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 Rochester
Saturday, February 15th, 2020

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

A Sharp Arrangement, SUNY Potsdam's student-run treble a cappella group, performs in schools and various other venues and is proud to connect with students and members of their community through performance. The group is committed to exploring the reach of treble a cappella music through a variety of musical styles. A Sharp Arrangement fully supports music education in the schools and strives to get more students actively engaged in music. Through their performances, they promote the role of music in everyone’s life and model healthy, supported, and energized singing techniques. A Sharp Arrangement’s mission is to perform and entertain the public through a cappella music. 

For 24 years, RIT's Encore A Cappella has been dmm-ing and dah-ing both around campus and across state lines to bring joy wherever they can. Composed of all types of students, from environmentalists to engineers and filmmakers, these ladies in teal love nothing more than to end their days with singing some tunes. After competing last year in their first ICCA after a long hiatus, they are eager to get back on stage and show off how much they've grown! 

PitchSlapped (formerly The Macabellas) was established in 2014 as the second a cappella group at McMaster University, and remains the first and only all-female singing group on campus. Over the past few years, the group has worked incredibly hard to help PitchSlapped evolve into this dedicated and talented group of ladies who are focused on friendship and have mastered the "bend and snap." This year, they are proud to exclusively be singing original arrangements and are excited to include the first female beatboxer in McMaster a cappella history! They perform at a variety of on-campus events each year and are always looking for new opportunities to showcase their love for all things a cappella! 

Premium Blend's mission is to spread unity and love through a cappella music, reaching the hearts of everyone who hears them. Premium Blend is SUNY Fredonia's premier all-voice a cappella group! Established in the spring of 2005, they have been performing original a cappella arrangements together ever since. They rehearse three times a week and perform all over campus and New York State! They perform songs from a variety of genres, including pop, rock, country, and jazz. They’ve sung hits by The Jackson 5, Etta James, Post Malone, Lady Gaga, Queen, Florence and The Machine, and so many more!  The group is entirely student-run and is managed by an e-board composed of students within the group. Group auditions are held twice per year, at the beginning of each semester. Premium Blend hosts fundraisers every fall and spring, bringing together a cappella groups from all over the state. 

Rochester Institute of Technology's Proof of Purchase, known more casually by its alias, “POP,” is Rochester Institute of Technology’s original all-gender a cappella group. While they take the group and their music very seriously, they tend not to do the same for themselves.They like to sing a lot of pop songs, but are always looking for new upbeat and powerful songs to sing. The group’s foundation goes back to the boisterous and turbulent times of spring 2009, when POP was created by Rachel Rood and Craig Martek. POP holds an annual spring concert known as ACAPOP, during which they perform their alumni song, “Bright Lights” by Matchbox Twenty. In the past 11 years, they have had many amazing performance opportunities on and off campus, released an EP, and are currently releasing another album. They are excited to continue their journey performing at the ICCA! 

Stay Tuned is SUNY Potsdam’s second official co-ed a cappella group. This close-knit family of music lovers is excited to share their take on a cappella with the public. Stay Tuned was formed in October 2012 by a small group of SUNY Potsdam students with a goal to redefine a cappella music in ways that no other group has done before. Stay Tuned takes pride in their individuality and diversity compared to many other groups, most notably in their repertoire, which includes classic and modern rock, musical theatre, jazz, pop, and more. They challenge themselves to demonstrate their out-of-the-box thinking in every performance. Stay Tuned is also unique in the bond shared by its members. Although their primary function is as an a cappella performance group, they often describe the group as a family and a home away from home. This bond sets them apart from other a cappella groups and strengthens their commitment to continue “redefining a cappella” one note at a time. 

