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

 

Fox Theatre
Saturday, February 22nd, 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

 

Artists in Resonance, casually known on campus as AiR!, is the premier independent co-ed a cappella group based out of the University of California, Berkeley. From their humble beginnings in 1987, they now have 14 amazing performers and perform every Monday at noon underneath Sather Gate on campus. Their repertoire includes self-arranged pieces from every genre, from alternative rock and hip-hop to traditional fight songs and Top 40 hits. During the school year, you can find them singing on Sproul Plaza, but don’t be surprised if you also see them performing around the Bay Area (and all throughout California) for various gigs and events! They have made appearances at the Annual Big Sing-Off (UC Berkeley/Stanford), the California A Cappella Festival (UC Los Angeles), the West Coast A Cappella Showcase (UC Berkeley), and the ICCA. 

Cloud 9 A Cappella is The University of California Santa Cruz’s longest running a cappella group. Founded in 2001, Cloud 9 has helped maintain and grow the expanding a cappella scene at UCSC since the very beginning. With more than five on-campus a cappella groups at UCSC, Cloud 9 is still among the elite few that participates in a cappella showcases and competitions. They are known for their thoughtful and obscure arrangements, from artists such as Anthony Green, Sammy Rae, Walk the Moon, and many more. They also have an unmistakable stage presence and often incorporate themes and costumes into their performances. Cloud 9 prides itself on being a mixed-voice and gender-inclusive group. They have competed in ICCA for most of the time they have been together, consistently participating in Quarterfinals and once making it to Semifinals. 

Drawn to Scale (casually known as DtS) is a co-ed a cappella group at UC Berkeley. Founded in 2008, the group has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary as part of the musical community on campus. DtS boasts an ever-expanding student-arranged repertoire, spanning from contemporary pop to musical theatre to R&B to indie rock. They have appeared at various showcases, local performances across the Bay Area, ICCA, and, of course, weekly performances every Friday at noon under Sather Gate. 

Fortefied is composed of students from Diablo Valley College who seek to improve their musicianship and create smooth harmonies and walls of sound. Brought together by a shared love of making music, they've overcome many challenges in the past several years and they are ready to take the stage with compassion, versatility, and perseverance. Even though the group members come from different backgrounds and musical experience levels, they were naturally able to blend and create strong harmonies. They may be singing pop tunes, but these singers are inspired by all different musical styles and genres. From jazz instrumentalists to beatboxers, there is a lot of talent to pull from. Within months, they have created unity, harmony, and teamwork, and they are ready to hit the ground running. Fortefied is excited to show the audience how they express their love for music. 

The UC Men's Octet is an eight-member a cappella singing group composed of some of the finest male singers at the University of California, Berkeley. Founded in 1948, The Octet has entertained audiences around the world with its unique mesh of close harmonies and zany stage antics. Dazzling fans with a wide repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, contemporary pop, modern alternative, and of course, Cal fight songs, the group has released dozens of recordings over the years. 

The Stanford Mendicants is a group of singers devoted to performing the best songs of today, yesterday, and several decades ago. They pride themselves on their wide range of styles, from gospel and barbershop to original compositions, jazz standards, and contemporary pop. You can see them onstage, serenading in stairwells, or even just breaking out into song around campus. They say that the group originally rehearsed only one song that they performed for the first time one lunchtime in Branner Hall in 1963. As they sang, the hall rang with beautiful music and soon there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. When they finished, there was a tumultuous explosion of applause as undergrads threw themselves at the stunned Mendicants, clamoring for more. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Liquid Hotplates is the hottest a cappella group at UC Davis! They perform unique and eclectic arrangements of songs from artists ranging from Charlie Puth to Bon Iver to Chance The Rapper. They are also the only two-time Semifinalist from Davis at the ICCA. They are excited to be back and competing this year after taking a break to focus on growing as a group. No matter what they do, they put their hearts and souls into their music, and they do it as a family! 

