THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF

A CAPPELLA

OPEN

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

THE OPEN SOUTH SEMIFINAL

 

August 11, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #ACAOPEN

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.

OUR COMPETITORS

Crown is a compilation of UCF a cappella musicians from various groups. As a cappella alumni, the Crown group members all missed and craved the feeling of competitive performance. The group formed based on an enduring love of music and the need to have that feeling again. The seven individuals of Crown are excited for the opportunity to take the stage with power, dignity, and poise. Together, this group seeks to create a memorable experience for their audiences and one another.

Formed to create a unique sound and perform on stages across the nation, the accolades of Project V precede them. With every performance, this group has "quickly established a sense of magic and drawn the listeners into the story of [their] set." (The A Cappella Blog, 2016 ICCA Finals). Every Project V performance makes a mark by bringing the music to life. Founded on a desire to create powerful music and share their experiences with audiences everywhere, this group strives to grow, entertain, and challenge musical limitations. Project V is an amalgamation of Voicebox, past and present. This project is an open invitation to celebrate the individuals pf Voicebox that came before, as well as the new art that has come after as a result. 

Forecast is a men's a cappella quartet that has been singing together since 2014. Mike Fitch, Tyler Rackey, Travis Murray, and Kevin Jones have a unique repertoire that spans from traditional early American vocal standards in the barbershop style all the way to four-part harmonies of contemporary hits by Michael Bublé, Big Bad VooDoo Daddy, and The Jive Aces! Forecast is proud to be a 2019 Regional Champion and National Finalist in the Harmony Sweepstakes, and an International Quarterfinalist in Barbershop Harmony Society competitions for 2017, 2018, and 2019. Visit www.ForecastQuartet.com and make sure to come sing with them in the lobby after the show! 

VXN is one of the top professional all-female vocal groups in the country. Although the group was formed in 2014, the women of VXN have been singing together for over a decade on the collegiate and semi-professional levels. Members Anna, Holli, Jessie, Lauren, and Meron currently hail from different states, and each of them brings an impressive resume of both classical training and a cappella expertise. Since 2014, VXN has been featured at some of the most prominent a cappella events in the country, received multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations, earned spots on various compilation albums, and grown a significant online fan base. VXN aims to deliver an impressive sound that is equal parts purposeful, polished, and creative. 

Nomadic is the first vocal supergroup auditioned by the June Vocal Music team and handpicked from the very best singers around the country. Hailing from a variety of backgrounds, Nomadic infuses jazz, gospel, soul, R&B, and even Carnatic influences into their musical creations. Woven together, their unique artistic perspectives create a captivating sonic experience. Nomadic includes Kyle Hogan, Archie Gopal, Julie Peacock, Isaiah Carter, Lynique Webster, and Denise Natoli.

Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Side Note is a semi-professional co-ed a group that specializes in singing and arranging contemporary a cappella music. The group members are alumni from Northern Arizona University (NAU) and Arizona State University (ASU), all with extensive experience in collegiate a cappella and who still love to create a cappella music on the side (hence the name "Side Note"). Established in 2017, the group originally served as an outlet for its busy members in the workforce, which include music educators, marketing directors, science tutors, and business entrepreneurs. They have rapidly grown in skill and demand, performing at various showcases across the state of Arizona and beyond (including this chance to compete once again in The Open!), and the group's musical support and prestige has exceeded their original goals! Side Note is no longer solely an outlet from everyday jobs, but a high-achieving community of singers and friends who love to share the power of music with everyone!

OUR JUDGES

 

Daniel Fister is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis studying musicology. He earned his undergraduate degree at Chapman University in vocal performance and music history and his master’s degree at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in music history. He has presented and written on collegiate a cappella, musical theatre, and other American music. Before his life as an academic, he directed, sang, and arranged for Wilsonville High School’s Soul’d Out, leading them to the 2010 ICHSA Finals, and went on to participate just as actively in Chapman University’s SoundCheck, with whom he competed regularly in ICCA and directed the production of their debut album, Everything (2012). He remains involved in a cappella as a judge and arranger. 

Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” vocal producer, Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, composer, and educator. Based in New York, Kari has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. She taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School, and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women's Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a Conducting Fellow at the Young People's Chorus of New York City. She directs "The Art of A Cappella" at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing contemporary a cappella music. In addition to her vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the U.S. Kari graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in music education from the Eastman School. Find her online at acappellaprofessor.com.

Bryan Guffey has been singing longer than they can remember (seriously, ask their parents). Since forming their first group, 50/50, in high school in 1997, Bryan has been a passionate believer in the power of vocal music to change lives for the better. Since graduating with their B.F.A. in musical theatre from Kent State in 2006, Bryan has worked with Grammy-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn on a remount of the Broadway musical, "The Civil War" in Gettysburg, Pa. This led them to audition for Full Sail, an a cappella group on the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises, where they had the opportunity to work with and learn from the likes of Home Free’s Tim Foust. After returning to the U.S., Bryan helped launch A Cappella Records and became more involved in the a cappella community. When Bryan isn't solving technical issues for nonprofits, they spend much of their time coaching a cappella groups in the Great Lakes region, volunteering with organizations such as the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), the Vocal Foundation, the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), and SingStrong, and serving as president of the Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. Additionally, Bryan works closely with Centerville High School’s Forte A Cappella, havingco-produced the group’s all-original albums, Uncharted Heart and Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg

Jordyn Day is an award-wining vocalist, voice teacher, music director and business owner from the Greater Seattle area. Her voice studio stays full with an average of 40 students per week, and provides technical instruction for musical theatre and pop performers. Jordyn’s students are award winning performers who have appeared on regional theatre stages in Seattle, Chicago, and New York. Since 2016, Jordyn has been the music director for the University of Washington's musical theatre department and a lecturer for the School of Dance, teaching a course on combining vocal technique with advanced choreography for performers. She also owns and operates Edge Performing Arts and Dance, a children’s educational theatre program that brings the performing arts to local Seattle schools. Jordyn is proud to perform with Restless Vocal Band, the 2016 PNW Harmony Sweepstakes Champions, as a lead vocalist, soprano, and arranger. RVB performs an average of 25 times per year for audiences large and small, and is proud to be the house band for the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure event each year.

Lee Stovall currently teaches choir for the South Milwaukee school district, where he directs the award-winning a cappella groups, Delta V and The Poprockets, who recently released their debut album, Keep Myself. A founding member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison a cappella group, Fundamentally Sound, he has been interested in promoting contemporary a cappella education since college, and keeps busy arranging and coaching for groups around the world. He recently arranged for "Broadway Goes A Cappella 3" at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City to rave reviews. Lee's work has earned ICCA awards and CARAs, as well as spots on BOCA and BOHSA compilations. He has attended seminars with The Vocal Company and Vocomotion studios, volunteered for SingStrong Chicago and A Cappella Fest, and judged for Varsity Vocals, CARAs, and the AVAs. Lee has also worked with Camp A Cappella, directing ensembles from the middle school to collegiate levels, and is a board member of A Cappella University. Outside of the contemporary a cappella world, Lee sings with two professional classical ensembles, The Madison Choral Project and Present Music Milwaukee.

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

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,  
& Great Lakes Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West 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 The Open Finals.

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
 of A Cappella Open Finals

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday,  October 5th, 2019

BRING THE HARMONY HOME

 

Find your favorite groups on Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on iTunes!

PURCHASE & DOWNLOAD

varsityvocals

ABOUT TONIGHT'S SHOW

 

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.