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 WEST SEMIFINAL

 

Napa Valley Performing Arts Center 
Saturday, March 3, 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

 

Critical Mass is the official contemporary a cappella group from Orem High School, where it began as a club in 2014. They are the only group from Utah to be invited to the ICHSA, and have competed for two of the last three years. In addition to competition travel, they’ve performed locally for school, corporate, and community events, including hosting the Utah High School A Cappella competition the last two years. The group has been coached by members of BYU’s renowned Vocal Point and follows in VP’s tradition of fun, inspiring, and vocally awesome music. They have produced four music videos and released several tracks. Check out their YouTube channel @CriticalMassOHS.

Legacy is an auditioned community youth a cappella group made up of singers aged 13-18 from all over the greater Los Angeles area! Under the direction of Rob Dietz (“The Sing-Off,” “Glee”), the group promotes a high standard of musicianship and a strong sense of community. Recent accomplishments include being named LAAF 2017 Scholastic Competition champions and winners of Varsity Vocals’ Aca Open Southwest Semifinal.

The Satonics is a co-ed a cappella group from San Francisco University High School, alma mater of a cappella icon Deke Sharon. A fairly new group, The Satonics was founded in 2013 and named in honor of their school mascot, the Red Devils. They strive to include students from every grade, freshmen through seniors, and pride themselves on being completely student-run and directed. The group even features several student arrangers. The Satonics are thrilled to be returning to the ICHSA for their fifth year, having previously won 3rd place and the Best Soloist award in the 2016 West Semifinal.

This is the third incarnation of Take Note at Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills, Calif. These kids stay busy with AP classes, college applications, sports, choir, and theatre arts, but always manage to squeeze in time for a cappella music!

The hOWLers are known for their proclivity for making musical noise with their mouths. They can be found humming, whistling, beatboxing, and singing at any given moment. Freestyle raps and mellow acoustic guitar-vocalist duos are particularly frequent when they are together in their natural habitat. When they're not making noise, The hOWLers can often be found eating in creative ways, doodling on manila folders, and writing acrostics. (h: haggardly high schoolers, O: Ornate octaves, W: Whimsical, wild wanderers, L: Lethargic lyric lovers, e: eccentric edelweiss enthusiasts, r: rippin’ ragged reggae rap rhymes, S: splendiferous subharmonic-singing students).

The Resolve is the premier self-run a cappella group representing Hillcrest High School. Founded in 2010, they started out as only five members, each with a dream to create something totally out of the box. Though they were initially unsure of what type of group they wanted to be, they eventually found the answer in a cappella. Every member of Resolve is involved in other school programs, including sports, drama, choir, and band. They have had their ups and downs in becoming part of the school but they have finally been made an official club. They look forward to sharing a positive message through music. Since they were founded, they have performed in several local, school, church and community venues, including the Rio Tinto Soccer Stadium, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Vocal Sport, Utah High School A Cappella, and other events. Though they may seem small, they want to make their mark in the a cappella community. The Resolve hopes to share a positive message about coming together, even in the face of obstacles. “There’s a place for us…” - Carrie Underwood.

Five years ago, a few music-loving high schoolers decided that they wanted to put their passion for music to use and have some fun. Although they are relatively new to the a cappella scene, The Soundwaves are ready to compete after winning 2nd place in last year's ICHSA Semifinal. Hailing from San Mateo, Calif., these singers love exploring diverse genres through a cappella, from classic folk rock to original jazz tunes to fresh arrangements of well-known chart-toppers. Though their interests are as varied as their voices, The Soundwaves come together to share their love of music with one another and with anyone who will listen.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Chris Rishel was first introduced to a cappella music when he sang in a barbershop quartet in 8th grade and has been hooked ever since. Throughout high school and undergrad, he continued pursuing barbershop until he finally entered the realm of contemporary a cappella as a graduate student in the MD/PhD program at The University of Chicago. There, he led Voices in Your Head to victory in the BOSS collegiate competition and a renowned appearance at the 2012 ICCA Finals, and arranged for and coached the group extensively during their 2015 ICCA run that won 2nd place at finals. His arrangements and compositions have also been individually recognized on numerous occasions. He has won the Outstanding Arrangement award three times at ICCA quarterfinals and semifinals, the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement twice, and CARAs for Best Professional Arrangement for a Scholastic Group and Best Scholastic Original Song. His arrangements have also been repeatedly featured on the compilation albums BOCA, Sing, and Voices Only, as well as Ben Folds’s a cappella album. As a studio producer, he has helped groups across the Midwest earn over 15 CARA nominations and more than 20 compilation appearances. Having (finally!) graduated, he recently moved to California and is currently completing his residency at Stanford University in anesthesiology.

