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

 

The College of New Jersey
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

 

Casual Harmony is an a cappella entertainment group from Rutgers University, ranging vocally from bass to countertenor. Formed for the purpose of performance, competition, and music education, Casual Harmony seeks to provide music to the RU community, along with the local, national and international scene, and to provide musical enrichment to the members of the organization. 

The Lafayette Chorduroys is Lafayette College's all-male a cappella group. They are delighted to entertain the local community with a range of musical genres, including rock, pop, the classics, and more. 

Rutgers RAAG is an award-winning co-ed South Asian fusion a cappella group from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Throughout the year, they participate in invitationals and competitions at universities all over the nation, including California, Boston, North Carolina, and Virginia. They’ve also released an album, Mosaic, which is available on Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube. The term RAAG is not only an acronym for their group, but is also derived from the ancient Sanskrit term “raag” or “raga.” Though the term mainly describes the musical mode of Indian classical music, it also emphasizes the color, passion, and beauty that is involved in composing music. They strive to blend classical Indian elements with Western composition techniques in order to bring together a unique sound. For more information about their group, please check them out on Facebook and Instagram @rutgersraag, Spotify (RAAG), or at rutgersraag.com

The Sea Sharps is Monmouth University's premier, first, and only a cappella group. As a student-run club, they participate in events on campus and around the Jersey Shore. Specializing in popular music, The Sea Sharps perform arrangements from various artists, such as Ariana Grande, Panic! at the Disco, Billie Eilish, Toto, and more. The group serves as an outlet for students to create something greater than themselves. Sea Sharps includes students from all majors across campus, including music industry, music education, communications, biology, math, and political science. The group began as an all-female ensemble in 2013 and became co-ed in 2017, further expanding the sound and texture of the group. Since then, the group has performed at a number of different venues, including the Prudential Center where they performed at a Devils hockey game, as well as Rowan, New Paltz, and Hofstra Universities. The Sea Sharps are excited to be back on the ICCA stage this year!

Soulfege is one of the premier co-ed a cappella groups at Lafayette College. Founded in 2003, Soulfege has welcomed a variety of voices and people from different backgrounds. They mainly sing pop songs, but truly love to sing anything and everything! 

The Deaftones is Westminster Choir College’s one and only co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2008, The Deaftones pride themselves on being entirely student-led. All of The Deaftones are music majors, whether in performance, education, or composition. Westminster students sing in choirs nearly every day and members of the group have performed in cities including New York City, Oxford, and Beijing. The Deaftones are proud to be active in the Princeton community, hosting performances with other groups to spread all of the music that they have to share. Last year, The Deaftones were honored to place 2nd at their 2018 Quarterfinal at TCNJ, after winning their first Quarterfinal back in 2014 at Drexel University. They have also taken home awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Vocal Percussion in recent years. The Deaftones wish luck to the rest of the competing groups and look forward to sharing their music with you. 

The Trentones, The College of New Jersey’s only co-ed competitive a cappella group, was founded in 2002 by a group of passionate students who shared a love for a cappella music. The Trentones compete annually in ICCA and have advanced to Semifinals for the past two years, receiving awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Soloist in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In addition, The Trentones have hosted workshops with middle school and high schools all over New Jersey and regularly perform at  events such as weddings, engagements, other event receptions, and deliberation at the ICHSA. They were even given the opportunity to open up for the Grammy-winning group, Pentatonix. The Trentones take pride in their musicianship, made possible by the group members’ diverse spread of musical backgrounds, interests, and life experiences. 

Til Further Notes is an a cappella group at Rider University. They sing many types of music, including jazz, pop, and choral music. Til Further Notes prides itself on being a family of music lovers, all of whom share a joy and passion for singing that sets them apart from other a cappella groups. They are happy to share this wonderful experience with their friends, family and all their wonderful supporters! 

The WillHarmonics is the premier a cappella group from William Paterson University. The group started off as an on-campus and has since evolved into a group that teaches people more about music and competing on a collegiate level. Everything is student led, a principle that fosters student arrangers and performers. They aim to bring a cappella to the student body, especially those who are non-music majors but crave a musical outlet. The group encourages growth and positivity for its members, cultivating a friendly atmosphere for music and performance.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Gyasi Barber, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups. 

Connor Martin is a New York City-based arranger, composer, music director, percussionist, and producer. He is a proud alumnus of Hofstra University with a bachelor's degree in music performance and is currently a contractor and production assistant at The Vocal Company, known for its award-winning work in a cappella. While at Hofstra, Connor was a member and the music director of The Hofbeats, with whom he competed in ICCA, winning an Outstanding Arrangement award in 2017 and leading them to their first Quarterfinal victory in 2018. Aside from a cappella, Connor plays percussion for various musicals and ensembles, and also co-wrote a musical that is set to have its first performance run in New York City this May. Music has been his life since age five, and he is super excited to be a part of tonight's ICCA event! 

Caitlin Nelson is a New York City-based actress, vocalist, events professional, and cheese aficionado. Originally from Tallahassee, Fla., she attended Florida State University, where she majored in music and sang with All Night Yahtzee. Since graduating, she has served as music director for Boston's The 508s, founder and music director for Seattle’s Shot in the Dark, and music director of Empire A Cappella. She currently directs, arranges for, and performs with the six-person vocal band, Concrete, and is a member of the Founder's Board for the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). Caitlin has earned awards for her choreography and arranging and is featured on Voices Only 2009 as the soloist for All Night Yahtzee's “Missing the War” by Ben Folds.

Dr. Joseph Ohrt holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and the University of South Carolina, and has served on both schools' faculties. His choirs have performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, Chicago Symphony Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Severance Hall in Cleveland, over 20 times at Carnegie Hall, and eight times at the White House. He has conducted special performances for President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, and Prime Minister Shimon Perez of Israel. He has coached Broadway stars, sung backup for Barbra Streisand, appeared on MTV, and has arranged music for the new Broadway musical, “Amazing Grace.” He also arranged music for “Las Vegas Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson,” performed by the Vegas casts of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Jersey Boys.” Joseph is a composer, master teacher, author, and advocate for contemporary composition, and has collaborated with composers from around the globe, premiering over 400 new works in the last 20 years – a world record. He currently serves as Director of Choral Activities of the nationally acclaimed Central Bucks High School-West Choirs in Doylestown, Pa., where pop star P!NK was his student. 

Thomas Paster is the director of vocal music at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, N.J. He is the director of Highlands Voices, which is currently being featured on Lifetime’s “Pitch Slapped.” The group reigns as National A Cappella Convention (NACC) Champion, was ICHSA National Champion in 2014, and won the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Semifinals for five years running. Thomas has been an adjunct professor of music at Kean University and William Paterson University, and received his B.M. from Ithaca College and M.S. from the University of Scranton. Thomas is an active composer/arranger and writes arrangements for numerous a cappella groups. He is proud to be the N.J. rep for the A Cappella Education Association.

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