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

 

Pomona College
Saturday, February 1st, 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

 

A performance-based co-ed group at UCLA, AweChords strives to share their passion for music with the people in the UCLA campus, as well as the surrounding local community. Their repertoire ranges from pop to rock to showtunes, and they are constantly working on new pieces to share with their audiences. Their arrangements are all original and done in-house by their very own members. Above all, AweChords is a home away from home. They aim to create lifelong bonds that will last years after they have finished their last annual performance and support the group as it thrives and evolves in ways beyond making music. 

In the spring of 2009, a relatively unknown a cappella ensemble from Mt. San Antonio College walked into a theater in Midtown Manhattan and shocked the collegiate a cappella community by becoming the first community college to win ICCA Finals. It also marked the second time that Fermata Nowhere had made it to the Finals after making their first trip in 2004, finishing in 2nd place. Since their 2009 Finals win, Fermata Nowhere has performed for audiences across the continent, singing everything from eight-part Renaissance motets to barbershop to rock to hip hop. Several former members of this ensemble have gone on to sing in professional a cappella ensembles, including Avi Kaplan of the Pentatonix and four members of the award-winning Filharmonic. 

Pitch, Please! was founded in the winter of 2017 and is a co-ed competitive a cappella group at UCLA. Their music varies widely from indie ballads to upbeat Little Mix hits, some of which are arranged by their very own members. In 2018, they released their first single, "My Heart With You" (opb. The Rescues). Their passion for a cappella has driven them to strive for bigger and better things. Just last year, the group competed in ICCA, released a music video, and recorded an album, Made To Fly (now available on major streaming sites!), for the very first time. They love sharing their music with others and hope to continue performing, competing, and releasing music in the future. Catch them jamming live or rehearsing outdoors on the UCLA campus! 

Random Voices (RV) is UCLA’s premier all-female a cappella group and the second-oldest a cappella group on campus, founded in 1999. The group currently boasts 18 talented ladies and just celebrated its twentieth year in existence. The group aims to spread the art of collegiate a cappella with UCLA and its surrounding communities, all while developing their musical and performance style and nurturing their passion for singing. Over the past 20 years, RV has been a prominent symbol of girl power in the UCLA a cappella community, performing at events such as Ms. Carol Block’s Women in Power and Leadership Luncheon, basketball games, farmers markets, and Welcome to Bruin Life. RV has won many competitions and awards, including UCLA's renowned Spring Sing, LAAF, and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). In addition to putting on concerts and performing on campus, RV also performs around the greater L.A. area for various gigs such as the Los Angeles Firecracker Run, Disney’s Annual Candlelight Celebration, charity events, volunteer high school events, weddings, and parties. RV also organizes the California A Cappella Festival (CAF) every spring, bringing in numerous collegiate a cappella groups across California to perform at UCLA

Resonance is a co-ed a cappella group founded in 2012 that prides itself on content creation and musical excellence. Some of their recent achievements include 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. 

That’s the Key is one of two a cappella groups at Cal Poly SLO! They primarily perform pop music, but like to mix it up with some musical theatre, rock, soul, and doo-wop. They have seen a lot of change since the group’s founding in 2009, especially last year when all but one of their eight returners were the previous year’s newbs! That opportunity encouraged them to rebrand with a new style, repertoire, and chaotic good energy. They’re always performing around campus and their beautiful city of San Luis Obispo, but only one of the current group members, Sean, has ever participated in an a cappella competition before (LAAF 2017). Sean’s incredible experience in the LAAF encouraged him to pursue ICCA, and the rest of That’s the Key is just as excited to make this happen. Their set consists entirely of new repertoire and they can’t wait to perform it for you! 

The Cleftomaniacs at UC Davis is celebrating their fifth anniversary with their first competition! Initially an all-girl a cappella group, a series of (some)fortunate events led them to be the big, happy, all-gender family they are today. Since the group’s inception in 2014, The Cleftomaniacs have sung everything from The Beatles to Estelle to Rascal Flatts. Establishing a foundation in their impressive university aca-terrain hasn’t been easy, but doing so has brought The Cleftos together in ways nobody imagined. The transition from underdog to updog has been incredibly rewarding, and they’ve relished every step in their journey. They never shy from a challenge and value their versatility, making their group roster a struggle because members shift voice parts depending on the song. They are so excited to show y'all what they’ve got! 

