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

 

Washington University in St. Louis
Saturday, February 2, 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

 

Dissonance was founded in 2016 and in three short years has become the premier mixed a cappella group on the Millikin University campus. Entirely student-run and managed, Dissonance's members have the opportunity to plan and go on tours, commission arrangers from all over the country, direct, tech live sound, record, choreograph, and manage an a cappella franchise, in addition to singing and performing. This freedom has allowed Dissonance to grow exponentially in a relatively short time, hosting their own concerts, performing at many events on and off campus, and becoming the headlining performance group at Millikin's annual "Flat-Out Vocals" all a cappella concert. Dissonance also currently plans to release an EP by the end of the year, in collaboration with Millikin's Commercial Music studio. 

Six Eight is a co-ed, Christian/spiritual a cappella group, committed to performing music from a variety of genres grounded in the Christian perspective for the greater glory of God and the service of the Saint Louis University community. They aim to be a strong Christian witness among both the a cappella performance groups and campus worship communities. Their threefold mission, ministry, worship, and entertainment, guides the group’s selection of repertoire and spirit of performance. As an inclusive Christian community, they seek to maintain an atmosphere of respect, creativity, and collaboration.

Beyond All Reason is Saint Louis University's premier all-female a cappella group. BAR was founded in 2002 and has been entertaining the masses ever since. BAR regularly performs on the SLU campus and hosts two concerts a year. In addition to concerts, BAR regularly competes in ICCA and won their Midwest Quarterfinal in 2018! With a repertoire that spans all genres, BAR is not your typical all-female a cappella group. BAR is just…beyond all reason! 

Decadence (dek-uh-dense), founded in September 2010, is a co-ed a cappella group based out of Saint Louis University. The name Decadence stems from two vital parts of their existence: “deca” from the group’s 10 original singers (plus one awesome beatboxer), and “cadence,” a musical term that describes the progression of two chords leading to closure within a musical composition. Their repertoire spans many genres, including rock, pop, oldies, holiday, and R&B, at events both on and off campus. In addition, Decadence aims to participate in at least two volunteer opportunities each semester. They enjoy making music together and singing for the SLU community. 

“Astha” means faith in Hindi, and Astha A Cappella is Saint Louis University’s premier co-ed, fusion a cappella group. Established in 2006, the group was started by six students who came together to sing Indian fusion music, hang out, and jam. They had faith in music and Astha A Cappella was born. Astha has since grown from casual jam sessions to a motivated and diverse group of singers. They create complex compositions and love singing a mixture of melodies that combine Western and Eastern musical influences. Their most recent accomplishment was taking 3rd place at the Association of South Asian A Cappella's national competition, All American Awaaz. 

Harmon-E is a new student organization making a name for itself as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's first established a cappella group. Officially founded in January of 2017, Harmon-E was extremely honored to compete at the 2018 ICCA Midwest Quarterfinals in St.Louis just after its first birthday, and they are excited to be back! In addition to last year’s Quarterfinal, Harmon-E has performed at various events and venues, including the St. Louis Children's Hospital and at the Yule Ball, and they hope to continue gaining support on campus and throughout their community! Their mission is to create music that enriches the lives of those who listen, as well as for the members themselves. The group members represent a variety of departments, including music, education, political science, pharmacy, and the honors program, and they all agree that the ensemble has been a beautiful outlet for them to work together toward a common goal. Through this group, one shy shower singer can find their voice in a wall of sound, which then has the power to inspire, ignite passion, heal wounds, and spark change. 

There once were two wise men, Goldwasser and Fleisher, that wandered forth from Solomon's temple, aghast at the state of song in the ancient land. Brave dissenters of all things ordinary, they vowed to reject the tired tenet of imitation and bound forth into the flowing rock that was all-male a cappella. With leaps of joy, they raised their arms and said, "Huzzah, The Stereotypes!" And it was good. All kidding aside, The Stereotypes is a versatile, energetic, and talented all-male a cappella group from Washington University in St. Louis.  Founded in 2001 as a fresh take on “stereotypical” a cappella, they sing everything from top 40 hits to rock, rap, choral, musical theatre, and more. In addition to well-tuned singing and original vocal arrangements, they approach each song as a comprehensive performance, engaging their audience and communicating the piece’s individual message. Besides serenading sororities and flash-mobbing weddings in St. Louis, they are best known for their annual Mr. Stereotype concert. Each year, the guys embody their “stereotypes” and compete in the world’s only all-male a cappella pageant. Beyond the stage, you can find them eating lunch together, harmonizing in a resonant stairwell, or tossing a frisbee on the weekends. 

