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 WEST SEMIFINAL

 

Agoura Hills Performing Arts Center
July 20, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

Once upon a time, two brothers had an idea to each create a singing group and compete to see which group was best. They gathered some friends and started working on arrangements, but before too long, they were working together. Soon after, they formed one group and performed at a local talent show, which was the official beginning of Aca-word. That was back in 2012, and Aca-word has been evolving ever since. They perform original covers of everything, from classic rock hits to contemporary pop tunes, and achieve a unique sound by fusing new and old music in sophisticated arrangements. They strive to bring joy to their audiences and share their aca-love of singing with everyone who listens! Aca-word has performed at the Bay Area Harmony Sweepstakes from 2016 to 2019. In 2016, their arrangement of James Bay’s “Let it Go” was recognized with Best Original Arrangement. They perform regularly at local farmers’ markets, private holiday gigs, and county fairs. They have participated in the Bend A Cappella Festival, the SheSings festival in Berkeley, Calif., and the A Cappella Open, and they are excited to be back! 

Aperture was founded in March of 2019 by award-winning arranger Avery Roberts, who sought to create an a cappella experience that was both aural and visual, equally operatic and cinematic in style. Aperture sings all kinds of music, so long as it resonates with their perspective and image of the world. They hope that you can see the universe through their eyes when you listen and let yourself be carried away from the mundanity of grey buildings and white clouds to a world of fascination. 

A recent graduate of PSU’s The Green Note, music director Natti Ratanavetin decided to start a new group from scratch where she could make her own rules and choose her own people. With the help of her best friend of eight years, Colin Herring, she pulled people from high school and college choir and a cappella to form a group of nine people, and soon enough, a group of nine friends. Cold Opus sings together twice a week to bond as a family and hone their  musicianship. Each and every member brings something unique to the table, creating something completely different from what any of them had done before. Their main goal is to make music that they love and share songs that people may not have heard before. A family-oriented group, Cold Opus believes they learn something new every day they spend together, both musically and personally. They hope to share the love they have for music and  one another with the world, through their sound and performances. 

Seconds Apart is a nine-member L.A.-based a cappella group composed of singers who met during their college careers. Bound by their love of music and the competitive a cappella scene, Seconds Apart formed from a desire to create music beyond the collegiate a cappella bubble. To that end, Seconds Apart strives to push the boundaries of a cappella and elevate the genre to new heights. Consisting of ICCA and Open Finalists, Seconds Apart is ready to give it their all in the 2019 Open. You can find Seconds Apart gigging around the greater L.A. area! 

Good Measure is a seven-person a cappella group from Portland, Ore. Founded in 2018, Good Measure is a group of friends who came together to have fun and continue singing after college. You can catch them performing and competing all around the Pacific Northwest! 

Intermission A Cappella hails from Los Angeles, Calif. This group of performers invests so much of their time and energy in rehearsals and show preparation that finally getting onstage to perform actually feels like taking a break, their own “Intermission,” to let loose and have fun. The members of this group have largely devoted their lives toward developing their musical craft, with songwriters, composers, producers, educated musicians, and performers. They hail from various collegiate and semi-professional a cappella groups, including previous ICCA Champions, and include a combination of L.A.-based musicians and professionals who come together to get loud, be crunchy, and above all, make great music. They look forward to the Open as a challenge to improve their collective skill in the presence of other dedicated musicians! 

Vessel A Cappella is Arizona's premier statewide a cappella group. Founders Theo Thomas and Jordan Murillo created the group in 2019 with a vision to unite the three in state college’s university a cappella groups. Group auditions were open to anybody living in the state of Arizona, though it is mostly marketed to the three in-state Universities. Vessel A Cappella is incredibly excited to kick off its first year with an incredible group of Arizona a cappella all-stars!

