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 SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

The Carolina Theatre
Saturday, February 1st, 2020

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

Acappology is North Carolina State University's original co-ed a cappella group, founded in 1994. Its members have come to NC State from around the country to study various majors, but each joined the group in order to embrace a mutual love for music. Their songs, whether arranged collaboratively or by individual group members, stay true to their intricate group aesthetic. Always evolving, each Acappology performance explores assorted music styles and imaginative blends. 

For more than four decades, The Grains of Time have been part of NC State’s campus life. Performing a wide variety of music, the group remains one of a kind compared to most collegiate a cappella groups. Bridging contemporary collegiate a cappella with that of professional groups, they create a performance style that lends itself to excellent musicianship and showmanship, all without the aid of outside directors, funding, or even a formal music major. Though officially styled as NC State University’s premier men’s a cappella group, their loyal fans know them simply as “the Grains.” 

The Ladies in Red is NC State’s all-female, student-led a cappella group, based at North Carolina State University in the beautiful capital city of Raleigh, N.C. Founded in 1993, they remain NC State's only all-female group. They come from all different backgrounds, musical experiences, and fields of study! In fact, as NC State does not have a music major program, these singers have a range of majors, from communication to biomedical engineering and everything in between. They showcase many different styles of music, including pop, R&B, classics, alternative, indie, and more. Some of their favorite performances have been for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Pretty in Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. Each year, The Ladies in Red host two concerts in NC State’s Stewart Theater. They also aim to record music every year with Liquid 5th recording studio. They recently recorded and released their latest album, & It Feels Like Home, from which their track “Bird Set Free” was included in the Women’s Best of College A Cappella 2019 compilation album. The Ladies in Red aim to empower and inspire others through the music they perform. 

Offbeats is a co-ed a capella group from High Point University. The group was founded in 2012 with the goal to make music that lifts people up and gives people of all backgrounds a chance to perform. As a community-minded organization, Offbeats often visits local schools and nursing homes in an attempt to bring High Point and the surrounding areas together through music. Offbeats has recorded two albums, Square One and Off My Mind (available on Spotify and iTunes) with a third untitled album to be released in the coming months. 

Founded in October 1992, Rhythm & Blue is Duke University's oldest co-ed a cappella group. Since its inception, the Rhythm & Blue family has developed its own distinct style and matured into a full-fledged member of the a cappella community at Duke and beyond. R&B enjoys singing all over Duke's campus (arches, dorms, basketball games, faculty dinners, recruiting venues), performing at local schools, and participating in a cappella competitions. The group is proud to have competed in four of the last five ICCA South Quarterfinals and to have been featured on compilation albums such as BOCA and Voices Only. R&B has been nominated for numerous CARAs for its albums, With the Windows Down, Punch a Higher Floor, and House on Fire. Most recently, R&B has released two EPs, Undone (2017) and Fresh Poison (2015), as well as a single, "Bird Set Free" (2019). They also enjoy their  annual fall and spring break trips and frequent social events. 

Tar Heel Voices, established in 1988, is UNC’s oldest co-ed a cappella group. Since its founding, THV has played a pivotal role in Carolina’s music scene. From performing at "Late Night with Roy" as the 2017 National Championship banner was presented to competing in the ICCA, THV continues to leave its musical mark on audiences at UNC and the surrounding area. THV records an album every other year and tours the country annually. Tar Heel Voices is a close group of students and friends, bonded by a passion for music and community. They carry on a tradition of camaraderie and togetherness, remaining 18 hearts, one voice. 

Founded in 2010, The Tarpeggios, known about campus as The Tarps, is UNC Chapel Hill's very own co-ed a cappella group. Though still a relatively new group, The Tarps have developed their own unique music style and have become a distinct part of the Carolina a cappella community. They enjoy singing all around campus and North Carolina at many events, weddings, arts festivals, sporting events, and more. They have just released their newest singles, “Before He Cheats” and “G-Train,” which can be found on Apple Music and Spotify. The Tarpeggios' are excited for theithis upcoming season, including competing here at ICCA and releasing a new EP this spring.

The High Point University Toccatatones is one of the most popular collegiate a cappella groups in the state of North Carolina. The Toccatatones honor the memory of the late Todd Owen Carter, a professor at HPU who passed away in June of 2001. In September of that year, The Toccatatones was founded to carry on his love for contemporary a cappella music and they  have been singing ever since. 

