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 NORTHEAST QUARTERFINAL

 

Berklee College of Music
Saturday, February 9, 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

 

Treble Threat is Berklee College of Music’s first and only all-female a cappella group, singing songs from a wide variety of genres and styles. Founded in 2014, Treble Threat strives to inspire others through their performances and one-of-a-kind arrangements. 

Chordially Yours is an an all-female a cappella group from Boston University, powered by women and empowered by music. Founded in 2000 by Beth Heald (’03), they take tremendous pride in the group's sound, lady basses, original and innovative arrangements, beatboxing skills, and range of songs in their repertoire. They’ve taken part (and placed) in a number of competitions and events, including the Faneuil Hall A Cappella Fest, the ICCA, WGBH's "Sing That Thing!", a performance in Downtown Disney, SheSings (an all-female a cappella conference hosted by the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA)), and even opened for Lena Dunham at the Boston stop of her "Not That Kind of Girl" book tour! Last month, they released an EP called Bloom on Spotify and Apple Music that captures the group's immense growth over the past several years. 

The Harvard Opportunes is Harvard's oldest and boldest all gender a cappella group. In 1980, two Harvard-Radcliffe students, Simin Yazdgerdi and Suzanne Goldsmith, transformed a loosely organized co-ed singing group called The Harvard Squares into Harvard’s first full-fledged mixed a cappella ensemble, now known as The Harvard Opportunes. Over the years, The Opportunes have won widespread acclaim for their intricate harmonies as well as for their stage presence and sense of humor. Though they’re all seasoned musicians, The Opps have academic concentrations spanning Harvard’s diverse curriculum, from molecular and cellular biology to social studies to English. From their ridiculous traditions, like dressing up as pirates every spring break (haven't you heard it's pirate night?), to bursting into song anywhere with good acoustics (shoutout to Julia's garage), The Opps are always excited to make music and memories together. 

Founded in the spring of 1986, The Harvard Callbacks from Harvard University specialize in singing soulful arrangements with powerhouse soloists. They love to sing on campus and at local venues and charity events, including the CoAF Gala in 2015, the Turnstyle Underground Market in 2017, and the AACE conference last May, among others. They also enjoy taking their music to competition and are proud to have one of their favorite arrangements,”Don't Wake Me Up” by Lianne La Havas, included on the Voices Only 2016 compilation. Aside from singing together, The Callbacks spend a lot of time creating special memories with their singing family! Their favorite highlight of the past year was their trip to Los Cabos, Mexico being featured on the tourism board's Los Cabos Today marketing campaign. Between rehearsals and performances at their resort, they got to paddle-board at sunrise, drive ATVs along the beautiful coastline, and serenade a pod of dolphins on a whale-watching trip. They look forward to another fantastic year of singing and couldn't be more excited to make more memories together at this ICCA season. 

Founded in the fall of 2007, Treble on Huntington is Northeastern University's first all-female a cappella group. They are currently made up of 11 talented members who have come together from around the country and world through a shared love of music. They like to think of themselves as a group of best friends who are also dedicated singers. Through their repertoire of pop and mixed-genre music, they showcase the unique styles of their soloists along with the hard work, fun, and artistry of the entire group. Based in Boston, they have had the pleasure of performing at some incredible venues both on campus and around the city, including at the Massachusetts Conference for Women and at Fenway Park to sing the national anthem for Boston Red Sox. 

The Downbeats aim not only to create and perform music, but also to encourage one another to grow as musicians and individuals. In doing so, they continuously learn that their own contributions form the uniqueness and style of the group as a whole. Through this process, they create invaluable bonds of friendship and beautiful music, all while having an aggressively fun time. Whether wrapped up in onesies for their fall show or performing in formal attire, they understand that commitment to the group does not have to sacrifice the pleasure of singing and love for one another. Founded in 2001, The Downbeats is Northeastern University's aggressively fun and amazingly talented co-ed a cappella group. They put on one showcase each semester to perform their latest jams, while also performing at various other events throughout the year, both on and off campus. 

