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

 

West Chester University
Saturday, February 15th, 2020

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

Started about a decade ago, Chromatic Expansion is currently Millersville University’s only a cappella group. The group is co-ed, open to all majors, and is a completely student-led ensemble. Chromatic Expansion started out as a vocal jazz choir, but recently transitioned into a more typical a cappella group with a repertoire of mostly popular music. The majority of their pieces are arranged by members of the group. Chromatic Expansion can be found performing at all of the MU choir concerts, as well as other events around the University. They also have been known to perform in the nearby city of Lancaster, with their most notable yearly performance being the Festival of Voices, put on by a local nonprofit organization called Music for Everyone. The group’s first ICCA appearance was in 2019 and they are thrilled to be back this year to compete for the second time in a row. 

Harmonic Combustion, the co-ed a cappella group from Susquehanna University, is making its ICCA debut this year! After many years of performing strictly on campus, they are more than ready to set the competition stage on fire. The group consists of students from an assortment of majors (the majority of which are outside the music department), and they are ecstatic to share all of their hard work with you tonight! 

High Street Harmonix is a gender-inclusive tenor-bass a cappella group from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Established in 2013, High Street has released two albums and has competed at the ICCA several times with a 2nd place finish in the 2019 Quarterfinals which advanced them on to Semifinals! 

The Lehigh Melismatics is a student-run, co-ed a cappella group from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. They are one of four groups from the school. The group members come from various disciplines, but come together to share their common love for music. The Lehigh Melismatics have had the pleasure of performing at many events, including The Rockettes' Radio City Christmas Spectacular Show. The group loves to explore different genres of music, sometimes even bringing different meanings to popular songs. They have four studio albums, including Reincarnation, which was released last October. The Melismatics would like to thank their friends, family, and Melismaddicts for all their love and support. 

Off The Record is one of four a cappella groups at Lehigh University. They are a co-ed group that brings together people from all different backgrounds. Their repertoire of artists varies from Chance the Rapper to Sam Smith to Queen. This group enjoys spending time together, having fun, and making good music. Off The Record is known for their "Otter Spotting," a fun game in which an OTR member takes a picture of another member on campus without being noticed and sends it to the rest of the group on Snapchat. This year, the group is celebrating their 10-year anniversary! 

YCP Rhapsody is a student-run, co-ed a cappella group from York College of Pennsylvania. The group was founded in 2001 and has grown tremendously to become the group they are today. The group consists of 13 members from various backgrounds, locations, and majors. The group works tirelessly throughout the semester to provide a cappella entertainment to their campus and local community. At the end of each semester, they hold a concert for friends, family, students, and anyone who would like to join in a night of fun and a cappella singing! 

Rowan Vocals, or “RoVo,” is Rowan University's only co-ed a cappella group. RoVo consists of 15 performers, including both music and non music majors. They enjoy all genres of music, and perform some from every category. Last year, they opened up a concert for the new Disney a cappella group, D Cappella. They have been fortunate enough to compete in the ICCA in their first three years on the a cappella scene, and they believe the fourth time’s a charm! RoVo hopes to make a big splash at the ICCA in year four after the addition of new voices and a reawakened drive for success. 

Stockapella was founded by a group of friends at Stockton University who just liked singing. They gave their first concert in 2007 and steadily began to grow. As a group, they attended the 2010 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinals, and immediately fell in love with the idea of competing and meeting other a cappella groups. That same year, interest in a cappella at Stockton grew enough that another group, The Stocktones, was formed. Stockapella competed in its first ICCA Quarterfinal in 2011, the same year that an all-female group, Stockata, took shape. Stockapella has participated in the ICCA every year since then, grabbing plenty of attention and a number of awards. Stockton’s three a cappella ensembles work together and tirelessly support one another. Stockapella sends much love to their friends and supporters all across Stockton a cappella! 

