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 NORTHEAST QUARTERFINAL

 

Danvers High School
Saturday, February 16, 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

 

Formed in 2001, Accent A Cappella is the premier co-ed, student-run a cappella group at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. One of the group’s founders, Lily Karian, committed suicide in 2006, and her memory inspires the current group’s commitment to music. In the years since Lily’s death, members of Accent have resolved to work in honor of her in addition to themselves. They take the issue of mental health very seriously and are honored to sing at an annual forum for mental health and depression held at Lincoln-Sudbury High School. For Accent, the ICHSA provides a unique opportunity to showcase their music and come together as a group. They have advanced to Semifinals for the past two years, all while expressing their passion for a cappella and getting to know other groups from the Northeast. They also enjoy performing at various school events, Faneuil Hall’s A Cappella Competition, local assisted living homes, and more! They enjoy singing all genres of music and especially love to infuse each song with their own unique twist. They are a fun, energetic (sometimes too energetic!) group of people, each with unique interests and passions, sharing a love of music and a cappella! 

Dynamix is coming back together this year, stronger than ever before. They’ve included four new members, who have been with them since last year but didn't get to compete at ICHSA. Welcome to Aryana Innoscent (soprano), Rebekah Robinson (tenor), Briannah LaFontant (tenor/bass), and Volfson Charles (vocal percussion)!  This year's group is primarily student-led, but still loosely directed by their teacher, Melissa Salcedo. High school students and Dynamix veterans Darvanie Charles (alto) and Alexandra Bonilla (alto/tenor) co-lead. Dynamix is still a growing group and despite time constraints and academic commitments at FRCS, they manage to prepare for competition every year at ICHSA. They are proud to serve their community and enjoy performing for local charity events to show their support. Fun fact: this year, the school has offered new musical theatre opportunities, including their recent musical production of “Hairspray.” 

The Holderness School is proud to introduce The Holdernotes, the first ever a cappella group on campus. They have such an interesting group of students from all over the world that are ecstatic to share their talents and passions with everyone willing to watch and listen. Hope y'all enjoy! 

NOTEorious is North Reading High School's only co-ed a cappella group, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. As a semi-student run activity, NOTEorous participated in “Sing That Thing on WGBH, won runner-up, Best Costume, and Best Arrangement at the 2017 Haunted Harmonies competition, and won Outstanding Arrangement for their set 2017 ICHSA set. They continue to perform at numerous festivals, concerts, and community events throughout the Northeast and were a featured performer at Walt Disney World. They love to flash mob, but that is shadowed only by their love of ice-cream. Copious amounts of ice-cream. You can follow them on Twitter and Instagram @nrhsacappella and on Facebook. 

The Newtones is Newton South High School's oldest a cappella group! They love Christmas caroling during the holidays in the Greater Boston area and participating in various competitions throughout the year. They have written all of their own arrangements for the past few years and sing mainly contemporary pop music, along with the occasional throwback. The Newtones have performed with the likes of Sara Bareilles and recorded for Ben Folds' University A Cappella album, and are proud to have have participated in ICHSA for the past 10 years. In addition to their musical rehearsals, they make time to bond as a group and rap about salad, play laser tag, have fantasy basketball leagues, and participate in March Madness. Each year for their final concert, some of the profits they make are donated to a charity of their choice. 

This is Bristol Eastern High School's Strawberry Fields' 12th year participating in ICHSA. They feel privileged to have been part of the explosive growth of a cappella in this country. There is no musical form that is its equal in energy, popularity, and musicality! Strawberry Fields began five decades ago as a swing choir and evolved through several metamorphoses over that time. The 14 auditioned students meet weekly for hour-and-a-half rehearsals and are asked to sing at numerous local events. They pride themselves in being an inclusive group that reflects the cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity of Bristol Eastern.

The Sachimes is Saugus High School's first and only a cappella group, and is officially three years old as of January 2019! The Sachimes is a small group for high school, but still packs a punch with their unique soloists, an actual bass that is also a professional dancer, and an Instagram-famous beatboxer! The Sachimes keep busy performing and competing as often as possible. They have won numerous awards at various competitions, including Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Vocal Percussion, Best Standout Performance, 3rd place at last year’s ICHSA Quarterfinal, and 2nd place at this year’s Haunted Harmonies. They are excited to compete in their third ICHSA and are pumped to show everyone how much they have improved in a year! 

WitchPitch? is Salem High School's first a cappella group, having been formed back in 2009, when their current director was in the group as a student. They compete and perform as much as possible, with multiple appearances in ICHSA and the Pitch Trials. They even performed for former President Barack Obama! They won Pitch Trials 2017, 2nd place at their 2018 ICHSA Quarterfinal, and are incredibly excited to have a chance at ICHSA again this year! 

