THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF COLLEGIATE

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 23rd 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 650 groups and 9,800 singers at 87 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 Perfect franchise remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors are also the subject on the TV docu-series Sing It On, which follows 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 two 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 third 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 23 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2019 season takes 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

 

Allen Performing Arts Center
Saturday, March 9, 2019

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 three 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 in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 14th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2019 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.

The Open Tournament took place for the second time ever in summer 2018 and featured six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2018 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 groups competed at Carnegie Hall in New York City this past September.

 For a full tournament schedule, visit us at 
www.varsityvocals.com.

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

 

Beauties and the Beat, the premier all-female a cappella group of the University of Texas at Austin, has been singing and having a great time doing it since 2013. Since its founding, the group has grown dramatically, with frequent performances on their university campus, throughout the Austin area, and in competitions around the U.S., like ICCA, Sing!, and Voicejam. As an all-female group, Beauties and the Beat strives to support women’s causes and female empowerment at UT and in the a cappella community by reflecting the strength and power of women through their music and performances. The group members arrange almost their entire repertoire and pride themselves on their self-choreographed and self-arranged competition sets. Most of their repertoire consists of contemporary pop, but they also like to mix it up with other genres like R&B or folk music. As students first, Beauties and the Beat builds its musical cohesiveness by nurturing a tight-knit group that values mental health and self-care. Beauties see their music as an important form of expression and creativity and they value the emotional connections a cappella can foster between performers and the audience. 

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, who share a love of singing. This group allows all types of students to continue making music throughout their university career. This remains its purpose, but Fuse has since evolved into a selective, co-ed, collegiate a cappella group that competes, serves its community, and performs on and off campus. 

Green is the embodiment of life, renewal, growth, ambition, and harmony. To ripen is to arrive at a high
point of development, to be ready enough, and to cultivate an environment of consistent change.
Residing at the University of North Texas, Green Tones is a contemporary a cappella group striving to challenge artistry in order to stretch the boundaries of vocal music. This is their 10th anniversary and they are excited to continually recreate themselves and ripen in new ways. Listen to their EP, There Is, on Spotify and Apple Music now! 

HardChord DynaMix began in the spring of 2007. Since then, HardChord DynaMix (a.k.a. HCDM) has grown into a group of 12 to 18 members, holding competitive auditions at the beginning of most semesters. HardChord DynaMix puts on two full-length concerts each semester and performs at several gigs around campus, as well as around the Bryan/College Station area. This group has so much love for music and one another! 

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. The group members are from all over the country, but are connected through a love for music and one another. The group has become a family and each 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. 

OneSound is from Collin County Community College, a two-year school located in Plano, Texas with over 50,000 students enrolled in its four campuses and online. OneSound is proud to be the only a cappella group on campus. Their director, Professor Kathy Morgan, has been a full-time music professor at Collin since 2000. The group is a class (instead of a club) and is audition-only, open to both music majors and non-majors. The group’s small size allows each singer to be featured, creating a one-on-a-part sound which sets them apart from larger a cappella groups. This size also lends itself to the group’s unique look, which allows individual personalities to shine. This year’s OneSound group is composed of nine women, plus their bass and beatboxer. Most arrangements are done by the group in class, using ear training and creativity, a process which can occasionally be tedious, but always worth the effort. OneSound has participated in ICCA for the past two years and are looking forward to be back on the ICCA stage. 

TechTones A Cappella is proud to be Texas Tech University's first and only contemporary a cappella group. The inaugural TechTones emerged in the fall of 2017 and they hope to pave the road for a legendary program at Texas Tech for years to come. Wreck 'em! 

Give it up for The Echoes A Cappella! They are a completely student-led organization on the Texas State University campus. Not long after their inception, they made their debut performance in the ICCA and this became a valued tradition ever since. Music is the group’s primary purpose, but a close runner-up is an emphasis on family. 

The Horned Tones is TCU’s all-male a cappella group, coming back to ICCA for the fourth year in a row. After receiving a 1st place ranking in the 2017 Southwest Quarterfinals and having a great performance in 2018, they are back and ready to take on the competition. This fun-loving and musically diverse group is a force to be reckoned with, and they like to have a great time and make quality music along the way. They perform at anything from weddings to funerals. Yes. They do it all. They never take themselves too seriously, because music should be enjoyable and they love to entertain a crowd. They have covered a large variety of music, from classic rock to R&B to pop to happy birthday. Really, they do it all. They are extremely excited to perform and show people that you can sound phenomenal and have fun at the same time! 