The YChromes is the University of Delaware’s only (and best) all-male a cappella group. For over 20 years, The YChromes have been passionate about making quality music and sharing it with their audiences. Their musical tastes range far and wide and they try to include a bit of everything in their programs. The group includes students from a wide range of majors, such as music education, chemical engineering, exercise science, and beyond. The YChromes recently released an EP, entitled 1994, which is a compilation of the three songs they performed in the 2017 ICCA and earned them a 3rd place finish at Quarterfinals. The EP is available on Spotify and Apple music. In addition to competing and recording, The YChromes give two concerts annually on UD’s campus, and they are always looking for other performance opportunities in the greater-Delaware area and beyond. This is The YChromes' third time competing in the ICCA and they are excited for another chance to up their game through the competition experience. This year, The YChromes is celebrating 25 years of performing across the Delaware community with over 150 members and counting.

Under A Rest A Cappella is a gender-inclusive a cappella group from West Chester University. UAR performs all over their community, supports charities through benefit concerts, and competes in the ICCA every year. UAR hosts an annual benefit concert every spring called Your Voice (YOVO), which supports the Dreaming Zebra Foundation, an organization set on providing music and art supplies to underprivileged children. Additionally, the group has recorded a studio album and music videos. Under A Rest loves creating meaningful performances and sharing them with everyone.


GUEST PERFORMER


Match is an internationally-ranked beatboxer and currently ranks among the top 16 beatboxers in America. He is the 2018 East Coast 2v2 Champion, and 2019 American 2v2 Vice-Champion with his beatbox tag team, Forest Fire. He's the beatboxer for the Baltimore-based group, ember. With ember, Match has competed in the 2018 Varsity Vocals Aca Open Finals at Carnegie Hall, performed at SoJam, SoFar sounds, Baltimore's Artscape, a vocal showcase in Los Angeles with the MUSE/IQUE organization, and various other performances around the country.  

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Ken Coolbaugh started his vocal career as a Pennsylvania All-State musician, and co-founded, Blue in the FACE, one of Penn State University's co-ed a cappella groups, soon after. There, he served for several years as a musical director, featured arranger, and soloist on their 2015 professional EP, FACE the Music. Ken has more recently had the pleasure of being an advisor for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Champion Towson Trills, and is a judge for the 2019 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).

Megan Coolbaugh has been involved in music since she was a child. She attended Peabody Preparatory throughout high school, and kept busy with band, orchestra, choral, and theatre activities at her home high school in Pennsylvania. A graduate of Penn State University, Megan directed the young collegiate group, Blue in the FACE, for three years before receiving her Bachelor of Music Education. During her time as director, she led the group through recording their first professional EP, FACE the Music (produced by the Vocal Company), and continues to act as a coach and arranger for the group. Last year, she had the honor of working with her husband to coach The Towson University Trills through their first ICCA run, leading these talented and dedicated singers all the way to the national stage. Since graduating from Penn State, Megan has been teaching in the Anne Arundel County Public School District as a high school and a middle school choral director, where she continues to share her passion for vocal music, recording, and arranging with her students. 

Alyce McNulty is a music teacher and singer from Los Angeles, Calif. who came to Baltimore, Md. to pursue a career in music at the Peabody Conservatory in the studio of Denyce Graves and Margaret Baroody. At Peabody, she founded her own professional group, Ember, with some of her dearest friends and musicians at the conservatory and in the a cappella community. They competed together at The Open in 2018 and were named Northeast Champions, singing a set of all original music that they were given the opportunity to premiere at Carnegie Hall in The Open Finals that September. Ember has since evolved into a working professional a cappella group that travels across the country, performing to many diverse audiences with a focus on music education whenever possible. When she's not singing or directing Ember, Alyce is a full-time traveling music teacher, teaching introductory piano and guitar classes, as well as general music classes, to an average of 17 schools each week. 

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. 

Ian Wolfe is a Pennsylvania State University graduate and self-proclaimed a cappella nerd. At Penn State, he spent four years singing in a co-ed a cappella group, The Coda Conduct. With Coda, he become musical director and helped the group release an EP, Out of the Dark, and a full album, SPECTRUM. Ian competed in ICCA twice with The Coda Conduct, winning several Outstanding Arrangement awards. He also competed in the 2018 Boston Sings Scholastic (BOSS) competition in Boston, Mass. Ian currently sings with the international 3rd place medalist barbershop chorus, Parkside Harmony, is a percussionist, and works with the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as a nominator and judge for the CARAs. 

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