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

 

University of Texas at Austin
Saturday, February 8th, 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 TODAY'S SHOW

 

The performance order was determined by random draw earlier today and will be announced from stage.        

Today'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.

TODAY'S COMPETITORS

 

Empire A Cappella is a first year co-ed a cappella group from Texas Tech University. Their goal as an ensemble is to spread joy around the Lubbock and a cappella communities. They believe that music is about being part of something bigger than yourself and they would love to share their talents and message at ICCA. They understand the challenges of communicating in the world today and would love to build an empire full of love, positivity, and connection through music . 

Fuse A Cappella was established as a student organization at the University of Texas at Austin in the spring semester of 2014. It was founded to unite a focused group of students across all majors, hometowns, and backgrounds, with a shared love of singing. This group allows all types of students to continue making music throughout their university careers. This remains its purpose, but it has since evolved into a selective, co-ed, collegiate a cappella group that competes, serves its community, and performs on and off campus. 

Here Comes Treble is Texas Christian University's all-female a cappella group. Founded in 2015, they strive to bring together college women who have a passion for music and a joy for singing. Their members are from all over the country, but are all connected through a shared love for music and one another. This group has become a family and every weekly practice is a time for laughs, voice cracks, and fun. You can find them on campus at TCU sporting events, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and their concerts every semester. Follow them on social media @herecomestreble.

Noteworthy is a co-ed a cappella group at The University of Texas at Austin founded in 2014. Over the years, Noteworthy has contributed to campus life and the Austin community through performances for charity and campus events. Their causes include Abandoned Little Angels and Voices Against Violence. More recently, the group started entering into local competitions, which has generated more exposure and performance opportunities. In the spring of 2019, Noteworthy competed for a grand prize of $1500 in a prestigious talent show at UT, founded in the 1950s. Since then, the group has appeared on the radio and were included in a press release. Noteworthy presents an eclectic sound, bridging genres with their original arrangements. Members range from those with over 15 years of musical experience to those who have never read sheet music. They make sure that every voice is heard and each member is valued in this diverse group. With a renewed focus and energy, Noteworthy looks forward to expanding their reach beyond Austin in 2020. 

OneSound is from Collin County Community College, a two-year school located in Plano, Texas with over 50,000 students enrolled in one of its four campuses. OneSound is proud to be the only a cappella group on campus and is directed by Professor Kathy Morgan, who has been a full-time music professor at Collin since 2000. The group is an audition-only class (instead of a club) and is open to both music majors and non-majors. The singers in the group often arrange their music in class rather than from printed charts. The small size of the group allows each singer to be featured, creating a unique, one-on-a-part sound that sets them apart from many of the larger a cappella groups. Their small size also lends itself to their unique look, which allows individual personalities to shine. This year’s OneSound is composed of 10 singers, plus their bass and beatboxer. The group performs in the community and on campus and are often invited to perform with other professional groups in the area. OneSound has participated in ICCA for the past three years and are excited to be back on the ICCA stage! 

Based out of Arlington, Texas, RISE has put The University of Texas at Arlington on the map for collegiate a cappella. RISE is a co-ed, premier pop and R&B a cappella group and brings in the party atmosphere to all of their competitions! The group is composed of multi-degree and multicultural members, from majors including engineering, psychology, business, and music education. Caleb Moore, the ICCA and AcaOpen award-winning arranger, was the founder of RISE back in 2016. In the three short years since, RISE has been heard on Patti LaBelle's 2017 Christmas album, performed on WFAA (ABC News channel) twice, and featured in a national Cheerios commercial for the Good Goes Around campaign. RISE was also graced with the opportunity to sing at the iconic Beacon Theatre and Carnegie Hall for the 2018 ICCA Finals and the 2018 AcaOpen Finals, ranking in the top four collegiate groups in the world that season. RISE also released their first EP, On The Rise, back in 2018, which can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify! After what RISE has been able to accomplish within just three years, these singers cannot wait to see what else is in store for the group! 

Purple Pitches is Stephen F. Austin State University’s first and only contemporary  a cappella group! They were established in 2017 by James Syler and Kollynn Tucker with a goal to bring a cappella to Nacogdoches, Texas. The group founders are alums of PFC and Madison Avenue, past ICHSA competitors located in San Antonio. They sing at gigs around campus and hold annual concerts. The group dedicates about four hours a week to rehearsals and sings all genres of music. The group consists of students with various majors, such as music education, history, animal science, sound recording technology, hospitality, psychology, theatre, kinesiology, and biology! They are a very dedicated group of hard-working singers that have loads of fun while they learn music and choreography. 


