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 GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

University of Wisconsin
Saturday, February 29th, 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

 

7Days A Cappella is the oldest group on the University of Minnesota campus and has a rich history of musical talent, performance abilities, and national presence. Founded in 2003 by Anthony Brown and Brienne Foyt, 7Days began as an opportunity for a diverse group of students to come together and connect through a shared love for music and performance. 7Days A Cappella works hard to create connectivity through music on campus and across the region. The group frequently performs at concerts, galas, professional events, meetings, charity performances, and high schools around the Twin Cities region.  They have even sung the national anthem for the Minnesota Twins! The group works to expand the U of M a cappella presence by connecting with other a cappella groups from the U of M and from universities across the nation. In the previous academic year, 7Days traveled to Boston, Mass. to perform with Distilled Harmony and then to New York City to watch ICCA Finals. Just last semester, 7Days travelled to Los Angeles, Calif. to connect with groups from UCLA, as well! 

Basses Wild is the premier men's a cappella group at the University of Minnesota. They have been bringing entertainment to the University of Minnesota and surrounding Twin Cities area for the past 10 years. Last year, they were lucky enough to participate in their first ICCA season, in which they placed 2nd at Quarterfinals and advanced to Semifinals in Chicago, winning awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Choreography on the way. As a group, they aspire to have fun and support one another musically, academically, and as friends. Above all, they strive to be amazing entertainers and prove that you do not need to be studying music in school to create it beautifully. 

Convocadence is the first and only a cappella group at Augsburg University in Minneapolis! The group members are a family that enjoys singing, spending obscene amounts of time together, and even knowing their deepest, darkest secrets (third-favorite cereals). Convocadence has lots of fun performing and they want you to have just as much fun as their audience. Feel free to sing, clap, or stomp along to your heart's desire! 

Alverno College's Nova is thrilled to return to ICCA for their third year. Founded in the fall of 2017 as a for-credit ensemble, these women represent the college's mission to have meaningful engagement with the world. Recently, they hosted an almost sold-out ICHSA Quarterfinal at the 900-seat Pitman Theatre on campus. Most of the group is composed of students from Alverno's pioneering music therapy program and Nova works hard to give back to Alverno College and the surrounding community. They sing with passion and pride and their primary goal is to move their audience, no matter who is listening. 

Perfectly Authentic is the premier co-ed a cappella group at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. Made up of over 75% music majors, the current 18-member ensemble was formed in 2018 to provide a new musical challenge and opportunity on campus. Perfectly Authentic’s repertoire includes various musical genres, representing the individual tastes and passions of its members. All members are encouraged to arrange pieces and present them to the group as they’re inspired to do so. Perfectly Authentic calls on the unique talents of each member of the ensemble and engages them in all aspects of the organization. 

Pitches & Notes is UW-Madison’s premier competitive women’s a cappella group. 10 years ago, a group of choir girls created a “fake a cappella group” that eventually became the “real” and accomplished group that Pitches & Notes is today. Each year, Pitches has the privilege of competing in ICCA alongside the very best in the Midwest. Last year, Pitches was awarded 2nd place at the Great Lakes Quarterfinal and received 4th place at Semifinals in Chicago. They are honored to share the stage with so many accomplished groups and to contribute their music to this talented and supportive a cappella family. These girls love to sing a variety of music, but they love sharing that music with their community most of all. From singing the national anthem at UW-Madison basketball games to performing at off-campus events, these girls appreciate every opportunity they get to interact with their community. 

The Enchantments is the second-oldest a cappella group at the University of Minnesota and is the only all-female-identifying group today. Founded in 2006, they have expanded their repertoire over the years to include a variety of musical styles. They hope to empower women and redefine all-female a cappella by singing songs that encourage women to stand out and embrace their uniqueness. With their new members this year, they have upped their gluten-free ratio to an all-time high of three out of 16 members. 

Under A-Rest, or “UAR,” is UW-Madison’s newest competitive a cappella group, going into their fifth year on campus. UAR is a gender-inclusive group that is composed of students who love arranging, learning, and performing a cappella music for live audiences. UAR takes pride in knowing a very diverse repertoire of music and they love performing songs that have a high-energy, performative aspect. While UAR offers musical learning and performance opportunities to its members, it also allows students to participate in a fun group of like-minded, talented individuals that are committed to being kind and making campus a better place. 

