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

 

Centerville High School 
Saturday, February 22nd, 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

 

Audio Pilots is the only all-male a cappella group on the campus of the University of Dayton! ICCA is their biggest competition of the school year, but they also love performing at various events and fundraisers around campus. They are well-known around campus for their fun, upbeat performances that engage the crowd, and for their signature bright red varsity jackets that add a pop of color to their stage presence. This group loves participating in ICCA every year because it allows them to channel their best abilities into incredible performances that test them as vocalists and provide an awesome experience. 

The Flying Solos is the University of Dayton’s only all-female a cappella group! The group was founded in 2017, and after two years of rehearsing, performing, and discovering their sound, the group is excited to finally jump into the competition world! As the first female group at UD, The Flying Solos prides itself on maintaining a positive and encouraging environment. From rehearsals to bonding events to their group chat, each member focuses on empowering one another both on and off the stage. With a strong emphasis on girl power, the group often covers songs by strong female artists like Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, and Beyoncé, but they also switch it up with artists such as Queen and Panic! At the Disco. Flying Solos is an inclusive group and doesn’t require its members to have any specific level of musical experience. The group was founded as a fun outlet for girls to sing together and have fun. When they’re not singing, the ladies of Flying Solos love to have sleepovers, movie nights, and family dinners. Whenever the group needs a pick-me-up, they love to listen to “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield or goof around until no one can stop laughing. 

Majors & Minors is a co-ed a cappella group from The Ohio State University. Founded in 2010, M&m was one of the first a cappella groups to form on Ohio State's campus. Although every group member is passionate about music and singing, none of them are music majors (or minors!). Majors & Minors is entirely student-run, with all arrangements done by current or former group members. They perform music from almost every genre, even country, but mostly pop and alternative music. Majors & Minors collaborates with other a cappella groups and student organizations for various events, such as joint concerts with other groups, open-mic events organized by the activities board, a civic engagement concert with vocal and dance groups, and the university's annual dance marathon to benefit childhood cancer research. Other than singing, the members of M&m are involved in countless other organizations, such as Greek life, the student-alumni council, service dog training clubs, and College Mentors for Kids. Outside of practice, they enjoy tailgating for football games, having group sleepovers, and going to haunted houses! Majors & Minors is beyond thrilled to be back at ICCA and thanks their friends and families for their continued support. 

The Ransom Notes is a gender-inclusive, genre-inclusive a cappella group hailing from Kenyon College. Founded in 2010, they have sung, danced, and clowned their way into the hearts of the Kenyon community. Named for famous Kenyon poet John Crowe Ransom, The Ransom Notes perform two annual concerts and have competed in the ICCA for the past nine years! Originally founded as an all-male group, they went co-ed in 2013 and have developed a knack for high-energy and engaging performances. Each winter break, The Ransom Notes travel to a different city and perform at multiple bars, clubs, and schools, showcasing their original arrangements and choreography. The Notes, as they like to call themselves, promote an inclusive environment, and are proud to be a family of many different backgrounds, stories, and majors. Performing pop, rock, jazz and folk, The Notes also enjoy comedic numbers as well, having performed songs by The Lonely Island and Ylvis. Always emphasizing energy and enthusiasm, they take inspiration from Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Lake Street Dive, as well as memes (especially those of dogs). The Ransom Notes would like to thank Kenyon College, Varsity Vocals, and their supporting cast of friends and parents for their support! 

Remedy A Cappella is a competitive collegiate a cappella group hailing from the birthplace of aviation itself, Dayton, Ohio. The group seeks to be the "remedy" for whatever might have you down. Composed of members hailing from different parts of the globe, this completely student-run group prides itself not only on their onstage performance, but also their offstage bond, regularly meeting up together for various activities. In terms of style, Remedy loves to infuse dynamic contrasts into their performances, frequently swiftly transitioning from loud, belting highs to somber, subdued lows. As a competitive group, Remedy has an excellent track record, having regularly placed at Quarterfinals, competed at Semifinals, and placing 1st at several non-ICCA competitions as well. 

