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

 

University of Hartford
Saturday, February 8th, 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

 

Cadence of Yale is Yale University’s newest a cappella group! At a school known for tradition, they aim to break the mold by being the first group dedicated to competitive participation within the international a cappella community. They are also dedicated to using a cappella as a medium for storytelling, conveying emotion, and addressing mental health and sociopolitical issues. To borrow the words of Deke Sharon, they want to create “harmony through harmony,” by making meaningful music for their audiences and themselves. They mostly sing pop and alternative pop music, such as “The Ballad of Me and My Brain” by The 1975, “Darkness Keeps Chasing Me” by Grace VanderWaal, and “Reasons Not to Die” by Ryn Weaver, and they’re very excited to work with amazing arrangers like Matt Goldstein of The Vassar Devils while crafting their set! As a brand-new group, they can’t wait to cultivate their sound this year and show it to the world. 

HartAttack A Cappella was founded in 2010 at the University of Hartford. This year, they are celebrating their 10-year anniversary as one of the four co-ed a cappella groups on campus. They love to sing music of all kinds and are represented by their penguin mascot, Demitri. They have competed multiple times in Boston, performed all over Connecticut, taught workshops in New York, and hosted the 2019 ICCA Northeastern Quarterfinals. Now they are very excited to be part of their first ICCA competition! 

Hawkward from Roger Williams University is the only auditioned a cappella group on campus. Since they are an audition-only group, the school does not recognize them as a club or organization and they don’t receive any special funding. Hawkward is determined to make a difference and want to prove that the group deserves recognition for their efforts. They perform to compete, to better their abilities, enjoy themselves, and nurture their friendships. They rehearse for a minimum of four hours a week and perform multiple times each month, both on campus and in the greater New England area. Over the last decade since its creation, Hawkward has evolved musically, dipping into many different genres. They most commonly sing contemporary music so that their audiences can enjoy and connect with their performance. 

L’Shir A Cappella first came to be in the spring of 2000, with Meara Lebovitz as business manager and Benjamin Rauch as music director. Originally an all-Jewish a cappella group, the group has evolved to include many denominations. They still call themselves “L’Shir,” which literally translates to “to sing” in Hebrew, referring to raising a glass and cheering for making music! Throughout their history, they have performed and will continue to perform just about anywhere for anyone in addition to their own concerts. Every year, they participate and compete in the ICCA. In the past, they have placed in both Quarterfinals and Semifinals, including a 1st place title in their 2018 Northeast Quarterfinal. That season, they proceeded to Semifinals at Boston Symphony Hall and took home awards for Outstanding Choreography for their entire set and Outstanding Arrangement for Raelynn Giuffre’s rendition of “Haze” by Amber Run. They love to sing at private parties, events, and other performances. If you’d like to book them for your upcoming event, reach out to them by email at lshir@hartford.edu

Notes Over Storrs is a co-ed a cappella group founded in the fall of 2009 at the University of Connecticut. Just like its namesake, a local wings restaurant called Wings Over Storrs, this group has established itself as a favorite among UConn students and an integral part of campus life. Notes Over Storrs performs at various on-campus events, such as Convocation, Family Weekend, charity benefits, and more, and travels to perform at other universities in the Tri-State area and additional off-campus events. In the decade since its founding, Notes Over Storrs has released four albums as well as an EP, titled Phases. Notes Over Storrs prides itself on performing a wide variety of genres that appeals to audiences, from ages one to 101. 

Purposeful Dissonance hails from chilly Champlain College! They enjoy long walks - wait, this isn't a dating profile? Oh... Known for their dynamic and spontaneous sound, you can catch them jamming out to a sound circle in the stairwells or crying in the library. Find them on all social media platforms @PurposefulDissonance!

From their home at Central Connecticut State University, The AcaBellas come together to create beautiful music while developing lasting friendships. Dedicated to making music together, the singers in this all-female a cappella group aim to better themselves, their school, their community, and maybe even the world by sharing their love and talent for music. 

The Legends A Cappella from Hamden, Conn., is Quinnipiac University’s first and only a cappella group. The group was established in 2012 by a few college students who wanted to create an opportunity for students who hoped to pursue their passion for singing, regardless of their major. A group of non-music majors, the members study disciplines including nursing, public relations, occupational therapy, accounting, computer information systems, film, television, media arts, and more. As a group, they love to spend time together in and out of rehearsal. They have grown tremendously over the years by participating in various off-campus events, singing the national anthem at sporting games, hosting concerts, and even getting to sing at Madison Square Garden! The Legends have also competed in the 2018 and 2019 ICCA seasons, and are excited for their third! They love to sing pop music and have fun with the songs in their winter and spring concerts, but are always ready to try something new. This year, their goal is to professionalize their group and get their name out there. The Legends are so excited to see what the future holds and collaborate with more a cappella groups and professionals!

