, ONS has become one of the most accomplished a cappella groups in Texas and competitive on a national scale. One Note Stand is a completely self-funded group with a mission to spread their own stories, struggles, and triumphs simply with the sounds of their own voices. They believe every story should be told and always strive to take their audience on an Emotional Journey™ with their music. The group performs throughout Texas at holiday parties, corporate events, events happening around UT campus, and even large-scale events such as the National Robotics Competition Finals in front of 20,000 people at Minute Maid Park! ONS leads and organizes the annual UT Acapalooza, a benefit concert that raises money for various causes such as interpersonal violence prevention and hurricane relief. The group performed last weekend at ICCA Quarterfinals and placed 1st, also winning Outstanding Choreography for their song, "Conscious." They are excited to head to Semifinals in late March (wish them luck!). One Note Stand was chosen to appear on the BOCA 2017 and Voices Only 2017 albums with two tracks from their full-length album, Yours.

Southern Stride
is a mixed barbershop quartet from San Antonio, Texas. The group includes lead Peter Cunningham, bass Wallace Stanley, baritone Manny Lopez, and tenor Diane Stanley. They recently competed at the Southwestern District Barbershop Convention, and brought home the championship title. They are now the highest scoring mixed barbershop quartet in Northern America, and will be representing the U.S.A. in the World Mixed competition on April 6th in Munich, Germany.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Nick Powers is a chorus director and keyboarding teacher at Apopka High School. Previously, he was the chorus director at both Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. and Central Middle School in Melbourne, Fla. Nick was the founding director of the high school a cappella group, Acapocalypse, which has placed at ICHSA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Currently, Nick directs an a cappella group at Apopka High School called High Key. He holds his Bachelor of Music Education from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. 

Sue Schreiner received her B.A. and M.A. in vocal music performance from California State University-Northridge. After graduation, she served as a member of the Los Angeles Opera Company, was featured as a soprano soloist with various symphonies and choruses throughout the country, and has sung the national anthem for several professional sports teams, including the New England Patriots and the Portland Trailblazers. She has taught vocal music students at both the university and the high school levels for the past 40 years, retiring in 2016. Sue founded and directed the contemporary a cappella group, Soul’d Out, at Wilsonville High School in Oregon in 2007. Since then, the group has enjoyed great success, winning the Northwest ICHSA Semifinal in 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2018. They placed 2nd at ICHSA Finals in New York in 2011, and were the only high school group chosen to perform on season 3 of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” Sue has been a certified judge of a cappella, as well as state high school and college choir competitions, since 2008. She has judged and coached a cappella competitions throughout the Northwest prior to moving to the Austin area in 2016. Sue loves Texas and she loves a cappella.

Bonnie Wolfe-Smith started singing in her church choir in 5th grade  and hasn't stopped since. At  Texas State, she sang alto with the University Singers and the Texas State Chorale, and was one of the founding members/directors of an a cappella group called Sugar and Spice. Bonnie taught for three years as a general music teacher in the SCUCISD district in San Antonio. Currently, she is the assistant choir director and AP music theory teacher at Churchill High School in San Antonio and sings with a Sweet Adeline's Chorus, A Cappella Unlimited.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Madison Choir Department, One Note Stand, and Southern Stride; 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