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 WEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Napa Valley Performing Arts Center
Saturday, February 2, 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

 

Abbe Road A Cappella is Santa Susana High School’s competitive a cappella group. Evolved from a traditional vocal jazz ensemble, Abbe Road consists of 16 voices. Each of them come from different walks of life and join together for a love of a cappella singing. From top 40 pop hits to classical choral music, Abbe Road utilizes the diverse skill sets and backgrounds of its members to broaden their collective musical horizons and put together unique performances. 

Encore is an advanced, audition-only middle school a cappella ensemble from Oakland School For the Arts (OSA) in Oakland, Calif. This year, the group is composed of 16 students in the seventh and eighth grades. Encore studies a wide variety of complex four to eight-part choral arrangements, with a focus on learning a contemporary repertoire from the soul, pop, rock, and R&B genres. Encore is a repertoire-driven ensemble and requires learning music at an advanced pace. The students rehearse four hours per week in school and are expected to put in additional independent hours to maintain their musical theory and aural skills. Encore performs all over the Bay Area, including at Dreamforce (the largest non-profit technology conference in the world), the Fox Theater, Freight and Salvage at the WeSing Vocal Festival presented by the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), and at private parties and events throughout the year. 

Fuse is a brand-new a cappella group from the Young Artists Conservatory of Music in Vacaville, Calif. The members of Fuse attend different high schools but have joined together in one group over a shared love for a cappella music. Fuse members are all active young musicians who keep busy participating in their school choirs, chamber choirs, orchestras, and youth theatre productions in their area. Fuse is beyond excited to be competing in the ICHSA for their very first time! 

Take Note hails from the tiny-sized, but big-hearted Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills, Calif. When they're not mired in AP classes, college apps, sports practices, and play rehearsals, these kids absolutely love singing together and are always ready to tackle a good musical challenge. 

The San Francisco University High School Satonics is a student-led a cappella group founded in 2013. Composed of members from all grades, they are the premier and only a cappella group on campus. Since 2015, they have participated in every ICCA West Semifinal, placing 3rd in 2016 and 2nd in 2018. When they aren’t singing, members of the group can be found dancing, composing, acting, but most of all, doing homework. 

RELENTLESS from Woodbridge High School has been around since the 1980s. Of course, back then, they specialized in show choir. With the rise in popularity of the television show, “Glee,” the group was reimagined  to feature stellar a cappella singing with “Glee”-ography. Each year, the group ranges in size from 16-19 students, mainly seniors, with a few juniors mixed in to keep them humble. This group sings in on-campus concerts and is regularly called on to entertain at off-campus events.The Entertainers is one of six choirs at the school. In 2016, Woodbridge High School was selected out of 20,000 schools to be named the GRAMMY Signature School for excellence in music education.

GUEST PERFORMER


Side Note is a San Francisco Bay Area-based a cappella septet. They perform everything from classic 60’s hits to mashups of the latest chart-toppers, and at all sorts of gigs, from wedding proposals to music festivals. They love to sing together and always want to make more fans who share their passion for music.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Greg Casper is a professional singer/actor/director/teacher/coach with over 40 years of experience. He has done everything from fronting rock bands to singing in classical chorales, and has performed everything from opera to country, from The Messiah to musical theatre. He has performed as a vocalist on television, radio, stage, and several independent albums, as an actor on numerous stages throughout the Bay Area, as a director with several theatre companies, and as a singer/musician in a number of bands, as well as a solo act, both with instruments and a cappella. He has been singing with The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers, the world’s largest professional a cappella Christmas caroling company, since 1989. He has taught and directed several local and regional choral groups and taught voice and guitar at the Northern California School of Music for four years. As a performance coach, Greg coached the nine-woman a cappella group, Noteworthy (BYU), to a 1st place finish in the 2007 ICCA. He has been a nationally certified adjudicator for the ICCA for over 15 years. 

Bill Hare is a Grammy-winning recording engineer/producer, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella. Over the past 35 years, Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known contemporary a cappella groups around the globe, from The Swingle Singers to The King’s Singers in the U.K., Basix to Vocal Line in Denmark, Italy's Cluster, The Ghost Files, Alti & Bassi and Maybe6ix, German supergroups Wise Guys, Amarcord, and Maybebop, to name just a few, as well as artists from dozens of other countries, from Australia to Zambia. At the same time, he also covers the U.S. from his home base in California, working with top American acts, including The House Jacks, m-pact, Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, The Backbeats, Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys, as well as working on the hit NBC show, “The Sing-Off.” Collegiate a cappella clients include The Tufts Beelzebubs, University of Oregon’s On The Rocks and Divisi, The Stanford Harmonics, and scores of others. Bill’s story was also told in the original book version of “Pitch Perfect,” from which the popular movies were adapted. Bill’s accolades include more than 70 appearances on BOCA, over 100 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations, nearly 40 albums on the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) "Picks of the Year" lists, and 11 "DeeBee" awards since 1987 in the vocal jazz category from Downbeat Magazine. Bill has also had numerous appearances on Billboard, iTunes, and other major charts, Gold and Platinum record certifications around the world, and multiple music awards and nominations. 

Jon Pilat has been involved with the Bay Area a cappella community for a decade, performing and arranging for The Stanford Harmonics and Hookslide. He is also on the board of directors of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), for whom he hosts and co-produces A Cappella Radio International, and co-coordinates the CARAs. Jon’s arrangements have also earned him three CARA nominations.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Side Note, the incredible team from the Lincoln Theatre (Christian, Linda, Heather, Shawn, Patricia and Elizabeth), and to the parents and directors of competing students; 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 West 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