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

 

University of Waterloo 
Saturday, February 9, 2019

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 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

 

Equivox is the first competitive a cappella group from Western University. Located in London, Ontario (Canada), the group was formed in 2017 from a handful of passionate members of the original non-competitive group, The A Cappella Project (TAP). After attending the Canadian A Cappella Conference (CanACC) in 2016 and 2017, they were inspired by the possibilities of competing in the a cappella world and held auditions for a then-unnamed group. Rather than competing their first year (2017-2018), this new group dedicated their time to improving their repertoire with more sophisticated and challenging arrangements. Now known as Equivox, this group is a unified ensemble of “balanced voices” with a rich, unique sound, and they’re ready to take the world stage. As Western University’s first competitive a cappella group, Equivox is beyond excited to make its ICCA debut! 

Established in the fall of 2017, In Full Colour is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group from the University of Waterloo. Last season, the group won 1st place at its ICCA Quarterfinal and 2nd place at Semifinals. The group draws inspiration from the stage and was founded to push the boundaries of a cappella. In Full Colour focuses on combining music and choreography into masterful storytelling and strives to create unique and emotional experiences for their audiences. 

Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario (Canada), Macappella is McMaster University's first official a cappella group. Established in 2013, they have participated in ICCA Quarterfinals for the past two years and are excited to make it even further this season. They specialize in mainstream pop arrangements, mixed with jazz and theatre influences. Macappella has had the pleasure of performing in numerous a cappella concerts on and off campus, as well as for charity events, hospitals, and even curling clubs! They hope you enjoy their performance! 

Ryerson University's Ryenamics is here to join the party! Composed of 16 of Ryerson University's most prestigious singers (including their vocal percussionist), Ryenamics combines powerful voices with expert leadership and rigorous training to achieve a sound and dynamic like no other. As first-time ICCA competitors, Ryenamics is ready to bring their harmonies to the stage. From six friends singing in stairwells in 2014 to selling out concerts in 2018, Ryenamics has come a long way to become the family it is today. 

Surround Sound is a co-ed a cappella group that was originally founded by members of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, but now extends to other colleges and faculties at U of T and beyond. Drawing from a variety of pop music styles, the group prides itself on featuring hidden gems and original tunes that leave you wanting more! As students at Canada’s largest university, it's easy to feel like one in a million (or at least 70,000), and groups like Surround Sound provide a remedy for the loneliness that can come with this. Rehearsals offer a chance to escape the stresses of school and participate in the arts. Whether Surround Sound is performing a cover or an original, onstage or in their blanket-fort studio, they’re always prepared to bare their souls to whoever will listen. Besides, everyone knows they’re a bunch of nerds making noises with their mouths, so why not embrace it? The group members come from a variety of musical backgrounds, but join together to create something unique and beautiful. Now in their fourth season, the singers of Surround Sound are thrilled to make their ICCA debut in 2019! 

The AcaBellas is the University of Waterloo's first all-female a cappella group! Founded in 2009, The AcaBellas sing anything from top radio hits to Korean pop songs! The AcaBellas have appeared in two ICCA competitions and have danced their way to the spiciest spot! On any scale, these Bellas are three chilli peppers hot! 

The Musical InterDudes is an all-male a cappella group from the University of Waterloo. Founded in the fall of 2014, they are the newest group at UWaterloo and typically include between 7 and 12 members. The Dudes place a large emphasis on member input and always find a way to make its members’ ideas became reality. They have grown into a close-knit family and focus on tight harmonies with a dash of musical comedy. The Dudes cover a wide range of genres but always stay true to their quirky nature with their performances and song choices. 

The Unaccompanied Minors is the University of Waterloo's only mixed-gender, auditioned a cappella group. Running on campus since 2009, the group includes 20 talented members with a range of musical skills. The group is extremely passionate about music, which shows in the powerful, high-energy performances they deliver. In the past, The Unaccompanied Minors have explored genres of music from top 40 hits, to R&B classics. This term, the group has worked hard to prepare a unique set of songs that showcase their dynamic range. 

The Water Boys is an all-male a cappella group hailing from the University of Waterloo! Founded in 2008, their repertoire includes anything from rock music to chart-toppers. The Water Boys focus on achieving musical excellence while enjoying singing, performing, and having fun together! So put on your seat belts and get your trays in the upright position because they’re about to take off! Get ready to dive deep into the watery trenches of supersaturated a cappella music, with a dynamic splash and a sizzling drizzle! 

