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

 

Scottsdale Center for Peforming Arts
Sunday, February 2nd, 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

 

Harmonic Thunder is a competitive a cappella group representing Grand Canyon University. GCU has always had a community of students with a passion for a cappella and this team of excellent singers and arrangers finally came together to make a group. They strive for music excellence and competitive participation, and find that a cappella helps them achieve freedom of expression, joy, and the opportunity to shine a light for Jesus Christ. They are honored to join so many other prestigious groups in this year’s ICCA. 

Law Cappella is a co-ed a cappella group at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The group was founded in fall 2017 and each member is pursuing a juris doctor. You may be wondering how a bunch of law students have time to do school and a cappella. All they have to say is, "What, like it's hard?" While not all of them are Gemini vegetarians, they do all feel comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life. You'll never catch them in last season's Prada shoes, but they always make sure to be nicely scented. It gives them a little something extra, don't you think? They hope their performance will give the judges endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't give bad scores. They just don't. But if for some reason they get a bad score, they object! 

The TEMPEtations began as a humble endeavor to spread their love of music and start the first co-ed group at ASU. Since then, they have grown into a well-known organization that performs at prestigious events around ASU and Arizona. They have competed in the ICCA for four years, earning 1st place and Outstanding Arrangement in the 2018 Southwest Quarterfinals. All of The TEMPEtations’ music is arranged by the members of the group and their repertoire includes a range of classic and contemporary pieces. They hope to continue to share their love of music with all of you! 

The Devil Clefs is a co-ed a cappella group of Arizona State University dedicated to cultivating a strong sound and building a fun and caring musical community. As one of the newest a cappella groups on campus, they are committed to growing each year and establishing themselves within the local music community. The group members come from all different backgrounds and study many different majors, but their differences bring them together as a family. They sing music that inspires them, regardless of the genre. They aim to be authentic to themselves and show the world who The Devil Clefs really are! 

Priority Male started in the fall of 2009 when four college students decided to fill Arizona State University's void of an all-male a cappella group. Today, the group consists of 15 members who come from all walks of life. In just a short decade, Priority Male has managed to make itself a household name by performing at various events and parties around ASU, Arizona, and California. Additionally, they are the ASU Hall of Fame Entertainer of the Year 2011, and were the Champions of their 2013 ICCA Quarterfinal. All of the musical arrangements are done by members of the group and feature a variety of musical styles, ranging from Maroon 5 to The Beatles to Usher. In 2019, they released their third album on iTunes and Spotify, Threemail, and they are currently in the process of funding their next album! This group of fun-loving guys is sure to pluck your heartstrings and make you laugh until you cry with their wonderful a cappella music! 

Established in 1992, The ASU Pitchforks are going on their 27th year as the premier group at Arizona State University and in all of Arizona! This girl gang stands for female empowerment and diversity, including ladies from a wide variety of majors and all walks of life, making this group a unique hub for everyone to come together and sing. These ladies span all voice parts, from soprano to lady-bass. This allows members to explore and expand their ranges as they grow and flourish in the group. The Pitchforks sing music from all different genres, from pop and rock to jazz and alternative, and even classical music. The ASU Pitchforks are proud to house a friendly environment that fosters lifelong friendships and encourages each member’s musical and personal growth. They push one another to be not only the best musicians that they can be (whatever that may look like to you), but the overall best versions of themselves. Music is an escape for them, providing a welcome stress reliever and a place to be their true selves and do what they love. 

Noteriety A Cappella is the premier co-ed a cappella group hailing from the University of Arizona! Founded in the fall of 2009, this group allows University of Arizona students to pursue their passion for learning and performing a cappella music. They love providing musical services to their campus and Tucson community, as well as others throughout the state of Arizona! Noteriety is proud of their accomplishments of the past few years, including the release of their first album, Resilience, which is available on iTunes and Spotify. Noteriety has received several other wonderful accolades, including ICCA awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, and 1st place in their Southwest Quarterfinal. The group has also been featured in The Daily Wildcat and they perform on campus for the Freshmen Convocation, events for the Residence Hall Association, and other UA clubs. 

Amplified has a strong base within the University of Arizona community, having performed for a variety of Housing and Residential Life Programs, such as Highland Rocks the Block, Diva La Paz, Cochava, Espresso Yourself, CarniVida, the Nova Home Loans Bowl, and more. Friendship forms the core of this group and has created a beloved Ampli-family. Between all of their responsibilities, from balancing jobs, academics, extracurriculars, internships, and preparing for life beyond the university, they always find time to come together and share their talent, skill, and creativity. In addition to rehearsals and performances, they also love their pancake breakfasts and wonderful time out in the woods, Camplified. Together, they and their sound are Amplified. 

