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 SEMIFINAL

 

Mechanics Hall
Sunday, March 10, 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

 

For Good Measure is the a cappella group from Mohonasen High School in Schenectady, N.Y. They have been performing at local school and community events since 2012. The 17 members of this group are highly involved in their high school music department, including various instrumental ensembles, several choirs, and their school theatre program. This is their fourth year competing in the ICHSA and they were very proud to be runners-up at last year’s Northeast Semifinal! They look forward to another great experience this year! 

South Glens Falls High School’s Vocal Point hails from upstate New York and is returning to the ICHSA for a sixth season. A cappella accomplishments include a 2017 L.A. performance tour and multiple professional recording studio projects. Be sure to follow VP on social media or email them at SouthHighVP@gmail.com for information on their sixth annual a cappella festival, TuneUp. 

Bear Necessities is the co-ed a cappella group from Vestal High School, home of the Vestal Golden Bears. The group was founded in 2011 and has helped many young singers develop into leaders of their college groups and lifelong singers. The members of Bear Necessities are respectful, talented, funny, and motivated members of the Vestal, N.Y. community, and keep busy organizing and performing in eclectic activities year-round. Bear Necessities is a subset of the select mixed choir, Vestal Voices. 

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. 

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). 

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 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!

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.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Brian Chambers has founded or helped found three award-winning collegiate groups, including, at the time, the youngest Finalist in ICCA history. He has earned three ICCA awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and the first Outstanding Arrangement award for a hip hop song in ICCA history. He created and founded The Red States, named a best a cappella group by “Time Out New York.” He helped launch the first digital A&R agency for A-list and Billboard 100 artists. Brian is the former director of communications and marketing for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and served on its board of directors. If you don't blink, you can catch him in “Pitch Perfect 2.” 

Chris Knight has been a member of the a cappella community since 2010, when he was accepted into SUNY Potsdam’s The Potsdam Pitches. During his time in The Pitches, he served as music director, president, and produced their first album. He was also singing with The Pitches when they won Quarterfinals for the first time and placed 3rd in Semifinals. In 2014, Chris joined Fusion Vocal Band and sang all over New York City and Connecticut, competed in the Sing Strong competition, and recorded an EP. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s degree in secondary music education and is completing his sixth year in educational supervision and administration at the University of Bridgeport. Chris is currently an elementary music teacher for Stamford Public Schools in Stamford, Conn., where he teaches general music, chorus, band, and directs an after-school musical program. 

Alexander Koutzoukis is co-owner (among other titles) of Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production studio based in Boston. While attending Tufts University for computer science, he spent five years in The Beelzebubs, two of them as music director. He got his start in a cappella production with Ed Boyer and Bill Hare on two award-winning Bubs albums (Pandaemonium and Play the Game) and went on to help record and edit BATTLE and Helix, as well as about half of The Warblers’ tracks from season 2 of “Glee.” He won a 2010 Best Male Collegiate Arrangement Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for “All the Love In the World,” was runner-up in 2012 for “Kings and Queens,” and was also runner-up for Favorite Vocal Percussionist in the 2010 ACAs. He currently executive produces BOSS and graphic designs for BOSS and SoJam. 

Allie Spurling has been involved with a cappella since 1994. At James Madison University, Allie started the school's first co-ed a cappella group, The JMU Overtones. The group appeared on BOCA in 1998. After graduating, Allie started The Flint Hill Major Minors, a co-ed high school group in Fairfax, Va., and directed them from 2001-2005. The group appeared on BOHSA for multiple years. When Allie returned to her New England roots, she co-directed an all-female group at the Wheeler School for three years, and directed and advised a co-ed group at the Moses Brown School for three years. In addition, Allie runs workshops and arranges for high school and college groups up and down the East Coast and mentors high school groups through the process of recording an album. 

Elliott von Wendt’s love of music began at a very young age, which is to say, roughly around the time he was born. After learning violin and piano, Elliott began his arranging career in high school, where he developed a love of vocal music that would develop into his passion, as well as his profession. Elliott finessed his a cappella career at Berklee College of Music, where he took the reins as music director for the school’s all­-male group, The CharlieChords. During his tenure, he helped them grow from modest beginnings to ultimately placing at 2015 Northeast ICCA­ Semifinals. After graduating, Elliott served as music director, arranger, and bass for the internationally acclaimed a cappella group The Nor’easters, most recently bringing them to their win at the 2017 ICCA Finals. Elliott continues to mentor and arrange for many groups in the Boston area and beyond. @acappelliott.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jake McVey and Jeremy “Jamz” Thorn; 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