WIBI A Cappella (ˈwiːˈbiː) is an innovative contemporary a cappella ensemble founded in 1988 at York University. WIBI is the longest-running collegiate a cappella group in Canada and is celebrating its 31st anniversary this year! WIBI began as “Wibijazzin’,” an a cappella group specializing in jazz. Over the years, this semi-professional student group has explored a broad range of musical styles and currently focuses on pop music. WIBI has shared the stage with Grammy winner Ben Folds, Juno winners The Nylons, as well as Cadence, Retrocity, and others. WIBI alumni go on to sing in notable acts such as The Swingle Singers, Countermeasure, and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Rehearsing twice a week, the members of WIBI come from a variety of musical backgrounds, which they love to incorporate into their work through original, member-arranged songs. Each year, WIBI performs two end-of-semester showcases, as well as gigs throughout the school year and summer season. These singers enjoy close friendships with one another and love sharing their music and hard work with an audience. WIBI pushes itself to achieve high standards of musicality and creativity and above all, strives to maintain its legacy as an a cappella group and a family. 

GUEST PERFORMERS


ACE, formed in the winter of 2010 is the largest a cappella group on campus, averaging 60 members across soprano, alto, tenor, and bass sections. As the mixed, open group of the UW A Cappella Club, ACE includes members of all genders and levels of musical experience. They prepare a handful of songs each term to perform at various gigs and the UW A Cappella Club's end of term concert. They perform songs from a wide variety of genres, including pop, rock, rap, musicals, movie medleys, and orchestral pieces. In ACE, everyone is welcome. All you need is commitment, dedication, and a deep love for music and fun!

The UW Improv Club is all about making things up and having a good time! They perform completely improvised scenes, made up entirely on the spot with nothing to go off of but a simple suggestion from the audience! Every performance is completely unique and wonderfully original, and they guarantee you’ll be laughing by the end!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Kristen Antunes is pursuing a master’s degree in music technology and digital media student at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. Hailing from Kleinburg, Ontario, she is an accomplished pianist, saxophonist, and vocalist, and achieved her Grade 10 Piano certification and Advanced Theory Rudiments with the Royal Conservatory of Music. Kristen began singing a cappella in the seventh grade and performed with her high school’s resident vocal jazz ensemble, Rezonance, from grades nine through 12. She recently concluded her time as music director for the University of Toronto’s premier co-ed a cappella group,TBA. Tunes. Beats. Awesome., where she wrote vocal arrangements and led the group artistically. Kristen competed in three consecutive seasons of the ICCA with TBA, advancing to Semifinals after winning Quarterfinals in 2016, and placing 3rd at Quarterfinals in 2017. She continues to work in the a cappella community, writing commissioned arrangements for local Toronto ensembles and schools within the York Region District School Board. 

Brandon Burgess attended SUNY Potsdam, where he received his bachelor's degree in music education, with clarinet as his primary instrument. As a freshman, Brandon auditioned for and was accepted into The Potsdam Pitches, the premier co-ed a cappella group on Potsdam's campus. During his time in the group, he arranged music and served as music director, assistant music director, alumni secretary, webmaster, and president. Brandon held a part-time instrumental music teaching position before returning to SUNY Potsdam to pursue his master's degree in music performance, with clarinet as his primary medium. During this period, he also returned to The Potsdam Pitches, helping them place at ICCA Semifinals and and progress on to ICCA Finals as Central Region Champions. Brandon is currently teaching in New York State. 

Born in Oregon and raised in Rochester, N.Y., music has been with Mickey Hamilton for as long as he can remember. He found a cappella at Mansfield University as a singer, arranger, and music director for The Ellison Collection, and fill-in for the former Ithaca-based group, The Sons of Pitches. Mickey has since graduated with a degree in voice performance, and earned subsequent degrees in recording technology and entertainment business from Full Sail University. In the midst of his schooling, he has participated in various Rochester-based groups including Innerloop, The Smoking Hot Pipes, and Cut-Off, and even had the opportunity to learn from Bill Hare and Deke Sharon through the Soup 2 Nuts program. Now, Mickey is happy to be working for Cut Off Studios as an engineer, arranger, and producer. In addition to his a cappella background, Mickey runs live sound for local bands in the Rochester area, sings with Nik and the Nice Guys, and DJs for private and public events. 

Jeff Magee is a vocal music education graduate from the University of Toronto, and currently teaches high school vocal and instrumental music. He has been an active part of Toronto's a cappella community for 12 years as a beatboxer, singer, director, arranger, and vocal coach. Jeff has experience in a variety of a cappella choirs, ranging from jazz and classical to pop music. He has directed collegiate a cappella choirs for eight years, incorporating award-winning choreography, soloists, and arrangements. Jeff is passionate about bringing the fun and excitement of a cappella music to new audiences. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank UW A Cappella Club, Sherwood Systems, Humanities Theatre staff, Macy Hyland, and the Federation of Students; 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