Fermata Nowhere is a co-ed a cappella ensemble from Stafford Middle School and features students from the sixth through eighth grades. Stafford Middle School is part of the Plattsburgh City School District in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Founded in 2016, notable performances include the national anthem at the 2017 and 2018 SUNY Plattsburgh Boys and Girls Basketball and Hockey Games, the 2017 SUNY Plattsburgh Minor Adjustment Invitational, the 2017 and 2018 BOCES Graduation Ceremony, the 2017 Champlain Valley Sweet Adeline's Annual Showcase, the 2017 Cumberland Bay Barbershoppers Annual Show, the 2017 and 2018 Tune-Up A Cappella Festival in South Glenns Falls, N.Y, the 2018 Adirondack Dance Company Showcase, and the 2018 Vermont State Maple Festival. In the spring of 2018, Fermata Nowhere recorded their first album, Shine. This past fall, Fermata Nowhere conducted workshops under the award-winning SUNY Potsdam Pointercounts and Deke Sharon of “Pitch Perfect.” Fermata Nowhere is under the direction of Mr. Cody Hampton, a native of Champlain, N.Y. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the exciting sounds of Fermata Nowhere.

From the Wheeler School in Providence, The 18 Wheelers enjoy sharing their music throughout New England and especially enjoy singing to raise awareness and provide support for various nonprofit organizations. Throughout the years, they've won tracks on national a cappella compilations, been ranked among the top 10 high school a cappella groups in the nation, and appeared twice on WGBH's “Sing That Thing!”

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

James Cannon is a multi-instrumentalist and performer who has been singing and dancing his way across stages pretty much as long as he can remember. James began his a cappella involvement at Cornell University, where he sang, arranged, and directed The Cornell Chordials, acting as recording engineer his senior year for their celebrated album, Arrival, which won multiple CARAs and placements on acclaimed compilations such as BOCA and SING. Hundreds of songs, dozens of award nominations and wins, and 10 years later, he has built a reputation for his productions' hard-hitting drums, innovative mixing work, and creative sampling. James can usually be found in his Boston studio, singing with professional a cappella group, Uproar, or creating magic in the kitchen. 

Amy Malkoff is the Media Director of the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA), Marketing Director for the A Cappella Education Association, and one of the producers of Haunted Harmonies in Salem, Mass. Amy served on the board and as web content director for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and is a longtime ICHSA/ICCA judge, as well as a certified judge for other events. She is a frequent workshop teacher, master clinician, writer, designer, runner of social media campaigns (www.amymalkoff.com), and a singer/songwriter and studio musician (www.amymalkoffmusic.com). She was a founding member of award-winning groups All About Buford and Deadline Poet, and has appeared onstage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonathan Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University and master’s-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy's music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels. @amalkoff. 

Anthony Pulido is an arranger and director for Uproar, a Boston-based, professional a cappella group. He attended Northeastern University, where he directed and arranged for The Unisons. He also records and workshops groups and artists in the greater Northeast region, notably at festivals such as BOSS, NE Voices, and Haunted Harmonies. You can also find him as the third member of the “Head/Voice” podcast team. Check out the podcast to hear Anthony discuss a cappella with other members of the community. 

Born and raised on Long Island, Kyle Sherlock has been an a cappella enthusiast since joining an all-male group in high school. Through his high school experience, he learned the crafts of arranging music and vocal percussion, which he carried into his college career. Kyle attended the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education and performed with The Potsdam Pointercounts. With The Pointercounts, Kyle competed in the ICCA Semifinals every year he was in the group, had the opportunity to open for world-renowned a cappella group, Rockapella, and go on tour up and down the East Coast, from Florida to Canada. After his undergraduate degree, Kyle pursued his master’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook and is now a choir director at a middle school on Long Island where he also runs an after-school a cappella group. 

Jonathan Wibben graduated from the Crane School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in music education, B.M. cum laude. In college, he was one of the founding members and former president and music director of The Potsdam Pitches, a mixed a cappella group at SUNY Potsdam. Even after college, Jonathan has kept his love and passion for a cappella music and is honored to be an ICHSA adjudicator. In August 2011, Jonathan was hired as the K-5 Music teacher at Kramer Lane Elementary School in Bethpage School District in Long Island, N.Y. There, he now teaches 40 general music classes a week, leads the chorus, recorder ensemble, guitar club, and directs the annual second grade musical. Jonathan is also the music director of the JFK Middle School Masquers’ Guild and the Director of the Bethpage Elementary Masquers’ Guild. Jonathan has had the honor of singing the national anthem for the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum and the Barclays Center. In August 2015, he graduated with his Master of Music Education from the University of Hartford and in August 2018, he graduated with his Master of Science in educational administration from Mercy College. He would like to thank Nicole Kohlweiss for all her hard work making this event happen and he wishes the very best of luck to all the a cappella groups competing! Remember to have fun and enjoy every minute!

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jacob McVey, Sara Yood, Alexander Grover, Falconize, Danvers 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 three finishing groups advance to the ICHSA Northeast 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