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 WEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Rialto Theater
Saturday, February 16, 2019

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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

 

Camisada is Central Washington University's newest and only a cappella group on campus. Since its formation in January 2018, this student-led ensemble has been working hard to get noticed by recording demos and finding performances in the area. The group is extremely excited to for the opportunity to share their music at the ICCA and hope that it will strengthen the a cappella culture at their school. 

Rhapsody A Cappella is the only a cappella group at Montana State University. The group seeks to provide a unique musical experience to the student body and community. Rhapsody is a co-ed group made up of students from a variety of departments and majors who dedicate several hours of their time each week to rehearsing. Each year, Rhapsody provides a free concert and frequently partners for performances with other groups in Bozeman and around the state. In addition to their performances, Rhapsody competed in the ICCA last year, becoming the first group from Montana to do so. Rhapsody provides a supportive community for all of its members by organizing bonding activities in and out of rehearsal and creating a musical family. 

PLUtonic is the premier all-male a capella group from Pacific Lutheran University and has a proud history as one of the oldest collegiate a cappella groups in the Northwest. PLUtonic was excited to advance to ICCA West Semifinals last year, and will soon be releasing its second-ever studio-recorded album! Made up of mostly non-music majors, the group values quality musicianship, a goofy experience, and the game Ninja. PLUtonic thrives on performing compositions and cover arrangements written exclusively by group members. They would like to thank Varsity Vocals for putting in the work to host this competition every year. 

The Northwest Collective, founded in the summer of 2018, is UBC A Cappella's newest group. This collection of 14 hails from different disciplines, walks of life, and parts of the world. Together, they formed this new group to push the club's boundaries and to share their musicianship beyond Canada. This desire to perform on an international level has brought them to the ICCA stage. The group chose their name after considering what precedent they wanted to set for future years. Unsure of what the group would ultimately evolve into, the members simply knew that they wanted to evoke a similar feeling of awe with their performances as one would experience while seeing the beautiful, natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. As such, they hope that you will be able to connect with their emotions and music.  After all their hard work, they are excited to debut on the ICCA stage! 

Eh? Cappella is one of the two competitive a cappella groups at the University of British Columbia. Only a few years old, Eh? Cappella has gone through numerous changes each year to become stronger, more cohesive, and find their sound. Last year, they became the first UBC group to win ICCA Quarterfinals,, and had an amazing experience competing in Semifinals with some of the best groups in North America. They are an extremely tight-knit family that spends too much time together outside of rehearsals, whether through studying, getting ice cream, or sharing their passion for music. 

Situated out of the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, British Columbia, The UBCO Trill Seekers are excited for their debut ICCA. With their explosive sound and breathtaking dynamics, The Trill Seekers create an unstoppable wall of blended sound. Directed by music director Cole Blakely, the group was first established in September 2018. Since then, they have worked relentlessly on mastering tonight’s pathos-provoking set list. Their three-act piece focuses on three lovers, Scarlet, Blue, and Violet, and the pain of falling in love with the wrong person. Blue, portrayed by Karim Ghossein, experiences heartbreak at the hands of the snide Violet, portrayed by Diana Youssefian. Gentle Scarlett, portrayed by Taylor Soloy, witnesses the quarrels from afar. The first act, featuring Imagine Dragons’ “Believer,” features the interactions of the three lovers and the intervention of fate. The lovers’ friends, portrayed by Abhishek Patil, Natasha Elliott, and Saumya Johri, provide support in Elliot Moss’ modulated alternative hit, “Slip.” Blue and Scarlet finally reach their broken version of happily-ever-after in Poesy’s power rock ballad, “Soldier of Love.” The three acts are expertly transitioned and comfortably supported by the rest of the ensemble, showcasing the underbelly of love, all while keeping things trill. 

The Trebled Acaholics is one of the competitive a cappella groups at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Made up of students from almost every faculty, over 10 different countries, and representing every year level, they are united by a love of music and their desire to share their musicality to the students of UBCO. You can often find them practicing in the stairwells, bathrooms, and other places where the acoustics are fire! 

Underground Sound is University of Puget Sound's mixed, competitive a cappella group. They sing a variety of music chosen by the group members, including pop, rock, and jazz, and have won awards for their arrangements and vocal percussion. They are so excited to share their music on the ICCA stage once again! 

Furmata is the University of Washington's premier co-ed a cappella group, also known as The A Cappella Group Formerly Known as Furmata A Cappella. They made the executive decision to drop the "A Cappella" after realizing that Google was getting more traffic for "furmata a Capella" and "furmata who???" than their actual name, so they just decided to run with it. They have worked hard since the group's inception in 2008 to develop and hone their powerhouse sound and electrifying stage presence. After a few years of feeling like Michelles, they eventually realized their destiny, child (!), and channeled their inner-Beyoncé for ICCA 2017, where they won the ICCA Northwest Champion title. After taking a year off of ICCA to further develop their sound and record their debut EP and music video, they are ecstatic to return to ICCA for their 10th year anniversary year. They cannot wait for you to see all of the tricks, surprises, ferociousness, and hard work they have put into this year.

Pacific Note West from Western Washington University is the intersection of your favorite original WWU competitive groups joining forces to form an all-inclusive mixed competitive ensemble! This is Western's first year competing as a mixed ensemble. They are excited to premiere their homegrown Pacific Note BEST music!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Sean Braxton has been on the a cappella scene for 14 years, arranging for numerous groups. He currently performs with and is the primary arranger for Restless Vocal band, an award-winning seven-part vocal band in Seattle. Sean also performs lead vocals, keys, and percussion for top-40 party band, The Nines, and has opened for the likes of Jay Leno and Joel McHale. He is currently signed to Verbal Inc, a hip hop and R&B songwriting collective. 

The daughter of a choir teacher and accompanist, Cate Caffarella received a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Music Education from Boston University. This is her 14th year at West Albany High School, where she directs three choirs and heads the drama program. WAHS choirs have won numerous awards, including top-five finishes at OSAA State Choir competitions, district championships, judges’ choice awards, and ICHSA Semifinals. Cate and her husband, Jason (also a musician), are former directors of the Oregon Children’s Choir Young Men’s Ensemble and The Classics. They and their children, Tobin, Taran, and Teah, enjoy singing and spending time together. 

Jason Caffarella currently teaches music at Linn Benton Community College and is the founder of the award-winning a cappella group, Rezonate. He earned a B.S. in voice from State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Oregon. From 2001 to 2007, he directed choirs and small ensembles, including a cappella groups, in the Oregon Children’s Choir organization. He enjoys adjudicating vocal festivals of all kinds, including solo/ensemble, a cappella, and choral for age groups ranging from middle school through college. 

Lauren Kastanas is a singer, arranger, and music director based in Seattle. She has been an active contemporary a cappella performer since 2010, and currently leads GIRL BAND, a women's a cappella group she co-founded in 2014. She also sings with Vox16, a chamber ensemble specializing in modern American choral music.

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 West 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