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 SEMIFINAL

 

The University of Buffalo
Saturday, March 30, 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.

TONIGHT'S COMPETITORS

 

The Originals, hailing from Carnegie Mellon University, is an a cappella group that challenges what it means to be an all-male ensemble. Through intentional, emotionally aware performances, they aim to tell evocative stories while sharing their individual experiences with every audience. Over the past few years, The O’s have been lucky enough to travel and perform at festivals across the country, including SoJam, VoiceJam, and BOSton Sings! Recently, the group recorded an album with The Vocal Company to be released in the coming months! They look forward to performing in the ICCA for the first time since 2016, and are so excited to share their music with the world! 

Ithacappella began in 1996 as the Ithaca College Men’s Chorus, Ithaca College's only all-male identifying a cappella group. Their repertoire often contains choral pieces and traditional tunes that trace back to the group’s early days, but they mostly integrate contemporary hits into their music today. They bring professionalism and personality to classrooms, school assemblies, and performances nationwide. Their mission is simple: they want to show how music can help people grow and learn. The group members are students first and musicians second. For some members, Ithacappella is a stepping stone to continue pursuing a professional entertainment career, and for others, it’s a chance to make lifelong friends. They’re all here to entertain, connect, and offer an experience you may never forget! 

The Potsdam Pitches is SUNY Potsdam’s oldest co-ed a cappella group. The group was founded in 2007 and has been going strong ever since! Their mission is to spread their love of music through a cappella and influence as many people as possible. 

A Sharp Arrangement, SUNY Potsdam’s student-run treble a cappella group, loves to perform in schools and various other venues. The group takes pride in working with students and members of the community through their performances. A Sharp Arrangement has come together to explore the area of women’s a cappella music through a variety of musical styles. The group supports music education in schools and seeks to actively engage students through music. A Sharp Arrangement is committed to learning healthy, supported and energized singing that can be enjoyed by all of their audiences. A Sharp Arrangement’s mission is to perform and entertain the public through a cappella music. 

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! 

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. 

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. 

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 and 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 strives to maintain its legacy as an a cappella group and a family.   

Eight Beat Measure is RIT's original all-male a cappella group! The group members pride themselves on their diverse repertoire, love of musical performance, and brotherhood. They hope to inspire others with their live performances and their albums, including their new album, which will be released by the end of this year! Eight Beat Measure just celebrated their 30th anniversary last year and they are excited to continue bringing amazing music to the ICCA stage and beyond! 

Vocal Point is the only all-female a cappella group at the University of Rochester. Originally founded in 1969 as an ensemble of 12 women accompanied by piano, the group has transformed in the five decades since into the voices-only group of singers they are today! They are currently working on a full studio album that will celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Ariel Arbisser is a versatile, in demand performer based in Ithaca, N.Y. Her award-winning a cappella endeavors include The Funx, powerhouse female ensemble Lady Jaye, and experimental funk duo, Frisky Business. Ariel got her start with The Cornell Chordials with whom she became a nationally recognized soloist, and co-produced two of their award-winning albums. After Cornell, Ariel graduated from the Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca, where she studied the Meisner Technique and went on to become a lead in its theatre company and a teacher’s assistant. From her Meisner roots, she developed the teaching module, “Sing It Like You Mean It,” which she continues to teach at festivals and schools nationwide. Ariel currently lives in Ithaca, N.Y., where she coaches private voice students, performs with soul outfit The Jeff Love Band, and works on her songwriting. She is the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America's (CASA) program manager of marketing, and on the Board of Trustees for the Melodramatics Theatre Company, Inc.

Philip Jarosz has appeared on various stages throughout Western New York, including Studio Arena, Artpark, and Lancaster Opera House. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and in Opera Sacra productions. Philip is a founding member of the The Lake Effect all-male a cappella ensemble, Vocalis, and the Harmonia Chamber Singers. Philip teaches in the Kenmore-Tonawanda school district where he has directed productions of "The Laramie Project," "Six Degrees of Separation," "Sweeney Todd," "Les Miserables," and "The Drowsy Chaperone," to name a few. In 2018, Philip was named Buffalo Theatre Person of the Year.

Melissa Rashford is a proud alumna of The Mandarins, Syracuse University’s oldest all-female a cappella group. Under her direction, The Mandarins competed and performed throughout the Northeast and earned national recognition by advancing to the ICCA Finals in 2004. Melissa holds degrees in music industry and business administration from SU and currently works in the University's Office of Marketing and Communications. She arranges for local ensembles, adjudicates area festivals, and performs with the SU Oratorio Society. Melissa also teaches high school marching band and musical theatre, and takes every possible opportunity to encourage her students to join a cappella groups when they get to college.

Betsy Stambach-Fuller is the choral and theatre arts director at South Glens Falls High School. Under her direction, the school’s curricular a cappella group, Vocal Point, has recorded two studio albums, toured and performed across the continental U.S., and competed in the ICHSA for the past six seasons. They also host a regional a cappella festival, TuneUp, and are preparing to make their international debut at the 2020 International A Cappella Festival. Betsy holds both a B.M. and M.M. in music education and performance from the State University of New York at Fredonia. While a student at Fredonia, Betsy founded and directed the college’s first female a cappella group. In addition to performing and clinicianing regionally, Betsy founded the southern Adirondack’s premier high school summer music intensive, Campappella, which is hosted at the Glens Falls Music Academy (www.glensfallsmusicacademy.com). 

Lee Stovall currently teaches choir for the South Milwaukee school district, where he directs the award-winning a cappella groups, Delta V and The Poprockets, who recently released their debut album, Keep Myself. A founding member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison a cappella group, Fundamentally Sound, he has been interested in promoting contemporary a cappella education since college, and keeps busy arranging and coaching for groups around the world. He recently arranged for "Broadway Goes A Cappella 3" at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City to rave reviews. Lee's work has earned ICCA awards and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), as well as spots on BOCA and BOHSA compilations. He has attended seminars with The Vocal Company and Vocomotion studios, volunteered for SingStrong Chicago and A Cappella Fest, and judged for Varsity Vocals, CARAs, and the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs). Lee has also worked with Camp A Cappella, directing ensembles from the middle school to collegiate levels, and is a board member of A Cappella University. Outside of the contemporary a cappella world, Lee sings with two professional classical ensembles, The Madison Choral Project and Present Music Milwaukee.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Center for the Arts and its teams, Katherine Trapanovski, Mackenzie McGuire, Macy Hyland, Nicole Kohlweiss, Jamz, A Cappella Productions, Mike Jankowski, Joey Cassata, and Julia Vaccaro; 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,  
& Great Lakes Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West 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 placing group advances to the 2019 ICCA Finals!

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