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

 

University High School
Saturday, February 1st, 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

 

Phoenyx is a co-ed, contemporary a cappella group from the University of Miami. The group was founded in 2016 and they have been performing, competing, and making music together ever since! This 14-member a cappella group performs songs from a wide variety of genres. 

Florida State University's premier a cappella group, All-Night Yahtzee, started over 20 years ago. They have since evolved into one of the most noted groups in the nation. Competitively, Yahtzee has advanced to the Final round at the ICCA, received recognition at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC), placed at the Boston Sings A Cappella Festival (BOSS), and performed as a showcase group at the Betsy A Cappella Festival. Yahtzee has also recently released an album, a live EP, and several music videos. In the past two decades, All-Night Yahtzee has changed dramatically, each year growing and evolving. However, their members continue to promote the ideals Yahtzee has always reflected - confidence, fun, and power. 

Vox is one of Florida State’s first self-proclaimed all-inclusive multi-gender a cappella group! Founded in 2012 and rebranded in 2017, this diverse group rehearses, performs, competes, attends conferences, and records music. Vox is dedicated to showcasing each member’s unique strengths and maintaining an encouraging atmosphere. This group was created to provide aspiring musicians with a musical outlet on FSU’s campus. Vox is proud to have been 2019 ICCA Semifinalists and to be producing their first EP! 

The Acaphiliacs is an all-gender a cappella group from Florida State University that was founded in 2010. With an emphasis on both community and competition, the group members record and perform professionally, while cultivating an exciting, driven, and friendship-filled environment! While eclectic, their musical style is versatile and anything but boring! To commemorate their 10-year anniversary, they plan to record a full-length album that will come out this spring! 

The Sedoctaves is the University of Florida’s premier all-female a cappella group. Founded in 2005, the group strives to gather all of the finest female powerhouses at UF and maintain an a cappella group of the highest quality. Today, this diverse and fierce group of women continues to share their love for singing and performing, as well as their tight-knit sisterhood with one another and the community. 

No Southern Accent is the all-gender, competitive, and award-winning a cappella group founded at the University of Florida in 2001. The group is composed of 14 members of all different ages and majors, but the group connects over their common passion for music. They perform songs that they feel genuinely connect them to their audience, with a varied repertoire of pop, rock, indie, soul, and more. Time separates the different eras of No Southern Accent, but family is the overarching theme of their legacy. No matter the occasion, they commit our bonds and emotional depth to every performance. In addition, they strive to choose music that reflects the diversity of people in their group and society. They had the opportunity to showcase this music on their recently released album, Permanent Address, available now on all streaming platforms. The alum encompasses four years of hard work and they are incredibly proud to share it with everyone. 

Standing Room Only is the University of Florida’s premier jazz a cappella group. Their repertoire consists of popular songs that are turned into jazz fusion arrangements, as well as classic jazz standards that they perform for the University of Florida and Gainesville communities. They strive to educate their members in ways that broaden their musical proficiency in vocal jazz, while honing their leadership and teamwork skills during rehearsal. Throughout the school year, they perform at school events and local businesses, and put on several campus concerts that are open to the public. They also attend vocal festivals throughout the year in order to educate themselves about the a cappella world, increase their appreciation for the art of a cappella, and use that knowledge to enhance the group’s sound. They hope that their unique style allows audience members to appreciate what jazz can offer to a cappella music. 

The University of Central Florida's only all-female a cappella group, KeyHarmony, was founded in the fall of 2009. Donning their signature combat boots and purple laces, KeyHarmony has overcome many obstacles over the years that have made them stronger than ever. KeyHarmony has released two amazing EPs, Uncaged and War Without Weapons, and most recently released their 2019 single, "River" by Bishop Briggs, all out on Apple Music and Spotify! At the very core of this group, KeyHarmony is a group of ladies who love creating music and putting on unforgettable performances. More than just an a cappella group, KeyHarmony is a sisterhood that genuinly cares for one another, embracing the diversity that each member brings. Their music and passion for the art stems from an understanding of the challenges women face. They strive to create thought-provoking and honest music that impacts and celebrates all audiences. 

Hailing from Orlando, Fla., Gemini Blvd. is the University of Central Florida's first co-ed a cappella group. Gemini Blvd. embraces the individuality of each of its members, which contributes to their unique style as a group of talented singers with a mutual passion for music. 

