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 SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

The Carolina Theatre
Friday, March 1, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@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

 

This is Armonia’s sixth year at Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport, Tenn. They started as a mixed band of 12 students meeting twice a week to watch (and mimic!) Pentatonix videos. Their popularity on campus and around the community led to more students wanting to audition for the group. This aca-movement helped launch their DB a cappella class, which is now in its third year. They  meet five times a week during the school day! Past accomplishments include: 1st place overall, Voices In Harmony (VIH) 2018;  Best Female Vocalist, VIH 2018; Best Student Arrangement, VIH 2018; 2nd place overall, VOLcappella 2018; Best Female Vocalist, VIH 2017. Performances: National A Cappella Convention (NACC) Memphis, 2016; Kettering National A Cappella Festival 2014 and 2017; TSBA Annual Convention 2015. In addition to their competitive schedule, Armonia maintains a steady booking of school and community concerts.   

Crescenloe is Enloe High School’s premier a cappella group. Based in Raleigh, N.C., they are a completely student-run co-ed group of 16 members. After its establishment in 2016 by co-founders Nyla Smith and Mya Ison, Crescenloe has grown into a high-demand competitive group at Enloe and in the community. The group has become a close-knit family of dedicated musicians over the years, devoting their time and energy to create high-quality music for their audiences. Crescenloe performs throughout the year at school events, hospitals, festivals, fundraisers, and more. Their beatboxer, Kapil Ramanarayanan, won Outstanding Vocal Percussion at last year’s ICHSA Quarterfinal, and the group has been praised for its energy, diversity, and musicality. Crescenloe sings a wide range of musical genres, including pop, alternative, and seasonal music like Christmas carols and classic love songs. At the end of last year, they filmed a music video for their student-arranged rendition of “Midnight” by Lianne La Havas. This year, Crescenloe is excited to perform at ICHSA again with even better music to gain exposure and competition experience. They hope to perform and record for a wider range of audiences to experience their passion for music. 

Dragon Scales, sponsored by David Speaks II, is a co-ed and student-led a cappella group from the Appomattox Regional Governor's School (ARGS) for Performing Arts and Technology in Petersburg, Va. Their school includes about 360 students from 14 different public schools. Dragon Scales was the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Champion and an ICHSA Finalist. They released their very first EP, Burn, in August 2018 and it is currently available on iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play. Please check it out and be sure to follow them on social media! They look forward to another successful year of competing, performing, and traveling. They wish good luck to everyone and hope you enjoy the show! 

Duly Noted is an all-female a cappella group from Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tenn. Duly Noted started out as an after-school group that met twice a week for its first year of its existence. After that first year, Duly Noted became part of DB A Cappella (which is made up of two groups: Duly Noted and Armonia) and now meets five days a week as a class during the school day. They are starting their third year as a class. Duly noted has won 3rd place and Outstanding Choreography at Voices in Harmony in Lexington, Ky., and 3rd place at Volcappella at UT Knoxville. Duly Noted has performed at Voices in Harmony, Kettering National A Cappella Festival, and Volcappella, and keeps a busy schedule of gigs throughout their area. 

Looking for Treble was formed in 2015 by a group of girls who wanted to make a cappella music at Western Alamance High School. While a majority of them are enrolled in chorus classes, LfT provides an outlet for students of different experience levels to grow as musicians, both individually and as a group. Since LfT's debut performance in May 2015, the group has competed in ICHSA and for the North Carolina Association of Scholastic Activities (NCASA), receiving awards for 2nd place and Outstanding Soloist. They also recently recorded their first single, "Life is a Highway," which is on iTunes and other digital download sites. They can't wait to perform tonight and wish everyone the best of luck! 

Pawcappella is H.B. Plant High School's first a cappella group founded in 2016. They are a completely student-led program and each member is unique in their own way, creating a one-of-a-kind group dynamic and helping them grow together as a family. They bring an awesome blend of harmonies and exciting beats to their music, all topped off with fun and lots of laughter! They enjoy group jam sessions and coming up with new arrangements. They love to share their music and hope that their audiences feel a connection to their songs and to them as singers.

Pitch Please
is Northwood High School’s award-winning contemporary a cappella ensemble, performing under the direction of NHS choral instructor Matthew Hanson. In both 2016 and 2017, the group was named State Champions at the NCASA high school a cappella competition. They have won choral competitions, been featured at regional and national a cappella conventions, and performed twice at the North Carolina State Legislature for Arts Day. Since Pitch Please’s inception in 2012, more than 45 students have been part of the ensemble. In the fall of 2016, the group submitted an audition tape and was invited to New York City to participate in Total Vocal, a performance directed by noted producer and arranger Deke Sharon and organized by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY). Pitch Please stays quite active in the Chatham County and Triangle community and performs for various festivals, charity functions, and community events. 

From H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., The Pink Panthers is an all-female, student-led group composed of 11 fun-loving girls! The Pink Panthers are notoriously known for their syncopated booty-shaking and their pink high-top converse. Their song choices range from Disney classics to Beyoncé hits. They enjoy group hugs, emotional conversations, yoga sessions, acai bowls, and breaking out in song. Upon entering the group, each girl receives a nickname based on an inside joke which is displayed on the back of their jerseys. They are always down for a jam session, especially at one of their legendary sleepovers, and they love performing at venues such as March for Our lives, the Nonprofit Diversity Action Coalition Annual Gala, and various school shows. They hope to inspire many women with their songs and to always have girl-power! 

