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

 

Galvin Middle School
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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@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

 

BC Flats is Bristol Central's contemporary a cappella group. They are not the "premier group," but the only group. They specialize in all forms of contemporary music, so technically they don't specialize in any of them. BC Flats is a diverse and talented bunch of singers, but that is probably not anything special at all either, as every other group is as well. So they will just say that they are Bristol Central's premier a cappella group specializing in pop, rock, and a hint of jazz and R&B. The group is diverse in its makeup and everyone loves to sing.   

Dobbs 16 is from The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. This group of wandering minstrels takes pride in demonstrating the joy and connectivity that singing together creates. When not rehearsing and performing together, they are typically still found singing together! 

Ingrid Sound is a contemporary a cappella group from Danvers High School in Danvers, Mass.  Named after the singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, the group bases their style off of her music, but also performs songs by other artists. Ingrid Sound has been the top placing group at the regional N.E. Voices Scholastic Competition, Haunted Harmonies Festival, and the Salem Pitch Trials. In 2017, they performed at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC) high school competition in Memphis, Tenn. Over the past four years, Ingrid Sound has been selected for the BOHSA compilation album and was recently nominated for a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA). Ingrid Sound rehearses year-round, and enjoys performing for school concerts and local community events. www.dhsingridsound.com 

Luminescence, an all-female a cappella group from Marblehead High School, was founded in 2005 and has been entertaining audiences ever since. From a competitive standpoint, the group has received awards for Outstanding Choreography and Best Solo-Performance (ICHSA and N.E. Voices) and won the 2014 N.E. Voices competition. Luminescence earned 3rd place in the 2016 ICHSA Northeast Semifinal. Over the years, the group has taken on other exciting endeavors, such as performing at Governor Baker's Inaugural Ball. Luminescence released a joint EP, C105, with The Jewel Tones in September 2017. Find C105 on iTunes and Spotify and be sure to follow Luminescence on Instagram (@mhsluminescence). 

Formed in 2014, She Major is Wakefield High School's all-female contemporary a cappella group, directed by Ana Morel. They have collaborated with groups such as The Exchange, Ithacappella, and Musae, and have worked with Archie Gopal, Anna Morsillo, and Deke Sharon. In 2017, She Major placed 3rd in the ICHSA Northeast Semifinals and Quarterfinals. Members have won various awards for Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and Outstanding Arrangement. Student Director: Emily Norton-Hughes, Choreographer: Emily Pudvah, Business Manager: Rowan Dubé, Social Coordinator: Juliana Simons. Follow them on social media: @SheMajorWHS #boldandgold 

The Crescendos is Chelmsford High School's all-female a cappella group. Founded in 2016, the group has grown steadily over the years and is excited to embark on its second competitive season. The Crescendos take pride in their high level of student leadership. The students have a hand in every step of the process, from arranging to rehearsing to group promotion.   

The Jewel Tones is a co-ed a cappella group from Marblehead High School. Founded in 2003, the group has shared their music with the community, and beyond. The Jewel Tones have participated in many competitions, including ICHSA and N.E. Voices. Over the years, the group has partaken in other exciting endeavors, such as performing at Governor Baker's Inaugural Ball. The Jewel Tones released a joint EP, C105, with Luminescence in September 2017. Find C105 on iTunes and Spotify and be sure to follow The Jewel Tones on Instagram (@mhsthejeweltones). 

The Photosymphonizers is a group from the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, Mass. Being a STEM school, the school doesn’t have a music program, so this group is a student-led club. As such, all of their songs are arranged by their own members, and vary from pop music mashups to alternative, creating a diverse selection for a diverse group of individuals. Although they aren’t the biggest club at their school, they work together to create as beautiful a sound as they can, as well as a group of friends. Arts Nights and assemblies allow them to perform in front of our school. Their name, Photosymphonizers, is a pun on photosynthesis (the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water.) and “symphony.” Their name sometimes elicits laughs, but it’s a part of their identity and is specific to their group, reminding them that, although they come from STEM backgrounds, you can always find a symphony in science. While they might not have all the credentials that make up a more experienced team, they love what they do and have fun while doing it. 

The Thursdays is Chelmsford High School's co-ed a cappella group. They maintain an active performance schedule in their local community and beyond. They represented the Northeast region at ICHSA Finals in 2017 and 2018. They appeared on two seasons of WGBH's “Sing That Thing,” earning a winning title in 2018. They are excited to take part in a new competition season. Defying all expectations, The Thursdays rehearse on Tuesdays. 

Voices of Steel is the co-ed group from Wakefield High School, directed by Ana Morel. Formed in 2009, they have collaborated with groups such as The Exchange and The Nor'easters, and have worked with Shams Ahmed, Deke Sharon, and Caleb Whelden. They love to make music almost as much as they love their red Converse. They placed 2nd in the 2018 ICHSA Northeast Quarterfinal, won the N.E. Voices in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and won the Salem Pitch Trials in 2015. Members have won awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Soloist. Student Director: Samantha Prosperi, Choreographers: John Amalfitano & Riley Porter, Business Manager: Ryan Tarpey, Social Coordinator: Kirbie O'Brien and Ava Spies. Follow them on social media @VoicesofSteel.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Emily Benjamin is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she spent most of her time pursuing a degree in comparative human development and singing with the a cappella group, Voices in Your Head. Emily has always found lasting friendships and endless joy through the a cappella community, having competed in the ICCA three times. Holding a minor in music from the University of Chicago, Emily has arranged for Voices in Your Head and composes in her free time. 

Mackenzie Cohn has been part of the a cappella community since she began college, where she sang with the all-female group, The Girls Next Door, at The College of Saint Rose, winning both an ICCA Outstanding Soloist and a CARA Best Solo nomination. After four years of performing, competing, and recording a CARA-nominated album with GND, she went on to join Cape Harmony, Cape Cod's premier professional all-female a cappella group. She spent three amazing summers as Cape Harmony's social media manager and reliable lady-bass, and remains involved in the professional a cappella world as Director of Outreach for Cut Off Studios. In her rare moments of free time outside of a cappella commitments, Mackenzie enjoys traveling, re-reading the “Harry Potter” series, and baking as many confectionery treats as her kitchen will allow. 

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 

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.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jacob McVey, Sara Yood, Ana Morel, Blacklight Vocals, Galvin Middle 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