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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Centerville High School
Saturday, February 23, 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

 

Founded in 2013, SŌL is Baldwin Wallace University's co-ed, contemporary a cappella ensemble. The ensemble celebrates diversity with members from nine different majors, including several non-music majors. SŌL would like to dedicate their performance to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, an organization they have partnered with this year to highlight the impacts of learning disabilities on one in five children and adults nationwide. Everyone has a place in song. 

The Ransom Notes is an all-gender a cappella group from the University of Chicago! The Notes have been a vocal presence for the past 21 years, most recently releasing their sixth studio album, Blueprint, in 2017. They perform all over the UChicago campus, at local venues in Hyde Park and around Chicago, and biannually in venues all around America on Spring Tour. They are a fun-loving group of musicians who love one another as much as they love to sing. The Notes enjoy performing in informal arch sings, teaching music workshops to high school students around the South Side during their annual Chicago Winter Tour, and singing carols at seasonal holiday markets. 

The Miami University TrebleMakers is a group of 14 sassy girls with a common passion in music, despite coming from majors ranging from mechanical engineering to music education and everything in between. Hailing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, this group began in 2010. Since then, The TrebleMakers have performed at countless gigs and concerts, along with the four other popular a cappella groups on campus. Showcasing their bad-ass jazzy style, the girls released an EP titled Behind Bars and a full length album by the name of No Boundaries. Outside of rehearsal (and sometimes inside), The Trebz enjoy long walks on the beach, supporting one another's romantic endeavors, crafting pretzel necklaces, absolutely crushing themed socials, and bonding over shared most embarrassing moments (ask them about the pitch pipe/toilet incident of 2016). The TrebleMakers are excited to be competing in their first-ever ICCA and look forward to learning how they fit in with the community! 

Pitch Black is the only all-female a cappella group from Ohio Wesleyan University. Established in 2005, these lovely ladies sing their souls out music arrangements by former and current members. They perform a variety of musical styles, from classic rock to modern pop to classic showtunes. Coming from many different types of backgrounds, this group embraces the diversity of its membership and showcases that diversity to their audiences. These ladies are proud of their collaborative work style and that they help one another in and out of rehearsals. They love to challenge themselves musically and are continually inspired by fellow a cappella groups to break barriers, one song at a time. These ladies never fail to bring joy to their campus and community. They love volunteering to sing in downtown for holidays, leading canned food drive concerts, and working with other a cappella groups to sing in the park for families. Nothing can stop these ladies from singing to their heart’s content. From singing together to studying together, this group’s bond is irreplaceable. Pitch Black has created a lifelong sisterhood along with powerful music. 

Ottertuned is a student-run mixed pop a cappella group composed of Otterbein University students in Westerville, Ohio. Founded in the fall of 2013, Ottertuned is Otterbein’s first and only group of its kind and enjoys sharing its love of all things a cappella. With goals of reaching out to the community and bettering their own musical skills, Ottertuned has made a big splash both on and off campus with regular performances at Otterbein's homecoming, Family Weekend, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Alumni Weekend. They competed in the ICCA Great Lakes Quarterfinals in 2015 and Central Quarterfinals in 2017. In 2016, they opened for professional a cappella groups at SingStrong Chicago (a nation-wide a cappella festival). Ottertuned also released its first single, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" in 2016, which is now available for download/streaming on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and Loudr. When they aren't busy rehearsing and performing, you can find Ottertuned’s members getting food together, making numerous Vine references, and sending memes to each other via Snapchat. They hope to keep spreading their passion for music  in the years to come, within the Otterbein community and beyond!

UC Avocalypse has been empowering women with powerful voices since October 2017 as University of Cincinnati's first all-female a cappella group. They are a fun and energetic group of women, committed to making contributions to the a cappella community. Avocalypse howepes to empower women by performing at the same level as other a cappella groups and to create more opportunities for women to sing and perform. They strive to inspire everyone, not just females, in the belief that it is possible to break barriers and take on new challenges in society. Last year, Avocalypse performed at several venues and local events in the Cincinnati area, and they are excited to continue performing, improving, and spreading their message. They mainly perform covers of pop, rock, alternative, and indie music. This year, the group is made up of 18 passionate women, coming from a mix of majors including computer science, marketing, fine arts, and everything in between. Despite their wide variety of backgrounds and areas of study, their passion for singing brings them together to form this supportive and uplifting group. 

