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 NORTHEAST QUARTERFINAL

 

Berklee College of Music
Saturday, February 29th, 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

 

The Treblemakers was formed in 1996 with three fundamental ideals: fun, love, and music. Today, the group is known for its diverse repertoire, energetic performances, talented soloists, and innovative arrangements. To date, they have recorded eight studio albums and have an EP on the way, so check out their Instagram and Facebook pages for more info on that! The Treblemakers hope you enjoy the show and are so excited to show you what Trebs are about! 

The BosTones is a premier co-ed a cappella group from Boston University whose soul, advanced musicality, and powerhouse vocals have earned them a distinguished reputation in the Boston a cappella scene. With a repertoire that covers a variety of styles, including R&B, pop, soul, and jazz, The BosTones bring a whole new dimension of style and edge to this popular genre. Both an ambitious musical team and a fierce group of friends, The BosTones deliver an unstoppable combination of impressive vocals, complex, original arrangements, and, most importantly, a deep passion for pushing boundaries and making incredible music together. 

FenHarmonics is Emmanuel College's premier co-ed a cappella group. They specialize in contemporary pop with a hint of R&B. They love to host karaoke nights at their school and frequently street perform around Boston. They are currently working on an album which will be released in the spring of 2020.

UMass Lowell is the home of the Riverhawks. In 2009, Hawkapella spread its wings, becoming the first and only all-male-identified a cappella group on campus. The members of Hawkapella pride themselves on their pop and rock influenced repertoire, their commitment to putting smiles on their audiences’ faces, and their bonds of brotherhood. In the 2016-2017 academic year, Hawkapella recorded its first-ever studio EP, Hatched, and followed that up with its first-full length studio album, How to Tie a Bowtie, released in summer 2019. Both are available to stream or purchase on major platforms. To this day, they work hard to share music that they are passionate about with their fans. In addition to listening to their recordings, you can experience Hawkapella live at their main concerts near the end of the fall and spring semesters. 

On The Vox is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group from Berklee College of Music. Composed of 14 members from all over the world, they focus on bringing their own pop touch to many different kinds of songs. Known for their powerful sound and strong vocalists, On The Vox has released several music videos and has many exciting plans in the works! Make sure to stay tuned and follow them on social media @onthevoxacappella! 

Sporting their characteristic “flowerchords” since 2007, PowerChords is the oldest a cappella group at Olin College of Engineering. Despite their wide range of interests, they have found unity in performing all styles of a cappella, showcasing their powerful arrangement style and electric enthusiasm during performances. 

The Chorallaries of MIT is MIT’s oldest co-ed competitive a cappella group! Having recently celebrated their 40th anniversary, The Chorallaries’ music has changed a lot over the decades, but their desire to perform together and love of laughter has remained the same. They perform in the Boston/Cambridge area at various school and administrative gigs, as well as collaborative and charitable events. Every fall, they gather with their alums in Vermont and they will be touring the New York and New Jersey area this spring. They released a full album this past fall, so follow them on social media and listen to them on major music outlets such as Spotify and iTunes to keep in touch! When they're not laying down their sweet tunes onstage or in the studio, you can always find them hanging out as a Choralfam. Though they are nerds first and foremost, tonight they're excited to show that they also sing sometimes. 

Founded in 1999, The Harvard LowKeys is Harvard's award-winning, premier contemporary gender-neutral a cappella group. They perform sold-out shows twice a year in Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre, embark on world tours, participate in a cappella competitions, and sing upon request at venues in and outside Greater Boston. The group members hail from all around the globe and from diverse backgrounds, and as such, are bursting with fun facts! The group’s vice president, Jake Schwencke, was on Broadway as a kid, but the group’s personal favorite of his resumé items is "Additional Voices" (the animals and dinosaurs) in “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” Music director Samyra was the first girl to play on her high school's football team, while president Bobby was a world karate champion at karate at age 10! United through a shared love for a cappella, The LowKeys are so much more than the sum of their parts (although it is helpful to have a football player in the mix). Their favorite moments together are not necessarily based around the music they make, but about the priceless memories they make together on campus and around the world. 