The Texas Songhorns is the premier bass, baritone, and tenor a cappella group on the UT campus. Founded in 2011, they pride themselves on being entertainers, first and foremost. With that, they like to sing familiar songs, while adding in their own personal touches, whether it be an R&B mash-up with a classic hit or the occasional bass solo. They have performed across the country from Austin to New York, and perform all over the UT Austin campus! 

Founded in the late 1990s, THEM a cappella is a contemporary co-ed a cappella group at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. The group members come from diverse musical backgrounds, with several members majoring in music composition and others with over 10 years of piano experience. Living in the birthplace of jazz inspires many of these students’ original arrangements. Arranging provides THEMbers an outlet to create exploratory and entertaining music, and they have developed an eclectic repertoire of songs. In recent years, THEM has arranged medleys from the discography of Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. They have also chosen to arrange challenging songs by Hiatus Kaiyote and perform jazz-inspired songs by Lake Street Dive. On the opposite end of the spectrum, THEM has performed upbeat, poppy arrangements of songs by Ed Sheeran, Walk the Moon, and The Chainsmokers. THEM has recorded two EPs, both of which are available on iTunes and Spotify. In spring of 2018, THEM traveled to New York City to perform in Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), hosted by Deke Sharon. This trip inspired THEM to find more travel opportunities to share their love of a cappella music and performance with more audiences.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Dr. Tom Burlin teaches graduate music education at the University of at Arlington and is the music director at the World Languages Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. Tom is a singer, choral conductor, guitarist, and researcher of popular music education and comprehensive musicianship. Tom has studied contemporary a cappella for eight years, working with many of a cappella's top artists, arrangers, and directors from across the county. He was the first person to publish research on contemporary a cappella at the high school level, defining and standardizing the educational benefits of membership for the field of music education.

Will Chandler has been an a cappella nerd since high school. In college, he performed with The Spirit of Southern at the University of Southern Mississippi. Once he became an educator, he founded Vocal Diversity at Sanger High School and later founded Talk is Cheap! at Western Hills High School. Both groups are in demand to perform in their local communities and regularly attend a cappella events throughout the year. Choirs under Will’s direction have scored superiors and sweepstakes at UIL Concert and Sight Reading, performed with collegiate choirs, and participated in All-Region and All-State Choirs. On top of his duties as an educator, he is also the youth choir director at First United Methodist Church-Denton, the Texas State Representative for the A Cappella Education Association (ACEA), and the Vice President of SING! Texas. He has a Bachelor of Arts in music from Millsaps College and a Master of Music from the University of Southern Mississippi. Will strives to create opportunities for great a cappella music wherever he serves. 

Mel Daneke is a contemporary performer, arranger, producer, and instructor. She graduated from Ithaca College with a B.M. in vocal performance, minor in audio production, and also studied music education. In college, she performed in three of her own conceptual recitals and in the IC Opera Studio, opera workshops, IC Opera, choral ensembles, the percussion and steel band ensemble, and smaller ensembles. Mel was also the conductor, arranger, and choreographer of Ithaca College’s all-female a cappella group, Premium Blend. She currently performs with vocal band Musae as the group’s vocal percussionist. Under her artist name, Valor, she releases covers and original work. She is the founder of Viridian Productions, where she works as a recording engineer, producer, and arranger. Her work and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-nominated productions have appeared on compilations like Sing, BOHSA, Voices Only, and Voices Only Forte

Jason Dove has been a public school educator for over 20 years, with choirs performing for the Texas Music Educators Association Convention and for the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference. He currently serves as Vice President for the High School Division of the Texas Choral Directors Association. He is the current director of Apex from Deer Park High School.

A native of upstate New York, Erin (Shults) Smith developed her passion for contemporary a cappella while getting her B.A. in voice at Ithaca College. As a member of Premium Blend, Ithaca College’s CARA-winning all-female a cappella group, Erin quickly discovered a love for arranging and vocal percussion. Soon after earning her B.A. in 2010, Erin moved to Florida to pursue her M.A. in arts management at the Florida State University College of Music. Since then, she moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and worked on the development teams for Fort Worth Opera and the University of North Texas (UNT) College of Music. Erin is currently the Director of Foundation Relations Communications for the UNT Division of Advancement, and is pursuing her M.B.A. in marketing at UNT. Since her Premium Blend days, Erin continues to arrange and has previously served as a master clinician, workshop presenter, and panelist at SoJam. She continues to sing as a member of the Lewisville Civic Chorale and with the Denton Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, and remains a dedicated advocate for the contemporary a cappella discipline and the performing arts. 

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

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Helena Benthall
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest & Southwest

Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes 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 finishing groups advance to the 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?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019