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 WEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Downey Theater
Sunday, February 9th, 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

 

Aerodynamix is a fresh co-ed a cappella group at the University of California Irvine. A majority of the members originated from all-male and all-female groups who wanted to experience the diverse sound of a co-ed group. The founder of Aerodynamix decided to create a new group and they’re proud to contribute to the overall growth of the a cappella community at UCI. 

Circle of Fifths is University of California at Irvine’s signature all-male a cappella group. Since 2005, Circle has been bringing lively performances and energy to the UCI community. A diverse group of students, they all understand the struggles of college and seek to bring reprieve and joy to their community through their music. Circle of Fifths was established in 2005 with its roots in barbershop and rock and has since developed from a club to a group of brothers. With the passage of time, the style of their group has shifted throughout the years and their current style is fresh and contemporary, with a repertoire including R&B, pop, and even EDM. That being said, they are not limited to these specific genres and tend to explore other areas of music. They are now in the group’s 15th generation and they are ready to share their voices with you. 

Clair de Lune A Cappella (CDL) is an all-treble voice a cappella group at the University of California, Irvine. CDL brings together singers from all over the UCI campus with the purpose of performing pieces that promote women’s empowerment. They challenge their members by encouraging them to take on new skills, such as arranging music, sight-reading, and choreography, and they provide a nurturing environment for their performers to foster leadership, build character, and support one another. Clair de Lune was re-founded last year after a three-year hiatus, with a revitalized mission statement and new membership. They have worked hard over the past year to focus their purpose and spread a message of women’s empowerment by arranging and performing pieces such as “Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé, “National Manthem” by Little Mix, “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish, and “Wings” by Little Mix. They have had the privilege to perform at events such as UCI’s Take Back the Night, a large community event focused on awareness and prevention of domestic and sexual abuse, and FirstGen, an event celebrating and providing resources for first-generation college students. 

Dynamix A Cappella is the official competitive a cappella group of Moorpark College! This group was formed in the fall of 2017, and has since grown into a diverse group of passionate singers. The only junior college a cappella group in their area, Dynamix has become well-known and loved by the community. They are now exploring new genres and styles and are excited for many more competition seasons ahead. 

Queercappella is an advocacy a cappella group focusing on LGBT+ representation. They only perform music by queer composers and donate their performance profits to organizations like the Trevor Project, a hotline and organization that saves young queer lives. They aim to spread joy, love, and queer awareness with their music. They hope you have a gay ol' time with them ! If you are struggling, reach out: @Queercappella on instagram is always taking DMs. Trevor lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 

Simply Vocale is an all-treble group from Chapman University and they are so excited to be returning to ICCA this year! Simply Vocale loves tight harmonies, eating lots of carbs, and female empowerment. They spend a lot of time talking about their feelings and complimenting their outfits, as well as rehearsing music. Simply Vocale is so excited to be presenting their 2020 set to the world and they hope it leaves an impression on their audience. 

The ChapTones is one of five a cappella groups at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. First and foremost, they pride themselves on being a family who cares for one another, one that also happens to perform an eclectic mix of chart-toppers and original music around campus and beyond! Since their founding in 2014, they’ve competed in ICCA four times (2020 will be their fifth consecutive year competing), and they’re so excited to share what they’ve created with you. 

Founded in 1994, Uniting Voices is one of UC Irvine’s most competitive a cappella groups. Uniting Voices traditionally leans towards soul and R&B as their main musical genres, but they explore many others including pop and musical theatre. The group has won the Best A Cappella Group titile in UCI’s annual talent show, Soulstice, for the past three consecutive years, claiming this prize a total of four times. In this time frame, they have also been a two-time competitor in the prestigious Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF), and the first group to advance to ICCA Semifinals in UCI aca-history. Their current repertoire includes "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars, "My Mind" by YEBBA, "We Find Love" by Daniel Caesar, and a mashup of "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" and "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane. Inspired by the power of storytelling and diversity, their talent and hard work have taken them far beyond their humble roots. As they reach new heights, Uniting Voices continues to captivate audiences with their diverse strengths and shared passion for creating art through a cappella.

Established in 2009, Vermillion Vocalists, also known as VeVo, is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of California, Irvine dedicated to musical excellence. They are composed of diverse and talented individuals, united with a shared passion, dedication, and love for music-making. They also have diverse tastes in repertoire, ranging from classic hits to today's chart toppers in genres such as pop, hip hop, and R&B. In recent years, they have co-hosted University of California, Irvine's premier a cappella festival, AcaLove, and performed in their school's talent show, Soulstice, winning the a cappella category in both 2012 and 2016, and winning the overall category in 2019. They also competed in the ICCA for the first time in 2019, earning 4th place in their Quarterfinal. 

Vocal Percussion Radio, or VPR for short, isn't your average a cappella group from California State University, Northridge. A bunch of friends in a dorm were spitting wicked tunes from their mouths when they formed the group in 2009, and 10 years later, they’re an ICCA-competing group with goals of  greatness. Specializing in music from any genre, they truly have no limitations, and believe that if it sounds good, they can make it sound better with a cappella! VPR prides itself on being unique and including people from all walks of life, including theatre nerds, fraternity guys, science buffs, and a whole lot of sass. They truly have it all, but their love for music and the bond they share makes them really special. VPR is a family, and they can’t think of any better way to showcase their love for a cappella and one another than returning to the grand stage of the ICCA!