Founded in 2014, The University of Cincinnati Vocaholics is a pop a cappella group composed of the most passionate students that you will see on any campus. The group consists of members in all years of school, and from almost every college at the University. They pride themselves on being a self-run machine, doing their own choreography, writing their own scores, and producing their own videos. They engage their audiences by creating emotional musical journeys. Although each song from tonight’s set means something a little different to each member, they are excited to give you the dynamic, united performance of a lifetime. 

Remedy is a co-ed, pop a cappella group from the University of Dayton. Founded six years ago, Remedy works to maintain both a serious work ethic and a true familial bond, producing strong musicians and lifelong friends. The group includes members from all around the world and uses this diverse background to learn and grow from one another. Remedy is very excited to compete and looks forward to watching all of the talent that this year’s competition has to offer. 

The Audio Pilots is the all-male a cappella group from the University of Dayton. They love to sing songs from a variety of genres, including pop, country, rap, and more! They enjoy performing for many of their great university’s student-run groups on campus, as well as branching out to nearby organizations and competitions like ICCA. From engineering to pre-med to English majors, the young men of this group come from all sorts of backgrounds and love coming together to create music. Their hobbies include skateboarding, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and long walks on the beach, but nothing gets them more excited than being able to jam out with only the sounds of their voices!

Underscore is a new and upcoming co-ed a cappella group at the University of Dayton. Composed of 14 undergrad students from multiple majors, Underscore works to bring a fun, uplifting, and powerful dynamic to the a cappella music scene on campus and beyond. Fun Facts: the ensemble’s name came from a group chat named by a long line of underscores and the Underscore logo was created using an audio recording of one of their members saying “Underscore.”

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Christopher Andres attended The Ohio State University and studied music education and music performance. He has been playing the piano since age five, and also plays flute, tenor saxophone, baritone tuba, and trombone. Chris has been featured on numerous stages around the world, both as an instrumentalist and vocalist. In high school, he was a part of a show choir group called The Wavaires, which was the first show choir to perform at Lincoln Center on Broadway. Chris’s love for a cappella started in 2009 with an all-male group in California called Chanticleer. This group motivated him to arrange and compose music. He also was a member of The Ohio State University Men's Glee Club and University Chorus. For 10 years, he served as music director for the Greenville Baptist Temple. Chris also works along Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and hopes to continue fighting for this cause. Currently, Chris is back at his roots where it all started. He serves as the vocal accompanist/assistant director at Greenville Senior High School in Greenville, Ohio, and hopes to start an a cappella group at the school. 

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, havingco-produced the group’s all-original albums, Uncharted Heart and Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg. 

Edric Mitchell, a 2014 and 2016 graduate from Ball State University, studied musical theatre and executive development for public services. During his time at Ball State, he got his start in a cappella with the all-male group, Charlie's Angels. He quickly became a founding member of the all-male a cappella group, Note to Self, with whom he spent four years as a member, coordinator, and music director. In addition, Edric was a founding member and music director of Sedoctave, and founder of the Association of Collegiate A Cappella (ACA) at Ball State. ACA is an umbrella organization that unites all collegiate a cappella groups on the BSU Campus, and hopes to eventually expand to other college campuses. When Edric was a competitor in the ICCA, he received two Outstanding Arrangement awards for "Can You Stand The Rain" and "Recovery Stitches," as well as a Outstanding Soloist award with Walter Edwards for "Smash Your Apology." He is currently the vocal music director at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Ind. 

With a Master of Music in choral conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and performance (Ashland University), Brandy Kay Riha is an a cappella educator and arranger with a special focus on treble repertoire. Her arrangements have been performed by middle school, high school, and collegiate singers around the globe. Brandy has founded or co-founded six a cappella groups, including the post-collegiate Zero to Sixty, Ashland University’s student-led co-ed group, Surround Sound, and The University of Akron’s female a cappella group, Kanga Blue. She has also led workshops on arranging, aca-directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. Brandy is currently Adjunct Instructor of Commercial Voice and director of the pop choir at Tiffin University. She also directs Geneva High School’s High Definition, as well as A Cappella Boot Camp (ABC), an independent eight-week a cappella experience for middle and high school students centered in Medina, Ohio. 

Jeremy Witt is an educator, conductor, and performer from Hilliard, Ohio. Jeremy currently serves as the assistant director of choirs at Hilliard Bradley High School and Hilliard Memorial Middle School where he co-directs four curricular choirs and three contemporary a cappella groups. Jeremy founded Cedarville University’s first contemporary a cappella group, The Inversions, and served as the music director/president four years. Jeremy has become increasingly involved in the contemporary a cappella movement. He currently volunteers for the all-a cappella radio station, Acaville. He has also been a nominator and judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), as well as the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs).

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 Midwest 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