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

 

University of Pittsburgh
Saturday, February 1st, 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

 

C Flat Run is a co-ed award-winning collegiate a cappella group at the University of Pittsburgh! Aside from upholding their title as Pitt’s sex-C-iest a cappella group, they enjoy performing around the area and hosting their own concerts. Some of their favorite gigs have been for Joe Biden, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the University of Pittsburgh Tree of Life vigil. C Flat currently has18 members, all from different musical and cultural backgrounds. They also host a showcase concert in the fall and a charity concert in the spring. For the latter, they have previously donated to organizations such as Guide Dogs for The Blind, Connections4Health, and The International Rescue Committee. The charity concerts are their small way of giving back to the community while doing what they love. They arrange all their own music and challenge themselves to be as creative as possible. Some of their most memorable performances include a mashup of “Gimme All Your Love” by The Alabama Shakes and “Redbone” by Childish Gambino, “Desperado” by Rihanna, and “Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! at the Disco. C Flat Run encourages students to express themselves and continue their musical craft. They look forward to another amazing ICCA season! 

Counterpoint was established nearly two decades ago as the first all-female-identifying a cappella group at Carnegie Mellon. Since then, they have worked hard to redefine the limits of all-female a cappella potential. Counterpoint members have been busy over the past few years, hosting benefit concerts, traveling, and winning the hearts of CMU students across campus as well. They hope you enjoy their performances as much as they enjoy singing them! 

None of the Above, affectionately known as NOTA, was established in 1991 as Penn State’s first co-ed a cappella group. An entirely student-run organization, NOTA showcases songs from various musical genres, all arranged by current members, and perform around Penn State’s campus and within the State College community. They also honor their almost 30-year history with decade-old arrangements by alumni and uphold numerous traditions that tie them together as musicians and family. The group has competed in ICCA in 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2011, where they advanced and placed 4th in the Semifinals. NOTA’s bright personality shines through their colorful rainbow accessories, one of their long-standing traditions. 

Pitches and Tones is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of Pittsburgh that started out in 1987 in Atlanta, Ga. as a breakdancing group, turned to crime in the early 90s, made a small fortune, got in too deep, and was left with no choice but to go undercover as an a cappella group. In the years since, they have taken on a serious, yet fun approach to a cappella and have also done way too much to keep the local bubble tea shop in business. They hope you enjoy their set! 

Pittch Please originated from a men's alumni a cappella group of Pitt graduates. After what was thought to be the group's last concert, a push from student fans and current members led the group to seek registration as a bonafide student organization. Pittch Please now provides fraternal solidarity for its members, sentimental commemorations for its alumni, and musical excellence for the Pittsburgh community. 

Founded in 1996, Soundbytes is the first secular co-ed a cappella group on Carnegie Mellon’s campus. Known for their sultry style, the members of Soundbytes pride themselves on their infectious performance groove and having fun together with any song that they do. Their professionally recorded EP, Byte Me is available on all streaming services! 

Sounds Like Treble is the only all-women a cappella group at the University of Pittsburgh. Originally formed as Sounds of Pleasure in 1997, the group revamped itself and changed its name to Sounds Like Treble in 2013. Sounds Like Treble holds multiple performances each semester, ranging from singing for faculty and other student groups to appearing as guest performers for other a cappella groups throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. 

The Pitt Pendulums is the University of Pittsburgh's oldest a cappella group! The group was founded in 1996 and is keeping the tradition alive by singing everything from today's greatest hits to favorite throwbacks! 

The Songburghs is one of the University of Pittsburgh’s many co-ed a cappella groups. This is their fifth year on campus and they’re pumped to put on a show for you! Although The Songburghs take their music and performances seriously, they are really just a group of passionate college students who find community by making music and laughing together. They also enjoy trying new styles of music and putting their own unique spin on classics. When they’re not singing, you can find them making terrible puns, being festive for whatever holiday is coming up, hot tubbing, or making lemon bars. If you’re looking for some laughs or some great music, look no further than The Songburghs! 

The Treblemakers is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group. Founded at Carnegie Mellon in 2010, they use their unique style to push the boundaries of collegiate a cappella. The group is united through a shared love of singing and performing, and encourages each member’s musical development. At heart, The Treblemakers is a close-knit group of friends who love to share their passion with one another and their community.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

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, having co-produced the group’s all-original albums, Uncharted Heart and Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg 

Jason Klinect earned his Master of Music in music education from the University of Akron, where he served as a graduate assistant for the bands for one year. He student-taught at Cuyahoga Falls High School in the fall of 2019. He earned a Bachelor of Music in brass performance from Akron as well, where he performed in various instrumental and choral ensembles. During his undergraduate career, Jason was a member and frequent arranger of Rhythm and Roos A Cappella for four years, serving as assistant music director for two years. 

With a Master of Music in choral conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and performance (Ashland University), Brandy Kay Riha is an a cappella educator and arranger with a special focus on treble repertoire. Her arrangements have been performed by middle school, high school, and collegiate singers around the globe. Brandy Kay teaches voice, theory, and a cappella at Tiffin University. She has founded and directed numerous a cappella groups, in both scholastic and semi-professional contexts, and she has led workshops on arranging, aca-directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. Brandy Kay is the founder, director, producer, and arranger for Zero to Sixty, a yearly-auditioned summer a cappella group centered between Cleveland and Akron. 

Alex Turner is a 2018 Ohio State alum whose life has been intertwined with music from the very start. Finding roots with the Ohio Boy Choir in his intermediate years, he routinely searched for new outlets to hone his musical skill set and understanding. As he transitioned from high school to college, Alex developed a growing interest in dance, jazz, and pop a cappella, enhanced by workshops and trips to local festivals. In 2014, he joined Buck That!, Ohio State’s competitive, all-male a cappella group. In his four years of undergrad, he served as president, choreographer, and creative lead of his group, and his commitment expanded at pace with his love for the craft. In his years post-cap and gown, he’s helped coach his former group and taken up leads in musicals such as “Forever Plaid” and “Footloose.” Alex is deeply familiar with the stage, as well as the rigorous standards of ICCA, and he looks forward to contributing his experience to Varsity Vocals as a judge. 

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