THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF COLLEGIATE

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 23rd season! Our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever after almost a quarter century of presenting the best student groups on stage and in the studio.

Our tournaments have grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase they are today, featuring more than 650 groups and 9,800 singers at 87 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 Pitch Perfect franchise 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 enjoyed a long stay 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 two years ago. “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. Its third season will kick off this summer.

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 23 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2019 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

ICCA CENTRAL QUARTERFINAL

 

Carnegie Mellon University
Saturday, February 2, 2019

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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 annually produce The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The 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 three to five 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 in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 14th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2019 season will feature the largest high school tournament field in our history. The winners of each of seven Semifinal rounds will advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City.

The Open Tournament took place for the second time ever in summer 2018 and featured six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2018 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 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. 

Please note that no food or beverages are allowed in the theatre and all cell phones must be silenced during the performance. To ensure audience safety and comfort, House Managers and ushers will request all patrons follow generally accepted rules of audience behavior.

If you need to leave the theater during the presentation, an usher will escort you to the rear to minimize distractions for other patrons. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of the House Manager. Infrared hearing assistance headsets are available for patrons with hearing impairments. If you wish to use a headset, please speak to an usher.

TONIGHT'S COMPETITORS

 

Founded in 2010, C Flat Run is a co-ed a cappella group hailing from the University of Pittsburgh. They're made up of 18 diverse students who love making music together almost as much as they love getting decked out in their chucks and suspenders. Some say they're the sex-c-est group on campus. Others say that they’re the only ones who say that. Either way, they hope you enjoy their performance tonight! 

The C# Singers is a close-knit group of friends with an appetite for all kinds of music, from billboard chart-toppers to the nerdiest video game tunes. They always seek to improve their musicality, technical ability, and performance skills, not only as individuals but also as a part of their broader C# community. They work to foster a culture that finds joy in performance and shares that joy with their community. 

Counterpoint is Carnegie Mellon University's oldest all-female a cappella group. Founded in 2000, they have spent the last two decades working to redefine the boundaries of what the female voice can do. They perform at various events throughout the year, from competitions such as ICCA to charity events to singing Valentines. They take pride in their unique song selections, which range in genre from traditional pop to more jazzy, folksy, and alternative styles. All in all, they are a diverse group of women with different personalities, interests, and goals, threaded together by a shared love of music! 

Mic Drop is the first-ever a cappella group at Duquesne University. Their campus had never experienced contemporary a cappella before, but once it did, no one could get enough. Mic Drop performs all types of repertoire, from jazz, rock, pop, R&B, secular choral repertoire, spirituals, and even sacred music. Last year, they held two sold-out shows, with 115 people attending their Christmas concert and 135 attending their spring concert. In their first year together, Mic Drop performed at the school’s Veterans’ Day ceremony, the Duquesne men's basketball home opening game, as well as the ICCA. In the group’s first semester, they only had 17 students interested in joining the group, but that number increased to 86 this year! They may be new, but they are fierce. They are a force. They are a voice. They are Mic Drop. 

Pitches & Tones is a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Pittsburgh founded in 1987 solely to fill the role of the most average-looking a cappella group on campus. They sing a wide range of genres and artists, from John Lennon to John Legend, and, impressively, also manage to drink 16.8 gallons of bubble tea each rehearsal in the process. If they're being honest, they're a bit of a teal cult, but they wouldn't have it any other way. 

Pittch Please is The University of Pittsburgh’s award-winning all-male a cappella ensemble. The group originated from a men’s alumni a cappella group composed of Pitt graduates. After what was thought to be the group’s last concert, a push from student fans and current members led the group to seek registration as a bonafide student organization. Pittch Please now provides fraternal solidarity for its members, sentimental commemorations for its alumni, and musical excellence for the Pittsburgh community. 

