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 SEMIFINAL

 

Marcus High School 
Saturday, March 9, 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

 

Justified A Cappella from Gilbert Christian High School is a six-member ensemble, which performs contemporary arrangements and original renditions of sacred and secular music. 

Vocal Effect is a group of highly diverse individuals that all come together to make music. From the outside, you might think no one should get along in Vocal Effect, with a mix of "cool" kids, kids who are friends with everyone, and the introverted kids who keep to themselves, but somehow, they all come together to make amazing music. They resolve most of group conflicts through impromptu Denny's meetings early in the morning! Somehow, that usually works for them. Vocal Effect provides hope for all of its members and reminds them that they are not alone. In their rural Colorado town, sometimes the most fun they have is in school. Grueling 7:00 a.m. practices can be a killer on their mental awareness, but they wouldn't have it any other way. Though they have their moments, the small town kids of Vocal Effect are doing their best and love making music together! 

Resolve is the premier contemporary high school a cappella group in the Utah Vally. Founded in 2010, the group started out as only five members who sought to create something totally out of the box, and a cappella was the answer. Every member in Resolve is involved in other programs across the school, including sports, drama, choir, band, and more. A self-run group, they want to show that a cappella has a place in every school and community. They have performed in local, school, church, and community venues, including the Rio Tinto Soccer Stadium, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Vocal Sport, and Utah High School A Cappella. Although they may seem small, the group wants to make their mark in the a cappella community. After taking 4th place at last year’s ICHSA Semifinal, they knew that they wanted to return and do even better! In their set tonight, Resolve hopes to share a positive message about coming together even when everything is working against you. “There’s a place for us…” - Carrie Underwood. 

Vocal Legacy is the mixed a cappella group from Bryan High School and is made up of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders

The Connally High School Headliners is in its second year of ICHSA competition. They are excited to come back for a second year because last year made a huge impact on them as musicians and performers. The Headliners are from Austin, Texas and the Pflugerville School District. They are the only a cappella group on their campus and one of two groups in the district. They pride themselves on setting the standard in a cappella performance and competition for the district and hope others will follow. 

Infiniti has been around for over a decade at Rockwall-Heath High School but they are new to the world of a cappella. Each member of Infiniti is also a member of the varsity chorale at RHHS, so they spend many hours each week practicing their vocal craft. The members of Infiniti range from freshmen to seniors and each member brings something unique to the group. Infiniti members are involved in many different activities on the Heath campus, ranging from athletics to theatre to band and more. Infiniti has truly been enjoying this new a cappella journey and hopes to continue to grow and get better as the years go by! 

PFC is from MacArthur High School in San Antonio. Under the direction of Matt Woodward and Anna Gann, PFC is a frequent ICHSA competitor. They took a year off from competition last year, but are happy to be back! In November, they competed at Sing! Texas and placed 3rd. In January, they opened for Dcappella at the Majestic Theater. In February, they professionally recorded a song and music video that will be out later this spring. PFC is grateful for this opportunity to share their narrative of self-reflection, recovery, and hope.

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. 

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. 



 


Fusion is the award-winning all-female contemporary a cappella group at Marcus High School. This extra-curricular, auditioned group performs many styles, but specializes in pop music. They are very active, performing for school, community, and private events throughout the school year. Fusion consistently places in ICHSA competitions, as a two-time Southwest Champion and 3rd place finisher in the ICHSA Finals in New York City last year. They have several recordings available on iTunes and Spotify and look forward to recording another EP later this spring. 

Dually Noted is the new mixed a cappella group at Marcus High School. In their inaugural year, they have performed for school and community events, while working hard to develop what Dually Noted is as a group. These students come from diverse interests and specialties but all love to make great music together.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Rachel Bearer is a singer, songwriter, vocal arranger, producer based out of Los Angeles. Operatically trained, she switched her focus to pop/rock in her final years at the University of Southern California and has never looked back. Her vocal group, ARORA, formerly known as SONOS, signed to Verve records and spent the next three years touring the U.S. and the U.K. Rachel has worked on eight Barbie films for Mattel, countless Lalaloopsy spots and commercials, Disney U.K. and Disney U.S., Buzzfeed, and Nickelodeon's new hit show, “School of Rock.” Rachel has had the opportunity to perform and collaborate with incredible artists such as Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles, The Pet Shop Boys, Kanye West, and Tom Odell. 

Christopher Given Harrison is a Los Angeles-based producer of music and sound, and has served as whisper-bass and grand marshal of sound manipulation for ARORA (formerly "SONOS") since its inception. Recent and ongoing projects include full production on four out of five tracks of the Avriel and the Sequoias EP, the ARORA EP, and a new secret duo project, for which he is very excited (details to materialize as completion approaches). He writes, arranges, records, mixes, edits, and renders a variety of projects, and is very approachable. Hit him up at christophonemusic@gmail.com.

Hailing from the soybean capital of the world, Elliott Robinson is the current bass man and co-founder of Axiom Vocal. El is an a cappella veteran, having toured the globe with professional groups Chapter 6, The House Jacks, Home Free, and more. You also might recognize his rich bass notes as being the sonic foundation of Das Sound Machine in “Pitch Perfect 2.” In his spare time, he enjoys reading, working out, listening to music (with instruments), and being grateful that he no longer lives in Minnesota.

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. 

Nason Werth has been known to travel the country for a good a cappella show, and currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz. Originally from the great state of Michigan, Nason studied vocal performance at Michigan State University, where he served as music director and bass with MSU’s first co-ed a cappella group and ICCA fixture, Capital Green. He gained broad ensemble experience as a student with the university chorale, chamber choir, jazz octet, and section leader in the Okemos Presbyterian Church. Nason relocated to the Mid-Atlantic after college and has performed with the Handel Choir of Baltimore and the Bach in Baltimore ensembles. He currently serves as a nominator and judge for the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs) and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and is looking forward to a great show!

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 
Wes Davis, Marcus High School staff and administration, Loaded Sound, and Caleb Moore; 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

GUEST PERFORMERS