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 SOUTHWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

James Madison High School
Saturday, February 23, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

Iron Maidens from Harker Heights High School just completed its inaugural year as an ensemble! The Maidens placed 4th at their ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinal in 2018. They perform advanced arrangements of chart-topping hits with elaborate choreography, style, and sass. 

Madison Avenue is the best of the best at James Madison High School. These 18 fine performers represent their school throughout the city of San Antonio with great pride and extraordinary talent. They have been featured on local newscasts, private parties, and even had the pleasure of opening for the legendary 80s Rock band, Foreigner, at the Majestic Theatre. In 2016, Madison Avenue was chosen as the winner of the Margaret Tobin FAME award. Personally chosen by Deke Sharon to open for the Vocalocity tour in San Antonio, Madison Avenue staked their claim on the Tobin Center stage as one of the most popular high school a cappella groups in San Antonio. In their first year of ICHSA competition, Mad Ave won the right to represent the Southwest at ICHSA Finals competition in New York City. 

Natural State of Mind, or NSM, is the auditioned ensemble for select voices at Jacksonville High School, and the feature ambassador ensemble for the Vocal Soul Program. A one-of-a-kind group, Natural State of Mind performs a myriad of genres with a jazz focus. Formerly known as JHS Vocal Jazz, they have won superior division 1 ratings at regional assessments, state competitions, and at national competitions, and are frequently invited to perform at local venues, on the radio, and in competitions alongside collegiate and semi-professional recording groups. They were honored to be the first Arkansas-based group to make Finals at the Voicejam International A Cappella Music Festival, where they tied for 2nd place in the Crowd Favorite category. They competed in the 2018 ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinals, winning Outstanding Soloist, were Finalists in the UT Volcappella Festival, and a Finalists in the 2018 Sing Texas Festival. The Postmodern Jukebox of a cappella, NSM is excited to share its unique and stylistic harmonies, timely expression, fresh improvisation, and audience engagement. 

PFC is the varsity contemporary a cappella ensemble of the MacArthur High School Choir Department in San Antonio, Texas. They were 2011 ICHSA Champions and ICHSA Finalists in 2012 and 2016. They have enjoyed the opportunity to open for a cappella groups including Clearly Vocal, Overboard, Delilah, Arora, and The Swingle Singers. Over the past several years, PFC has been featured entertainment at TEDxYouth@Austin, served twice as host group and performers at the CASA-sponsored Texas A Cappella Celebration (TAC), served as the host group for the South Texas A Cappella Camp and Talent Overload (STACCATO), and served as emcees and featured entertainment at ICCA Southwest Quarterfinals. PFC is under the direction of Matt Woodward and Anna Gann. 

Pitch Black of Harker Heights High School (HHHS) was of Texas' premier vocal jazz ensembles for 15 years, but has been performing pop a cappella for the past four. The varsity mixed ensemble of HHHS, Pitch Black performs elaborate, high-level arrangements. They came in 2nd in the 2018 ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinals and went on to compete in Semifinals, their first year to compete in ICHSA. 

Remedy is a contemporary a cappella ensemble made up of students from Argyle High School, in Argyle, Texas. These students represent the entire student body of Argyle and can be seen blocking on the football field, serving on the tennis courts, starring in musicals, leading their academic teams, and volunteering throughout the community. Built on their love for one another, these students are not just ensemble members, but also a family. Remedy desires to share their love of music with anyone who is willing to listen, and they hope people will be positively affected by their performances. Remedy is founded on the belief that music can cure many of the negative things that take place in this world. Remedy’s core values are kindness, respect, and love for one another. Their performances have been described as "high-energy,” "passionate," and "engaging." Remedy can be seen performing at a variety of events throughout the year, including choir concerts, pep rallies, community events, holiday festivals, arts showcases, and they are so excited to perform at their second ICHSA! Remedy is under the direction or Mr. Will Griswold, who is in his third year as Director of Choirs in Argyle Independent School District. 

Zero Hour is so excited to be back at ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinals this year. Zero Hour is made up of students from Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, including athletes, dancers, thespians, academics, and all-around fun-loving musicians! The Zero Hour family looks forward to performing and is honored to share the stage with all of the groups here tonight! They wish everyone the best of luck onstage.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Colin Adams got his start in contemporary a cappella as a singer in Duke University's Something Borrowed, Something Blue. After serving as the group's general manager, arranger, and producing several albums for them, he was inspired to form Starry Night Studios in 2012. Since then, he's had the opportunity to record and produce records with dozens of college groups across the country. Now based in Houston, Texas, Colin continues to serve as a coach, arranger, producer, and traveling recording engineer. He is excited to be involved with Varsity Vocals this year. 

Anna Osterman is in her ninth year of teaching high school choir. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and is currently pursuing a Master of Music Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Anna also serves as the Texas Music Educators Association Region 29 Vocal Chair. After starting an a cappella group at her previous school, she is excited for the evolution of an a cappella group at her new school.

Sue Schreiner received her B.A. and M.A. in vocal music performance from California State University-Northridge. After graduation, she served as a member of the Los Angeles Opera Company, performed as a featured soprano soloist with various symphonies and choruses throughout the country, and sang the national anthem for several professional sports teams including the New England Patriots and the Portland Trailblazers. She has taught vocal music students at both the university and the high school levels for the past 40 years until her retirement in 2016. Sue founded and directed the contemporary a cappella group, Soul’d Out, at Wilsonville High School in Oregon in 2007. Since then, the group has enjoyed great success, winning the Northwest ICHSA Semifinal in 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2018. They placed 2nd at ICHSA Finals in 2011, and were chosen to be the only high school group to perform on season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Sue has been a certified judge of a cappella, as well as state high school and college choir competitions, since 2008. She has judged and coached a cappella competitions throughout the Northwest, prior to moving to the Austin area in 2016. Sue loves Texas and she loves a cappella.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Edie Cooksey for going above and beyond to make this event possible, as well as Caleb Moore, Nicole Kohlweiss, Loaded Sound, and the James Madison High School staff and students for all their hard work; 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 Southwest 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