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

 

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center 
Saturday, February 9, 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

 

The Academy Kids (AK) is the a cappella ensemble from Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac, Wis. AK is composed of eight  boys and 12 girls, ranging from freshmen to seniors. In addition to several home concerts throughout the year, The Academy Kids also perform at Christmas parties during the holiday season, sharing their faith and spreading holiday cheer, and they go an an annual spring concert tour of local grade schools. The group is led by WLA’s choir director, Mr. Dale Witte. 

South Milwaukee High School’s Delta V can't wait to perform on the ICHSA stage for their fifth year! Founded in 2014, Delta V has thrilled live audiences, and recently released an eight-song album, Keep Myself, with their friends in The PopRockets. Delta V is proud to have received a standing ovation at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC), a ICHSA Quarterfinal 1st place win, and they have been featured multiple times on local television and news stations multiple times. Delta V aims to make their school, community, and world a better place through their musicianship and storytelling. Enjoy the show! 

Key Change was founded at Wilmot Union High School just this past September in 2018. Just born in the aca-world, they love every moment they get to make music together! Like a baby, they are learning every day and trying to soak up all the information they can get. Any experience is an awesome opportunity to grow, and they’re excited for this one with ICHSA. 

Knight Club from Oak Creek High School is a family of 18 members who share a passion for singing, as well as portraying stories through music. This year, their set revolves around the emotions associated with the end of a relationship and heartbreak. This set has brought Knight Club closer together than ever and they hope to take you on an emotional and empowering journey. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Knight Club. 

Midnight Voices is a women's a cappella group in Madison, Wis. Combining members from area high schools, Midnight Voices rehearses twice a week and performs at many events. Past events include the ICHSA, The Wisconsin Film Festival, the Madison Area Music Awards, and the annual MG&E Shareholders meeting. Midnight Voices prides itself on having a positive impact on the community through joining students from the Madison Metro School District to perform for diverse events throughout the city. 

Minor Renovation is in its second year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017.  Minor Renovation has 17 members, and ranges from sophomores to seniors. Minor Renovation is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again. 

Founded in the fall of 2017, Modern Melodies is in its second year at Buffalo Grove High School.  Modern Melodies includes 24 women, ranging from freshman through seniors. Minor Renovation is very excited to compete in ICHSA for the very first time.

Unaccompanied Minors is a group started in 2017 at Brookfield East High School. Brookfield East is a suburban high school located in the Greater Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. Inspired by the rise of high school a cappella groups and a lack of competitive groups in the area, Emma Jester and Macy Gardner took on the challenge of starting their own. Many were eager to audition and share their love for a cappella. In their second year, they currently have 15 very talented singers. The group is very diverse, both in their vocals and in each member’s outside interests. Unaccompanied Minors is a completely student-led group and regular rehearsals consist of food, sectionals, more food, choreography boot camps, and random outbursts of “High School Musical” karaoke. The group values teamwork, but also encourages individual growth and practice. All of their solo auditions are held in front of the group and selected by the members through a vote. While they all have different voice parts and musical backgrounds, at the end of the day every voice is heard, needed ,and valued to create the artistic experience of a cappella. 

Violet Noise is an auditioned mixed voice ensemble composed of 10 students from DeForest Area High School in DeForest, Wis. These unique and driven musicians are a shining example of collaboration, creativity, and family. Their eclectic interests, humor, and personalities make every rehearsal feel like an extended family Thanksgiving. Violet Noise is excited to make its ICHSA debut this season!   

Vocal Force from Harold L. Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Ill. is in its second year as an extracurricular ensemble. The group consists of students from grades nine through 12 who audition each fall. Vocal Force rehearses one evening a week and performs a variety of music, including contemporary pop and vocal jazz. They are excited to perform today, and hope you enjoy their performance!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Cory Ellis is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where he studied music education, performance, and music industry leadership. He is a founding member and former music director of The NIU Huskie Hunks, the first all-male a cappella group on campus. Cory helped lead The Hunks to perform at the VoiceJam A Cappella Festival in Arkansas, as well as the NACC in Tennessee. In addition to his a cappella contributions to NIU, Cory was the head drum major of The Pride of the Midwest, the Huskie Marching Band, and an arranger and member of the world-renowned NIU World Steelband, which recently performed at Symphony Center in Chicago.

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 

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, Rachel Sorce, Nick DaVia, Trent Snyder, Adam McNeil, Robert Tyree Photography, Alex Sheafor of Audio Max Productions, and the amazing staff at South Milwaukee High School; 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