Tonality is the Union County Early College's a cappella group, located in Monroe, N.C. This is the group’s sixth year of existence and their third time competing in the ICHSA. Tonality is an after-school, extra-curricular activity that meets once a week. The group performs contemporary genres and is inspired by groups such as Pentatonix, The Nor’easters, Pitch Slapped, and Voices In Your Head. 

WA Cappella is the first contemporary co-ed a cappella group at Western Alamance High School in Elon, N.C. The group was founded in the fall of 2010 and has developed into an established, award-winning group with a close bond both on and offstage. WA Cappella has performed at a variety of events, including ICHSA, Acappallooza at Elon University, Jam for Hope in Winston Salem, and a series of collegiate a cappella concerts across North Carolina. In 2016, the group recorded a three song EP, entitled Out of the Blue. Recently, the group has also released a single, "Gold.”

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Alexander “Alex” Alberti currently teaches at Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh, N.C. As Director of Instrumental Music and Psychology, he teaches concert band, wind ensemble, orchestra, jazz, A.P. Music Theory, A.P. Psychology, music history, and a contemporary a cappella course. He also works with the Middle Creek High School Marching Band, teaching front ensemble and percussion. Alex previously taught at Southern Lee High School, and directed band, orchestra, chorus, and their first a cappella group, The Cavalyrics. Alex has conducted for musical theatre productions at UNC Chapel Hill and was the 2015 conductor and clinician for the Lee County Middle School Honor Band. Also a composer, Alex has premiered original pieces the North Carolina Governor's School East and the Vancouver Chamber Choir. He holds a degree in music education and a minor in psychology from Appalachian State University. There, he participated in the ASU Men's Glee Club, wind ensemble, concert band, symphonic band, orchestra, and was a music theory tutor. Alex is a researcher in the fields of music education, contemporary music, and music theory pedagogy, and has presented his findings at NAfME, the College Music Society, and NCUR. In his spare time, Alex composes both choral and instrumental works, judges for the ICCA and A Cappella Education Association, and participates in the semi-professional a cappella group, Spectrum Vocals.

Lauren France has been a multifaceted fixture in the a cappella community for the past 12 years, serving as a performer, arranger, choreographer, master class clinician, and taking on various leadership roles. She is passionate about giving back, especially by working with and supporting students and other newcomers to the a cappella world. Over the years, Lauren has been exposed to a wide range of a cappella groups, styles, and competitive formats, by attending and assisting with more festivals and competitions that she can count. She believes that these opportunities not only reinforce the realms of what's possible in a cappella, but also helps a cappella experts and super-fans appreciate the dual challenge of creating an innovative set while executing a clean and polished performance. She is excited for tonight’s competitors to rise to this challenge and is thrilled for the opportunity to contribute to the ICCA!

Matt Hodge is an award-winning composer, performer, educator who has worked with hundreds of clients spanning all 50 states, 31 countries, and six continents. Credits include award-winning films (some on Netflix and Hulu), international television, national commercial pitches, professional theatre, award-winning video game prototypes, and celebrity events. Matt has worked with Grammy/Tony/Emmy Award winners, and performers seen on NBC’s "The Sing-Off," FOX’s "American Idol," and in several Broadway shows. His musical arrangements have earned millions of YouTube views. He has judged numerous national/international competitions (including ICHSA competitions), taught at several universities, and published and presented research at multiple international academic conferences (including Harvard University and multiple European conferences). His career has taken him through nearly two dozen countries. His degrees include a B.A., M.A., and M.F.A (all in music composition). 

Brooks Jordan began singing a cappella in college with The North Carolina State Grains of Time. Each year he competed with them, The Grains made it to Semifinals and earned 1st place in Quarterfinals for his last two years. In Brooks’ senior year, he led the group to Japan to collaborate with the Japan A Cappella Association in effort to understand different cultures through music. Workshopping with Japanese collegiate groups and performing for the United States ambassador are just a few accolades from this trip. Brooks serves on the CARAs board, and works with the production teams of festivals, such as SoJam and BOSS. Brooks lives in Durham, N.C., where he works full time as a bio-pharmaceutical researcher. 

Kellen Moss holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Belmont University. His love for contemporary a cappella grew at Belmont, where he was a member of Pitchmen in 2012-2013. As a member of The Beltones at Belmont from 2013-2016, he went to ICCA Finals in 2014 and served as both publicist and music director of the group. Professional organizations include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Director's Association (ACDA), and the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA). Kellen is currently in his first year of teaching as the Co-Director of Choral Activities at Durham School of the Arts in Durham, N.C. He directs five choral ensembles and is the faculty advisor for the a cappella group, Sweet 'N Low.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 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 South 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

GUEST PERFORMERS

 

Jamz is a Virginia-bred singer, rapper, producer, and loop artist. As a loop artist, he creates drum beats and bass grooves, layers on original and arranged harmonies, then introduces lyrics. His songs are genuine and human, discussing topics of love, loneliness, struggle, and success.