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

 

Timpanogos High School
Saturday, February 16, 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

 

The Provo hills are alive with the sound of music. Formed less than a year ago, this group from Brigham Young University has proven that they possess the same drive, desire, and determination of the Avengers attempting to defeat the villain, Thanos. Their mission is to touch hearts and blow minds with their excellent musicality and hankering to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. They want to be the best and they will not be denied, because they are Beyond Measure, and they would like to ask you in their native Utah tongue to enjoy their flipping amazing show. 

Elevation is currently celebrating its 10-year anniversary as the premier a cappella group at Northern Arizona University. The co-ed group is composed of 17 members, and Elevation attributes its success to having a mix of music and non-music majors alike.There is no limit to what this group can do, and their passion, technical arrangements, and fantastic soloists prove it. Last year, Elevation won ICCA awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Soloist. Aside from awards, Elevation is also well-known for community outreach. Every spring semester, the group travels to perform for high schools in Arizona and California. Elevation loves the chance to excite young vocalists about collegiate a cappella. The group has recorded an album and performed for events on campus. This past fall, they hosted the annual Arizona Collegiate A Cappella Festival alongside NAU’s other a cappella groups. Elevation is thrilled to perform at ICCA, and can’t wait to show their fun, groovy, larger-than-life sound. They would like to thank all of the Arizona a cappella groups for inspiring and challenging them over the years, as well as their supporters and the audience for providing this platform to do what they love most. 

DU First Edition (DUFE, for short!) is the only all-female a cappella group at the University of Denver. First Edition was founded in April 2013 by a small group of passionate and driven women who wanted to foster musical growth, while creating lifelong friendships. They perform across campus and throughout the Denver community at showcases, competitions, and other events. They are also the founders and hosts of the A COppella Festival, an annual event showcasing a cappella groups from colleges across Colorado. Last year, A COppella hosted a record 10 groups from four colleges and broke attendance records as well. Over the past five years, DUFE has grown in size and musicianship, expanded its reach across campus, and increased their community engagement. Today, they attend and perform at numerous a cappella festivals and clinics across Colorado and conduct exchanges with middle and high school musical groups looking to work with college students in the area. DUFE takes pride its diverse membership, representing more than a dozen majors and departments, and even hosting some members brand-new to organized singing! They come from all across the United States and are excited to meet and work with other passionate, talented groups! 

In the Stairwell is the U.S. Air Force Academy's all-male a capella group, founded in 2003 by a group of freshmen in the class of 2007 who sought to create an outlet for cadets to make music together. These freshmen named the group "In The Stairwell" because the dormitory stairwells were the only place they could meet to sing in accordance with the Academy's strict regulations. In the Stairwell initially found success in the ICCA, which quickly blossomed into a chance to perform on NBC's hit show, "America’s Got Talent," and an incredible run to Semifinals in 2017. In the Stairwell also supports a number of events at the Air Force Academy, including the Cadet for a Day program, numerous military ceremonies, and sporting events. 

LEGACY, in its first year of existence, is an elite ensemble that enjoys singing everything from jazz, hip/hop, R&B, and of course, a cappella music. It is a very diverse group from the Rocky Mountain State of Colorado. Legacy looks forward to making its mark in the music industry and the world, one performance at a time.   

Rifftide is an eight-member group which combines tight harmonies and crisp choreography to create performances that are musically and visually exciting. Since their debut in fall 2016, Rifftide has been featured on both Best of BYU A Cappella albums, sold out both concerts they've hosted, and were invited to perform in the A Cappella Jam every time it's been held. They take pride in providing uplifting and energetic performances to help make audiences smile. 

Hailing from the snowy mountain town of Flagstaff, Ariz., The Axecidentals is Northern Arizona University's premier all-female a cappella group. They were founded six years ago and this is their fifth time competing in the ICCA. They have taken 1st place in the region twice and 2nd place in Semifinals once in California. They have also won specialty awards including Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement. This year, the group is made up of 16 voices, ranging from high soprano to their awesome lady bass. Besides practicing for ICCA, The Axecidentals perform at numerous places around Flagstaff and even in the valley! Northern Arizona University has fantastic vocal performance and music education programs, and about half the girls in this group are part of them! They share a huge passion for music and love the sisterhood this group has formed!

Founded in 2013, The Highlanders started out as a group of guys from Northern Arizona University who loved to sing and make music together. Today, the group has carried on that legacy to the fullest. They are the premier all-male a cappella group at their school. Over the past few years, they’ve progressed into two-time ICCA Semifinalists and have won awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Vocal Percussion. They share a great passion for making music and have become great friends because of it. Currently, The Highlanders is made up of 16 male voices ranging from super high to super low and everything in between, not to mention their amazing vocal percussionists.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

While attending Brigham Young University, Bob Ahlander co-founded the school’s flagship a cappella group, Vocal Point. Upon graduation, he toured nationally in the award-winning vocal ensemble, Extempo. Bob has spent most of his career in entertainment as a producer and promoter. He has credits as a vocalist, songwriter, producer, and executive producer on over 250 full-length albums, many of which earned Billboard #1 chart positions, plus a one Grammy nomination. He currently  works as Director of Events for a fast-growing social retail company based in Southern California. 

Greg Baird was a singer and arranger with BYU's Vocal Point from 1997-1999. In 2001 his "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" medley, performed by Vocal Point, won best arrangement honors at the West Regional ICCA Quarterfinals. In the years since, he has toured the country working with dozens of collegiate groups, he runs a small recording studio, and does periodic consulting with a cappella groups. He has been an ICCA adjudicator for the past 10 years. Greg and his wife are proud parents of three aca-children. His latest hobbies include sports and portrait photography, graphic design, and writing math textbooks. 

Originally from Los Angeles, Calif., Bronwyn Bent has a background in vocal performance studies and arranging, and seven years of high-level stage performance experience. While in college, she was a part of Brigham Young University's award-winning a cappella group, BYU Noteworthy, where she served as assistant music director. She continued her undergraduate studies in vocal performance at BYU-Hawaii, and has participated in top-level choirs at both BYU-Hawaii and BYU. 

Keith Evans performed with BYU Vocal Point for five years, appearing with them on NBC's “The Sing-Off” in 2011. After acquiring his M.A. in communications, Keith directed BYU Noteworthy for four years, and co-founded ReMix Vocal Academy. Starting this fall, he will be the director of one of the largest high school choir programs in the state. Keith regularly performs at the Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy. 

Steve Koplin is a multimedia professional whose work has been featured at the Grammy Awards and on “America's Got Talent.” Steve is the creative director and a founding member of UVU's premier all-male a cappella group, VoiceLine. He also directs the high school group, FreQuency, from the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo and is one of the directors of BYU's fastest growing musical summer camp, ReMix Vocal Academy. While most of his current endeavors are on the teaching side of music, Steve is no stranger to the stage. Having performed on hundreds of stages across Utah and the country, from musical theatre to boy bands to lead singer of an instrumental band and now contemporary a cappella, he's almost done it all. His passion for the arts, especially music, continues to be a driving force in his life and he continues to share the wisdom he has gained throughout the years. 

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