Triple Major is Wesleyan University’s only competitive a cappella group, founded just two years ago by two freshmen roommates with a dream to compete in the ICCA. They started rehearsing in their small freshman triple, and only performed on campus once in that first year. This group of misfits comes from all different backgrounds and musical experience levels, but bond together through a shared love of singing. Though the a cappella scene at Wesleyan was already crowded, Triple Major created their own niche and  established a strong presence on campus, performing with other a cappella groups at official and social functions alike. The group has grown greatly in size and in the difficulty of their arrangements. They pride themselves on choosing music other than top-40 hits and in creating truly unique arrangements. They start every rehearsal with a check-in to see how everyone is doing, and they prioritize group interactions outside of rehearsal. Overall, Triple Major is a musically serious, fun-loving, and collaborative a cappella group that has loved competing at the ICCA in the past and is excited to be back. 

Vocal Pride is the only a cappella group at Springfield College in Massachusetts. They “pride” ( because their school mascot is Springfield Pride - get it?) themselves in being a fun, collaborative group that makes time for fun outside of rehearsal and knows when to be serious during rehearsal. The group is very diverse, ranging from singers who have previously competed in the ICHSA to people who just started singing in college, and even includes a nationally ranked beatboxer on board! All of their friends and family come to their end-of-semester concerts, in which they display songs that they have perfected all semester, bring holiday spirit in the winter, and even encourage our group members to showcase their other musical talents, with instruments such as piano, guitar, or even a loop station! They even let their audience interact with them via Twitter and a special hashtag, where the host will read aloud tweets from their friends and family! This is their first attempt at competing and they are excited for their ICCA debut!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

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 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (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. 

Chris Knight has been a member of the a cappella community since 2010, when he was accepted into SUNY Potsdam’s The Potsdam Pitches. During his time in The Pitches, he served as music director, president, and produced their first album. He was also singing with The Pitches when they won Quarterfinals for the first time and placed 3rd in Semifinals. In 2014, Chris joined Fusion Vocal Band and sang all over New York City and Connecticut, competed in the Sing Strong competition, and recorded an EP. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s degree in secondary music education and is completing his sixth year in educational supervision and administration at the University of Bridgeport. Chris is currently an elementary music teacher for Stamford Public Schools in Stamford, Conn., where he teaches general music, chorus, band, and directs an after-school musical program. 

David Ko holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in music therapy from Florida State University. In his undergraduate years, he was an active member of Reverb, serving as the group's music director from 2011 to 2013. During his two years as music director, Reverb went on to win multiple Outstanding Arrangement awards, two ICCA South Quarterfinals, and one South Semifinal, plus 4th place overall at ICCA Finals. David currently practices psychiatric music therapy in Tallahassee, Fla. and works on commissions for choral and a cappella arrangements in his spare time. 

Connor Martin is a proud alum of Hofstra University’s Music Department and is currently an a cappella producer for The Vocal Company, where he has worked with groups like The Nor’easters, Faux Paz, Aquapella, The UoR YellowJackets, and many more. While at Hofstra, Connor was music director of The Hofbeats where he won an Outstanding Arrangement award in 2017 and led them to their first Quarterfinal victory in 2018. He is the music director, lead arranger and bass of Black to Gold, a professional a cappella group from Long Island established in 2019. Aside from a cappella, Connor is an active percussionist, recording engineer, and singer in New York City and Long Island, and also co-wrote a musical entitled “With or Without You,” which had its off-Broadway premiere in 2019. Connor continues to pass along his musical knowledge through teaching, judging, leading workshops, and music-directing and is excited to be at tonight’s ICCA event! 

Thomas Paster is the director of vocal music at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, N.J. He is the director of Highlands Voices, which is currently being featured on Lifetime’s “Pitch Slapped.” The group reigns as National A Cappella Convention Champion, was ICHSA National Champion in 2014, and won the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Semifinals for five years running. Thomas has been an adjunct professor of music at Kean University and William Paterson University, and received his B.M. from Ithaca College and M.S. from the University of Scranton. Thomas is an active composer/arranger and writes arrangements for numerous a cappella groups. He is proud to be the N.J. rep for the A Cappella Education Association. 

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