Rhythm & Roos is The University of Akron's only co-ed a cappella group. A student-led group, Rhythm & Roos is composed of 17 auditioned members, representing various majors of study. Rhythm & Roos performs on campus and all across northeast Ohio. In addition to local gigs, the group also participates in the ICCA and has competed each spring since 2016. R&R holds two free concerts on campus throughout the year, one in the fall and one in the spring. At each concert, they raise donations in support of a local charity chosen by members of the group. They make it their mission to tell their story, to share their music with the community, and to grow closer as an aca-family. 

Scarlet and Grace Notes is the only all treble-voiced a cappella group on Ohio State's campus. Their favorite part of rehearsal is when they are all able to connect through music and strong female friendship. With 15 different majors from several different cities, each of the group members brings a powerful personality to the group that comes out in our music. 

Sound of Science is a co-ed a cappella group on campus at The Ohio State University. Created in November of 2010, it is now one of the many great Ohio State a cappella groups. Originally termed Sound of Science because each member was a STEM major, the group is now open to any student interested in geek culture. You can spot 'em by their trendy suspenders and nerd-tastic energy. 

The Ohio State of Mind is Ohio State's premier co-ed a cappella group. They all come together to sing, but eating comes in as a close second for their favorite hobby. In 2017, they made history by being the first a cappella group in Ohio to advance to ICCA Finals alongside many talented groups within the nation. They pride themselves on their in-house arrangements, and have won awards for Outstanding Bass, Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, Outstanding Choreography, and Outstanding Vocal Percussion at various ICCA competitions. They can't wait to have new experiences and make new memories competing and performing together. 

Underscore is a co-ed a cappella group made up of UD undergraduate students. The group spreads pop a cappella culture to the University of Dayton community and participates in various performances and competitions. 


GUEST PERFORMERS


Forte is the champion contemporary a cappella group at Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio.  Forte was the 2016 ICHSA Champion, a four-time runner-up at ICHSA Finals, and the 2012 winner of  Voices in Harmony in Lexington, Ky. Forte has recorded ten albums and released their most recent album, Elysian, in February. Three of their albums (Life's So Lyrical, Uncharted Heart, and Recovery) have consisted of all-original music and they were the first high school group to release an all-original album. Life’s So Lyrical was nominated for five Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and won for Best Overall High School Alum. Their album Save My Soul won for Best Pop/Rock Album in 2017. Forte’s recordings were featured on the BOHSA compilations every year since 2012, as well as on the prestigious Sing 9 compilation. Forte’s music can be purchased on iTunes and streamed on Spotify. Forte has performed with artists such as Andy Grammer, Pentatonix, Kirstie Maldonado, India Carney, Mario Jose, Ben Bram, Matt Bloyd, Sonos, Delilah, Overboard, and Deke Sharon (musical director of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and the box office hit movie “Pitch Perfect”).

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 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. 

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 has 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. 

Ben Spalding is the head choral director at Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio. He is an avid supporter of a cappella music and recently wrote a book with Deke Sharon and Brody McDonald, called "A Cappella" (available on Amazon and other resellers). He is a founding member of the A Cappella Education Association and is associated with several other a cappella organizations. He is an instructor at Camp A Cappella and a clinician for vocal groups across the country.

Jeremy Witt is an educator, conductor, and performer born in Hilliard, Ohio. He graduated with a music education degree from Cedarville University, where he also started their first contemporary a cappella group, The Inversions, and served as the group's music director and president for four years. He currently serves as the Assistant Choral Director at Hilliard Bradley High School and the Tenor/Bass Choral Director at Hilliard Memorial Middle School. Jeremy co-directs and oversees Bradley's contemporary a cappella groups, Shades of Blue, ECHO, and WAVE. Having become increasingly involved in the contemporary a cappella movement, Jeremy has also judged for the CARAs and the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs). He is now in his fourth year of teaching and pursuing a master's degree at Kent State University in music education. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Centerville High School, Ben Spalding, Cameron Clemens, Kate Morton, Chris Andres, Bryan Miller,  Novae, and Forte; 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

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THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?


FALL 2020