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

 

University of Michigan
Saturday, February 2, 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

 

Amazin' Blue is an experimental, collaborative a cappella group committed to producing music that pushes the boundaries of contemporary a cappella. Since its founding in 1987 at the University of Michigan, Amazin' Blue (AB) has produced 16 studio albums and performed at a cappella venues throughout the nation. AB is the only university-sponsored a cappella group on campus. They are proud to share their music with the Michigan community alongside 14 other member groups of the Michigan A Cappella Council. AB recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and accepted its 200th member, representing the group’s long history of love, friendship, and innovation. 

Central Harmony A Cappella is Central Michigan University's only co-ed a cappella group. Formed in the fall of 2005, this student-run and student-led group has worked hard and grown over the years to develop their musical abilities, arranging nearly all of their performance pieces themselves! A loving group of individuals, these students support one another in and out of rehearsal, forming one big, musical family.  Bringing onstage enthusiasm, personality, and originality, the men and women of Central Harmony captivate audiences with strong harmonies and incredible vocal percussion. Performing a blend of musical genres, with an added CH twist, this a cappella group is sure to put on a great show for any audience. 

The Compulsive Lyres is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of Michigan dedicated to singing prettily while having loads of fun, and they are very excited to return to the ICCA stage. Aside from making puns about instruments they cannot play, The Lyres take pride in their losing IM Sports record and their complete lack of originality in writing program bios. 

The DJs is a fun-loving group of people with an intense passion for creating eye-opening (or perhaps ear-opening) music. Known for experimenting with all different types of genres and sounds, this incredibly close musical family thrives on pushing boundaries and trying new things, whether that ends with them discovering a great new song to arrange or doing yoga poses on the sides of West Virginia's cliffs. They are dedicated to musical excellence while fostering a fun and inclusive environment for their group members, audiences, and friends. 

Melodytroit is a co-ed a cappella group from Wayne State University. The group has members from a variety of majors including education, physics, music business, dance, psychology, and pre-med. Melodytroit was established seven years ago in December 2011. They were honored to compete at their first ICCA last year and enjoyed performing alongside other groups in Ann Arbor. They have been working tirelessly to achieve this goal and were so proud of what they accomplished last year. They were especially satisfied to have sung and danced at the same time, thanks to their choreographer, Avery Ribiat. Section leaders Benjamin Hawn, Chelsea Kornago, Alex Hines, and Hannah Krus have been able to lead the members of their sections in a variety of styles of music, while group president Lily Douma appreciates the opportunity to guide the group in booking performances and staying on task in rehearsals. The group enjoys camping, board games, and musical chairs. Ruth Podgorny-Richards does a fabulous job maintaining their social media on Instagram (@melodytroit), Facebook (@melodytroit), and Youtube (Melodytroit WSU A Cappella). Melodytroit is so thankful for all of the opportunities they have to sing for the Detroit community and WSU.

The Echoes is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of Notre Dame. Though the group was started less than 10 years ago, they have quickly developed into a serious a cappella group and a household name on the Notre Dame campus. Amidst their success, The Echoes still are true to their roots as a group of friends who enjoy making music together. The Echoes pride themselves on being an edgy and eclectic group that embraces each member’s unique perspective and values their mutual love of singing. The Echoes are proud to arrange 100% of their own music and enjoy the special ownership of bringing those pieces to life. The members of the Echoes hail from all over the country, from Atlanta to Chicago and even Hawaii. The group represents all class years, freshmen through seniors, within Notre Dame, and even has several members each year who spend semesters abroad traveling the world. The Echoes’ group dynamic is unparalleled and their onstage chemistry is undeniable. The Echoes have loved participating in ICCA the last two years and are excited to be back! 

The Expressions from Macomb Community College is a long-established elite ensemble, originally designed to perform a variety of jazz music, either accompanied or a cappella. Since 2017, the ensemble transitioned into a pop a cappella group.  Members are selected through auditions and include students in  the community college music program. The group meets together as an extracurricular performing ensemble. 

The G-Men (or Gentlemen for long) is the premier all-male a cappella group at the University of Michigan. They are known for their massive triceps, fanatical obsession with guppies, and for rocking audiences with the power of 100 raging Mark Ruffalos. Their newest album, Hijklmnog, is available on all streaming platforms and at their website, thegmen.org.

