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

 

West Chester University 
Saturday, February 16, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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

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@varsityvocals

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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

 

Chromatic Expansion is Millersville University’s only a cappella group. When the group first started about a decade ago, Chromatic Expansion was a vocal jazz group, and has since shifted into more of a pop a cappella group. They have also performed certain selections from the musical theatre and spiritual genres. Co-ed, and open to all majors, Chromatic has been known to perform a blend of student arrangements and outside arrangements. Occasionally, they will cover an arrangement from famous a cappella groups like Pentatonix. Most of their performances take place at Millersville University and they participate regularly in the MU choir concerts. They also have performed at other events in the music department, and for the whole university. Chromatic has partnered with Music for Everyone, a charity based out of Lancaster, Pa., performing twice before at their annual Festival of Voices. Every Christmas, Chromatic can be seen caroling in various locations throughout Lancaster. In 2017, Chromatic was invited to perform at UMBC’s a cappella showcase, where they performed with other groups in the Baltimore area. They are excited to discover more about the a cappella community by participating in the ICCA. 

The Echoes is a versatile, energetic, and talented all-female a cappella group from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Founded in 2003, they sing many musical styles, including pop, indie, country, hip hop,  jazz, and more. Every song on their set list is hand-chosen, arranged, and taught by the group’s own members. They perform on and off campus and enjoy collaborating with Lehigh clubs and other collegiate a cappella groups! Don't be shy to contact them if you're interested in having The Echoes perform for or with you. Beyond the stage, you can find them eating lunch together, harmonizing in a resonant stairwell, or kicking back on a Friday night. 

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. 

Melica is an all-female a cappella group from Elizabethtown College. The group includes a diverse array of majors who all come together for friendship and music. The group began in 1995 with a varied repertoire of music, from country to pop, which still continues in 2019. Their pastimes include reenacting viral videos and dancing like no one is watching. The group is passionate about service and strives to serve their community with their music and time in any way they can. 

Off the Record is one of four a cappella groups at Lehigh University. They are a co-ed group that brings together people from many different backgrounds. Their repertoire varies from Chance the Rapper to Sam Smith to Queen. This group enjoys spending time together, having fun, and making good music. 

Founded in 2002 by Lisa Oliveri (class of ‘04), Soulfege was Lafayette College's first co-ed a cappella group. Due to Oliveri's amazing efforts, Soulfege's numbers and popularity have grown over the years, both on and off campus. With a harmonious blend of voices, Soulfege covers a wide variety of musical styles, with a repertoire of pop, jazz, hip-hop, and everything in between. The group members come from a wide range of musical backgrounds. Some are trained in classical music, jazz, or musical theatre, while others have spent their lives singing recreationally. Only three of the group members are music majors, while the rest are focused in areas of study such as engineering, economics, international affairs, and more. Soulfege prides itself in having members who are involved in various activities and organizations on campus in addition to a cappella. These singers are eager to participate in the ICCA for their third year in a row. They are dedicated to the art of music, especially a cappella, but are a fun group of friends above all else. 

The Lehigh Melismatics is the oldest co-ed group on Lehigh University's campus. They are often touted as being dark and scary, when they actually just like to focus on jazzy, complex arrangements to show off the group's talent and musicality. Not without fun, though, they love taking on classics and making them their own. They only recently launched their group website, and that exposure has helped them land a spot as an opening act for The Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music hall. They hope to bring all they can to the ICCA stage and that all of the group's hard work and commitment is clear to the judges. They have taken the top spot at Quarterfinals twice, in addition to winning special awards. They spend countless hours perfecting their craft. All of The Melismatics’ arrangements are made by students in the group, most of whom have no formal musical education. Students also organize and conduct all of the group’s choreography, management, and direction, so all of their work is a product of the group’s collective passion and work ethic. They hope to express their uniqueness and innovation on one of the largest stages for collegiate a cappella. 

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. 

Vocalign of Elizabethtown College is the only co-ed a cappella group on campus! Established in 1997, they recently passed their first decade of existence. The group consists of a whole lot of crazy and fun, which comes together to produce amazing music. Their repertoire consists of a lot of mainstream pop, as well as some alternative rock and too much Coldplay. They are proud that each group member brings a different vocal style and musical taste to the table, which allows them to pull from many different genres and form a totally unique sound.

The Supernovas is Villanova’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, founded in spring 1999. Singing music that spans a wide variety of genres, including songs by Rihanna, Sia, and Sam Smith, The Supernovas are not just musicians, but a close group of friends. Throughout the year, The Supernovas perform at a variety of events on and off of Villanova’s campus. Making appearances at basketball games, Villanova’s Special Olympics Fall Festival, AcaPalooza, and even in New York City to audition for NBC's “The Sing-Off,” The Supernovas bring their unique sound and fun presence to every performance. The Supernovas competed in the 2017 ICCA, and are proud to represent Villanova a cappella.


GUEST PERFORMER


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. They recently 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 audience. Follow PHLx on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @phlxvocals.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Allison Hutchison studied voice at York College of Pennsylvania and graduated in 2015. During her time there, she was fortunate enough to be the music director of YCP Rhapsody for three years, forming arrangements, choreographing, and instructing the group. She was involved in their first-ever competition and loved the thrill and reward of competing. She led the group to pursue local competitions throughout eastern Pennsylvania, including the ICCA. Since graduating, she has continued to pursue music as a private vocal and piano instructor, music-directing productions at York College, and leading worship at the LCBC York Campus. 

Connor Martin is a New York City based arranger, composer, music director, percussionist and producer. He is a proud alumnus of Hofstra University with a bachelor's degree in music performance and is currently a contractor and production assistant at The Vocal Company, known for its award-winning work in a cappella. At Hofstra, Connor was a member and music director of The Hofbeats where he won the Outstanding Arrangement award in 2017 and led them to their first Quarterfinal victory in 2018. Aside from a cappella, Connor plays percussion in various musicals and ensembles, and also co-wrote a musical that is set to have its first performance run in New York City this May. Music has been his life since age five, and he is super excited to be a part of tonight's ICCA event!

Thomas J. West is an active music teacher, composer, adjudicator, and clinician in the greater Philadelphia area. He has over 20 years of experience as a concert band director, marching band director, jazz improvisation instructor, choral director, orchestra director, private instructor, marching drill writer, and contemporary a cappella director, arranger, and performer. He is an adjudicator with Drum Corps International and Cavalcade of Bands. His a cappella credits include director and producer of The Dreamers of Phi Mu Alpha (Penn State), Four The Glory Barbershop Quartet (Penn State), and director of The Pennharmonics (Penn State). Tom is the former Director of Education for The A Cappella Project - Philadelphia, and co-arranger and performer with Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) member group, KeyStone A Cappella. 

Ian Wolfe is a Pennsylvania State University graduate and self-proclaimed a cappella nerd. At Penn State, he spent four years singing in a co-ed a cappella group, The Coda Conduct. With Coda, he become musical director and helped the group release an EP, Out of the Dark, and a full album, SPECTRUM. Ian competed in ICCA twice with The Coda Conduct, winning several Outstanding Arrangement awards. He also competed in the 2018 BOSS Scholastic Competition in Boston, Mass. Ian currently sings with the international 3rd-place-medalist barbershop chorus, Parkside Harmony, is a percussionist, and works with the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as a nominator and judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).

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