Bill Hare 
has been a full-time recording engineer and producer for over 30 years, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella. Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known a contemporary a cappella groups around the globe, including Pentatonix, The House Jacks, m-pact, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, and The Backbeats (U.S.); The Swingle Singers and The King's Singers (U.K.); Basix and Vocal Line (Denmark); Cluster, The Ghost Files, Alti & Bassi, and Maybe6ix (Italy); Wise Guys, Amarcord, and Maybebop (Germany); as well as groups from dozens of other countries from Australia to Zambia. Collegiate a cappella clients include The Beelzebubs, On The Rocks, Divisi, The Harmonics, and hundreds of others. Bill is the world’s most awarded individual contemporary a cappella producer, with more than 70 appearances on BOCA, well over 100 CARA nominations, 40 albums in the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) "Picks of the Year" lists since 1998, and 13 "DeeBee" from DownBeat Magazine since 1987. His projects around the world have earned gold on up through multi-platinum record sales. Bill received a Grammy Award in 2011 in his name for his work on Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns,” as well as multiple Grammy nods for projects worldwide.

Laura Dickinson
founded Groove 66 (now “Vybration”), at the Disneyland Resort with creator Deke Sharon, and is the only member to perform in all three female vocal tracks (plus appearances on the baritone and vocal percussion tracks). She is Vybration’s current music director and arranger, and has previously performed with Voasis (assistant music director) under Deke Sharon and Greg Jasperse and Voices Of Liberty in Epcot. She is especially proud to be the only female to perform in the male soprano track of her favorite group, m-pact. Laura is a singer and voice actress in Hollywood, best known for her extensive work on Disney animated hits, and numerous TV/film credits, including "Pitch Perfect" and "Pitch Perfect 2." Laura's debut album, One for My Baby – To Frank Sinatra With Love (2014) is available on iTunes and Amazon. www.lauradickinson.com. Check out her Twitter and Instagram @elsielaura.

Greg Casper 
is a professional singer/actor/director/teacher/coach with over 40 years of experience. He has done everything from fronting rock bands to singing in classical chorales, and has performed everything from opera to country, from The Messiah to musical theatre. He has performed as a vocalist on television, radio, stage, and several independent albums, as an actor on numerous stages throughout the Bay Area, as a director with several theatre companies, and as a singer/musician in a number of bands, as well as a solo act, both with instruments and a cappella. He has been singing with The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers, the world’s largest professional a cappella Christmas caroling company, since 1989. He has taught and directed several local and regional choral groups and taught voice and guitar at the Northern California School of Music for four years. As a performance coach, Greg coached the nine-woman a cappella group, Noteworthy (BYU), to a 1st place finish in the 2007 ICCA. He has been a nationally certified adjudicator for the ICCA for over 15 years.

Lucy Jacobs 
has been Varsity Vocals’ ICCA West Producer for the past 10 years, during which time she helped facilitate the region’s growth to triple its original size. In 2016, Lucy became founding director of The Open, launching and developing the program from its inception, culminating in a sold-out Final performance at Carnegie Hall in September 2017. A classically trained vocalist with performance credits across the globe, Lucy’s love for a cappella began at a young age when she performed with a Sweet Adelines double quartet, and founded and directed a co-ed quartet in high school. Lucy went on to study vocal performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she sang with the co-ed a cappella group, Naked Voices. After transferring to the University of Southern California, Lucy joined The SoCal VoCals and served as business manager, album producer, and president, leading the group to its first International Champion title at the 2008 ICCA Finals. As with many in the aca-family, Lucy has bounced around through several a cappella groups since college, including performing on the first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off" with The VoCals.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 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 at Lincoln Center!

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