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

 

Centerville High School
Friday, February 22, 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

 

Above the Noise is a premier a cappella group from Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. The group was founded in 2009, and is well-known in the central Ohio area. ATN went to ICHSA Quarterfinals for the first time in 2018. ATN also performs for local concerts, gigs and local a cappella competitions. Last year, ATN recorded their first professional single, “Fun Medley.” It was released on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play in October 2018. 

Ars Nova is Latin for “New Art” and as such, they are the first a cappella group to emerge at The Miami Valley School in Dayton, Ohio. Having advanced to the ICHSA Finals in 2016, Ars Nova is excited to return to the competition scene and bend expectations of what high school a cappella can do. The group has performed at Total Vocal at Carnegie Hall, and the only high school competitor selected for the 2017 VoiceJam Festival competition. Ars Nova is grateful for the chance to share their take on life on the ICHSA stage. 

Blue Kids On The Block is a newly formed a cappella group from Hilliard Davidson High School. Their school colors are blue and white and they primarily perform as a madrigal group, singing repertoire from renaissance to pop around the community. They love to entertain their community during the holidays at various nursing homes and business parties. They even perform every year in Ballet Met's production of "The Nutcracker" at the Ohio Theatre. They are proud to have members from a wide range of backgrounds, valuing their traditions of diversity, inclusivity, and singing excellence. 

Catalyst is Northmont's varsity a cappella ensemble. The group began four years ago as a student-run organization and led the way to forming an a cappella program consisting of four ensembles, three high school and one middle school. Catalyst has been selected to sing twice at the Kettering A Cappella Festival and was the 2016 Dayton Dragons Star Spangled Banner competition winner. They have sung for members of The Exchange, VoicePlay, and Deke Sharon. They look forward to making their ICHSA debut! 

Shades of Blue, from Hilliard Bradley High School is currently in its second year as a contemporary a cappella group and also its second year competing in ICHSA. The group is made up of 16 members ranging from sophomores through seniors. Shades of Blue is actively performing around the greater Columbus area, including performances at the Schottenstein Center for OSU Men’s Basketball. Shades of Blue is very excited to be sharing the ICHSA stage with so many talented performers tonight! 

The Seton LaSalle Trebels is a competitive a cappella group from Pittsburgh, Pa. The group is entirely student-run and they create their own choreography, arrangements, and sets. They are very excited to perform! 

Vega comes to you from Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. It is currently in its ninth year of existence. Vega has released five recording projects, opened for Grammy-winning jazz/gospel group, Take 6, placed 2nd in ICHSA, and had multiple appearances on the national compilation album, BOHSA

Clarity is made of some of the most talented vocal students from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Outside of their regular concerts, the singers of Clarity perform at school events, including graduation ceremonies, open houses, and the annual school talent show. Many group members are also involved in the school musical, which will be the Broadway classic, “The Wiz” this year. This is Clarity's first year competing in ICHSA under this name. Formerly known as Evolution, they made it all the way to Semifinals last year. They look forward to challenging themselves to make it even further this season.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Christopher Andres attended The Ohio State University and studied music education and music performance. He has been playing the piano since age five, and also plays flute, tenor saxophone, baritone tuba, and trombone. Chris has been featured on numerous stages around the world, both as an instrumentalist and vocalist. In high school, he was a part of a show choir group called The Wavaires, which was the first show choir to perform at Lincoln Center on Broadway. Chris’s love for a cappella started in 2009 with an all-male group in California called Chanticleer. This group motivated him to arrange and compose music. He also was a member of The Ohio State University Men's Glee Club and University Chorus. For 10 years, he served as music director for the Greenville Baptist Temple. Chris also works along Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and hopes to continue fighting for this cause. Currently, Chris is back at his roots where it all started. He serves as the vocal accompanist/assistant director at Greenville Senior High School in Greenville, Ohio, and hopes to start an a cappella group at the school. 

Katherine Bodor is a massive choir nerd and award-winning composer of contemporary choral and chamber music. She attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she served as music director and arranger for her co-ed a cappella group. She graduated with a B.A.S. in engineering plus a music major, and her compositions have gone on to receive premieres all over the U.S. Currently, Katherine works as an arranger and recording contractor with The Vocal Company and is pursuing her master's degree in composition at IU Jacobs School of Music. 

Bryan Guffey has been singing longer than they can remember (seriously, ask their parents). Since forming their first group, 50/50, in high school in 1997, Bryan has been a passionate believer in the power of vocal music to change lives for the better. Since graduating with their B.F.A. in musical theatre from Kent State in 2006, Bryan has worked with Grammy-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn on a remount of the Broadway musical, "The Civil War" in Gettysburg, Pa. This led them to audition for Full Sail, an a cappella group on the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises, where they had the opportunity to work with and learn from the likes of Home Free’s Tim Foust. After returning to the U.S., Bryan helped launch A Cappella Records and became more involved in the a cappella community. When Bryan isn't solving technical issues for nonprofits, they spend much of their time coaching a cappella groups in the Great Lakes region, volunteering with organizations such as the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), the Vocal Foundation, the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), and SingStrong, and serving as president of the Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. Additionally, Bryan works closely with Centerville High School’s Forte A Cappella, having co-produced the group’s all-original albums, Uncharted Heart and Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg.

Edric Mitchell, a 2014 and 2016 graduate from Ball State University, studied musical theatre and executive development for public services. During his time at Ball State, he got his start in a cappella with the all-male group, Charlie's Angels. He quickly became a founding member of the all-male a cappella group, Note to Self, with whom he spent four years as a member, coordinator, and music director. In addition, Edric was a founding member and music director of Sedoctave, and founder of the Association of Collegiate A Cappella (ACA) at Ball State. ACA is an umbrella organization that unites all collegiate a cappella groups on the BSU Campus, and hopes to eventually expand to other college campuses. When Edric was a competitor in the ICCA, he received two Outstanding Arrangement awards for "Can You Stand The Rain" and "Recovery Stitches," as well as a Outstanding Soloist award with Walter Edwards for "Smash Your Apology." He is currently the vocal music director at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Ind.

With a Master of Music in choral conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and performance (Ashland University), Brandy Kay Riha is an a cappella educator and arranger with a special focus on treble repertoire. Her arrangements have been performed by middle school, high school, and collegiate singers around the globe. Brandy has founded or co-founded six a cappella groups, including the post-collegiate Zero to Sixty, Ashland University’s student-led co-ed group, Surround Sound, and The University of Akron’s female a cappella group, Kanga Blue. She has also led workshops on arranging, aca-directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. Brandy is currently Adjunct Instructor of Commercial Voice and director of the pop choir at Tiffin University. She also directs Geneva High School’s High Definition, as well as A Cappella Boot Camp (ABC), an independent eight-week a cappella experience for middle and high school students centered in Medina, Ohio.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Danielle Sutherland, Ben Spalding, Bryan Miller, Cameron Clemens, and Hunter King; 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