Founded in 2013, Enharmonics A Cappella is an all-treble, gender-inclusive, a cappella group from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. They specialize in pop and jazz arrangements from hits such as "Independent Women" by Destiny's Child, Alessia Cara's "Here," and more! As undergraduate students, the group is focused on musical collaboration and creating lasting friendships. For them, a cappella is an opportunity to get away from the stresses of college life. They pride themselves in knowing that their group accepts all types of people. No matter what type of labels they may have outside of the group, as long as they sing in the treble clef, they are part of the family. While they may be one of the younger groups on the University of Arizona campus, Enharmonics A Cappella has performed four times at ICCA. They are always trying to improve their musicianship and love any opportunities to perform. They perform at various events around the Tucson area. They are perpetually working to build their repertoire and continuing to grow. 

CatCall a Cappella is the University of Arizona's first a cappella group, as well as the first male collegiate a cappella group in Arizona. This year’s  group of 16 guys love to make amazing music together and have a ton of fun while doing it. Founded in 2008, they have always been proud to have fun and energetic performances with engaging soloists and song selections. The group works a multitude of gigs throughout the year, ranging from community outreach to high school talent shows and singing inside sororities! ICCA is the pinnacle of their year when they have perfected all of their songs, and while they may not all be the best dancers before rehearsal, long hours of body roll practices get them right where they need to be by performance time.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Courtney Evans is the director of choral activities at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, where she directs all four choirs and assists in directing the musical. Courtney is a founding member of the award-winning a cappella group Unaccompanied, with whom she has recorded professionally and performed internationally. As a soloist, she has placed first in NATS vocal competitions at the state and regional level. This past July, she was a resident artist for the Ad Astra Music Festival in Kansas. She currently sings with the professional choir Canto Vivo Chorale and is part of a new vocal jazz group in Phoenix. She is also a choreographer for high school show choirs and a cappella groups across the country. Courtney has presented at various conferences, music camps, and a cappella festivals, leading workshops on competition preparation, student leadership, vocal technique, arranging, and vocal percussion. Courtney graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in music education from Northern Arizona University. 

Darren Herring has worked professionally throughout the United States and Europe in both opera and musical theatre. He holds a Bachelor of Music in performance (Murray State University) and Master of Arts in historical musicology (University of Edinburgh, Scotland). While abroad, he participated in several BBC broadcasts and recordings. Since returning to the United States, Darren has continued his performing and composing careers in both church and classical music. He currently works as an Account Executive for Faith Journeys, a religious pilgrimage tour company, and is on the music staff at All Saints Episcopal Church in Phoenix. Darren is a sought-after clinician, director, and composer. He has judged many years for ICCA in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Arizona. 

A graduate of Westminster Choir College, Billy Mattison was involved in the collegiate a cappella scene throughout his college years with The Deaftones, twice making it to the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinals. He has degrees in music education and sacred music from Westminster, Notre Dame (Go Irish!), and is currently pursuing a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Arizona (Bear Down!). Billy plays the organ and piano and has been arranging music since he could hold a pencil. He particularly loves seeing the joy on people’s faces as they connect with music that’s customized for their group. He is currently in his third year of teaching at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson where he directs 114 of the nation’s finest teen singers. He would like to thank his students, past and present, for their unwavering support of the choral arts! 

Lori Simmons has a B.A. in voice performance and an M.A. in education, and has been directing student music groups for over 20 years. She is a highly lauded soprano, most recently serving as a vocalist for the Arizona Bach Festival and section leader for All Saints Episcopal church on their tours of German, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Canada. She currently is the general music and chorus teacher for Sierra Verde STEAM Academy. 

Nason Werth has been known to travel the country for a good a cappella show, and currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz. Originally from the great state of Michigan, Nason studied vocal performance at Michigan State University, where he served as music director and bass with MSU’s first co-ed a cappella group and ICCA fixture, Capital Green. He gained broad ensemble experience as a student with the university chorale, chamber choir, jazz octet, and section leader in the Okemos Presbyterian Church. Nason relocated to the Mid-Atlantic after college and has performed with the Handel Choir of Baltimore and the Bach in Baltimore ensembles. He currently serves as a nominator and judge for the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs) and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and is looking forward to a great show!

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 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