Since 1979, The Harmonettes have been contributing to the ever-growing University of Michigan a cappella tradition with their unique sound and signature blend. As the original all-female-identifying a cappella group on campus, these “sometimes sassy, always classy” young ladies pride themselves on their tight-knit friendships and masterful music. Whether singing their hearts out in the bell tower, sharing a jumbo feta bread (or two, or three), or taking over the stage, you can always find The Harmonettes together. 

The University of Michigan Sopranos is an all-human a cappella band composed of female-identifying individuals. The Sops would like to take this time to clear up a common misconception that has surfaced over group’s last 15 years of existence. One may think that they are all soprano voice parts because of the group name, but this could not be further from the truth. They’re actually all of the voice part, “Beyoncé,” and have been for many generations. They would also like to share with you the definition of Soprano, defined by Webster’s dictionary as “the group you are about to hear.” Without further ado, please ready your ears and open your hearts, because it’s about to get real.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Lindsay CieChanski is the Director of Vocal Music at Skyline High School, which houses four choirs, including the a cappella ensemble, Skyline Blues. Lindsay graduated from the University of Michigan in 2002 with a dual major in voice performance and choral music education, and completed her master’s degree in music education in 2007, also at U of M. She has worked as a guest clinician and enjoys participating in music conferences. Lindsay has also directed musicals and performs in several ensembles. Lindsay has led Skyline’s choirs to successful performances at ICHSA, Solo and Ensemble, and Choral Festival. Skyline Blues has performed for numerous events around the Ann Arbor Community and has consistently competed in ICHSA. Lindsay has greatly enjoyed her time working with Varsity Vocals and is inspired to continue promoting the art of a cappella singing. 

Bryan Guffey has been singing longer than they can remember (seriously, ask their parents). Since forming their first group, 50/50, in high school in 1997, Bryan has been a passionate believer in the power of vocal music to change lives for the better. Since graduating with their B.F.A. in musical theatre from Kent State in 2006, Bryan has worked with Grammy-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn on a remount of the Broadway musical, "The Civil War" in Gettysburg, Pa. This led them to audition for Full Sail, an a cappella group on the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises, where they had the opportunity to work with and learn from the likes of Home Free’s Tim Foust. After returning to the U.S., Bryan helped launch A Cappella Records and became more involved in the a cappella community. When Bryan isn't solving technical issues for nonprofits, they spend much of their time coaching a cappella groups in the Great Lakes region, volunteering with organizations such as the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), the Vocal Foundation, the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), and SingStrong, and serving as president of the Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. Additionally, Bryan works closely with Centerville High School’s Forte A Cappella, having co-produced the group’s all-original albums, Uncharted Heart and Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg 

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. 

Andrea Poole has served as director of the ICHSA since 2009. Under her leadership, the ICHSA has grown from a handful of small Semifinals to the robust, full-fledged tournament it is today, featuring more than 250 groups competing at sold-out events nationwide. Before becoming ICHSA Director, Andrea served as ICHSA Midwest producer from 2007 to 2009 and produced numerous regional and national events during her time with Varsity Vocals. Andrea is an alumna of Michigan State University‘s Capital Green, and served as president for two of her four years in the group and arranged much of the group's repertoire. She continues to arrange for and coach groups in Michigan. Before singing with Capital Green, she was part of Pine Creek (Colo.) High School’s female a cappella group, Nuance, and was actively involved in the choral program. Andrea is a full-time public relations professional at a firm in Lansing, Mich. 

Selame Scarlett hails from Okemos, Mich. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she was part of Capital Green A Cappella, and served as music director, arranger and vocal percussionist. Currently, she is an ICHSA producer, Varsity Vocals judge, and clinician for high school and collegiate groups in the Midwest. She serves as a percussionist and vocalist for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning, all-female sextet, Lady Jaye, and the all-female gospel powerhouse group, Traces, which was featured on Season 5 of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” In the summertime, Selame is an instructor and counselor at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based vocal camp for young adults (ages 13 to 17). Selame has been fortunate enough to record alongside groups such as Naturally 7, The Boxettes, Pentatonix, Duwende, and Traces of Blue (formerly Afro-Blue)! She has led percussion workshops and masterclasses, both on her own and with her beatboxing colleagues. 

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 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