THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF COLLEGIATE

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 24th 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 660 groups and more than 10,000 singers at 90 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 Perfectfranchise remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors were also the subject of the TV docu-series "Sing It On," which followed 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 three 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 fourth 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 24 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2020 season will take 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

ICCA CENTRAL QUARTERFINAL

 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Saturday, January 25th, 2020

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 four 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 at The Town Hall in New York City on Saturday, April 18th.

The high school tournament is now in its 15th year and continues to grow every year. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2020 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 on Saturday, April 17th.

The Open Tournament celebrated its third year in summer 2019 and featured six Semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2019 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 groups competed in October 2019 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.



 For a full tournament schedule, visit us at 
www.varsityvocals.com/events

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

 

When the lights go out and all hope is lost in the city of Troy, Partial Credit, RPI’s only teal-clad a cappella group, is there. Since 2003, Partial Credit has been bm-bopping and zun-zowing across the Northeast, saving lost souls with the power of music. This group truly runs the gamut, performing a wide variety of music, from contemporary to classics and more. 

Founded in 2013, Pitch Please is the University at Albany's premier co-ed a cappella group. This group provides a home for students who love music and performing can explore their passion. They perform mostly pop music and R&B from various decades. They are excited to be back at the ICCA this year and look forward to hearing the other groups! 

Serendipity is UAlbany's premier all-female a cappella group. The word "serendipity" means to stumble upon a fortunate discovery. Founded in 1999, this diverse group of powerful women values making connections through music and friendship. Every year, they teach their new members a mashup of “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis, because it was one of Serendipity’s first-ever arrangements. They have performed at various on-campus events, such as commencement, graduation, and the UAlbany president's inauguration. Additionally, they host their own show each semester for their friends and family. When they aren’t singing, they occasionally volunteer and hope to do so more often to get to know the Albany community. They returned to ICCA last year after a hiatus and they hope to make it a yearly tradition. They are so excited to watch and learn from other groups and be around others who share their passion for a cappella music. 

The Buffalo Chips are excited to bring you their innovative vocal stylings with a unique Buffalo twist. If you listen closely, you may be able to hear the calming sounds of a Lake Effect Snowstorm, the groan of a Zubaz-clad crowd as the Bills miss yet another field goal, or the synchronized snaps of a thousand chicken wing bones at the Taste of Buffalo. The Buffalo Chips is the only all-male a cappella group hailing from the University at Buffalo. 

The Girls Next Door is the premier all-female a cappella group from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. They perform for on-campus and local events right in Albany, such as the annual Tulip Fest held by the capitol building, and sing the national anthem at their school's annual Veteran's Day flag event. They have a recent single and two albums, all of which can be found on Spotify and Apple Music under “The Girls Next Door.” 

A co-ed a cappella group that knows no musical bounds, The Golden Notes (of The College of Saint Rose) has been singing its way into your hearts and minds since its creation in 2010. A select mix of tenors, altos, basses, and sopranos, The Golden Notes take pride in allowing their unique sound of blended voices to transcend any genre or musical style. The group's membership includes students of all different ages and walks of life. Music majors and non-music majors come together in this group to enjoy, create, and perform songs from a wide variety of genres, ranging from showtunes, hip hop, classic rock, and anywhere in between. Since its founding, the group has worked tirelessly to spread their wings and music well past the capital region they call home. Through collaborations and performances with other area a cappella groups  and by competing at the ICCA, The Golden Notes have broadened their connections and performance experience to multiple venues up and down the East Coast. 

The Rensselyrics is RPI's first a cappella group. Since its early days as the RPI Glee Club, The 'Lyrics has evolved into a widely popular group on and off campus, with an eclectic repertoire of music ranging from Rensselaer classics to original arrangements of contemporary rock and pop. 

The Rusty Pipes is a co-ed a cappella group from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1997 and named after the 17th president of RPI, R. Byron Pipes. They are RPI's second-oldest a cappella group and perform original arrangements of songs from many different genres of music. They perform at campus and local events, participate in competitions, host semester shows, and record music. Check them out on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube. 

Understaffed is the premier a cappella ensemble at Clarkson University. Founded in the spring of 2018, Understaffed is looking to make a name for itself on the collegiate a cappella scene. Understaffed reached a milestone in this goal when they competed in the group’s first ICCA in 2019. Clarkson University is universally recognized for its impressive engineering, math, and science programs, but lacks a music department. This group is composed of nonmusical majors who share a passion for singing and making music with the little time they have to spare. Understaffed’s members come from a variety of musical backgrounds, ranging from little to no high school singing to high school All-State performers. Understaffed was founded on the principle that no matter the background of each member, each one has musical talents to offer the group. Understaffed performs a variety of music chosen and arranged by group members. Understaffed provides a fun way to relieve the stress of college studies and strive for goals beyond the classroom. The members of Understaffed take great pleasure in performing and wish to share that pleasure with their audience.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

An instrumentalist for most of his early life, Christopher Hoffman found his calling in vocal music as a member (and eventual president) of Hofstra University's Sigma'cappella. He helped bring the group to ICCA Semifinals twice in its first three years of competition, and earned individual awards on the way for Outstanding Arrangement. During this time, he began arranging for and collaborating with various professional, collegiate, and high school groups, and has continued in this work since graduation. Christopher helped SingStrong coordinate collegiate talent for its inaugural New York festival, and has worked with The Vocal Company’s marketing team. He currently lives on Long Island where he spends his free time working with high school a cappella groups. 

Amy Malkoff is the Media Director of the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA), Marketing Director for the A Cappella Education Association, and one of the producers of Haunted Harmonies in Salem, Mass. Amy served on the board and as web content director for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and is a longtime ICHSA/ICCA judge, as well as a certified judge for other events. She is a frequent workshop teacher, master clinician, writer, designer, runner of social media campaigns (www.amymalkoff.com), and a singer/songwriter and studio musician (www.amymalkoffmusic.com). She was a founding member of award-winning groups All About Buford and Deadline Poet, and has appeared onstage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonathan Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University and master’s-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy's music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels. @amalkoff 

Betsy Stambach-Fuller is the choral and theatre arts director at South Glens Falls High School. Under her direction, the school’s curricular a cappella group, Vocal Point, has recorded two studio albums, toured and performed across the continental U.S., and competed in the ICHSA for the past six seasons. They also host a regional a cappella festival, TuneUp, and are preparing to make their international debut at the 2020 International A Cappella Festival. Betsy holds both a B.M. and M.M. in music education and performance from the State University of New York at Fredonia. While a student at Fredonia, Betsy founded and directed the college’s first female a cappella group. In addition to performing and clinicianing regionally, Betsy founded the southern Adirondack’s premier high school summer music intensive, Campappella, which is hosted at the Glens Falls Music Academy (www.glensfallsmusicacademy.com).

Joey Van Ullen is an Albany, N.Y. native who has participated in various forms of vocal and instrumental music. A SUNY Potsdam graduate, Joey earned his B.M. in music performance, concentrating in clarinet, and was a member of the award-winning Potsdam Pitches, notably during the group’s first ICCA Quarterfinal win. Following his time at SUNY Potsdam, he spent several years as the vocal percussionist and music director of the N.Y.C.-based Please Refrain. Now back in Albany, Joey is a freelance instrumentalist and vocalist and maintains a private studio. 

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

Patty Floyd
 Accountant

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Courtney Jensen
 Associate Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Bronwyn Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Gemma Davies
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Christopher Witham
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
PA/MA Program Coordinator  
ICHSA Great Lakes, Midwest, & Southwest 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 two placing groups will advance to the 2020 ICCA Central 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?


FALL 2020