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 MID-ATLANTIC SEMIFINAL

 

The Grand Opera House
Saturday, March 30, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

The Vibes is the premier co-ed a cappella group at the George Washington University. "Giving the GW community aural pleasure since 1999,” The Vibes cover a repertoire ranging from 1960s R&B to today’s indie rock. The Vibes can be found performing at the highest levels of collegiate a cappella, in the ICCA, the White House, Disney World, and beyond. More than just a bad-ass a cappella group, this group is a big family that always aims to entertain and have a great time doing it. 

Mason Some Noise is George Mason University’s premier co-ed a cappella group! Founded in 2014, MSN performs at events on campus and in the D.C. area. Thing mostly pop music, but dabble in other genres as well. In 2018, they became the first a cappella group in Mason history to compete in the ICCA and delivered a strong debut performance, winning the award for Outstanding Arrangement. They are aiming to advance further in the competition this year! The group highlights the diversity of GMU, with singers of different races, ethnicities, ages, majors, and personalities, all united through their love of music and friendship. They consistently raise the bar of excellence in the collegiate a cappella community and rehearse with this goal in mind. They are proud of what they do, they love what they do, and want all of their supporters to love it too. From everyone at Mason Some Noise: Thank you for your support! 

DaCadence is the newest co-ed competitive a cappella group hailing from the University of Maryland. Founded in 2010, DaCadence has made a large impact in the Maryland a cappella community, with a 3rd place finish at their 2017 ICCA Quarterfinal and an appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Semifinals in 2018. The group regularly performs at local gigs and universities, and attends a cappella festivals around the country. DaCadence released its latest EP, Unhinged, in the spring of 2018 and it is now available on all major music platforms. The group prides itself in creating powerful, emotional music, a true family bond between its members, and the highest quality musical experience for fans.     

Faux Paz is the University of Maryland’s award-winning premier co-ed a cappella group. They regularly participate in competitions like the ICCA and Boston Sings (BOSS) and have been in existence for 25 years. They were awarded with 1st place at BOSS 2017, 3rd place at the 2016 ICCA Final, and were featured on Season 2 of “Sing It On.” As they have expanded their audience, Faux has been able to travel all over the country to perform, compete, and meet amazing people! They recently released their ninth studio album, Lithium, and it is now available on all streaming platforms.

Formed in the fall of 2015, The Trills is known as the smallest and quirkiest a cappella family at Towson University. With just seven members, The Trills became one of the smallest groups to ever compete at the ICCA Finals during the 2017 season. Outside of the ICCA, The Trills perform at many public and private events in the Baltimore area, and even released their debut EP, Pillars, available on all streaming platforms. They hope you enjoy their performance and check out @towsontrills for more! 

The Trentones was founded in 2002 by a group of passionate students and the rest is history! They are very active in the community, performing and hosting workshops at schools all over New Jersey. The Trentones are very involved on campus, performing at various academic functions. In addition, they frequently perform with other college a cappella groups all over the coast. The Trentones pride themselves in being an eclectic group of students with a wide range of interests. While they have a few music majors, others study pre-law, english, urban education, business management, math, art history, computer science, and many more. The Trentones enjoy that although they all have different roots on campus, they are able to come together and do what they love!

Under A Rest is West Chester University's gender-inclusive SATB a cappella group. Approaching their fifth year as an official organization, UAR is proud to be involved in its community. Each semester, they hold a benefit concert giving back to WCU's Resource Pantry and the Dreaming Zebra Foundation. UAR has won Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Choreography for the past three consecutive years at ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals. The two-time Semifinalist group looks forward to competing in the 2019 ICCA, continuing to connect with other amazing groups and perform stories worth telling. 

High Street Harmonix is a gender-inclusive, tenor-bass a cappella group from West Chester University of Pennsylvania! They are excited for another round of the ICCA. Last year, they enjoyed their best placing ever, winning 3rd place at their local Quarterfinal and scoring their record number of points in a single Quarterfinal! High Street aims to keep pushing forward in their competitive success and in their culture. This year, they officially shed the "male-only" title, having accepted two women into their group! While they stay true to their tenor-bass roots, High Street realizes the need for equality across all formats, and looks forward to an exciting remainder of the school year. If interested, you can check out their newest album, exhale., on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services! It's hype, they promise.

