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 MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Johns Hopkins University
Saturday, February 8th, 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

 

The UMBC Cleftomaniacs is the premier co-ed a cappella group at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Their love for music always shines through their creative arrangements and vibrant energy. They work hard to present unique choreography that has won them the Outstanding Choreography award in their ICCA Quarterfinal for the past two years in a row. Be sure to watch your acts, because The Cleftomaniacs are here to steal the show! 

Exit 245 is an all-male a capella group from James Madison University. Founded in 1998, and named after JMU’s exit off of interstate 81, this brotherhood has enjoyed success at the local and national levels for over 20 years. This group has been recognized by the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), winning Best Collegiate Album of the Year in 2013 for Boyfriend Material and was runner-up for Album of the Year in 2015 for The Way Out. Exit has also earned placements on various BOCA and Voices Only compilations, most recently in 2019. The group released its ninth studio album, 903, last April, which includes the group’s first original song. The group has shared the Exit sound at countless live performances, including performances at Taste of DC, the Viacom Entertainment headquarters in Time Square, and as the opening act for Jay Leno’s comedy tour at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Over the past two decades, Exit 245 has never lost sight of the group’s main goal of creating fellowship through the power of music, and they are determined to maintain this focus in the years to come. 

The UMBC Mama's Boys, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, was founded in 2003 by four guys who had a love of music and wanted to share that with the world. Since then, the group has been steadily growing and getting better and better. The group members hail from a variety of musical styles and bring that mix to their music, covering everything from Chance the Rapper to Christina Perri. They want to try something new with every song. Sometimes that means an original rap in the middle of a Justin Timberlake song. Sometimes that means turning the upbeat vibe of a Carrie Underwood song into a slow, burning rage. No matter what genre they’re tackling, they always want to make sure they’re bringing their innovative style. 

The MelUDees is one of eight a cappella groups from the University of Delaware. In their 14 years as a group, The “Dees” have been invited to sing at numerous events, including weddings, holiday parties, and bar mitzvahs! When they are not making music or making fun of each other, The MelUDees enjoy giving back to the community. For the past two years, they have sung for Grandparents Day at the Delaware Children’s Museum, participated in local community fairs, and volunteered at two marathons in the Tri-State area. In 2018, they had the pleasure of opening for Jeff Foxworthy’s Parent’s Weekend Comedy Show. He said “Well are they great or what?” and The MelUDees hold on to that tighter than they probably should. 

PandemoniUM is one of the University of Maryland's premier co-ed a cappella groups. They arrange all of their own music and perform it at a variety of different gigs and shows on and off campus. The members of PandemoniUM call themselves The Pandas and love singing for any and all occasions. In 2016, PandemoniUM was awarded 1st place at the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals and advanced to Semifinals where they took 3rd place. In 2017, PandemoniUM once again placed 1st at Quarterfinals and went on to compete in Semifinals. This a cappella group has been around since 1993 and is excited for its future in the coming years. Its members encourage everyone that listens to their music to “BE YOU.” 

Squawkappella is Salisbury University's first student-run contemporary a cappella group. Starte in 2004 and named after the university's mascot, their slogan was coined as "Seagulls never sounded so good!" They are a close group of friends that love to write music, sing, and help out the community. They perform at various on-campus and community events. The members of Squawkappella bond over their passion for performing and aim to connect to the campus community by arranging various styles of music. 

Founded in 1989, The Octopodes is Johns Hopkins University’s premier co-ed a cappella group, bringing their blue-clad energy everywhere they go! Over the last 30 years, The Octopodes have found success both onstage and in the studio, with multiple appearances at ICCA Semifinals and numerous awards and accolades for their studio albums. Along with competing and recording, The Octopodes take time to perform concerts on the JHU campus, collaborate with nearby groups, attend a cappella festivals, and excite outside audiences at off-campus gigs and performances. This past August, The Octopodes released their sixth studio album, titled Lifeline, available on all streaming platforms! 

The Stilettos is the only all-female a cappella group at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They were founded in 2007 by Christine Glowacki and have been singing ever since! As an a cappella group, they provide a place for women on campus to enjoy, create, and perform music together from a vast array of genres. They like to branch out as a female group, often creating arrangements of traditionally male-sung songs. The group performs frequently on and off campus and collaborates with the other two UMBC groups, The Mama’s Boys and The Cleftomaniacs. They always look forward to ICCA as an opportunity to push themselves musically, meet other groups, and have a lot of fun while doing it. 