Founded in 1989, The Sirens is a woman-centered a cappella group from Simmons College in Boston. The group currently consists of 15 members whose studies range from nursing to communications. The Sirens’ name originates from ancient Greek mythology where Sirens would lure sailors to their death with their enchanting singing voices. However, some may say the name comes from the sirens wailing down Brookline Avenue. 

Founded in 2008, The Unisons is Northeastern University's only all-male-identifying a cappella group! This contemporary group performs today's top songs, classic hits, holiday music, and more! Their primary goals are to entertain audiences and to break the boundaries of stereotypical all-male a cappella. Last spring, they competed in Boston Sings (BOSS) and have previously competed in ICCA Northeast Semifinals at Symphony Hall. They also love to tour the Northeast to perform with other collegiate a cappella groups and record and release their music on Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud! Once told that they look like "a bunch of accountants," these gentlemen have revamped their style and are ready to take the ICCA stage once again.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Andrea Asuaje is an alumna of No Southern Accent, University of Florida's first mixed a cappella group, with whom she was a member for four years and served as music director for three. After college, Andrea worked as the social media manager for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and became a founding member and bass for the group, Jaded. As an a cappella grown-up, she spreads her passion for vocal music by conducting master classes and covering the art form via audio and online journalism. Andrea is currently a radio associate producer at WGBH and an independent podcast producer in Boston. She sings alto (and sometimes tenor) with The Jameson Singers in Belmont. 

Gary Gustavsen began his a cappella career in North Carolina as a tenor with The Duke University Pitchforks. During graduate school at Stony Brook University, he founded and directed another a cappella ensemble, The High Cs. Gary’s day job in healthcare consulting took him to Boston, where he was a founding member of Overboard and Slapdash Graduate. Today, he subs with Overboard and Five O'Clock Shadow, and is principal trombone with the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston. 

Haley Gustavsen is the former music director of Divisi, University of Oregon's award-winning women's a cappella group. During her tenure as director, the group competed three times in the ICCA, advancing to Finals at Lincoln Center in 2010. Haley was individually recognized in 2008 and 2010 with Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement awards. Having already earned her bachelor’s degree in music education, she will complete her Master of Music in vocal performance this spring at Texas State University. As a graduate teaching assistant, Haley also teaches private voice lessons and instructs an undergraduate course in vocal technique at Texas State. On the classical music stage, she has performed a number of leading opera roles with Texas State Opera Theatre and has worked professionally at the Konzerthaus Berlin. 

A member of the Greater Boston a cappella community for more than half his life, Adam Levine is a passionate advocate of vocal music. During his time in VoiceMale at Brandeis University, he gained recognition as a soloist, arranger, and songwriter. His original composition, "Phoenix," received Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) for Best Male Collegiate Solo and Best Scholastic Original Song, as well as placement on various compilation albums, including BOCA, Sing, and Voices Only. Post-graduation, Adam had the opportunity to spend five years as the director of The Suffolk University Ramifications, where he mentored in arranging, performance technique, group leadership, and more. He now sings as part of the Boston-based professional a cappella group, Uproar, and is honored to be participating in local Varsity Vocals events this year. 

Allie Spurling has been involved with a cappella since 1994. At James Madison University, Allie started the school's first co-ed a cappella group, The JMU Overtones. The group appeared on BOCA in 1998. After graduating, Allie started The Flint Hill Major Minors, a co-ed high school group in Fairfax, Va., and directed them from 2001-2005. The group appeared on BOHSA for multiple years. When Allie returned to her New England roots, she co-directed an all-female group at the Wheeler School for three years, and directed and advised a co-ed group at the Moses Brown School for three years. In addition, Allie runs workshops and arranges for high school and college groups up and down the East Coast and mentors high school groups through the process of recording an album. 

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 Northeast 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