After Dark, Washington University in St. Louis' best-dressed a cappella group, is thrilled to perform in ICCA this year. Since the group’s birth in 2001, they have been performing, achieving, and looking good in their signature black and white style. This co-ed family specializes in singing music at the “fringe of pop,” covering artists such as Sara Bareilles, The Police, Delta Rae, and Florence and the Machine. They have released five full-length studio albums and an EP on Spotify and iTunes, sporting out-of-this-world titles such as Eclipse, 'til Dawn, Solstice, and their most recent 2018 album, Dark Matter. While singing for Washington University’s Chancellor is always a treat, After Dark prides itself in getting off campus and performing throughout the greater St. Louis area. Favorite past gigs include singing with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, traveling to Disney World, and most recently, getting their groove on at the St. Louis Zoo. They may or may not have been invited to crash a couple of local weddings as well. Outside of the rehearsal room, you can usually find After Dark road tripping, singing with the lights out, and eating their weight in Oreo desserts.


GUEST PERFORMER


Viva Voce is an all-female a cappella group at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 2016, Viva Voce is a musically talented, highly dedicated group of high school girls who come together to share their love of music with their peers and community.  Currently, Viva Voce is a group of 17 girls with a variety of different interests, from field hockey to computer science to debate, united through their love for a cappella and vocal music. Outside of rehearsals, you can find Viva Voce sharing their music at community events and concerts, and they are always looking for new opportunities to perform! Contact them at vivavocelhs@gmail.com or visit their website at www.vivavocelhs.weebly.com to find more information about events.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Graeme Allen is a music educator from St. Louis, Mo. He holds a Master of Arts in education and a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance from Truman State University, where he sang with the all-male a cappella group, True Men. He currently teaches choir at Parkway Northeast Middle School, and serves as the children's' music and ministry director at Trinity Lutheran Church, where he also performs with their choir. Graeme has sung with various a cappella groups in the St. Louis area, including Vocal Edge, One Too Many A Cappella, and the Ambassadors of Harmony. He is a passionate judge and coach for numerous groups in the Midwest a cappella community. Graeme and his wife, Willa, are expecting their first child this summer.

Braden Foreman holds a bachelor's degree in music - vocal performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree in student affairs administration with a concentration in teaching and learning from Michigan State University. At UNL, Braden competed in numerous ICCA competitions with The Bathtub Dogs and has advanced to Semifinals and won awards numerous times with the group. He also served as The Bathtub Dogs' president, business manager, and secretary during his tenure with the group. Braden has performed in musicals and operas, won regional awards in opera competitions, and was student director for the UNL show choir, Big Red Singers. Currently, Braden works at the University of Kansas as a Residence Life Complex Director where he oversees the creative arts and inclusion community, which uses artistic means to teach creativity, presentation, discussion, and reflection. Braden is also in charge of the residential curriculum, which promotes learning for self-efficacy as part of the residential experience. 

Jamie Perkins received a B.A. in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang for four years as a member of The Amateurs, as well as Wash U's concert and chamber choirs. Jamie served as The Amateurs' music director for his final two years with the group before graduating in the spring of 2013. After graduating from Wash U, Jamie spent two years at Webster University, and earned a master's degree in choral conducting. At Webster, he sang with the Webster University Chamber Singers and worked as the assistant conductor for Webster's choirs. Jamie currently works for the Washington University Department of Music, and he is happy to back in the a cappella community as an ICCA judge.

Sean Patrick Riley
has worked for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) on the social media and talent teams for ACappellaFest, SoJam, LAAF, and BOSS, and has served in CASA's ambassador program for the past seven years. He holds a bachelor's degree in both music and communication, as well as a master’s degree in nursing from Saint Louis University. At SLU, Sean served as music director and business manager of recent ICCA Finalists, The Bare Naked Statues, and was featured on the Voices Only and BOCA compilations. Sean coaches a cappella groups across the country, and is the camp nurse and counselor for the L.A.-based summer camp, A Cappella Academy. He currently lives in New York and works in the surgical ICU at NYU Langone Medical Center. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Danielle Sutherland and the 560 Music Center Staff; 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