The Maine Steiners was founded in 1958, making them the university’s oldest a cappella group. The name of the group was derived from a hit song, "The Stein Song," composed and performed by the University of Maine alumni Rudy Vallee. Over the past 60 years, The Maine Steiners have released multiple albums, participated in many national and international competitions, traveled overseas, and earned the acclaim of both critics and fans. Through 60 years of performance, The Maine Steiners have watched the musical world warp and change. Certain staples within their repertoire reflect the evolution of music to which the group bore witness. For example, The Maine Steiners have clung to their roots by maintaining several “barbershop” style arrangements in their current repertoire. In addition to more classic male a cappella, The Maine Steiners have also arranged multiple modern popular songs and still perform many of today's hits. They have something to offer for every audience member, no matter their age. 

UMaine Renaissance is UMaine's premier all-female a cappella ensemble. They are auditioned out of a larger group, University Singers, which is UMaine's auditioned touring choir. They hold auditions for new members every fall and occasionally in the spring. They sing songs from a variety of artists and genres, and all of their material is arranged by current and former Renaissance members. Their mission is to share their love for music and inspire as many people to musically thrive as possible. They hope that their music will touch their audiences' hearts and make them smile.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Kevin Guest studied music and audio production at Ithaca College and learned the art of stage performance, music production, and music theory through his advanced education. Kevin had the distinct pleasure of being a four-year member in the award-winning (and ICCA Finalists in both 2008 and 2009) all-male a cappella group, Ithacappella. Based just outside of Boston, Mass., Kevin has given numerous workshops and master classes around the New England area and the continental United States, regarding musical artistry and performance techniques for all levels of contemporary a cappella and choral ensembles, including classes at the N.E. Voices High School Festival, Boston Sings, SoJam, and the National A Cappella Convention (NACC). His arranging, production work, and singing has garnered several Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) wins and nominations. Kevin has gained recognition at the regional and national levels at the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival (as an arranger and performer), and has appeared on multiple Sing, BOCA, and Voices Only Forte compilation albums. He’s currently an Executive Board member of the N.E. Voices high school a cappella festival, an office delegate of the Ithacappella Alumni Association, and co-musical directs, arranges, and sings with award-winning, Boston-based Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) groups Redline and Sound Off. 

Andrew Litwin began singing a cappella at the age of 16 with the professional Jewish a cappella group, Kol Zimra, and hasn't looked back since. During his four years at Brandeis University, he sang with the co-ed group, Starving Artists and was their musical director for three years. He led his group to ICCA Semifinals and picked up the award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion. After college, he continued his musical career by joining and directing the Boston-based group, Common Sound.  He sang with them until his acceptance into medical school at New York Medical College where he music-directed the a cappella group there. He is currently taking a small break from a cappella to complete his residency in General Surgery, but does try to judge and arrange whenever the opportunity arises.

Kayla Pichichero is a graduate of Boston University where she was in The BU Treblemakers for four years, contributing arrangements and competition choreography. In 2017, Kayla co-created the vocal music podcast “Head/voice,” for which she has interviewed over 70 professionals in the a cappella, beatboxing, and vocal music scenes. Concurrently, she is in the Boston-based neo-vocal pop band, Birdland Avenue, and writes original music with her bandmates. Kayla has led masterclasses for local groups in Boston and at festivals, and led panels at LAAF, BOSS, and SoJam. 

Allie Spurling has been involved with a cappella since 1994. At James Madison University, Allie started the school's first co-ed a cappella group, The JMU Overtones. The group appeared on BOCA in 1998. After graduating, Allie started The Flint Hill Major Minors, a co-ed high school group in Fairfax, Va., and directed them from 2001-2005. The group appeared on BOHSA for multiple years. When Allie returned to her New England roots, she co-directed an all-female group at the Wheeler School for three years, and directed and advised a co-ed group at the Moses Brown School for three years. In addition, Allie runs workshops and arranges for high school and college groups up and down the East Coast and mentors high school groups through the process of recording an album. 

Wallace Thomas has studied music for more than 20 years. He focused on piano and voice throughout his middle and high school years. After graduation, he went on to major in music at Florida State University. In college, he joined the (then) start-up a cappella group, Reverb, and went on to participate and compete in ICCA, SoJam, and more. He currently sings with the Boston-based a cappella group, Ball in the House, averaging 225 shows a year traveling around the country and abroad. 

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 Northeast 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