OUR JUDGES

 

From 1998-2011, Amy Engelhardt was the sole female vocalist/writer/arranger for Grammy-nominated "band without instruments," The Bobs. Shortly after leaving The Bobs, she made her Off-Broadway debut as composer/lyricist of "Bastard Jones," an Off-Broadway Alliance Best New Musical nominee. Amy recently returned to the world of a cappella in the promotional campaign for Amazon Prime’s "Good Omens," leading a gang of singing Satanic nuns as Mother Superior of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl. Before leading them in red carpet invasions in Hollywood, New York, and London, Amy produced their EP, Unholy Night, released on Amazon Music. A frequent judge at the Harmony Sweeps, SingStrong, and other festivals and competitions across the country, Amy is the only honorary female member of the Vienna Boys Choir. www.amyengelhardt.com.

Emily Goglia is a professional singer, actor, dancer, and comedian. She has a Bachelor of Music from USC Thornton, where she was business manager, arranger, and choreographer for The SoCal VoCals and part of the group for their 2008 and 2010 ICCA wins. In 2010, she also won Outstanding Soloist for her rendition of "God Bless the Child" (featured on Voices Only 2011). After college, she went on to join the esteemed Americana group, Voices of Liberty, at Disneyland, and led the fierce female powerhouse group, ELEMENT, on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Emily currently sings with Post Modern Jukebox  and can be seen in the “Pinky and the Brain” and “The Boy is Mine” videos on Youtube! You may have also seen Emily sing with Christina Aguilera in her MasterClass online video, or caught her in FOX's "Grease, Live!" Favorite musical theatre roles include Maureen in "Rent," Baker's Wife in "Into the Woods," and Carrie in "Carousel." Emily's one-woman show, “STAGES,” has been performed to sold-out crowds at popular venues such as Feinstein's/54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, L.A.'s Rockwell Table and Stage, and most recently at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, where she was nominated for Best Solo Performance and won the Encore Award. Throughout the year, Emily is a session singer for film and television, sings with L.A. Choral Lab as part of The Sunset Singers  (a trio of ladies singing classic bops from the '40s, '50s, and '60s), and travels the nation with the USO Show Troupe, performing for the military and their families. www.emilygoglia.com 

Nina Kasuya is a vocalist and educator based in Los Angeles, Calif. Nina can be seen performing with HIVE, Crimes of the Heart Cabaret, and “Hamiltease: A Burlesque Parody and Tribute to an American Musical.” In addition to her performance endeavors, Nina is the director of the musical theatre program and a cappella group at Emerson Community Charter School. 

Tom Keyes is a passionate and dedicated a cappella facilitator, event producer, and music director. He is the former executive producer of the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, former director of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) for CASA.org and director of operations at the A Cappella Academy in California. With a considerable background in vocal and instrumental music, Tom was bitten by the a cappella bug in 2009 when he created and directed his own group, the award-winning semi-professional group, Frequency. Currently music-directing three vocal groups, as well as a spiritual center, he balances music, work, and family, and lives with his wife and three children in Laguna Niguel, Calif. 

Jim Raycroft holds a master’s degree in voice from the California Institute of the Arts and has performed all over North America and in Europe. He is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and sang with the Los Angeles Opera for 12 years. He has soundtrack credits for movies including “Home Alone,” “Jurassic Park,” “A.I.,” “Lady in the Water,” “Godzilla,”and more. He appeared as a singing pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” in numerous television shows, and has performed at the Grammys, for the President of the United States, and the Queen of England. He founded and sings with the vocal jazz group, Pacific Swingline, the barbershop quartet, The Nickelodeon, and The Singers Elite Vocal Big Band. He is a published arranger and orchestrator, choral director for the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, music director at First United Methodist Church of Redondo Beach, and has prepared choruses for the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra. His singer referral service, Singers Elite, has entertained Southern California audiences for more than 30 years, and in 2002, he founded the annual “Choral Taste of Los Angeles,” a reading session of choral music by area composers.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Aaron Jung and Quinn D'Andrea, Jeff Eames, Joel Levitz, and PAEC staff - especially Mike, Dan, Joe, Adrian, Gilles, and Liz; 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

 

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.