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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Case Western University
Saturday, January 25th, 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

 

Move over Barden Bellas - BGSU's AcousChicks A Cappella has arrived. AcousChicks was founded in 2015 by a group of friends at the Carillon (a dining hall on campus). They have remained the best and only all-female a cappella group on campus. The members of The AcousChicks come from a wide variety of majors and are connected by a common love of music. The group is excited to perform at their second ICCA. 

Out from Columbus, Ohio, Buck That! has produced earth-shattering bass lines and groovy rhythms that have reached far and wide across the land. Serving looks in their signature red Chucks since 2010, Buck That! represents the Ohio State University as its premier men’s a cappella group. Buck That! is all about spreading the aca-love, so they are very excited to be back this year at ICCA! 

Case in Point (CiP), founded in 2001, is Case Western Reserve University's premier co-ed a cappella group. In the tradition of a cappella music, every sound you hear is produced solely by the human voice (and hands). Additionally, every song they perform is arranged by a current or former member of the group. While the faces of Case in Point change over the years, they consistently bring exciting new a cappella arrangements from various musical genres. 

Based out of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Dhamakapella is an award-winning South Asian fusion a cappella group. They derive their influences from Indian classical, contemporary Bollywood, pop, dubstep, and electronic genres. The group was created in 2005 and began competing in the South Asian circuit in 2011. Since then, they have accrued 16 national titles and 19 individual awards at competitions across the United States. Last year, they also competed in the ICCA circuit for the very first time and were honored to make it to Semifinals in St. Louis. 

Flash Harmony was formed in the fall of 2013 at Kent State University and is the second-oldest a cappella group on campus. The group was created to add some spice to the Kent State aca-community. Flash Harmony embraces individuality, diversity, and community. They encourage one another to grow and achieve their goals. As a group, they enjoy singing pop songs around campus and at local venues. Some of their favorites include “I Miss You,” “Hide and Seek,” and “Bottom of the River.” Since they began, they’ve grown stronger and continually strive to be better versions of themselves.

New Chords on the Block is Ohio University's premier co-ed a cappella group, and is made up of 18 talented singers. Founded in 2010, New Chords prides itself on having an original sound and style, as well as a varied repertoire. New Chords makes a point to compete in the ICCA every other year and can be found performing at various events throughout their campus, Athens, Ohio, and across the state of Ohio! 

Scots In Harmony is The College of Wooster's premier competitive a cappella group. They strive to provide a space for diverse students to find a home on campus through music. Although they come from different places around the world, all of the group members share a passion for singing. They primarily sing contemporary songs that speak to the struggles of young adult experiences. Scots In Harmony was birthed from the idea by president Rondell Mackey, who has experience competing in the ICHSA. Scots In Harmony has shaken the College of Wooster's campus with a fresh sound that they are excited to bring to ICCA. 

SŌL is in its seventh year at Baldwin Wallace University. The group prides itself on their musical abilities and the connection that they have formed with one another. Outside of rehearsing, they love jokes, overusing the snapchat group, and making memes. Find their single, "River" on all platforms. 

The Kent Clarks is a contemporary a cappella group, composed of students in good standing on Kent State University’s main campus. The first and premier co-ed a cappella group on campus, The Kent Clarks was founded in 2011 by Stephen Cox, a proud KSU alum and original member of The Vanderbilt Variations. The group performs at on-campus events including the university’s annual homecoming event, “Kiss on the K,” and the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, as well as off-campus engagements, including “The Today Show” and a performance for the Obamas. The group is overseen by an executive council of six members, each of whom is elected by active members of the group. The group colors were originally red and yellow, but later changed to pink and black. In spring 2018, The Kent Clarks opted for a sleeker, more modern, black-and-white look, but with a small pink ribbon to keep the group spirit. When they aren’t in rehearsal, The Kent Clarks love to hang out together! A favorite group pastime is a game called “Clark Spotted.” When a member “spots” another Clark outside of a scheduled rehearsal or meeting, they take a photo or video and posts it with the hashtag #clarkspotted!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Christopher M. Diaz co-founded the international touring group, The Exchange, which performed hundreds of shows for audiences in over 25 countries on six continents, notably opening for The Backstreet Boys in their 32-city “In A World Like This” stadium tour. He graduated from Florida State University School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. There, he led the co-ed All-Night Yahtzee to three consecutive ICCA Finals appearances and was a two-time winner of the Outstanding Soloist award. Christopher’s voice and arrangements have appeared on compilations such as Voices Only, BOCA, SING, and Voices Only Forte, and have been nominated for numerous Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). As a coach, Christopher has adjudicated, sung, and instructed at vocal festivals around the country and world, and he has served on the vocal coaching and arranging staff of “The Sing-Off.” He is currently the director of vocal music at The Miami Valley School in Dayton, Ohio where he directs 2017 ICHSA Finalists Ars Nova. 

Jason Klinect earned his Master of Music in music education from the University of Akron, where he served as a graduate assistant for the bands for one year. He student-taught at Cuyahoga Falls High School in the fall of 2019. He earned a Bachelor of Music in brass performance from Akron as well, where he performed in various instrumental and choral ensembles. During his undergraduate career, Jason was a member and frequent arranger of Rhythm and Roos A Cappella for four years, serving as assistant music director for two years.

With a Master of Music in Choral Conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory and Performance (Ashland University), Brandy Kay Riha is an a cappella educator and arranger with a special focus on treble repertoire. Her arrangements have been performed by middle school, high school, and collegiate singers around the globe. Brandy Kay teaches voice, theory, and a cappella at Tiffin University. She has founded and directed numerous a cappella groups, in both scholastic and semi-professional contexts, and she had led workshops on arranging, aca-directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. Brandy Kay is the founder, director, producer, and arranger for Zero to Sixty, a yearly-auditioned summer a cappella group centered between Cleveland and Akron. 

Selame Scarlett hails from Okemos, Mich. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she served as music director, arranger, and vocal percussionist for Capital Green A Cappella. Currently, she is a clinician for high school and collegiate groups in the Great Lakes region. She served as a percussionist and vocalist for the CARA-winning, all-female sextet, Lady Jaye, and the all-female gospel powerhouse group, Traces, which was featured on Season 5 of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” In the summertime, Selame is an instructor and counselor at A Cappella Academy, a Los Angeles-based vocal camp for young adults (ages 13 to 17). Selame has been fortunate enough to record alongside groups such as Naturally 7, The Boxettes, Pentatonix, Duwende, and Traces of Blue (formerly Afro-Blue)! She has led percussion workshops and masterclasses, individually and with her beatboxing colleagues. Alongside a cappella, Selame has a fiery passion for healthcare. As the leading referral coordinator for one of the largest digestive clinics in the Central Michigan area, she facilitates continuation of care for patients with various GI, liver, and pancreatic diseases. She is excited to see and hear some great music tonight! 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Liquid 5th, Bryan Guffey, Aashna Shah, Maltz Performing Arts Center, Dhamakapella, and Case Western Reserve University; 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 Midwest 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