The Spokes is the premier all-female a cappella group at UC Davis. Founded in January 2004 by Camaron Ochs and Jaclyn Fromer, this all-female, all-awesome group is a source of inspiration and empowerment for women and girls all over the West Coast. Just as a bicycle wheel relies on the support of all of its spokes, this group depends on the dedication of each member to achieve their goals and remain one of Northern California's most unique and talented music groups! 


GUEST PERFORMER



UC Berkeley's Dil Se was founded by Arjun Ohri in 2004, and has been Cal's premier South Asian a cappella group ever since. Dil Se combines the melody-based raagas of Hindi film music with the depth and harmonic influences of western music that create a fresh perspective on the tradition of a cappella. The group members bring a wide range of experiences, from years of training in Hindustani and Carnatic music, to western classical and jazz choirs, and even countless mornings of singing in the shower. They aim to entertain audiences with well-rounded performances that emanates Dil Se, "from the heart."

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Adam Blaine has been playing piano since age five. He has covered styles from classical to musical theatre, and has accompanied musicals at all levels, including collegiate, community, and masterclasses with professional Broadway talents. He has been singing since high school and has participated in the Ithaca Gospel Fest twice. His music theory skills came into play from piano, and helped him arrange many songs for his college a cappella group. 

Greg Casper is a professional singer/actor/director/teacher/coach with over 40 years of experience. He has done everything from fronting rock bands to singing in classical chorales, and has performed everything from opera to country, from The Messiah to musical theatre. He has performed as a vocalist on television, radio, stage, and several independent albums, as an actor on numerous stages throughout the Bay Area, as a director with several theatre companies, and as a singer/musician in a number of bands, as well as a solo act, both with instruments and a cappella. He has been singing with The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers, the world’s largest professional a cappella Christmas caroling company, since 1989. He has taught and directed several local and regional choral groups and taught voice and guitar at the Northern California School of Music for four years. As a performance coach, Greg coached the nine-woman a cappella group, Noteworthy (BYU), to a 1st place finish in the 2007 ICCA. He has been a nationally certified adjudicator for the ICCA for over 15 years. 

Evan Linsey is a freelance producer and engineer based in San Francisco. He music-directed The Boston University Treblemakers from 2013-2016, and continues to arrange for the group. Upon graduation, he became a member of Birdland Avenue and produced their four-time Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning album, Come Around. Since February 2017, he's co-hosted the “Head/Voice” podcast with Kayla Pichichero and has led clinics and workshops at festivals and schools around the country. 

Like most a cappella performers, Kali Smith Monma grew up in jazz, concert, and show choirs before graduating to collegiate a cappella with The USC Sirens. With The Sirens, she choreographed numbers for two ICCA seasons, recorded three albums, toured the East Coast twice, and served as group manager for two years. Her first arrangement, "Time Is Running Out," was included on the 2005 BOCA album, and she was nominated for a 2006 CARA for Best Female Collegiate Solo. Kali graduated from USC in 2007 with a degree in theatre and minor in dance and she is currently a working actress in Los Angeles.

Kayla Pichichero is a singer-songwriter with a background in a cappella and passion for vocal-led music. Kayla attended Boston University where she was a member of The BU Treblemakers for four years, contributing both arrangements and competition choreography to the group. In 2017, she co-founded and co-hosted the vocal music podcast “Head/Voice,” for which she has interviewed over 100 guests from around the world. Additionally, she is in the vocal pop band Birdland Avenue and contributed to the band’s four-time CARA-winning album, Come Around

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank our emcee, Aaron Jung (follow on Instagram @aaronj_official), our guest performance group, UC Berkeley's Dil Se, our sound engineer, Jeff Eames from Clarus, LLC, our volunteers, Grace Jackson and Chris Rishel, and to the staff of the Fox Theater - especially Ernie, Michelle, Nigel, and Perry; 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