As the youngest group on the University of Minnesota campus, Urban Sound brings new competition to the a cappella community through their strong musical and performance capabilities. Founded in 2013, Urban Sound is a student-run, co-ed a cappella ensemble at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. This group provides a chance for singers to express their love of singing, while using music to communicate with audiences about local issues. Urban Sound entertains audiences on campus and in the surrounding area with concerts, events, and benefits. Urban Sound strives to be a part of the Twin Cities community through service and awareness of local issues. Each semester, Urban Sound collectively selects a charity and donate a portion of the season's showcase proceeds towards this respected foundation.


GUEST PERFORMER



Fundamentally Sound is the only all-male competitive a cappella group from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This year, they will be celebrating their 15th year as a group since their founding in 2005! Fundamentally Sound seeks to imbue a cappella with their eclectic mix of lively personalities, genre-bending arrangements, and engaging performances. They hope you enjoy the hard work and emotion they have put into the music you are about to hear. Please welcome the suspender-clad men of Fundamentally Sound!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

James Harrington has worn many hats in almost 20 years in the a cappella world. He has arranged for and given clinics to high-caliber groups such as Oregon's On the Rocks and Cornell's Last Call, sung for four years with Cape Cod's Hyannis Sound, served as a hired gun for professional groups such as Ball in the House and Home Free, and remains an active arranger and clinician. With Varsity Vocals, James has competed in, adjudicated, and produced over 20 ICCA and ICHSA shows. He is an operatic bass who holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and Florida State University, and a current doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His first book, a career guide for aspiring opera singers, will be released this spring on Routledge. 

Grant Hendrickson majored in music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, he sang with and directed the University of Wisconsin men's a cappella group, The MadHatters, from 2001-2005. After graduating in 2005, Grant moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. After playing the Los Angeles club circuit for a couple years, he joined The Cat's Pajamas vocal band and traveled the world singing on cruise ships and national tours for four years. Grant helped launch The Cat's Pajamas at the Dutton Theater in Branson, Missouri in 2010, where they performed 230 shows a year. Grant became a music director for Second City and toured with them on cruise ships in 2011-2012. Grant sang with the legendary Alley Cats for three years and performed in multiple national tours from 2012-2015. He has taught private voice and piano lessons for 15 years. Grant has owned and operated Entertain You Productions (EYP) since 2010, a live entertainment company now based in East Lansing, Mich. EYP focuses on wedding entertainment and corporate events. 

Laura Kruschke has been involved in a cappella since her college days at UW-Madison, where she sang with Tangled Up in Blue while earning her degree in music education. In 2007, she participated in launching the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) and founded greenTONE A Cappella in fall 2007. gT is 10 members strong today and sings for a variety of local events, including weddings, holiday parties, fundraisers, and flash mobs. In addition to gT, Laura now serves as A Cappella Director at Edgewood College and continues to offer her expertise to local high school choirs through workshops and group coaching. In addition to Laura’s aca-involvement, she arranges music for local show choir groups, sings in a local band, teaches yoga, and helps her three kids remember their F-sharps when practicing piano. 

Nate Mendl holds a degree in choral music education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he appeared with The Wisconsin Singers and The MadHatters. He is also the founder and former director of Redefined, UW-Madison’s co-ed ensemble, infamous for their Nintendo medley online. Nate was the recording studio director at Sosonic and has recorded and produced over 50 a cappella albums. His projects have earned multiple nominations from the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and featured tracks on the Collegiate A Cappella Music Organization compilation album, Top Shelf A Cappella. Nate serves as a guest clinician in piano and voice, and was a founding member and music director of the professional vocal group The Cat's Pajamas from 2005-2013. Recently, when Nate was director of vocal music at McFarland High School, their non-auditioned choir was selected as one of the top mixed choirs in the state of Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association, and earned the privilege of performing Poulenc’s “Gloria” with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Nate is the Director of the Oregon Performing Arts Center, whose professional Spotlight Headliners Series welcomes internationally touring vocal group REVOICED this March. Nate is thrilled to be a judge for the ICCA again this year. 

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Fundamentally Sound, Borna Riazi, Moira Rose, Joseph Aquino, and the University of Wisconsin- Madison; 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 Great Lakes 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