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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

The Pitman Theater
Saturday, January 26, 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

 

BELLA VOCE strives to live up to its group's four year tradition of beautiful singing. Hailing from Cedarburg, Wis., the group is one of six in the high school’s vocal music program. Committed to strong vocals and precise movement, the girls seek to share their love of contemporary song, work together as a team, and have fun. 

Beloit Turner Overdrive is in its third year of existence as an extracurricular group at Beloit Turner High School. They have become one big music-making family and they love spending time with one another.  They enjoy long walks together along the Rock River and warm up on crisp winter evenings by sharing large amounts of Culvers' cheese curds! They would like to thank their friends and family for all their support and they hope you enjoy their performance as much as they enjoy singing together! 

Graftonics is an extracurricular, auditioned group from Grafton, Wis. This is their sixth year of existence and fourth year competing in the ICHSA. They are excited to continue building on their skills as young musicians and growing their passion for music together. They can’t wait to share the stage with the other amazing high school groups across the nation. 

The Insongniacs is an all-female, student-run ensemble from Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wis. They hope their performances inspire female empowerment within the a cappella community. 

Ladies Knight from Oak Creek High School is excited to take the stage tonight. This group of girls has endless camaraderie and love for one another. Their accent of light pink represents self-love. Their musical story sheds light on the hardships they’ve endured with society and they hope to take you through a whirlwind of emotions as you follow the journey. 

Founded to provide additional opportunities for advanced music students to perform tight a cappella harmonies, Limited Edition is talented mixed ensemble from the Port Washington / Saukville School District. Now in its 16th year, the name refers to the group’s “limited” time  as an ensemble: one full school year. After that, all spots are re-auditioned and an entirely new group is formed. Dividing their time equally throughout the year between a madrigal ensemble and an a cappella vocal jazz ensemble, this group performs an eclectic variety of music. The group also spends part of their rehearsal each week working with local special needs students in a specific music class. While the students receive plenty of guidance, they have a unique level of ownership in group decisions. They choose and arrange music, plan gigs, write scripts, and learn all along the way. This "working band" business format helps educate the members, both as musicians and young adults. Since its inception, the group has performed all over the state of Wisconsin, for everything from community organizations to large company performances. In 2010, the group was named ICHSA Midwest Champion and went on to win the National Champion title in New York City. Since that time, they have won Midwest Semifinals in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016, as well as multiple special awards for Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and Outstanding Arrangement. You can hear them on the BOHSA albums for 2010, 2012, and 2015. 

The Blenders, founded in 2017, look forward to making a memorable second appearance in the ICHSA this year. This group is known at the Honors Choir at Clinton High School and has performed mostly Class A music from the WSMA. The group added competitive a cappella to their repertoire for the opportunities to excel in a new challenge and to perform in more venues. Being from a small school, these singers are involved in many extracurricular activities, and work hard to balance school, farming, musical, and work. These students spend countless hours rehearsing and can’t wait to perform. 

South Milwaukee High School’s The PopRockets are thrilled to return to ICHSA for their sixth year! They love singing and performing with their a cappella family, and are super proud to have released their first album, Keep Myself, this past fall with their friends in Delta V (available in all forms of media). Past PopRockets have placed at the National A Cappella Convention high school competition, performed at ICHSA Quarterfinals and Semifinals, and have been featured on local television and news stations. More importantly, The PopRockets use music to build community within their school and hope to spread joy to all of their audiences.

The Treblesome Teens is a completely student-run group from Hortonville High School. The group meets before school and on the weekends to rehearse for community events, singing Valentines at school, and choir concerts. This is the group’s second year venturing beyond the Hortonville community to perform at the ICHSA. They believe that their shared love of music has bonded them together, as friends and family. 

The ladies of Urbana High School's VHS (Vocal Harmonies Supplied) are world changers. They are dynamic. They are go-getters. They will work harder than anyone. It is extremely probable that one of them may become the first female president.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Laura Kruschke has been involved in a cappella since her collegiate days at University of Wisconsin Madison, singing with the all-female group, Tangled Up in Blue, while earning her degree in instrumental music education. Back then, she served as the group's primary vocal percussionist, music arranger, and director. After graduation, Laura had the opportunity to help launch the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). After a whirlwind trip to San Francisco for an inspiring weekend with other like-minded aca-people, she returned to Madison and founded greenTONE A Cappella in fall 2007. gT is 10 members strong today, and sings for a wide variety of local events including weddings, holiday parties, fundraisers, and flash mobs. Laura is still involved with CAL today, serving as the organization's membership coordinator. Laura has also offered her expertise to local high school choirs through vocal percussion workshops, clinician opportunities, and group coaching. In addition to aca-involvement, Laura also arranges music for high school show choir, sings and plays saxophone in a local cover band, teaches yoga, and helps her three young children remember their F-sharps while practicing piano.

Molly Pufall-Brown
is happy to be judging for Varsity Vocals again this year. She was a member of the Millikin University OneVoice group that won the ICCA Champion title in 2004. She holds an M.M. from Northern Illinois University and taught full-time at the collegiate level for eight years in Milwaukee, Wis. She currently works at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and directs a church choir in Brookfield, Wis. Molly is also a founding member of The Marion Consort, a professional Chicago-based early music ensemble. She thrives on educating people about the art and aesthetics of singing with others, particularly in small ensembles.

Kimberly Raschka Sailor 
is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), and she has written more than 300 reviews of high school, collegiate, and professional groups since 2005. A former ICCA Finalist, Kimberly is the co-founder and past president of the University of Southern California's Reverse Osmosis. Kimberly has also served as a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominator and judge. In addition to volunteering in the a cappella community, Kimberly is an author and elected school board member for the Mount Horeb Area School District in Wisconsin.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Lee Stovall, Leslie Henry, Rollie Layman, Nova, Alverno College, Allison Calteux photography, Jeff Chesebro, and our amazing volunteers; 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 Midwest 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