OwlCappella is Temple University's first co-ed a cappella group, founded in fall 2010. The group performs an assortment of musical styles, from pop to jazz. In the nine years since its creation, the group has performed at the White House for the 2016 holiday season, opened the red carpet at the Philadelphia Auto Show’s Annual Black-Tie Event, and opened the 85th Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. OwlCappella has also recorded several EPs, which are available on Spotify and iTunes. Last year, OwlCappella competed in its first-ever ICCA competition. After placing 2nd at Quarterfinals, OwlCappella won 1st place at Semifinals, making them the 2018 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Champions and 2018 ICCA Finalists. They also won several special awards for their arrangements, choreography, and vocal percussion. OwlCappella enjoys performing at  local venues, such as the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Art Museum. Every year, OwlCappella hosts their own Spooktacular concert (legendary for having the best costumes in Philly), which features performances from OwlCappella and other Tri-State area a cappella groups. When not performing or rehearsing, OwlCappella members love having jam sessions, game nights, and spending time together outside of rehearsal.

LiaChorus is an a cappella group from Temple University in Philadelphia! Coming from a school with seven different groups on campus, they have distinguished themselves through their trademark warm tone. The group takes pride in putting a new spin on semi-popular and well-known music in their original arrangements. 




PHLx (pronounced "flex") is a six-person vocal band based in Philadelphia, Pa. Through a cappella singing, they showcase the authenticity and versatility of the human voice using innovative harmonies and exciting grooves. Recently, they self-produced and released two singles which are now available on all streaming platforms. PHLx is made up of experienced music performers, producers, and educators. With their diverse backgrounds, the members of PHLx aim to share their passion for music and the a cappella genre with their audiences. Follow PHLx on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @phlxvocals.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Gyasi Barber, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups.

Originally from Torrington, Conn., Kyle Hogan currently lives in Washington, D.C. and works in antitrust law. As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, Kyle dedicated most of his time outside of his core studies to making music as he trained in classical voice and sang bass with The YellowJackets, joining shortly after their feature on NBC's “The Sing-Off.” Recently, Kyle has lent his voice to a number of collaborations, including work with Street Corner Symphony and June. Kyle currently sings bass in the new six-person vocal band, Nomadic.

Catherine Lewis is a freelance music critic and engineer based in Washington, D.C. Her writing has been published in the Washington Post, Pitchfork, and Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), among many others. She formerly sang with Kismet, an all-female semi-professional group in D.C. 

Chris Little graduated from James Madison University, where he was a member of the premier co-ed group, The Overtones, and served as assistant music director and music director for successive terms. At JMU, he also sang in the University Chorus and the select all-male choral a cappella group, KOR. With the latter, Chris had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses with Chanticleer and Ladysmith BlackMamazo. Currently, Chris sings with and is president of Vox Pop, an award-winning vocal band hailing from the Washington, D.C. area. These days, he is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to a cappella, including group and vocal coach, performer, master clinician, and arranger. Chris received two 2016 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations for his arrangements (for Vox Pop and The JMU BluesTones), and has supplied arrangements to CARA-winning albums in past years. Chris is extremely excited to see everyone’s hard work come to fruition onstage tonight!

Steve Weber is a graduate of both Cedarville University (Bachelor of Arts in music) and Boston University (Master of Arts in music education). He has been teaching high school music for 17 years in southern New Jersey, where he directs the a cappella group, Vocal Forte. Vocal Forte has appeared at the ICHSA Finals in New York three times, and has been featured on BOHSA in 2016 and 2017, Philadelphia's 101.1 More FM, and Lifetime's a cappella show, “Pitch Slapped.” In his spare time, Steve works with many regional music groups, including The Philadelphia Vocal Conservatory, The Ritz Theatre Company of Oaklyn, and the music faculty of Drexel University.

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,  
& 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

GUEST PERFORMER