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 SOUTHWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Coronado High School
Saturday, February 29th, 2020

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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

 

Daughters of Triton is the premier female-identifying a cappella group at UC San Diego. Founded in 2000, The DOTs is a diverse group of individuals who work together not only to create music, but also an environment where ideas can be shared and bonds can be made. They believe in the power of women and music. Constantly in search of new boundaries to push, they do not apologize for breaking the rules of all-female a cappella. They sing bass. They rap. They have a sense of humor. They may solo like Beyoncé, but they can break out of that diva stereotype in an instant. Every woman has a voice and every DOT amplifies it. Every group loves to sing, but for The DOTs, it’s a matter of identity. 

UCSD’s co-ed a cappella group, Duly Noted, was founded in 2012 and has been rapidly growing ever since! The group members share a love for singing, as well as for one another. Their dedication to both has led them to perform upwards of 30-40 arrangements written by group members, host two to three of their own concerts per academic year, and compete at the ICCA. This spirited group of people works hard to achieve their common goals, while devoting time towards their individual passions and studies. Duly Noted students and alumni go on to become successful programmers at Smule, financial analysts in SF, artists at AX, double majors, activists in their community, and medical students. As a family of singers, they spend just as much time devoted to hanging out, having fun, and supporting one another as they do honing their skills as an ensemble. 

Founded in 2012, SoundWave became the first and only co-ed a cappella group of San Diego State University. SoundWave frequently performs at SDSU alumni events, basketball games, and other campus events. In 2016, SoundWave competed alongside some of the best a cappella groups at the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF). These students pursue a wide range of majors, including communication, engineering, economics, psychology, and music/production. You can find SoundWave rehearsing twice a week in the SDSU Music Building or even in a group member’s garage. When they’re not at rehearsal, you can find them getting together and jamming out with a guitar and some karaoke. They not only focus on the group’s sound, but also on their bond as a family and nurturing the group as their home away from home. SoundWave’s goal is to splash the audience with a wave of sound in the musical form of all the best guilty pleasure songs from the past, present, and future. Get ready for a wild ride of sound! 

Based in La Jolla, The Beat at UCSD works hard to play hard. As one of many co-ed a cappella groups, The Beat prides itself on its members close-knit ties to one another and their a cappella community. This group of talented and diverse singers was originally brought together in 2004, driven by their passion for music. Now in its 15th year, The Beat has had the privilege of performing at numerous events, including weddings, museums, San Diego community events, various campus events, and the ICCA. They placed 1st in their 2014 Quarterfinal in 2014, advancing the West Semifinals that season, and placed 3rd in 2015, also taking home several awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Arrangement. The Beat also hosts a concert every quarter to showcase new music, and their last concert of each year serves as a showcase of all the music they’ve prepared throughout the year! They push themselves to grow as musicians and performers, which only makes them stronger as a whole. The Beat family may ebb and flow with graduating classes, but their love for the music will always stay. 

The Tritones was established in 1996 as the first a cappella group at UC San Diego. This group represents a diverse microcosm of the UCSD student body, with members involved in student council, Circle K, Greek life, KASA, regents and honors societies, NCAA athletics, and lab positions across campus departments. The group performs at many local events each year, including the International Rotary Convention, San Diego Huntsman Cancer Research Gala, and the Non-Volatile Memory National Workshop, and has shared the stage with renowned performers, including Taylor Swift, Far East Movement, and Imogen Heap. In the past few years, they’ve also released two singles, “Hotline Bling” and “Jealous.” Check them out on Spotify and Apple Music!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Natalie Moran Clegg, a native Southern Californian, is best known for her vocal quality, comedic character roles, and her musical and theatrical dedication. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and studied at Oxford University. As a student at USC, she co-founded The Los Angeles Muses, an all-female Andrews Sisters a cappella trio, with fellow Thornton music students and performed at the Staples Center, for NBA opening ceremonies, and at Disney for over 10 years. In 2018, she began the San Diego chapter of the ensemble and performs with them throughout San Diego County. A supporter of new works, Natalie performed in the world premiere of Disney Theatrical Productions’ “Hunchback of Notre Dame” at La Jolla Playhouse and originated roles in several contemporary opera productions. She has performed with numerous companies, including L.A. Opera, San Diego Opera, Riverside Lyric Opera, and more. She has also participated in opera programs such as the Tyrolean Opera Program in Maurach am Achensee (Austria), the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo (Italy), Riverside Opera Program, and the L.A. Vocal Lab in Los Angeles.  Natalie has also been caroling professionally for the past 20 years and has worked as a cantor at numerous churches. She has also performed with San Diego's go-to choral ensemble SACRA/PROFANA since 2012 and served as a chorister and mentor for Folklore Guild, a San Diego-based ensemble. Natalie now also does studio work for tv/radio commercials. www.nataliemoranclegg.com 

