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 SEMIFINAL

 

The Morton Theatre
Saturday, March 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

 

Vocal Affinity is Myers Park High School’s very first mixed a cappella group, composed of 18 auditioned members from grades 10 through 12. All of their concert and competition music is arranged by Duncan Pickett, co-president and bass 2. They tirelessly begin rehearsing in the summer and then twice a week during the school year. They’ve performed a variety of music, including songs by Radiohead, Adele, Gustav Holst, Elton John, and more! Vocal Affinity believes that they are able to perform so well together because of the “family dynamic," their shared love of music and value for one another. Vocal Affinity is a club rather than a class, so every member chooses to dedicate their time to this group. This is their second year competing in ICHSA and they are so excited to be back! 

The After School Specials is a co-ed a cappella group composed of 20 students, selected from the entire student body of Palm Harbor University High School. The group performs in a variety of vocal styles, including classical, rock, and musical theatre, but feels most at home with their favorite pop song arrangements. The group was founded by the original chorus teacher, Mr. Justin Havard, and it continues to perform many of his arrangements at concerts, community gigs, and competitions each year. After School Specials has competed at ICHSA competitions for several consecutive years and looks forward to another exciting season! 

First Take is a 25-member a cappella group from Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla. The group is composed of 10th through 12th grade students, all with a passion for music and performing. First Take sings a variety of selections, ranging from jazz to pop and everything in between. The second piece of their set was choreographed by one of their own students, Jordin Drayton. While First Take has been a group since 2004, this will only be their second year competing at ICHSA. Last year, the group won their Quarterfinal and was honored to compete at Semifinals in Douglasville, Ga. Though the group is still new to the competition scene, they love making music and giving their audiences an awesome experience. They are grateful to be back at the ICHSA and can’t wait to perform for you tonight! 

InToneNation is the award-winning contemporary a cappella group form New Manchester High School in Douglasville Ga. They sing a variety of music, from pop to gospel to R&B to musical theatre. They are currently working on their debut album, The Beginning, which will be out at the end of March. 

Rhythm of the Knight from East Ridge High School meets once a week after school and produces three pop concerts a year. Under the direction Jason Misner and Jenn Stewart, ROTK has performed nationally for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Florida Educational Technical Conference, The Orlando Home and Garden Show, Homes for Heroes, and various other conferences. They constantly receive Superior and 1st place ratings at national festivals. ROTK is a host choir for “America Sings”  and has performed at the Universal Orlando Resort, the Lincoln Memorial Steps, and many other exciting locations.   

Vocal Society, also known as VoSo, is the upper school mixed choir on Trinity Prep's campus. VoSo often performs for school activities and chapels, participates in local and state honor choirs, performs annually with all-state ensembles, and enjoys arranging and participating in a cappella performances, including ICHSA. This is VoSo's second year in the larger international a cappella community and they look forward to many years to come. 

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 everyone good luck 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. 

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. 

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Paige Betts is the orchestra director at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. This is her sixth year as a music educator, having taught string orchestra, chorus, and musical theatre, and has been a runner-up for Teacher of the Year. She has given clinics with various orchestras, chorus, and a cappella ensembles across the Southeast, and has taught private voice and viola lessons. Paige is a 2009 graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.M. in music education. There, she was a member and musical director of UGA's all-female a cappella group, Noteworthy. Paige lives in Buford, Ga. with her husband Andrew and their rescue dog, Jake. 

Gina Deaton has a background in vocal performance and has been singing as long as she can remember, but her love for a cappella came after college when she co-founded the semi-professional group, Breakdown. The group performed primarily in the Atlanta area, with Gina writing original songs, arranging, and acting as co-director. Most recently, she recorded an album of a cappella originals with members from that group which was nominated for multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). She began volunteering as a judge with Varsity Vocals in 2010 and has served as a coach for a cappella performance and recording in the region. Gina currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as the Director of Human Resources. 

Stephen Hutchings is a faculty member at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Ga., and director of the official GC co-ed a cappella group, The Cat's Meow. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Georgia and Master of Music Education from Georgia College. As an undergraduate, Stephen was a member of the co-ed group, With Someone Else's Money, from 2007-2009, and the all-male group, The Accidentals, from 2009-2012. While a member of With Someone Else's Money, he had the pleasure of recording with Ben Folds in his historic RCA Studio A recording studio and being a featured group on the Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! album. During his three years in The Accidentals, the group advanced to ICCA Finals twice and released the critically acclaimed album, A Gentleman's Game. Stephen was music director of The Accidentals from 2010-2012, and served as the group's primary arranger during that span. He has arranged over 150 songs for a cappella groups at the high school, collegiate, amateur, and professional levels. In addition to his work at Georgia College, Stephen is a freelance arranger and clinician in contemporary a cappella. 

Brad Maffett is the assistant conductor of the Athens Symphony. He previously performed with the Athens Symphony Chorus and continues to serve as a rehearsal assistant. Brad presently conducts band and choir at Franklin County Middle School and has previously conducted for “Musica Fraterna” of the Atlanta Children’s Choir, Local Vocals, and B Natural. Brad has been involved in all aspects of music, from serving as a singing waiter to playing tuba in a polka band. When he isn’t making music, he can be found cooking barbecue in competitions throughout the Southeast. 

Lauren Wilson currently lives in Nashville, where she works in the Radio and Streaming department at Warner Music Nashville. She is also completing her master's degree in music business and entertainment industries at the University of Miami. At Michigan State University, she earned a bachelor's degree in marketing, a bachelor's degree in media and information, a minor in information technology, and was the music director of Ladies First, the school’s only all-female a cappella group. As music director, she led the group to perform in showcases, place at ICCA events, and earn recognition for their latest EP, Run This Show. She is currently the vocal percussionist and founder of Revel, a new all-female vocal band. The group made its debut at The Open in 2017, where Lauren also took home the award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion. She has served as a production assistant with Varsity Vocals, intern with the The Vocal Company, vocal percussion instructor at A Cappella University, and continues to enjoy working in the ever growing a cappella industry.

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 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