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 VIRTUAL SEMIFINAL

 

August 11, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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@varsityvocals

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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

Vocal band Business Casual combines elements of pop, jazz, and other genres to produce fresh a cappella versions of vintage chart-toppers, today’s top 40 hits, and award-winning original songs. Featuring powerful leads, floor-thumping bass, and sizzling beats, audiences can’t believe that this group only uses their voices! Since 2012, the group has performed at corporate and community events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

No Comment is a 15-member co-ed a cappella group from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their favorite activities include eating, singing, and more eating. They are constantly traveling, competing, and making new music. With four studio albums (and one more on the way), they always have something to add to your music library. In 2013, they were lucky enough to perform at ICCA Finals in New York City! Also, in 2015, they were one of five groups in the nation to be featured on "Sing It On," a reality docu-series from executive producer John Legend. NoCo has no intention of slowing down. With new albums, videos, and music being released, No Comment is sure to leave you speechless!

Inverse is a group of six young singers who found family and passion in a cappella. While striving to share that love with new people, Inverse makes music across various genres in order to reach as many audience members as possible. Hailing from the great state of Michigan, Inverse seeks to share their music with every corner of the world. Their group's friendship forms the core of their artistry, and they hope to make you feel right at home as they show off their multiple percussionists, stylistic soloing, and intimate storytelling. Founded in 2019, Inverse is still in its infant stage and hopes to bring its online success to more stages as a cappella becomes more accessible across the globe.

Inside Voices is a mixed a cappella group, based out of Bowling Green, Ohio. Most of the members are graduates of Bowling Green State University. The group meet twice a month and likes to perform pop and Broadway tunes with a twist! They work hard to make music to be proud of and to grow as friends and musicians along the way. Inside Voices strives to be a consistent presence in their local arts scene and to make new friends in the a cappella community.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, and formed of current and former students of the Ohio State University, Out-R-In Tune is ready to sing their hearts out during their first-ever ICCA performance! With group members that have already taken the ICCA stage with Ohio State groups Buck That! and Scarlet and Grace Notes, Out-R-In Tune is excited to leave its own mark on the Midwest A Cappella scene. They hope you enjoy their set!

Lark is an all-female identifying collegiate a cappella group that has performed internationally and seeks to push the boundaries of a cappella. Lark has gained attention and accolades since the group began in 2014 and has won BOSS, SoJam, VoiceJam, Seoul Vocal Asia, and NACC. Lark has also won a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Electronic/Experimental Album, been featured at WeSing, and headlined for VocalAsia Hong Kong. Lark strives to make nontraditional and experimental a cappella music and takes pride in making music that represents the group as a whole and of each individual member.

OUR JUDGES

 

Originally from Bristol, Conn., Andy Degan is an active singer and vocal arranger. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with degrees in classical vocal performance and business management. During his time at Central, Andy music directed CCSU’s all-male a cappella group, Divisi, and toured internationally with the university’s elite chamber choral ensemble. Over the summers, Andy performed with award-winning a cappella group Hyannis Sound and served as musical director in his final summer. Post-graduation, Andy spent time on a Carnival Cruise ship fronting an 80s and Motown band before moving to New York City. Over the course of two years in the city, he was part of two a cappella groups, Blackout and Switch, and professional choir Choral Chameleon. Andy relocated to Los Angeles in early 2017 and now sings with the professional touring a cappella group, M-Pact, serving as the group’s tenor and a frequent arranger. He also works as a session singer and with corporate bands across the greater L.A. area.

Alex Green is a recording engineer, producer, and arranger from New York City. He is a graduate of Tufts University with a dual degree in music and archaeology, where he sang with and directed the Tufts Amalgamates and with whom he recorded 2011′s CARA-winning Hands Off The Mannequin. He is a co-owner and producer at Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production company with dual home bases in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Somerville, Mass. Alex shares two RIAA-certified Platinum and Billboard-charting albums with Ed Boyer and Ben Bram for his work with Pentatonix, while other clients of Plaid Productions have had songs featured on SING, BOCA, Voices Only, and have garnered over 100 CARA nominations. Since graduating in 2010, he has regularly served as a masterclass leader and instructor at a cappella festivals nationwide, sung with Overboard (Boston, Mass.), and written for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB).

Dr. Justin John Moniz maintains an active career in musical theatre, concert, and opera, having sung over 80 roles to date. Most recently, he starred alongside Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt") in Sondheim’s "Into the Woods" at the Adrienne Arsht Center. A two-time winner of The American Prize in Voice, Justin recently made his Chicago Symphony Center debut. In addition to his active performance career, Justin serves as Chair of Vocal Studies at Millikin University and Executive Director of Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. His current and former students have performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, on national tours, in regional theaters and opera houses, on national television (including season 15 of "The Voice"), and in bands touring throughout the United States. In great demand for his workshops and master classes on commercial and musical theatre voice, he has presented at national and regional conferences for the National Opera Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Southeastern Theatre Conference, and at institutions including the Berklee College of Music, New York University, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, Oklahoma City University, and Temple University. Learn more on his website, www.justinjohnmoniz.com, and follow him on Instagram @jj_moniz.

Kimberly Raschka Sailor is the current Editor-in-Chief of RARB and she has written more than 300 reviews of high school, collegiate, and professional groups since 2005. A former ICCA Finalist, Kimberly is the co-founder and past president of the University of Southern California's Reverse Osmosis. Kimberly has also served as a CARA nominator and judge. In addition to volunteering in the a cappella community, Kimberly is an author and elected school board member for the Mount Horeb Area School District in Wisconsin, where she also sings with the Mount Horeb Chorale. This is Kimberly's 14th year adjudicating for Varsity Vocals. 

A native of Southern California, Christina Wilson is a full-time musician and educator. She performs as part of the L.A.-based folk group Honey Whiskey Trio, and is part of the latest lineup of The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers. Christina is part of the vocal faculty at Hills Music Academy of Music, Art & Dance in Palos Verdes, as well as Musical Miracles, a nonprofit organization that services the youth of Los Angeles.

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.