Mixed Mode is a mixed a cappella ensemble hailing from the University of Central Florida founded in 2015 and based in Orlando, Fla. Mixed Mode entered the a cappella scene with a mission to create music that causes a visceral reaction within the audience. That feeling of music hitting you right where you need it most is what Mixed Mode is all about. Over the years, Mixed Mode has been able to come together as a family of musicians who put their passion for music and artistry into every performance. Mixed Mode has made multiple award-winning appearances at various competitions and festivals over the years, including placing 3rd at the 2018 ICCA South Semifinals, competing in multiple SoJam festivals, the 2019 Boston Sings festival, as well as appearing on the 2019 BOCA and NACC compilation albums. In 2019, Mixed Mode released their debut full-length studio album, Blossom. Mixed Mode hopes that their music moves you and that you share it with everyone you know. They are not your garden-variety college group. They are always looking to push the boundaries of what the human voice can do.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

After winning the ICHSA championship title in 2010 with Limited Edition, Brian Brammer went on to earn his B.M. in commercial vocal performance from Belmont University. Brian has been performing professionally in the United States and Europe for nearly a decade, including work on cruise ships, regional premieres in New York City, and in the Orlando Fringe Festival. Currently, Brian plays the role of Crush in “Finding Nemo the Musical” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Brian has studied jazz music with many renowned directors and arrangers in the industry, including Steve Zegree, Kirby Shaw, and Sandra Dudley. 

Alex Pollard is a graduate of The Florida State University with a B.M.E. and an M.M.E. in choral music education. Currently, he is the Choral Director at Boone High School in Orlando, conducting six choirs, as well as Vocality, Boone’s first-ever competitive a cappella group. At FSU, he began his a cappella career in the all-male a cappella group, Reverb. After college, he became a member of the Festival Singers of Florida, performing all over Florida in a choir mostly made up of music educators. Alex also has sung with the Voices of Liberty at Walt Disney World. 

Hollie Pratt serves as Associate Director of Choral Activities at Winter Park High School. She conducts Belle Chanson, concert choir, women’s chorale, Cantabile, and the freshman treble chorus, working with over 200 students. This is her fourth year teaching at Winter Park High School, from where she is an alumna. Hollie received a Bachelor of Music in music education from Brigham Young University in Utah. At BYU, she performed internationally with the Brigham Young University Singers and the treble a cappella group, Noteworthy. Hollie also served as an assistant conductor of the BYU University Chorale. At Winter Park, Hollie’s choirs have earned superior ratings at FVA Music Performance Assessment in both stage performance and sight-reading. Her students are frequently members of All-State and All-County honors choirs. In 2019, Hollie conducted Belle Chanson at the fall conference of the Florida American Choral Directors Association. Hollie is an active performer and founding member of Orlando Choral Society’s mixed ensemble, Voci del Cuore. She is a member of ACDA, FMEA, FVA, and NAfME. 

Kevin Trapasso has spent the last 10 years preparing, competing, and judging for ICCA and ICHSA. While majoring in choral music education at Arizona State University, he helped found the school’s first all-male a cappella group, created an annual statewide a cappella festival, and eventually led this group to a Quarterfinal win in his senior year. Since then, he moved to Florida and earned a master’s degree in choral conducting. He currently teaches chorus for grades 6-12 in Polk County, and is a member of The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. He is so pleased to judge the very competition that helped him grow tremendously as a musician and educator and looks forward to a great night of music!

Kennen Wedge
’s a cappella experience began in 2015 when he was admitted as a bass and vocal percussionist to the prestigious summer program A Cappella Academy. His career continued in music education, serving as an assistant choral director and leading a cappella workshops for various middle and high schools. Kennen has toured and performed internationally with a cappella quintet, Evoc, and The Festival Singers of Florida. Kennen is an accomplished arranger, a private instructor for piano, voice, and vocal percussion, as well as a full-time vocal percussionist and bass for “Sing It” at Universal Studios. He also performs as a tenor and vocal percussionist in the Harry Potter a cappella show at Universal. You can also find him singing bass in the barbershop group, Ragtime Gals, in Jimmy Fallon’s “Race Through New York.” 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Alex Mendez; 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