THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF HIGH SCHOOL

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

ICHSA GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

Arsenal Technical High School
Saturday, February 16, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

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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

 

Bulldog Beats represents Louisville Male High School in Louisville, Ky. Established in 2013, they are a co-ed mixed group and have participated in numerous festivals, though this is their first venture into ICHSA. They were the Grand Prize Winners in the 2017 Voices in Harmony competition and were runners-up at the AEA National A Cappella Competition last year, also receiving Best Use of Movement for their entire set. Performance highlights include singing onstage with Eric Church and more recently with the band Foreigner. 

From Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cadence is in its first year of existence. Cadence consists of 13 members that are thrilled to be part of the group’s inaugural year. Many members of Cadence have had the honor of performing with the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble, as well as appearing with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for the Holiday Pops! 

DYNAMIX is headed into its third year at ICHSA and couldn't be more excited! Coming fresh off of last year’s Semifinals, they are ready to rock with their high-energy performance! They sing contemporary rock anthems with some surprises! Directed by Kelsey Withrow, this group of co-ed singers meets every morning at 7:00 a.m. to prepare this exciting set for you! Sit back and get ready to rock with DYNAMIX! 

Girls Night Out is Warrenton High School's all-female a cappella ensemble. GNO loves to sing together, organize secret Santa reveals, and spill the tea. GNO is so excited to share this competitive season with their newest members. 

Pitch the Keys is the premier mixed a cappella ensemble from Warrenton High School in Warrenton, Mo. Pitch the Keys enjoys singing together, eating breakfast foods, and trying absurd flavors of milk! They are so excited for this competitive season, especially for their senior class. 

The Charlestown High School SCALiWAGS, in its 10th year, is the one of the longest running high school groups in southern Indiana. The group has opened for The Philharmonic, Eh440, and has shared the art of a cappella singing with many communities and schools in the area. 

Take Note is going into its second year as an all-female a cappella group, as well as its second year at ICHSA. These ladies sing songs of women’s empowerment, which drives them to work together and conquer their goals! They're fierce, they’re determined, and they're ready to knock your socks off! Sit back and enjoy the female power group, Take Note! 

Titan Harmony is composed of 13 singers who enjoy singing pop, R&B, and reggae. Outside of Titan Harmony, you can find many of these faces rehearsing with the show choir, acting in school plays, or practicing for various sports teams, including tennis, soccer, and baseball. This is Titan Harmony's first year as an a cappella group and they look forward to improving their sound, creating memories, and making their school and music department proud. They wish all of the other groups luck in creating their unique art onstage.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Will Cabaniss is a composer, arranger, and producer based in Chicago, Ill. As music director and arranger for the University of Chicago's Voices in Your Head, he helped produce the sets that led Voices to two consecutive ICCA Finals appearances in 2017 and 2018. He also composed and arranged the all-original set that led Voices to a 3rd place finish at Finals in 2018. Outside of a cappella, he writes instrumental music, produces and arranges for other artists, and scores films. You can follow him on social media at @willmakesbeats. 

Daniel Fister is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis studying musicology. He earned his undergraduate degree at Chapman University in vocal performance and music history and his master’s degree at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in music history. He has presented and written on collegiate a cappella, musical theatre, and other American music. Before his life as an academic, he directed, sang, and arranged for Wilsonville High School’s Soul’d Out, leading them to the 2010 ICHSA Finals, and went on to participate just as actively in Chapman University’s SoundCheck, with whom he competed regularly in ICCA and directed the production of their debut album, Everything (2012). He remains involved in a cappella as a judge and arranger. 

Deepak Kumar entered the a cappella community as a freshman at the University of Michigan, when he joined Maize Mirchi A Cappella, the South Asian a cappella group on campus. Throughout his time in college, he became heavily involved in a cappella, both within the context of Mirchi and in the greater Michigan a cappella scene. He joined the Michigan A Cappella Council (MACC) executive board in order to enable a stronger sense of community across groups at the university. As a member of Maize Mirchi, he pushed the group to invest more in the a cappella community. As music director, Deepak aimed put Maize Mirchi on the map as a group that could bring South Asian a cappella to major venues (like the ICCA) and still create relatable and enjoyable musical experiences. Throughout college, he wrote arrangements for other college groups (UMD Anokha) and high school groups across the country, and continues to arrange for groups on request. Deepak is excited at the opportunity to be a judge for this ICCA season. 

Mark Phillips is an active multi-genre singer, teacher, and pianist from Indianapolis. Mark received vocal training at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, specializing in classical vocal performance. During his training at Indiana University, Mark was a member of The Singing Hoosiers, directed by Dr. Michael Schwartzkopf, and later, the late Dr. Steve Zegree. During his time with The Singing Hoosiers, Mark competed in ICCA in 2013 and 2014. Mark and his group, Shade of Hue, won its Great Lakes Quarterfinal in 2013. Mark later performed with NOTUS, IU's contemporary vocal ensemble, soloing at several well-known venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Mormon Tabernacle. After graduating in 2015, Mark was immediately hired by the professional vocal company, Heartland Sings. With Heartland Sings, Mark worked with dozens of high school and college level choirs and a cappella ensembles and also performed with Barry Manilow, Broadway’s J. Mark McVey, and The Real Group a cappella group.

Katie Schuman has been performing onstage since age six and is still in love with live performance. She holds a Bachelor of Music in musical theatre from Florida State University, where she was a member of All-Night Yahtzee from 2002-2006. With ANY, she won multiple Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement awards at the Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds of ICCA. She also served as ANY's music director from 2004-2006, during which time the group first advanced to ICCA Finals in New York. She co-founded the semi-professional a cappella group, Threadbare, an experiment in long-distance a cappella collaboration. Katie continues to perform and teach in the Indianapolis area, where she lives with her husband and daughter. To all of tonight’s competitors: break a leg!

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 ICHSA Great Lakes 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