Josh Huls is an arranger, composer, and music director originally from Grand Island, Neb. While studying music education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he sang with and directed The UNL Bathtub Dogs. Since graduation, he has been working full-time as an arranger/composer for a variety of musical groups in California, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and New York. Best of luck to all the competitors today. May the aca-Gods be with you. 

Soprano Tasha Koontz lives in San Diego, Calif. She frequently sings with the San Diego Opera, including the roles of Annina in “La Traviata” and Edith in “Pirates of Penzance,” and will be appearing as Frasquita in “Carmen” and High Priestess in “Aida.” Tasha will also be singing that same role in “Aida” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Riccardo Muti in June 2019. As the 2017 1st place winner in the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Young Artist Competition, Tasha was featured as the soprano soloist in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 that season. Tasha made her debut with the San Diego Symphony in their Beyond the Score concert with Maestro Jeffrey Kahane. Tasha has been a Regional Finalist at the MONC Western Regional Competition in Los Angeles and a Finalist in the 2017 Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition in New York City. Tasha holds a Master of Music in voice performance from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from Northwestern University. At Northwestern, Tasha was the high soprano and music director for Purple Haze, a co-ed group that competed twice at ICCA Finals during her tenure and garnered multiple recording awards. Her operatic performance highlights include the title role in Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Alice Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff,” Donna Anna in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Countess in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” www.tashakoontz.com 

Hailing from San Diego, Calif., Mai Thurston has been a die-hard a cappella enthusiast ever since she joined UCLA's Resonance in 2014. She quickly rose to become a leading member in Resonance and helped guide the group through their first ICCA season in 2017 in which they earned 2nd place at Quarterfinals and 3rd place at Semifinals. With a growing passion for competitive a cappella, Mai continued to mentor Resonance as an alumna through their subsequent competitions. In her post-collegiate musical career, Mai has competed at Carnegie Hall as a two-time Varsity Vocals Open Finalist with COLLAB in 2018 and Seconds Apart in 2019. She currently helps manage Seconds Apart’s activities and is excited for the group’s future beyond the competitive world of a cappella.

Rachel Zumberge has a strong and varied background in performance, direction, and instruction of vocal and instrumental music. She currently serves as music director for two groups: The Over Tones A Cappella, a multi-generational a cappella group in the San Fernando Valley she founded in 2015, and Premiere A Cappella, an all-female a cappella group based in the Los Angeles area. While attending Lincoln High School, a performing arts magnet school, Rachel served as Concertmistress for the Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble and performed with Lincoln’s elite vocal a cappella jazz ensemble, winning many performance awards in orchestral and vocal ensemble competitions throughout the United States. Rachel went on to study violin performance the University of California, Santa Cruz, under Roy Milan, concertmaster of the SF Ballet, and has been a first violinist with the San Fernando Valley Symphony. She was a violin instructor for several years at Cazadero Performing Arts, led its All-Camp Choir l Program in 2010, and was its guest conductor in 2012. As music director for All About Theater in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley Performing Arts Company, Rachel directed adults, teens, and children in many musical theatre productions. She has performed as a freelance violinist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and from 2008-2012, she ran a private studio in San Jose where she taught voice, violin, music theory, and piano lessons. Rachel was also a music teacher at East Palo Alto Academy, RJ Fisher Middle School, and Lincoln 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 placing group will advance to the 2020 ICCA Southwest 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