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 GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

Grand Ledge High School
Saturday, February 9, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

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Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and join the conversation using #ICCA and #ICHSA.

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

 

Fish N Chips is the oldest contemporary a cappella group at Central Michigan University. Blending sweet tunes both old and new with a fun and lighthearted stage presence, Fish N Chips has been entertaining audiences for over a decade. 

Gold Vibrations is a co-ed a cappella group from Oakland University (located in Rochester Hills, Mich.). The group was established in 2009 by a group of students with a passion and drive for creating and performing music. The members of Gold Vibrations are a diverse group of students. While the group does contain some of Oakland University's finest music students, most members in the group actually major in different fields. The members all have different focuses (both inside and outside of school), are different ages, and are in different years of their educational paths. 

Midnight Snack is Grand Valley State University’s only all-female a cappella group on campus. They take pride in their passion for music and their dedication to always growing as a team. The inclusiveness and acceptance within the group makes it a safe place for creativity and a great environment to be yourself. Midnight Snack performs and competes locally throughout Michigan. They love the a cappella community and always enjoy the opportunity to perform with other a cappella groups. These women hope the group continues to learn and grow together while impacting the community around them in a positive way. 

The MSU Accafellas is an all-male a cappella group founded in 1996. Since the group’s conception, The Accafellas have gone on to produce eight studio albums and have won various awards in ICCA. They pride themselves on their killer arrangements and snazzy outfits and hope you enjoy them too! 

On the Rox is CMU’s only all-female a cappella group. As a performance group, their main focus is to entertain, and, through dancing and singing, they are able to express themselves and share their love for performing with others around them. They travel around the state performing for special events on and off campus, often performing for charity events and fundraisers. They frequently compete in national competitions, where they meet and interact with other members of the a cappella community. They will take any opportunity to entertain and share their love of music and female empowerment. 

No Strings Attached (NSA) is Western Michigan University's oldest established co-ed a cappella group, formed in 2011. Since then, No Strings Attached has grown from a few friends singing together to a full-fledged competitive group. At its core, NSA promotes excellence in singing and creating a positive atmosphere on campus through their music. The group consists of 18 auditioned members from many disciplines across the university, ranging from engineering to business. In fact, only three members of the group are music majors! NSA is arranged in a traditional SATB format, along with a vocal percussionist and they sing a variety of arrangements by current and former members. They perform musical genres ranging from classical to contemporary and alternative. No Strings Attached has performed at a variety of competitions and events across the state of Michigan.

RCAHppella is a co-ed a cappella group based out of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University. RCAHppella includes members from both inside and outside of RCAH. While this group has evolved over the years, its mission remains the same: to use music to bring people together. This close-knit group recognizes the impact music has on those around them and focuses on how they can use music to generate positivity. The group performs in a variety of venues and enjoys sharing its music with members of the community. RCAHppella has competed in ICCA in previous years and looks forward to the opportunity to compete again. 

Founded in the fall of 2008, State of Fifths is a 16-person co-ed a cappella group from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. They recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as a group and are known for creating innovative, heartfelt, and award-winning music. They spend their time performing around their campus and community and making memories as a family. State of Fifths is currently recording its next studio album, to be released in spring 2019, and they are ecstatic to share the next chapter in their legacy with you. 

Vocaholics is a co-ed a cappella group at Western Michigan University, formed in fall of 2013 by WMU musicians. Their music encompasses all styles and genres, focusing on challenging arrangements supported by powerful vocalists. Their group also performs and records their own original music. They perform in on-campus concerts, community and traveling performance opportunities, and competitions like ICCA. Aside from their music, they are a family of charismatic, unique individuals who support one another and their community.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Paige Broderick has been immersed in the world of a cappella since her time as a member of Michigan State University's only all-female a cappella group, Ladies First. Since joining in 2010, Paige served as vice president and competed with Ladies First in the ICCA in 2011 and 2014. At their 2014 ICCA Quarterfinal, they placed 2nd and Paige won Outstanding Soloist, advancing the group to compete at ICCA Great Lakes Semifinals. Upon graduation from Michigan State University, Paige is still singing as a member of professional all-female group, Revel. With Revel, Paige competed at the 2017 Open competition and continues to record and perform with them to this day. Aside from continuing to write and record her own original music, Paige currently resides in Berkley, Mich. with her husband, Joe, and Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Waffle. Paige is thrilled to be back at the Great Lakes ICCA competition and wishes all groups the best of luck competing! 

Lyndsay Burke graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in voice performance and music education. While in college, she sang, arranged, and music directed The Dicks and Janes, who competed in ICCA every year of her tenure. She currently an elementary vocal music teacher in the Ann Arbor public schools. Lyndsay is also an instructor and music director at the Ann Arbor School of Rock, and still actively performs in Michigan. 

Joshua S. Duchan, Ph.D. is an ethnomusicologist who studies American popular music and culture, and has been involved in the a cappella world for more than a decade. During college he sang with The University of Pennsylvania Counterparts, and during graduate school he sang with the University of Michigan’s Amazin' Blue, serving twice as their music director and primary arranger. His arrangements have been nominated for two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and have appeared on BOCA twice. Today, Joshua is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies in Music at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he teaches courses in music history, world music, and ethnomusicology. His articles on a cappella have been published with the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), as well as in several academic journals. His book, “Powerful Voices: The Musical and Social World of Collegiate A Cappella,” was the first book-length scholarly work to consider collegiate a cappella, exploring its arranging, rehearsal, performance, and recording practices. Joshua's more current research focuses on the music of American singer-songwriter, Billy Joel. His book, “Billy Joel: America’s Piano Man,” was published in 2017 and features interviews he conducted with Joel himself. Outside of teaching, Joshua remains active in the national a cappella scene as an adjudicator, arranger, clinician, and producer. He has been adjudicating at ICCA and ICHSA events since 2004. 

Fiona Linn hails from Adelaide, Australia, where she worked as a lawyer and enjoyed an active musical life. With a bachelor's degree in voice performance, Fiona has toured nationally and internationally with professional Australian chamber choirs, performed as an oratorio soloist, performed and directed musical stage shows and sketch comedy revues, and worked for over 10 years with the State Opera Company of South Australia as a regular chorus member, understudy, and young artist. After moving to the United States in 2006, Fiona sang with Amazin' Blue at the University of Michigan, where she also engaged in postgraduate legal studies. Although singing preoccupies her musical life, Fiona also enjoys accompanying, jazz piano, vocal arranging, and stage directing.Fiona lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she performs with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Ann Arbor and Depot Town Big Band, and works as a project manager in the healthcare and higher education sectors. 

Tyler Knowles began playing instruments at an early age, but didn't discover his voice as an instrument until he fell in love with a performance featuring UW-Madison's premier men's a cappella group, The MadHatters. He auditioned for the group, and learned he had a knack for singing really, really low. Tyler sang with The MadHatters from 2002-2005, competing in and hosting ICCA during that time. After college, he sang professionally in the a cappella quartet, The Traveling Sailsmen, on the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, cruising from Alaska down to the Horn of South America and numerous ports in between.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Selame Scarlett, Grand Ledge Public Schools, Timothy Daniel, Ewurama Aappiagyei-Dankah, and Bryan Pennington; 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 Great Lakes 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