The UMD Treblemakers is the oldest all-women's a cappella group at the University of Maryland. The Trebs have now spent 30 years making incredible music and forming a network of strong, talented women who are united in their love of singing. The Trebs practice three times a week all throughout the school year. In the past few years, they have been working hard to improve their sound, record an album, and increase the quality and difficulty of their arrangements. In addition to being extremely dedicated singers, The UMD Treblemakers prioritize their friendships together outside of rehearsals. They love to eat charcuterie, go to karaoke nights, and hang out almost everyday. The Treblemakers are thankful for the opportunity to sing alongside their best friends and look forward to future performances. 

Known as your cranberry-clad "friendly, neighborhood a cappella group," The Johns Hopkins University Vocal Chords is a co-ed college a cappella group that performs in and outside the Baltimore, Md. area. Performing various gigs and a formal concert every semester, their musical genres range from classical to classic rock, oldies to top 20s, and choral to R&B.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Aaron Bayne is a recent graduate of Towson University and currently acts as the General Manager and co-owner of The Trills, LLC. As an undergraduate student, Aaron was the vocal percussionist, president, and founding member of 2017 and 2019 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Champions, The Towson Trills. During college, The Trills released an EP called Pillars, performed at two ICCA Finals, featured on WBAL-TV’s holiday special, and performed at venues across the East Coast. Aaron also earned awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion each year The Trills entered ICCA and placed 9th in the tag-team portion of the 2018 American Beatbox Championships. The Trills are continuing as a Baltimore-based professional ensemble and have many other projects on the way. Aaron has also lent his vocal percussion to other vocal projects, like Embassy A Cappella, Euphonic A Cappella, and Clear Harmonies Productions. Aaron is extremely excited for tonight’s performances and wishes everyone luck! 

Charnice Frazier has a long-lasting relationship with music, and has been singing since she could speak. In addition to singing in choirs from middle school through college, Charnice was part of a chamber a cappella ensemble in high school called Infinity. Through this ensemble, she realized that she wanted a cappella to always be a part of her life. In the fall of 2012, Charnice joined James Madison University's premier female a cappella group, Note-oriety, and served as business manager and president during her years with them. Along with leading the group, she arranged songs and helped record their award winning album, Note-oriety. Charnice currently resides in Southern Maryland and is the choral director at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, Md. Outside of teaching, Charnice sings in D.C.'s newest all-female vocal group, The District, and is one of the group’s assistant music directors. 

A lifetime musician, Dithu Rajaraman found a cappella during his time at Washington University in St. Louis. While there, he sang, music-directed, and arranged for The Stereotypes. The Stereotypes were regulars at ICCA Semifinals, and during his tenure, Dithu won Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, and Outstanding Choreography. The group eventually advanced to Finals in 2011, placing 4th, and earning Dithu another Outstanding Arrangement award for Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero." Still performing whenever he can, Dithu is excited to judge this wonderful competition, and for the opportunity to enjoy some good, old-fashioned, competitive a cappella. 

Tony Wang sang with The Washington University Sensasians from 2011 to 2015. During his years as music director, Tony led the newly-found group to their first-ever ICCA competition, where his arrangement of "Human" won Outstanding Arrangement. Tony's love of music began on the piano, but continued through voice, guitar, and percussion, as well as arranging. Since graduation, Tony has stayed involved in the a cappella community, serving as a musical adviser for his former group and singing with a recreational a cappella group. Tony is an avid music theory junkie and vocal percussionist, and would love to trade some beats with anyone who asks tonight! 

Michael Wingate is an internationally-ranked beatboxer. He studied music education at Delaware State University with a concentration in voice. He is currently ranked in the top 16 beatboxers in the U.S., as well as the 2019 American 2v2 Vice-Champion with his tag team, Forest Fire. Michael is also a member of the Baltimore-based group, ember, who were 2018 Aca Open Finalists. He has served as a festival educator at both BOSS and SoJam.

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 Mid-Atlantic 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