Wolfgang is a co-ed a cappella group at NC State University created to build exceptional musical experiences. They sing a variety of pieces that aim to foster creativity, while building a unified sound and a close-knit dynamic. Their music has been described as powerful, inspiring, and meaningful. They strive to promote personal growth, incite originality, and foster a diverse group of individuals with a common love for music.


GUEST PERFORMER



Forecast is a men's a cappella barbershop quartet that has been singing in the Barbershop Harmony Society since 2014. Mike, Tyler, Travis, and Kevin span from North Carolina to Virginia, and have a unique feel-good repertoire of songs, ranging from traditional early American vocal standards to four-part harmony contemporary hits by Michael Bublé, Big Bad VooDoo Daddy, and The Jive Aces. Forecast was the 2019 1st place Champion of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Harmony Sweepstakes and 2nd place Finalist in the National Harmony Sweepstakes competition. Additional competitive accomplishments include placing as the 2016 M-D Southern Division Champion, 2017 2nd place M-AD District Finalist, and a 2017, 2018, and 2019 Quarterfinalist competitor at the International Barbershop Harmony Society contest. The members of Forecast are excited to share their love of harmony with you! To learn more, follow them at www.ForecastQuartet.com.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Dr. Kevin Badanes is founder and artistic director of the professional vocal jazz octet, Avante. He has been leading a cappella and jazz groups in a three-decade career at the collegiate and professional levels. An active composer and clinician in small-ensemble singing, he is the co-creator of the nationally touring production, “STEM: the Musical.” 

A graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano pedagogy and a concentration in musical theatre, Sarah R. Fowler currently serves as a vocal coach and staff accompanist for the WCU School of Stage & Screen. She also works with the WCU School of Music as the vocal director for their premier vocal and instrumental performing group, Catamount Singers and Electric Soul. She is one of the most sought-after vocal coaches and accompanists in Western North Carolina, having performed at both the Grand Ole Opry and at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. She performs regularly at various professional theatres as a music director and at regional area high schools as a choral accompanist. During her college years, she performed alongside notable opera singers Angela Brown, David Malis, Tonio DiPaolo, and Sherrill Milnes. She has also performed with the United States Army Field Band. Sarah currently resides in Lake Junaluska, N.C. and serves as the Director of Music and Youth Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church in Weaverville where she directs the adult, handbell, and youth choirs as well as the orchestra. She is honored to return to Varsity Vocals for her seventh season as an adjudicator.

Lauren France has been a multifaceted fixture in the a cappella community for the past 12 years, serving as a performer, arranger, choreographer, master class clinician, and taking on various leadership roles. She is passionate about giving back, especially by working with and supporting students and other newcomers to the a cappella world. As a student at Elon University, Lauren sang with Sweet Signatures, went on to sing with the Contemporary A Cappella League’s (CAL) Empire A Cappella in New York City for four years, and currently sings with the semi-professional group VXN. Over the years, Lauren has been exposed to a wide range of a cappella groups, styles, and competitive formats, by attending and assisting with more festivals and competitions that she can count. She believes that these opportunities not only reinforce the realms of what's possible in a cappella, but also helps a cappella experts and super-fans appreciate the dual challenge of creating an innovative set while executing a clean and polished performance. She is excited for tonight’s competitors to rise to this challenge and is thrilled for the opportunity to contribute to the ICCA! 

Kristin LoBiondo is no stranger to the a cappella community. She has worked as the assistant director of events for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), and performed with professional groups, Snowday, Vox Pop, and Jaded. She earned her B.A. in vocal music at Elon University, and has judged the ICCA in North Carolina and Maryland. Kristin is super excited to be judging again, and can't wait to see how the aca-bop has transformed over the years. 

A triangle area native, Freddy Perkins’ love for music emerged at a young age. He began his musical career as a saxophonist, and attended Appalachian State University to study classical saxophone and music therapy. There, Freddy co-founded Enharmonix, a co-ed a cappella group , where he served as the group's president and arranger for three years. In addition to his a cappella background, Freddy has performed in jazz vocal ensembles, musical theatre productions, community choirs, and voice recitals. Since graduating, Freddy has stayed involved in a cappella, recently co-founding Spectrum Vocals, a semi-professional a cappella group, based in the triangle. Freddy is a board-certified music therapist, and uses music to improve socialization, emotional expression, and speech/language with children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank our guest group Forecast, the Carolina Theatre Staff, and Brooks Jordan; 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 South 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