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

 

Skyline High School 
Friday, February 1, 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

 

Chicappella is a group of fierce young women from Brighton High School who love to sing together. Notorious for their sass and class, The Chicas is a completely student-led group whose singers arrange their own music, run their own rehearsals, and manage their own gigs. Some of their favorite places to perform are at Brighton High assemblies and at nursing and retirement homes. Formed by BHS students in 2009, the group has grown tighter, stronger, and more well-rounded in every year since. With interests ranging from academics to softball, from student government to painting, from photography to track, these ladies are held together through a shared love of music. They keep the legacy of the 2009 group alive through their musicality, commitment, and leadership. They competed in last year’s ICHSA Quarterfinals, and although last year’s group was amazing, this year’s Chicappella is unstoppable.

Synergy is an a cappella group from Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Mich. This year’s group includes singers from the ninth to 11th grades. Synergy sings a variety of songs from many different genres, and has recorded five songs: "Without You," "All of Me," "City," "Love Like Woe," and "What About Us." 

Detroit Voice is a high school a cappella group from Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Mich. Detroit Voice only sings music originating in Michigan and Motown music. Detroit Voice has recorded two full length albums, Sounds Like Home (2012) and More Than Motown (2017). Detroit Voice has performed for Pentatonix, were featured performers of the Legends of Doo-Wop Tour, appeared at Motown Night for the Detroit Tigers, and were featured performers at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC) in Memphis, Tenn. and the National High School A Cappella Festival in Kettering, Ohio. 

Edison Jr. Sr. High School is home to Drown Out, an elite group of vocalists who come together to enjoy the best part of high school: singing! This ensemble is in its third year of existence and has been on a steady path of improvement. Last year, they had the honor of competing in the ICHSA and were formally introduced into the amazing world of a competitive cappella. Although they only rehearse twice a week, these students show their dedication through personal practice time and organized sectionals outside of rehearsals. Drown Out has quickly become the favorite ensemble at Edison Jr. Sr. High School. The members' energy and love for singing is contagious and continues to inspire younger students. This ensemble is not just a group of musicians, but a family who supports one another in music and in life. 

Major VI is a group of 22 from Novi High School that is fortunate enough to meet daily as a class. They are extremely active in their school and community, and the group is made up of kids from each corner of their school, including athletes, actors, artists, and instrumentalists. These 10th through 12th graders vary in interests and experience, but come together to focus on a common passion for making music. Major VI is honored to perform alongside these other talented a cappella groups tonight! 

Notetorious is Brighton High School's all-men's pop a cappella group. Members of the group have participated and placed in previous Great Lakes ICHSA competitions. These singers pride themselves on their harmony, humor, and creating nearly all of their own arrangements. 

Skyline Blues is a select co-ed a cappella ensemble composed of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior choir students. Skyline Blues was founded in 2008 and is under the direction of Lindsay CieChanski and Austin Terris. The group meets after school twice a week and participates in a number of performances and competitions each year, including MSVMA Solo and Ensemble. Last year, they earned 2nd place at the Great Lakes Semifinal and 3rd in the Wild Card Round. They are excited to be a part of ICHSA once again!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Ewurama Appiagyeh-Dankah has been a vocalist since she was in elementary school. She participated in state-wide choirs, attended an arts school as a vocal major for middle school, and participated in national vocal competitions throughout her time there. In high school, she was a member of several choirs, including the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choru, and had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall. In college, she was the music director for Ladies First A Cappella, and helped advance the group to ICCA Great Lakes Semifinals. Also during Ewurama’s tenure as music director, the group recorded an EP and received a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nomination for Best Collegiate Female Song. 

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 

Jeff Magee is a vocal music education graduate from the University of Toronto, and currently teaches high school vocal and instrumental music. He has been an active part of Toronto's a cappella community for 12 years as a beatboxer, singer, director, arranger, and vocal coach. Jeff has experience in a variety of a cappella choirs, ranging from jazz and classical to pop music. He has directed collegiate a cappella choirs for eight years, incorporating award-winning choreography, soloists and arrangements. Jeff is passionate about bringing the fun and excitement of a cappella music to new audiences. 

Jack Phillipson is currently in his first year of teaching high school choir after a busy college career in a cappella. He found his passion for a cappella halfway through college, and spent his time arranging and directing for Euphoria A Cappella. With successful ICCA ventures and nationwide travel for competitions, Jack helped Euphoria become a group of artists and, in turn, fierce competitors. Thanks to some inspiring people in the a cappella community, Jack's passion has turned into a career. Whether arranging, rehearsing, or gigging with his professional group, Inverse, Jack is just getting started.

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