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

 

University of Hartford
Saturday, March 9, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

The Rocket Pitches is Babson College's premier co-ed a cappella group. As the first and only a capella group on campus, they aim to escape from the traditional business activities of a business school by singing and performing. With a diverse group of students, they have been able to perform a plethora of songs in various genres. Tonight, they hope to show you what business students can do! 

The Bottom Line is Bryant University's premier award-winning, co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2006, the group has grown from a small on-campus performance group, only performing once or twice a semester, to a full-sized competitive a cappella group with a packed schedule of gigs. Their favorite venues range from Boston Symphony Hall to the retirement home in town, and they even got to perform with The Filharmonic at their Friends in Family Weekend. As performers, they love to get up onstage and "live their truth," but as friends, they love going to Taco Bell, watching Vine compilations, and especially going to Thursday night Karaoke at The Thirsty Beaver in Smithfield, R.I.! This year, The Bottom Line is working hard on many projects, including launching a new website and recording their first single. The Bottom Line is a place where musicians become friends and friends become family. 

Purposeful Dissonance is an a cappella group out of Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Created in fall of 2018, they perform songs covering a wide range of genres, from classical hymns to modern pop songs, though one of their favorite genres is the four stages of depression (suggested by a group member). As a largely tech-based school, one of their goals is to reintroduce the arts to the student body and provide opportunities for group members to express their inner artistic abilities. They hope to develop their unique sound and style while maintaining their differences, truly remaining dissonant. 

The Legends from Hamden, Conn. is Quinnipiac University's first and only a cappella group! The group was established in 2012 to create an opportunity for students who loved to sing and hoped to pursue that passion, regardless of their major. Since its creation, the group has grown tremendously by consistently participating in events on campus, as well as contributing to the community at off-campus events and fundraisers. They love connecting with other members of the a cappella community through invitationals. Their concerts are a campus-wide favorite Quinnipiac University event, and The Legends plan, coordinate, and perform one each semester for the students and community! A recent group highlight was getting to sing at Madison Square Garden in New York City! Beyond all of this, The Legends are truly a family. They love getting to do what they love and show their passion for music as a group. They continually seek new and exciting challenges and opportunities in order to reach their full potential as a group. 

A Minor, the University of Connecticut’s first co-ed a cappella group, was founded in 2004 by a small group of friends from the Asian American Cultural Center on campus who simply loved making music together. Since then, this inseparable family has strived for musical excellence and high-energy showmanship every time they perform. They remain passionate about their craft and thrive on challenging themselves to improve. Their repertoire has hit almost every genre in the books, from pop to indie, alternative to Broadway. In addition to performing at many on-campus events, A Minor prides itself on participating in charity events, benefit concerts, showcases, and more. The singers of A Minor are excited to share their music and spirit at their second ICCA competition! 

L’shir A Cappella is the University of Hartford’s premier a cappella group. The group first came to be in spring of 2000, with Meara Lebovitz as business manager and Benjamin Rauch as music director. Originally an all-Jewish a cappella group, L'shir has evolved to include many denominations. The group is still titled "L'shir," which means “to sing” in Hebrew, a nod to their past. Their styling encompasses a large variety of genres, including soul, pop, and jazz. The group placed 1st in their 2018 ICCA Quarterfinal, and hopes to continue sharing their passion for music. 

UHarmonies is the University of Hartford's all-female a cappella group! They were founded in 2007 and like to sing a good chill bop. They are a very close group of women from all different majors. They love their differences and take pride in their similarities. 

Alabaster Blue (AB) is a co-ed a cappella group from The University of New Hampshire in its 20th year as a group! AB is so excited to be returning to the ICCA stage for the first time in nearly 10 years. The group members are all UNH undergraduates from a variety of majors, including music, musical theatre, psychology, math, business, biomedical sciences, and more. AB performs around the UNH campus all around the Seacoast area, and throughout New England. Last year, AB recorded their album, Flux, with The Vocal Company, which can be found on Spotify and iTunes along with their 2016 album, Wild Things. Be sure to check out their social media pages! 

Triple Major is Wesleyan University’s only competition a cappella group. The group was founded in 2017 by Olivia Crowell and Jaclyn Lore-Edwards and competed for the first time last year. Triple Major is a student-led group that arranges its own music. 

Established in 2004, The Audiophiles is the first and only co-ed a cappella group hailing from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. When they’re not stuck in a biology lab, doing calculus homework, or having a coding crisis, you can find them making fun noises with their mouths. They boast an impressive 0% of music majors, with the occasional theatre minor. Since they primarily perform arrangements done by active members, their repertoire and music style reflects the group’s tastes at any given time. You’re just as likely to hear them sing a boppy pop song as an obscure movie theme or video game track. This past summer, they recorded their first studio EP and are very excited for its release. Overall, they’re a gang of very chill and relaxed characters who love singing together.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Warren Bloom has been a regular ICCA and ICHSA judge since 2002 (including both 2006 Finals). He’s been musical director, bass, and/or vocal percussionist for numerous vocal groups, including professional summer group, The Hyannis Sound, New York rock/R&B septet, Invisible Men (numerous New York City and Boston Harmony Sweepstakes awards), New York pop/jazz quintet, Doo*Wa*Zoo (1998 MAC and 2000 Contempoeaey A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominees), University of Miami’s Jazz Vocal 2 (1997 DownBeat Award winner), and Brandeis University’s Spur of the Moment. Warren was music director, co-arranger, and sound tech for Minimum Wage's "Blue Code Ringo" at the New York Fringe Festival (Best Musical Comedy Act, 2002 Time Out New York awards) and subsequent off-Broadway productions. He has also run live sound for numerous vocal groups including Naturally 7, Ball in the House, Six13, and Unsung Heroes. He was a composer/lyricist in the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, before getting his music education degree from Hunter College and spending three years as band and orchestra director at Talent Unlimited High School in Manhattan. He has been teaching general music and band at P.S. 8 (Brooklyn) since 2011, and has been a musical director in the theatre department at the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts since 1998. Warren was one of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America's  (CASA) official bloggers for NBC’s "The Sing-Off.” http://www.5thjudge.com/ 

Chris Knight has been a member of the a cappella community since 2010, when he was accepted into SUNY Potsdam’s The Potsdam Pitches. During his time in The Pitches, he served as music director, president, and produced their first album. He was also singing with The Pitches when they won Quarterfinals for the first time and placed 3rd in Semifinals. In 2014, Chris joined Fusion Vocal Band and sang all over New York City and Connecticut, competed in the Sing Strong competition, and recorded an EP. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s degree in secondary music education and is completing his sixth year in educational supervision and administration at the University of Bridgeport. Chris is currently an elementary music teacher for Stamford Public Schools in Stamford, Conn., where he teaches general music, chorus, band, and directs an after-school musical program. 

A lifetime musician, Dithu Rajaraman found a cappella during his time at  Washington University in St. Louis. While there, he sang, music-directed, and arranged for The Stereotypes. The Stereotypes were regulars at ICCA Semifinals, and during his tenure, Dithu won Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, and Outstanding Choreography. The group eventually advanced to Finals in 2011, placing 4th, and earning Dithu another Outstanding Arrangement award for Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero." Still performing whenever he can, Dithu is excited to judge this wonderful competition, and for the opportunity to enjoy some good, old-fashioned, competitive a cappella.

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