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

 

Port Clinton High School 
Friday, January 18, 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

 

Free Verse, a student-run organization founded two years ago, is off to a fresh start this year. After re-auditioning each member of last year's group at the end of the previous school year, a brand-new group of Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic students teamed up for a third great year of a cappella! Having invested hard work at rehearsals all year so far, the 12 students of Free Verse are confident in what they bring to the ICHSA. The founding group members chose the name "Free Verse" because they believe in the freeing power of music for self-expression. The message within their name serves as a constant reminder of what they strive for in every performance and competition. Free Verse is not only a talented group of singers and from various musical backgrounds, but also a family, a means of release, and a legacy that will continue for years to come.

Kaleidoscope
, from Clyde High School in Clyde, Ohio, is in its fifth year of existence and is competing in its fifth ICHSA. The group is composed of 14 members ranging from sophomores to seniors. Kaleidoscope has performed at the National A Cappella Festival, Downtown Disney in Orlando, Fla., Camp A Cappella, and opened at The Filharmonic. The members of Kaleidoscope share a familial bond and believe that connection makes them special.

This is The Lehman Limelighters’ first year as an a cappella group. Hailing from Lehman Catholic High School, they are thrilled to make their debut at this year’s ICHSA competition. The group includes students from all grades (9-12) and proudly sings a varied repertoire from multiple musical genres. 

Oakappella
is composed of Oakstone Academy students from Westerville, Ohio. who are passionate about a cappella arrangements and performance. Over the past few years, Oakappella has recorded four full-length albums and two Christmas EPs, all while competing at the ICHSA, performing at school events, and showcasing their talents all over central Ohio. The group has workshopped and performed with Backtrack Vocals and finds inspiration from all musical styles, including choral, musical theatre, and modern pop. Oakappella will be recording again this spring and is excited for the 2019 performance season.

Hailing from the walleye capital of the world in Port Clinton, Ohio, Touch of Class is the top auditioned vocal ensemble at Port Clinton High School. The group has previously competed in the ICHSA Finals and the National A Cappella Championship (NACC), and released three studio albums and one music video in conjunction with Route 53 Records. Touch of Class is excited to compete in another ICHSA season with so many amazing groups! Follow them on all forms of social media for updates @PCTouchofClass!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Jason Klinect is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Music Education at the University of Akron, where he serves as a graduate assistant for the bands. He earned a Bachelor of Music in brass performance from Akron as well, where he performed in various instrumental and choral ensembles. During his undergraduate career, Jason was a member and frequent arranger of Rhythm and Roos A Cappella for four years, including two years as assistant music director.

Eric Neuenschwander 
is a choral director at Eastmoor Academy, a high school with Columbus City Schools. A proud 2011 graduate of The Ohio State University, Eric co-founded and music directed the group Majors & Minors and created an organization to help other a cappella groups form. Since graduating, Eric stays connected with Ohio State a cappella by helping the various groups prepare for competition season. In college, Eric performed with The Ohio State Men's Glee Club, The Statesmen, and The Ohio State Chorale. He developed a passion for musical theatre through his work with a student-led group, Off The Lake Productions, which went on to shape him as a performer. Eric continues to perform onstage and in the pit for various community theatre productions, and performs in improvised musicals with TDB: The Musical in Columbus and The Black Box Improv Theatre in Dayton.

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 Rhythm and Roos; 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