The Spartones A Cappella at San Jose State University is the only all-gender a cappella group on campus. They also are a group of people from all walks of life, from Indian classical singers to trumpeters, from bakers to video producers, and from psychology majors to music composers. The group’s strength lies in the diversity of its membership and their sound is truly reflective of that. While hailing from diverse backgrounds, all of the Spartones find solace in music, and this shared love of music bonds them together as a family! 

UnderSCore a Cappella is one of the premier co-ed a cappella groups at the University of Southern California. With covers of classics by Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel, pop chart toppers by Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes, and indie favorites by Thirdstory and Emily King, UnderSCore boasts a repertoire that is as diverse as its members. This group shines with their shared passion for music, but stands out even more with their incredible love for one another. Since its founding in 2013 by Coral Palmon, UnderSCore has consistently been on the rise in the USC and greater Los Angeles a cappella scene. In the past few years, UnderSCore released its second EP, Enter, and has amassed over 20,000 streams across listening platforms. They look forward to creating and showcasing even more recording projects in the future, arranging creative renditions of the world's greatest music. UnderSCore has also performed the national anthem at L.A. sporting events, soaring ballads at massive charity galas, and crowd-pleasing favorites for the L.A. community. They are thrilled for the opportunity to showcase their hard work at ICCA, as well as for the opportunity to connect with the greater a cappella community.

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 

Nathan Heldman is an arranger, vocalist, and pianist based in Los Angeles. He discovered his love of a cappella during college and joined USC’s SoCal VoCals, music-directing and co-arranging their fourth ICCA-winning set in 2015. With The SoCal VoCals, he also had the opportunity to perform for President Obama, tour Hong Kong, and perform at the 2016 BMI awards. After graduating from USC, Nathan continued pursuing a cappella professionally, arranging for collegiate and high school groups around the country. He sings in and arranges for Tonality, an L.A.-based professional choir whose concerts center around social justice issues. 

Nina Kasuya is a vocalist and educator based in Los Angeles, Calif. Nina can be seen performing with HIVE, Crimes of the Heart Cabaret, and Hamiltease: A Burlesque Parody and Tribute to an American Musical. In addition to her performance endeavors, Nina is the director of the musical theatre program and a cappella group at Emerson Community Charter School. 

Jim Raycroft holds a master’s degree in voice from the California Institute of the Arts and has performed all over North America and in Europe. He is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and sang with the Los Angeles Opera for 12 years. He has soundtrack credits for movies including “Home Alone,” “Jurassic Park,” “A.I.,” “Lady in the Water,” “Godzilla,”and more. He appeared as a singing pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” in numerous television shows, and has performed at the Grammys, for the President of the United States, and the Queen of England. He founded and sings with the vocal jazz group, Pacific Swingline, the barbershop quartet, The Nickelodeon, and The Singers Elite Vocal Big Band. He is a published arranger and orchestrator, choral director for the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, music director at First United Methodist Church of Redondo Beach, and has prepared choruses for the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra. His singer referral service, Singers Elite, has entertained Southern California audiences for more than 30 years, and in 2002, he founded the annual “Choral Taste of Los Angeles,” a reading session of choral music by area composers. 

Amanda Tran started her a cappella journey with Furmata A Cappella (formerly The HusKEYS) at the University of Washington, where she graduated with a B.A. in anthropology, medical anthropology and global health, with a music minor. She performed with Furmata from 2009 to 2013, and in her senior year, helped Furmata become the first UW group to ever compete in ICCA. Post-graduation, Amanda formed the pop quintet SeaNote and they quickly became the 2014 PNW Harmony Sweepstakes Regional Champions and placed 3rd at the Harmony Sweepstakes National Championships. She produced both of their albums, Vocal Static and Transitions. In May 2015, Amanda released her debut solo EP, Back of My Mind, as “A-Tran” and will be releasing her comeback single in March 2020. Amanda currently resides in L.A., working as the Operations and Production Manager and stylist for Acapop! KIDS (created by Scott Hoying, Ben Bram, and Shams Ahmed)!

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Bridges Auditorium team, especially Sharon Kuhn, Matt Pavey, our sound engineer Jon, our emcee Aaron Jung, our host group The After School Specials, and our volunteers Anya Zimmerman-Smith, Carter Henderson, and Brenden Suh; 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