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 QUARTERFINAL

 

Drexel University 
Saturday, March 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

 

8 to the Bar is Drexel University's premier all-male a cappella group! They perform original arrangements of contemporary music, using only the human voice as their instrument. Each year, they organize concerts and perform at other universities around the area. They also support charities and benefit foundations by performing in support of their causes. Their mission is to broaden the musical horizons of the Drexel community and beyond by performing unique song interpretations, infused with their infectious brand of humor and stage presence. 8 to the Bar seeks to build off of their previous performance season’s musical growth and success, when they charmed the audience and won 1st place in the M&T Bank lnvitational Glee: College A Cappella Competition in Carlisle, Pa. They look forward to what this upcoming season has in store for them!

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. 

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 made significant strides, including performing at the White House for the 2016 holiday season, opening the red carpet at the Philadelphia Auto Show’s Annual Black-Tie Event, and opening the 85th Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. OwlCappella has also recorded several EPs, which you can find 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 various 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. 

Based in Philadelphia, Pa., Pitch, Please is Temple University's LGBTQIA+ advocacy a cappella group. The group was founded in 2014 with a mission to spread positivity, empowerment, and unity through music. Over the years, they have truly grown as a family, both on and offstage. They perform on and off campus at LGBTQIA+-centered events and collaborate with other groups in the greater Philadelphia area and Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, they released their first-ever EP in the fall of 2018. Known for their colorful personalities, lavender accents, and infectious stage presence, they are proud to participate in the ICCA for the first time! 

Founded in 2014, Profecy A Cappella brought new life to the a cappella community on Rowan University's campus. As the first and only all-male a cappella group at Rowan, this diverse group of young men enjoys performing a diverse repertoire of music. Since the group’s foundation, they have performed at numerous events, including ICCA, in which they competed last year and helped host in 2017. They pride themselves on making compelling music for their audiences, strengthening their individual musicianship, and representing Rowan with pride in all that they do. 

Founded in 2002, Singchronize is the first and only female-identifying a cappella group at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. A diverse collection of Temple's finest musical owls, each group member brings a unique skill set and personality to the group. The group is composed of both music and non-music majors, coming together to form tight harmonies and passionate sound. Over the years, Singchronize has had amazing opportunities, such as singing for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, running workshops for high school students, releasing their first full-length album, Hands In!, in 2013, and releasing their first self-titled EP in early 2016! Most recently, they recorded a single, "You Go Down Smooth," which is on Spotify and iTunes with their other material. This semester, they have their Acaplooza Invitational, an annual event that combines a cappella music and an important cause. This year, they are raising money and awareness for victims of sexual assault in collaboration with the Temple chapter of the It’s On Us campaign. Singchronize strives to make itself a safe and inclusive environment for all of its members, and to promote female empowerment and community through high-caliber performances. 

The Drexel Cleftomaniacs is a co-ed a cappella choir established in 2012 featuring Drexel University undergraduate and graduate students who share a passion for singing and creating music. The group aims to provide a welcoming environment for Drexel University students to appreciate and produce quality a cappella music, while bringing a high standard of musical excellence and technique to the a cappella genre. 

The TrebleMakers is Drexel University’s premier all-female a cappella group. With a sound tailored towards EDM, pop, and R&B, the group strives to create a unique sound and overturn misconceptions of female a cappella. The Treblemakers were overall 2017 winners, 2017 Best Soloist winners, and 2018 Best Vocal Percussion winners of the M&T Bank lnvitational Glee: College A Cappella Competition. The group is excited to continue improving themselves at the ICCA and sharing their voices with the a cappella community. 

The Johns Hopkins University Vocal Chords was formed in September of 1995 by graduate and undergraduate students. The group initially included seven people interested in barbershop singing and learning school spirit songs written in the 1800s by glee club alumni. Although the group soon began singing classic and contemporary pop songs, the men of the group found their uniforms in their barbershop roots, which include a pair of "cranberry" red suspenders. They quickly became known as "Your Friendly Neighborhood A Cappella Group," and the name stuck. Today, The Vocal Chords has grown into one of the most well-respected co-ed a cappella groups on campus, singing a variety of genres, including pop, indie, classic rock, country, and even electronic! The group has performed various times on campus and around the country, singing alongside groups from Johns Hopkins and many other institutions. The Vocal Chords make regular appearances to sing on Baltimore/Washington area radio stations. In both 2010, and more recently in 2017, The Vocal Chords competed in ICCA and placed 3rd at their Quarterfinal. The group's style has changed a lot since its inception, but VC will always be your friendly neighborhood a cappella group at Hopkins.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Lydia Anthony has been a singer for most of her life, performing as a soloist, in musicals, and with numerous choral groups. Her passion for the field led her to Berklee College of Music and Elizabethtown College, where she received her Bachelor of Music, specializing in music therapy. In school, she sang, co-directed, and arranged for Vocalign, a co-ed a cappella group at Elizabethtown. Lydia is a certified music therapist and utilizes vocal music to increase the quality of life for her clients. Recent projects include arranging songs for a choir of older adults who suffer from dementia and their loved ones. 

Ken Coolbaugh started his vocal career as a Pennsylvania All-State musician, and co-founded, Blue in the FACE, one of Penn State University's co-ed a cappella groups, soon after. There, he served for several years as a musical director, featured arranger, and soloist on their 2015 professional EP, FACE the Music. Ken has more recently had the pleasure of being an advisor for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Champion Towson Trills, and is a judge for the 2019 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). 

Megan Coolbaugh has been involved in music since she was a child. She attended Peabody Preparatory throughout high school, and kept busy with band, orchestra, choral, and theatre activities at her home high school in Pennsylvania. A graduate of Penn State University, Megan directed the young collegiate group, Blue in the FACE, for three years before receiving her Bachelor of Music Education. During her time as director, she led the group through recording their first professional EP, Face the Music (produced by the Vocal Company), and continues to act as a coach and arranger for the group. Last year, she had the honor of working with her husband to coach The Towson University Trills through their first ICCA run, leading these talented and dedicated singers all the way to the national stage. Since graduating from Penn State, Megan has been teaching in the Anne Arundel County Public School District as a high school and a middle school choral director, where she continues to share her passion for vocal music, recording, and arranging with her students. 

Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Penn., Amanda Cornaglia started her a cappella career as musical director of Special K at Hamilton College. After graduation, she moved to rural Japan for four years, where she founded, trained, and performed with the award-winning international a cappella group, The Amigos. Upon moving to the D.C. area in 2005, Amanda founded and continues to perform with the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) group, Euphonism, and Snowday, a group that provides a cappella educational programs all over the world. She is the managing partner of Clear Harmonies Productions, president of CAL, and she served on the CASA Board of Directors from 2010-2015. 

Alex Ochs is excited to be judging his fourth season for Varsity Vocals. He is an alumnus of Elizabethtown College, where he studied social work and music, with concentrations in piano and vocal performance. While in school, he served as music director for the all-male a cappella group, Phalanx, and was also a member of the co-ed group, Vocalign. Under his direction, Phalanx advanced to ICCA Semifinals for the first time in its 20-year history. He is an experienced accompanist for choirs, instrumentalists, and vocalists, and enjoys singing and playing piano for weddings. When he isn't performing, Alex is a clinical social worker and therapist in Philadelphia. 

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 Mid-Atlantic 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