GUEST PERFORMER


PFC is from MacArthur High School in San Antonio. Under the direction of Matt Woodward and Anna Gann, they are the 2011 ICHSA National Champions and 2012, 2016, and 2019 ICHSA Finalists. They have enjoyed the opportunity to open for a cappella groups including Clearly Vocal, Overboard, Delilah, Arora, Dcappella, and the Swingle Singers. Over the past several years, PFC has been a featured entertainment at TEDxYouth@Austin, served twice as host group and performers at the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA)-sponsored Texas A Cappella Celebration (TAC), served as the host group for the South Texas A Cappella Camp and Talent Overload (STACCATO), and served as emcees and featured entertainment at the ICCA Southwest Quarterfinal. In 2019, they professionally recorded a song and music, "High Hopes," that was retweeted and shared by the original artist, Panic! at the Disco. Currently, "High Hopes" has over 250K views on YouTube and Facebook and has been nominated for Best High School Video by the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs). Finally, PFC hopes you will go vote this election year. Their collective future literally depends on it.

TODAY'S JUDGES

 

Anna Gann has been a high school choir director and private voice teacher for 15 years. She has served as head of all music in Big Spring Independent School District in Texas, choir director for the Big Spring High School choir,and head choir director of both East Central High School and Edgewood Fine Arts Academy. She has a degree in vocal performance from Lubbock Christian University and an M.S. in music/choral conducting from UTSA. She was involved in a cappella groups during college, including Sweet Adelines. Anna is a frequent adjudicator for Texas UIL competitions, as well as ICHSA. Professional memberships include TMEA, TCDA, ACDA, and TMAA. 

Tyler Knowles began playing instruments at an early age, but didn't discover his voice as an instrument until he fell in love with a performance featuring UW-Madison's premier men's a cappella group, The MadHatters. He auditioned for the group, and learned he had a knack for singing really, really low. Tyler sang with The MadHatters from 2002-2005, competing in and hosting ICCA during that time. After college, he sang professionally in the a cappella quartet, The Traveling Sailsmen, on the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, cruising from Alaska down to the Horn of South America and numerous ports in between. 

Greg Rowsey has been involved with music since his youth, studying classical piano, theory, and singing in all-state choir. He matriculated to Washington University in St Louis, where he sang with the all-male group The Stereotypes, and served as assistant music director, choreographer, and arranger for the group. He also has performed with, led, and competed with a professional barbershop group. While he now works full time as a Discover Debit marketing associate for Discover Financial Services in Houston, Texas, he still will occasionally answer to his Stereotype nickname, Mr. Sassy. 

Sue Schreiner received her B.A. and M.A. in vocal music performance from California State University-Northridge. After graduation, she served as a member of the Los Angeles Opera Company, performed as a featured soprano soloist with various symphonies and choruses throughout the country, and sang the national anthem for several professional sports teams including the New England Patriots and the Portland Trailblazers. She has taught vocal music students at both the university and the high school levels for the past 40 years until her retirement in 2016. Sue founded and directed the contemporary a cappella group, Soul’d Out, at Wilsonville High School in Oregon in 2007. Since then, the group has enjoyed great success, winning the Northwest ICHSA Semifinal in 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2018. They placed 2nd at ICHSA Finals in 2011, and were chosen to be the only high school group to perform on season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Sue has been a certified judge of a cappella, as well as state high school and college choir competitions, since 2008. She has judged and coached a cappella competitions throughout the Northwest, prior to moving to the Austin area in 2016. Sue loves Texas and she loves a cappella. 

Erin Yousef has been singing since she could talk. She studied piano pedagogy and sang in ensembles at Baylor University, studied music and voice at UT-Austin, and received her M.Mus. in musicology from King’s College London. Erin currently directs, arranges for, and sings with The Austonettes, a contemporary a cappella group based in Austin, Texas. She sings in Chorus Austin, Conspirare Symphonic Choir, the Diocesan Choir of Austin, and the St. Ignatius Mass Choir, where she also cantors. She is also on the roster of Inversion Ensemble, a choral collective made up of composers and singers formed to give voice to innovative choral works and to encourage the creation of new music. 

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