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 15th, 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

 

Acappellics Anonymous is Emerson College’s only competitive a cappella group on campus. They pride themselves on their fun repertoire of songs, with heavy pop/rock influences. They have a one-eyed skeleton mascot named Boogie. In homage to him, the group attends Canobie Lake Park’s “Screeemfest” every October, even though they’re all too scared to open their eyes in the haunted houses. Earlier this year, they released a single for their arrangement of “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers. After losing a lot of graduating members, they took a break from competing last year to focus on group cohesion, but this year they are back and better than ever. Despite their impeccable musical talent, they are most proud of their friendship. They are more than excited to get back into the competition circuit this year! 

Formed in 1998 by a group of energetic, unique, and musically talented singers, Alabaster Blue is the University of New Hampshire’s premier co-ed a cappella group and serves the UNH community with diverse and exciting music. They hold two major shows per year and a smattering of smaller shows on and off campus mixed in between, so keep your eyes open for AB's next exciting performance. In the meantime, check out their latest album, Flux, on Spotify and Apple Music! 

The Boston University Allegrettos was formed 26 years ago when a group of BU students discovered the magical world of a cappella. Originally a stand-up comedian group, The ‘Grettos set aside cheesy jokes for fiery notes… mostly. Like many a cappella groups, they needed a musical pun for their group name, but couldn’t reach a consensus. Their oldest member showed up to their next meeting with a dictionary and proposed that they open the dictionary, place a finger on the page with their eyes closed, and decide the group’s name based on the word they land on. They all agreed and seconds later, The Allegrettos were born. From 1994 to 2020, The ‘Grettos have been a true family. When it comes to their sound, they love to take lesser-known pop songs and make them their own. This is especially exciting when an audience hasn’t heard a song before, and they get to introduce it with their own arrangement and interpretation. Their compassion and trust for one another allows them to grow and defy even their own expectations. This foundation gets them through long nights and stressful rehearsals because, ultimately, they love sharing their passion for music with others. 

Originally founded in 2003 in the basement of a residence hall, Distilled Harmony has grown from humble beginnings into one of Northeastern University's most recognized a cappella groups. The music they perform, which ranges from mainstream pop to indie rock, is just as varied as the interests and academic backgrounds of the members of this diverse and loving family. Almost as much as they love singing, they love eating Chinese food together and going sledding in Maine. In recent years, they have placed several times in ICCA Northeast Quarterfinals, ICCA Northeast Semifinals, the ICCA Wildcard Round, and received a BOCA award in 2016. They just recently released an album, HIGH DEFINITION, which can be found on all major streaming platforms! They've put their blood, sweat (literally), and tears (also literally) into sharing their cherished and unique music with the world. You can find DH on instagram @NUDistilled. 

Pitch, Please! is a premier all-female-identifying a cappella group at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. They are a passionate and dynamic group that aims to push boundaries and challenge the standards of traditional collegiate a cappella. They had an especially eventful academic year in 2018-2019. In 2018, they placed 1st in the 22nd Annual Faneuil Hall A Cappella Competition. In 2019, they were named Champions of the  ICCA Wildcard Round and had the opportunity to compete in ICCA Finals, where Lora Riehl won Outstanding Vocal Percussion. They were also crowned the Collegiate Champions in Season 5 of “Sing That Thing!” This past October, they won 1st place at the Haunted Harmonies A Cappella Competition. They can also be found performing throughout the Greater Boston Area and eating Asian food or Olive Garden. 

Fans might call The CharlieChords Berklee College of Music's premier all-male a cappella group. Haters might call The CharlieChords Berklee College of Music's ONLY all-male a cappella group. In either case, The CharlieChords have been all around the Northeast, with performances at the annual Faneuil Hall A Cappella Competition and an appearance on WGBH’s “Sing That Thing” in 2018. They also sang the national anthem at The Boston Celtics’ 2013 home opener, and even performed as part of the King’s Singers 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2018 at Carnegie Hall. Their first EP, Breathe, is available on all streaming platforms, and their second was just recorded this past November. Some of the group members’ talents include saying the alphabet backwards in under three seconds, doing a backflip, stomach percussion, and inadequate closing sentences.

They're a bunch of guys who wear red ties, and surprise! They love a cappella! Since their humble beginnings in 1992 as three gentlemen looking to change the course of aca-history, The Boston University Dear Abbeys have been lucky enough to perform on their campus and across the country for 28 wonderful years. Since winning ICCA in 2005, they have performed from coast to coast with a mission to inspire other musicians and music lovers. They have also enjoyed teaming up with musical heavyweights like Steven Tyler, Ben Folds, NOTA, and Ball in the House. To date, The Abbeys have produced 11 studio albums and have more music currently in the works. This will be their first year competing in ICCA since their last run in 2016 and they couldn’t be more excited. Brothers from another mother, they can often be found in the basement of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, filling up their water bottles and wondering why their rehearsal room gets so hot. They enjoy music of all genres, including modern pop, jazz, big band, soul, R&B, and more. Follow them across social media @dearabbeys and on Spotify, ITunes, and wherever else you listen to music! 

The Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones is one of the premier co-ed a cappella groups at Harvard. The group was founded in 1985 by a small group of passionate undergraduates, including Lee L. Eichen, Inger C. Dewey , and Academy Award Winner Mira Sorvino, all from the class of '89. Since then, The Veritones have grown to have over 150 alumni, almost 3 million lifetime views on YouTube, and a strong social media following. They perform all around the Boston area, the country, and the world, and their repertoire spans all musical genres, from pop standards to contemporary classics to jazz. Most importantly, though, they have grown a beautiful Veritones family! 

The Hawkettes is an all-female a cappella group, formed at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the spring of 2014. This tight-knit group of fun-loving and hard-working singers includes women from all majors and class years, each adding their unique personality and voice to the ensemble. The group aims to share their passion for music with the community and to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all of its members, including those who are LGBTQ+. 

Treble Threat is Berklee's a cappella group for female and nonbinary students. Established in the spring of 2014, they have always strived to diversify their content. They perform various genres of music, ranging from pop, rock, and hip hop, to R&B, soul, and jazz. Treble Threat’s purpose is to provide an experience for female-identifying and/or presenting students at Berklee who wish to participate in an a cappella environment. Providing a positive group dynamic and professional atmosphere, Treble Threat encourages its members to arrange, teach, and develop their ears and voices, all through the genre of a cappella music. Treble Threat is a professional-level a cappella group that promotes collaboration, as well as personal, professional, and musical growth.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Jill Clark has served as a Senior Producer and the Director of Live Sound for The Vocal Company for numerous years. She started in a cappella as a member of The UNCG Sapphires from 2006-2010 and has been working professionally in the industry since. She won numerous vocal percussion awards during her tenure with The Sapphires, and is now dedicated to helping groups win Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), BOCA/BOHSA placements, and achieving their best. She is also the founder and CEO of her new solo production company, Jill Clark Productions. Jill is always excited to return to where it all began: scholastic a cappella competitions.

Felicia Francois fell in love with a cappella when she became a member of The UNCG Sapphires. After serving as director of that group, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and choral music education. She worked as a chorus teacher at Northern Guilford Middle School and as a private voice teacher in Greensboro for four years, all while singing with numerous groups around Greensboro, including the Bel Canto Company. Felicia has now relocated to Boston to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She is thrilled to be an ICCA judge once again and wishes the best to all those competing!

Matt Goldstein fell in love with a cappella in high school when he arranged and founded his own group. He went on to attend Vassar College for music and drama and continued his a cappella adventures as a member of The Vassar Devils. He became the group’s music director as a sophomore and after only seven months, he transformed them from a group that had never placed at an ICCA Quarterfinal into the Northeast Champion at the 2015 ICCA Finals. In his next three years as music director, he led the group on to win 1st place at Boston Sings (BOSS), to record their first professional album, Coming Alive, and even to perform for President and First Lady Obama at the White House. Matt was featured with The Devils on the POP TV docu-series “Sing It On." Matt’s work with The Devils has garnered him numerous awards, including Outstanding Arrangement at the ICCA, BOSS, and SoJam, multiple CARA nominations, and featured tracks on BOCA, Sing!, and Voices Only. He arranges for YouTube star Malinda Kathleen Reese (the “Google Translate Sings” girl) and currently sings professionally as a member of Cape Cod’s all-male a cappella group, Hyannis Sound.

Kevin Guest studied music and audio production at Ithaca College and learned the art of stage performance, music production, and music theory through his advanced education. Kevin had the distinct pleasure of being a four-year member in the award-winning (and ICCA Finalists in both 2008 and 2009) all-male a cappella group, Ithacappella. Based just outside of Boston, Mass., Kevin has given numerous workshops and master classes around the New England area and the continental United States, regarding musical artistry and performance techniques for all levels of contemporary a cappella and choral ensembles, including classes at the NE Voices High School Festival, Boston Sings, SoJam, and the National A Cappella Convention (NACC). His arranging, production work, and singing has garnered multiple CARA wins and nominations. Kevin has gained recognition at the regional and national levels at the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival (as an arranger and performer), and has appeared on multiple Sing, BOCA, and Voices Only Forte compilation albums. He’s currently an arranger, clinician, and producer at Cut Off Studios, an Executive Board member of the NE Voices High School Festival, an office delegate of the Ithacappella Alumni Association, and is the bass for award-winning, professional a cappella group, Ball in the House.

Brandon Hetherington is a seasoned a cappella professional, having started his first a cappella group in high school, The Spartones. He attended UMass Amherst for voice performance and music education, where he sang in The Vocal Suspects and served as a tenor, arranger, performance director, and choreographer, winning Outstanding Choreography at ICCA. He later joined The Hexachords, advancing with the group repeatedly to ICCA Semifinals, and was featured on Pop TV’s “Sing It On.” He has taught at festivals such as BOSS and has also taught at Uxbridge High School.

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