GUEST PERFORMER


Resonance is a co-ed a cappella group founded in 2012 from UCLA that prides itself on content creation and musical excellence. Some of their recent achievements include winning last weekend's 2020 ICCA West Quarterfinal, winning the 2018 ICCA West Quarterfinal, placing 2nd runner up at LAAF 2018, and receiving nominations for Best Live A Cappella Video and Best Live Performance for the 2019 A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs). Aside from competitions, Resonance also performs for many major UCLA events, such as the 2019 Semel Healthy Campus Initiative, where they were given the honor of singing for and meeting renowned Grammy-winning artist Quincy Jones. With a passion for performance and a devotion to their craft, Resonance strives to push the boundaries of a cappella music in innovative and exciting new ways.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Laura Dickinson is a Grammy-winning music producer and Emmy-winning singer best known for her extensive work over the last decade as vocal director and contractor for Disney TV Animation. She is currently vocal contracting and performing recurring roles on “Elena Of Avalor,” “Milo Murphy’s Law,” “Sofia The First,” and “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening’s “Disenchantment.” Film and television credits include over 100 episodes of “Phineas and Ferb,” "Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2," "The Nun," "Sing," "Pitch Perfect," "Pitch Perfect 2," "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," "War for the Planet of the Apes," “The 7D,” “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” “Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero,” “Wander Over Yonder,” “Son of Zorn,” “Billy Dilley’s Super-Duper Subterranean Summer,” “Pickle and Peanut,” “The Last Tycoon,” and “A Christmas Story: Live on Fox.” Laura also serves as Michael Bublé’s vocal contractor, arranger, and background vocal director. Mr. Bublé’s recent Grammy-nominated album, Nobody But Me, includes a featured vocal by Laura and a gospel choir she contracted and directed. Other recording projects include collaborations with Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, and Engelbert Humperdinck. A cappella credits include founding Groove 66 with Deke Sharon, musical and artistic directing Vybration, singing first female voice in m-pact, assistant musical directing Voasis with musical director Greg Jasperse, and singing first soprano in Voices of Liberty under Tony DeRosa’s musical direction.You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @ElsieLaura, so go tag her right now! www.lauradickinson.com 

From 1998-2011, Amy Engelhardt was the sole female vocalist/writer/arranger for Grammy-nominated "band without instruments" The Bobs. Shortly after leaving The Bobs, she made her Off-Broadway debut as composer/lyricist of "Bastard Jones," an Off-Broadway Alliance Best New Musical nominee. Amy recently returned to the world of a cappella in the promotional campaign for Amazon Prime’s "Good Omens," leading a gang of singing Satanic nuns as Mother Superior of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl. Before leading them in red carpet invasions in Hollywood, New York and London, Amy produced their EP, Unholy Night, released on Amazon Music. A frequent judge at the Harmony Sweeps, SingStrong, festivals and competitions across the country, Amy is the only honorary female member of the Vienna Boys Choir. www.amyengelhardt.com 

Bill Hare is a Grammy-winning recording engineer/producer, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella. Over the past 35 years, Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known contemporary a cappella groups around the globe, from The Swingle Singers to The King’s Singers in the U.K., Basix to Vocal Line in Denmark, Italy's Cluster, The Ghost Files, Alti & Bassi and Maybe6ix, German supergroups Wise Guys, Amarcord, and Maybebop, to name just a few, as well as artists from dozens of other countries, from Australia to Zambia. At the same time, he also covers the U.S. from his home base in California, working with top American acts, including The House Jacks,m-pact, Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, The Backbeats, Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys, as well as working on the hit NBC show, “The Sing-Off.” Collegiate a cappella clients include The Tufts Beelzebubs, University of Oregon’s On The Rocks and Divisi, The Stanford Harmonics, and scores of others. Bill’s story was also told in the original book version of “Pitch Perfect,” from which the popular movies were adapted. Bill’s accolades include more than 70 appearances on BOCA, over 100 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations, nearly 40 albums on the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) "Picks of the Year" lists, and 11 "DeeBee" awards since 1987 in the vocal jazz category from Downbeat Magazine. Bill has also had numerous appearances on Billboard, iTunes, and other major charts, Gold and Platinum record certifications around the world, and multiple music awards and nominations. 

Los Angeles-based musician Jeff Smith is best known to a cappella fans for his role as beatboxer/vocalist for the award-winning vocal group, m-pact. Since joining the band in 2004, he has toured all over the world, performing in venues ranging from jazz clubs and festivals to concert halls and opera houses. Outside of m-pact, he is a full-time freelance musician, producer, clinician, and arranger. His voice (and vocal percussion) can be heard on numerous film/TV soundtracks, as well as in countless live performances throughout SoCal and across the U.S. Jeff serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as the commander and conductor of the 300th Army Band in Los Angeles, and he has been a featured vocalist and worship leader at numerous churches in southern California. He works as a performing arts coach for Burbank Public Schools and is music director for West Valley Christian School. In his spare time, Jeff is also a solo recording artist and has several CARA-nominated all-vocal releases on iTunes and other digital music outlets. Jeff lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Heather, son Noah, and new baby girl Sophia. 

A native of Southern California, Christina Wilson is a full-time musician and educator. She performs as part of the Los Angeles-based folk group Honey Whiskey Trio, with a cappella group HIVE, and is part of the latest line up of The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers. Christina is part of the vocal faculty at Hills Music Academy of Music, Art & Dance in Palos Verdes, and is part of Musical Miracles, a nonprofit organization that services the youth of Los Angeles. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Aaron Jung, Jeff Eames, Mai Thurston, and Ian Policarpio; 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 West 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