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 SEMIFINAL

 

Hilliard Bradley High School
Saturday, March 23, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

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. 

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. 

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!

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.

KC A Cappella is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to providing a unique educational and musical experience for high school students around the Kansas City Metropolitan area. This organization houses the nationally ranked contemporary vocal a cappella group, SoundProof, which introduces the ensemble to the world of contemporary vocal a cappella and provides them the opportunity to grow as performers, vocalists and musicians. 

Viva Voce is an all-female a cappella group at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 2016, Viva Voce is a musically talented, highly dedicated group of high school girls who come together to share their love of music with their peers and community. Currently, Viva Voce is a group of 17 girls with a variety of different interests, from field hockey to computer science to debate, united through their love for a cappella and vocal music. Outside of rehearsals, you can find Viva Voce sharing their music at community events and concerts, and they are always looking for new opportunities to perform! Contact them at vivavocelhs@gmail.com or visit their website at www.vivavocelhs.weebly.com to find more information about events. 

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!

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 and Eh440, and shared the art of a cappella by singing with many communities and schools in the area. 

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!

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.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Melanie Aue is a 2005 graduate of Michigan State University, where she earned a degree in vocal performance and education. There, she was proud to perform with Capital Green, which at the time was MSU's only co-ed a cappella group. While living in Baltimore, Melanie co-founded and directed the co-ed group Boh Re Mi. After moving back to Michigan, she helped found Avenue A Cappella, and continues to direct and sing with that group. Melanie also finds time to be the vocal director and act in various shows with the Downriver Actors Guild. Highlights include vocal directing “The Full Monty,” “Chicago,” and “Heathers” and performing in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Sister Act,” and “Heathers.” 

Katie Hayward hails from Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an alumna of the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where she studied music education and voice. Today, she enjoys an active career as a performing musician, vocal coach, and choral educator. Recognized as a popular music specialist, she regularly judges events in the Cincinnati area. Katie is currently the artistic director of 2Knight 2Knight and One Knight Only, Kings High School's premier pop a cappella groups. 

C. Alex Juarez is an active music educator and community musician. As a vocalist, he was a catalyst in the creation and promotion of a cappella at The Ohio State University. Alex enjoys arranging and adjudicating in the college a cappella circuit and is an avid clinician in the Chicago/Columbus areas. He currently serves as Director of Music and Liturgy at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hilliard, Ohio, the director of the Emerald City Swing Orchestra in Dublin, Ohio, and the assistant conductor of the Dublin Wind Symphony. In addition to directing, Alex plays alto saxophone in Swing Machine and Vaughn Wiesters Famous Jazz Band.

Ben Spalding is the head choral director at Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio. He is an avid supporter of a cappella music and recently wrote a book with Deke Sharon and Brody McDonald, called "A Cappella" (available at amazon.com and other resellers). He is a founding member of the A Cappella Education Association and is associated with several other a cappella organizations. He is an instructor at Camp A Cappella and a clinician for vocal groups across the country.

 Lee Stovall currently teaches choir for the South Milwaukee school district, where he directs the award-winning a cappella groups, Delta V and The Poprockets, who recently released their debut album, Keep Myself. A founding member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison a cappella group, Fundamentally Sound, he has been interested in promoting contemporary a cappella education since college, and keeps busy arranging and coaching for groups around the world. He recently arranged for "Broadway Goes A Cappella 3" at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City to rave reviews. Lee's work has earned ICCA awards and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), as well as spots on BOCA and BOHSA compilations. He has attended seminars with The Vocal Company and Vocomotion studios, volunteered for SingStrong Chicago and A Cappella Fest, and judged for Varsity Vocals, CARAs, and the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs). Lee has also worked with Camp A Cappella, directing ensembles from the middle school to collegiate levels, and is a board member of A Cappella University. Outside of the contemporary a cappella world, Lee sings with two professional classical ensembles, The Madison Choral Project and Present Music Milwaukee.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Cameron Clemens, Hunter King, Jeremy Witt, Kristin Hodgson, Tiffany Cain, Allied Sources, the entire team at Bradley High School, and Ottertuned A Cappella;
 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 placing group advances to ICHSA Finals!

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