The Coda Conduct is a competitive co-ed a cappella group at The Pennsylvania State University. The group was almost called SWAG, which stood for Singing With A Group, but decided The Coda Conduct was a better fit during its inception. Coda was founded on diversity and acceptance and currently averages a 3.5 on the Kinsey Scale. They are honored to have won the Sass Factory award at Boston Sings 2018 and placed at their 2017 ICCA Semifinal, with awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement. Coda hopes to continue pushing forward in competitions, rehearsals, and masterclasses to remain one of Penn State's most competitive groups. The group is only six years old but is proud to have released its first full-length album, Spectrum, on all streaming platforms. 

The Pitt Pendulums began as an amusing idea at a Halloween party at the University of Pittsburgh back in 1993. Starting with only five members, the group grew until it was officially established in 1996 and formally named. Although the group is now older than many of its current members, the group’s commitment and love for singing and one another has remained constant over the years. 

The Songburghs is one of the University of Pittsburgh’s numerous co-ed a cappella groups. This is their fourth year on campus and they’re super excited to show you what they’ve got! The Songburghs pride themselves on never limiting themselves to any one genre. They’ll sing anything from modern pop to soft country to boppin’ oldies! They are willing to try anything, including genre-bending, and they make sure to put their own spin on everything they do. When they’re not singing, you can find Songburghs watching old animated Disney movies, bowling, or making terrible puns. If you’re looking for some laughs, some great music, or a giant heap of burgh love, look no further than The Songburghs! 

The Treblemakers is Carnegie Mellon’s award-winning co-­ed a cappella group. Founded in 2010, The Treblemakers is held together by a shared love of singing and performing. They seek to grow musically, both as individuals and as a cohesive unit, and to use their unique style to push the boundaries of collegiate a cappella.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Shawn Pearce has fostered his passion for contemporary a cappella for nearly 30 years, as the founder of two groups at Penn State University and director of three others, a Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) ambassador, a former ICCA producer, and a former reviewer for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). He has been a staff arranger for Clear Harmonies Productions since 2016. In 2017, Shawn put his passion into innovation as founder and current project manager of The AcaLumni Project, a "virtual" a cappella ensemble featuring a cappella alumni and professionals from around the world. A cappella alumni (including alumni of the groups competing tonight) are always welcome to join at acalumniproject.com. Shawn's greatest passions, however, are his wife of 18 years, his budding theatre diva of a daughter, and his future soccer pro son. 

With a Master of Music in choral conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and performance (Ashland University), Brandy Kay Riha is an a cappella educator and arranger with a special focus on treble repertoire. Her arrangements have been performed by middle school, high school, and collegiate singers around the globe. Brandy has founded or co-founded six a cappella groups, including the post-collegiate Zero to Sixty, Ashland University’s student-led co-ed group, Surround Sound, and The University of Akron’s female a cappella group, Kanga Blue. She has also led workshops on arranging, aca-directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. Brandy is currently Adjunct Instructor of Commercial Voice and director of the pop choir at Tiffin University. She also directs Geneva High School’s High Definition, as well as A Cappella Boot Camp (ABC), an independent eight-week a cappella experience for middle and high school students centered in Medina, Ohio. 

Corey Thur holds a degree in film production from Kent State University. There, he was a member of The Kent Clarks for four years and served as assistant music director, vice president, and a group arranger. He has also arranged for other a cappella groups, such as Rhythm & Roos from the University of Akron. With The Kent Clarks, Corey competed in the ICCA three times, performed live on “The Today Show,” and performed at The White House for a special event, including an individual performance for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. He recently returned to Ohio from an internship with The Walt Disney Company and is currently employed as a talent agent at The Talent Group in Cleveland. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, A Cappella Productions, Joe Cassata, Mike Jankowski, and Macy Hyland; 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 Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Helena Benthall
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest & Southwest

Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South Producer

Nicole Kohlweiss
 ICHSA Northeast 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 two finishing groups advance to the ICCA Central Semifinal!

BRING THE HARMONY HOME

 

Find your favorite groups on The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on Apple Music and Amazon Music!

VIEW ALBUMS

varsityvocals

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019