The MacaFellas is the only all-male group at McMaster University! Founded in 2015, they began as a recreational team dedicated to occupying tutorial rooms and creating music. This is their very first year competing and they couldn’t be more excited! The group’s current leaders, Anthony and Braden, are extremely proud of their members for all their hard work and for making this group what it is today. Throughout the McMaster campus, The MacaFellas are more commonly known as the resident heartthrob boy band and they try to live up to that title every day. The group’s chaotic chemistry is evident, both in rehearsal and onstage, and they give their absolute best at every performance! With their core mantra of "get good" but also "have fun," The MacaFellas still have a lot to learn, especially at the ICCA. They are eager to use this fresh new experience and stage to improve themselves, as well as revel in the diverse beauty of blended voices here in North America. The supportive atmosphere of the McMaster A Cappella Club and the love everyone shares for a cappella music permeates everything they do. 

The Potsdam Pitches is SUNY Potsdam’s oldest mixed-voice a cappella group. They were founded by four students in 2007 and they have had almost 100 Pitches be a part of the group since then. The Potsdam Pitches’ main goal is to spread their love of a cappella wherever they go, which they work to accomplish by touring New York State, giving performances and masterclasses to students of all age groups on their school breaks. They hope to inspire young people to love music like they do and encourage a sense of community through music. The Potsdam Pitches are also coming up on their 10th year competing in ICCA and they have loved every second of it! Most recently, The Pitches were the ICCA Central Quarterfinal Champions, taking home awards for Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, and Outstanding Choreography. The Potsdam Pitches would like to thank their friends, family, community, alumni, school, and colleagues for all of their support. 

The Potsdam Pointercounts, SUNY Potsdam’s student-run male a cappella group, dedicates itself to educating students of all ages about a cappella music and bringing their love of the arts into schools. The Pointercounts perform a variety of musical styles to engage their audiences’ creativity and imaginations. The Pointercounts fully support music and the arts in schools and believe music to be an integral part of the creative mind and spirit. The Pointercounts want students to experience a cappella choral singing through educational workshops and performances. As one of the oldest forms of choral singing, a cappella music holds important historical and cultural significance and The Pointercounts strive to get students excited about it. The Potsdam Pointercounts aim to create an atmosphere that inspires students to create and enjoy music. 

The Tributones are honored to be a part of ICCA for the seventh year in a row and for the high bar they have set for singing at Monroe Community College. This two-year college’s group of talented, dedicated, passionate individuals enlightens audiences and leaves them amazed at what they can do.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

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.

Katie Goodman (née Riegal) first experienced a cappella while working on her Bachelor of Music Education at Roberts Wesleyan College. There, Katie was a member of The Sirens (now Key of She), and served as music director for three semesters before graduating and moving on to teach full time at York Central School in 2010. A founding member of Cut Off, Katie moved on from the group after a year to focus on growing her middle and high school vocal program at York. She founded two a cappella groups in the high school: Vocalibrium, which is all-female, and Aria 51, which is all-male. Vocalibrium has had a standout year, making their ICHSA debut and recording their first EP with The Vocal Company. Katie resides in Rochester, N.Y. with her aca-husband, Josh, and dog, Lexi. 

Melissa Rashford is a proud alumna of The Mandarins, Syracuse University’s oldest all-female a cappella group. Under her direction, The Mandarins competed and performed throughout the Northeast and earned national recognition by advancing to the ICCA Finals. Melissa holds degrees in music industry and business administration from SU and currently works in the University's Division of Marketing and Communications. She arranges for local ensembles and adjudicates area festivals and musical theatre productions. Melissa also teaches high school field band and musical theatre and takes every possible opportunity to encourage her students to join a cappella groups when they get to college. 

Leanne Zito holds a B.S. in music education from Roberts Wesleyan College and a master's degree in music education from University at Buffalo. She is currently a music teacher at East Rochester School District and has previously taught for 10 years at Kendall Central Schools. In the past, Leanne has been an instructor for the Roberts Wesleyan Community School of Music and adjunct professor at Roberts Wesleyan College for the Division of Music and Performing Arts. Leanne has been a choir director and accompanist at United Church of Christ in Spencerport and has sung with and directed the post-collegiate a cappella group, Cut Off, since 2011. Leanne has had the pleasure of attending ICCA Finals, great workshops, and work at SoJam and Boston Sings. She is excited to be judging again this year. 

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

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THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?


FALL 2020