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

 

Sunset High School 
Saturday, January 19, 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

 

The Silverton High School Choralaires have been a part of the Silverton community for several decades and now includes students with parents as past members. Originally a vocal jazz ensemble, The Choralaires have experimented with their sound over the years and found their way to contemporary a cappella. This will be The Choralaires’ first year competing in the ICHSA and they are excited to continue growing within the a cappella community.

Downbeat
, the Harker School Show Choir, performs a cappella and accompanied arrangements of pop, jazz, and musical theatre songs. The singers are mostly juniors and seniors and are chosen through audition for their vocal, musicianship, and dance skills. Downbeat performs for a variety of community events each year, including school galas, fashion shows, holiday events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and for school concerts. The members of Downbeat maintain rigorous academic schedules while pursuing their passions for performance. They are highly involved in school plays, musicals, and jazz ensembles, while also taking on leadership roles at school and in the larger San Jose community as leaders of clubs, stage directors for the student directed showcase, members of student council, and as student activists.

Free to Breathe
, from Sunset High School in Portland, Ore., loves long walks on the beach, holding hands around the campfire, watching rom coms starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, and stargazing while trespassing on private farms. Oh...and Free to Breathe also loves to sing.  

Spartacappella
has been bringing tunes and grooves to the Corvallis area for over eight years. As a zero-period class, they meet at 6 a.m. to rehearse. They have performed for local chapter meetings, statewide a cappella showcases, and the ICHSA. They dabble in jazz but mostly focus on pop arrangements. This year marks their sixth year competing in ICHSA.

Originally formed as an all-female barbershop quartet back in 2016, The Sunsettes is now a student-led a cappella group with all music arranged by Sunset student Eric Chen. Though some would shy away from the daunting task of being bass, vocal percussionist, and being the only male in the group, Elijah fits right in with the girls. This will be The Sunsettes’ first ICHSA competition and they are incredibly excited!

hOWLers
are characterized by their proclivity for making musical noise with their mouths. They can be found humming, whistling, beatboxing, and singing at any given moment, particularly when they are together in their natural habitat. Freestyle rap and mellow acoustic guitar-vocalist duos are also frequent. When they're not making noise, The hOWLers can often observed eating in creative ways, doodling on manila folders, and writing acrostics. h- haggardly high schoolers, O- Ornate octaves, W- Whimsical wild wanderers, L- Lethargic lyric lovers, e- eccentric edelweiss enthusiasts, r- rippin ragged reggae rap rhymes ,s- splendiferous subharmonic-singing students.

Created in the fall of 2018, True North is a brand-new a cappella group for high schoolers in Portland, Ore. Under the direction of Lauren Fitzgerald and the umbrella of her independent, community-based choral organization Shine Children's Chorus, True North is a small, close-knit, collaborative ensemble that is having fun building its culture, identity, and style from the ground up. True North is thrilled to participate in its very first competition!

Vivace 
is a student-run a cappella group from Lincoln High School in downtown Portland. They compete at competitions such as ICHSA, Bend A Cappella Festival, and Rose City Sing Off and also love to perform for gigs like TedX and holiday markets around Portland. As a student-run group, they create their own arrangements, including a mashup of Charlie Puth’s “How Long” with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and modern twists of classics such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” They also create their our own choreography, and having members from Lincoln’s dance team in the group definitely helps! While each person in the group comes from a unique background and with their own set of interests, they are united by a shared love of connecting through music. Group members keep busy with a variety of activities such as track, chess, photography, classical cello, water polo, and more. When they come together to rehearse three times a week, they focus on honing their musical technique, but also have a safe place to express raw emotion. Vivace is so excited for another year and look forward to sharing their affinity for song with the community around them!

Dissonance A Cappella 
is a student-led a cappella group from Mercer Island. This passionate group of kids shares a strong passion for music. Student director Nathaniel Payson was a founding member of middle school powerhouse group, The Spartones, at White Station Middle School. There, he developed a passion for a cappella, and created Dissonance to provide a struggling choir program with a cappella. Dissonance has since developed into a strong community, been embraced by the entirety of the choir program, and ushered in a wave of recruitment for the program.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Jason Caffarella currently teaches music at Linn Benton Community College and is the founder of the award-winning a cappella group, Rezonate. He earned a B.S. in voice from State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Oregon. From 2001 to 2007, he directed choirs and small ensembles, including a cappella groups, in the Oregon Children’s Choir organization. He enjoys adjudicating vocal festivals of all kinds, including solo/ensemble, a cappella, and choral for age groups ranging from middle school through college.

Chris Dobson is the Artistic Director for the Oregon Children's Choir, director of the Oregon Young Men's Ensemble, and choir teacher at South Eugene High School. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Chris sang in the University Singers, the Chamber Choir and On the Rocks (the University of Oregon’s men’s a cappella group). Chris was the 2005 recipient of the Max D. Risinger Award for Excellence in Choral Music Education. As an active local musician, he conducts and sings with various choirs throughout the performance season. He has also served as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor for various Oregon choral festivals such as the 2017 Northwest Semifinal of The Open, the 2017 ICCA Northwest Semifinals, and the 2018 "Just Sing It!" Choir Festival. Chris sings with the nationally-recognized contemporary a cappella group, Rezonate. He is also an active composer and arranger, having won the Best Original Arrangement award at the Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes competition in March 2009.

Raymund Ocampo 
is a conductor with experience leading choirs of different age levels and talents, including symphonic choruses, and high-level ensembles. Raymund serves as Music Program Chair and Director of Choral Studies at Linn-Benton Community College. There, he conducts the highly acclaimed chamber choir and concert choir and teaches courses in music appreciation, theory, world music, and music fundamentals. Previously, Raymund served as the Bonita L. Bass Memorial Assistant Conductor for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and has prepared choruses for symphonic conductors Michael Francis, Evan Rogister, Earl Rivers, Joshua Weilerstein, Jeff Tyzik, Stuart Malina, and Danail Rachav. His other leadership roles in the music world range from serving as Director of Music at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, to leading public school choral programs in Ohio and Indiana. In addition, Raymund founded and served as artistic of 'ascend,' a professional eight-member vocal ensemble dedicated to performing new works in unique ways. Raymund holds a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of South Florida, where he studied under the guidance of Dr. James Bass, and a Bachelor of Music in music education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he studied with Dr. René Clausen and Dr. Paul Nesheim.

Hayley Valoppi
is a native Oregonian who received a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Oregon. She has been singing her whole life, but found a true passion for performing in her high school vocal jazz ensemble. This led her to U of O's womxn’s a cappella group, Divisi. During her time in Divisi, she served as music director, business manager, and treasurer, and also discovered her second passion next to singing: vocal percussion. She helped produce Divisi’s fifth studio album, performed onstage with Michael Franti during his 2015 summer tour, and was  part of the group's ICCA journey in 2013 where they won 1st place at their Quarterfinal and Hayley received a special award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion. Currently living in Portland, Hayley currently works with the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA) which hosts WeSing, an annual vocal festival that strives to make a cappella as inclusive as possible by highlighting women, LGBTQ+ people, and people of color.

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 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