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

 

University of California, San Diego
Saturday, February 23, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

Chapman University's premier co-ed a cappella group, SoundCheck, has helped cultivate a thriving a cappella community on campus. Now 13 years old, SoundCheck has been a trailblazer in professionalism and musicality on campus, beginning each year with a competitive and comprehensive audition and callback process. At least two thirds of the repertoire each semester must be arranged by a member or members, and new members are encouraged to workshop and hone their arranging skills. SoundCheck’s repertoire includes top 100 hits, beloved jazzy classics, and SoundCloud treasures. After a successful ICCA run in 2016, SoundCheck has worked on crafting a unique new sound, rejecting the constraints of legacy. They have expanded their presence through such projects as the SweeTarts Acappellooza Concert with “Pitch Perfect”’s Brittany Snow, a full-scale Liquid-Fifth produced a cappella concert, and an alumni-produced EP, Resurgence. Outside of music, the members of SoundCheck are involved in social justice, LGBTQ issues, and government outreach, and provide no-cost a cappella workshops for local schools and youth music programs. They take pride in their inclusive group environment and make rehearsal a safe space. SoundCheck is excited to return to the ICCA stage to share their love for music and one another.

Simply Vocale is an inclusive group of treble singers who are passionate about female empowerment, pancakes, and one another. They are so excited for this year's ICCA! 

Exactly what it sounds like! Queercappella is a group of musicians and advocates working to increase queer representation. 

The ChapTones is one of five a cappella groups at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. They pride themselves on being first and foremost a family who takes care of one another, and also on their ability to perform an eclectic mix of chart toppers and original music around campus and beyond! Since their founding in 2014, they’ve competed in the ICCA three times (2019 will be their fourth consecutive year competing), and they’re so excited to share what they’ve created with you. 

Coming all the way from the deep South (Orange County), Chapman University's Men of Harmony is delighted to bring its delicious a cappella stylings to this year’s competition. Due to the overwhelming effects of their music, these men have come under fire in recent years for being "too enticing," often causing audiences to swoon and others to pursue careers in a cappella. Their golden voices and impeccable smiles make for a combination that many have called, "the most dangerous combination in collegiate a cappella." Men of Harmony invites you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sweet lapping of their succulent sounds against your eardrums. 

The UCSD Daughters of Triton believe in the power of women through music. Constantly in search of new boundaries to push, they do not apologize for breaking the rules of all-female a cappella. They sing bass. They rap. They have a sense of humor. They may solo like Beyoncé, but they can break out of that diva stereotype in an instant. Every woman has a voice; every DOT amplifies it. Every group loves to sing, but for The DOTs, it's a matter of identity. 

Established in 2009, Vermillion Vocalists, also known as VeVo, is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of California, Irvine, dedicated to making great music with and for great people. They are composed of incredibly diverse and talented individuals, united through a shared passion, dedication, and love for music-making. Likewise, they have diverse tastes in music, pulling songwriting and harmonic inspiration from alternative and indie influences, and pulling production inspiration from hip hop, R&B, and rap. VeVo recently began trailblazing in the area of breaking down walls between genres, seeking to redefine a cappella as a genre that can hold its own in mainstream media. Experimenting with arrangements inspired by artists like Chance the Rapper and Kehlani, they are always looking for ways to expand diversity and inclusivity in a cappella. Further, VeVo strongly believes in the power of music to positively impact the world around them and aims to give back to everyone who supported them on their journey. In recent years, they have co-hosted University of California, Irvine's premier a cappella festival, AcaLove, and won the a cappella category in their school's talent show, Soulstice, in 2016. 

Uniting Voices began in 1994, before most of the current members were born. Their roots actually lie in UC Irvine’s Filipino cultural club’s choir, Kababayan. A handful of those students began the Uniting Voices A Cappella Legacy, but it didn’t take off until the mid-2000s. Now, a good chunk of the group members are, in fact, Filipino, but the mission of the group has branched out. Inspired by R&B and gospel music, this multicultural team contains voices and abilities as diverse as their heritages. None of them are music majors and do what they can to break down barriers. A student-run group, United Voices strives to create an inclusive space to learn and grow as musicians, performers, and people. They have collaborated with the music department and Vermillion Vocalists to put on ACALOVE to show Southern California what modern a cappella looks like. With a desire to grow, they were the first from UCI to make it to the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, and won Best A Cappella for the last two years in a row at UCI Soulstice. From a choir to a competitive group, United Voices is living the college life a cappella style. 

Acamazing is a student-run co-ed a cappella group founded in 2010 at the University of California, San Diego. Composed of graduate and undergraduate UCSD students, their musical style ranges from classic rock to chart-toppers to the occasional country and rap. The group is known for their themed concerts, which are more of an experience than just a concert. Their past themes have included superheroes, murder mysteries, and “Jurassic Park.” Acamazing has always valued their group dynamic and is proud of how close the members are within the group. When they are not singing, they’re having a good time at brunch, laughing during game nights, or solving mysteries together in an escape room.     

Frequency is UCSD’s premier all-male a cappella group. Founded in 2008, Frequency is dedicated to entertain audiences of all ages with their unique vocal sound and charm. Frequency is well-known on campus, performing at events such as the Sun God Music Festival, the ICCA, Take Back the Night, World AIDS Day, and even took 1st place at the 2012 APSA Talent Show.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Josh Huls is an arranger, composer, and music director originally from Grand Island, Neb. While studying music education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he sang with and directed The UNL Bathtub Dogs. Since graduation, he has been working full-time as an arranger/composer for a variety of musical groups in California, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and New York. Best of luck to all the competitors today. May the aca-Gods be with you. 

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. 

Soprano Tasha Koontz lives in San Diego, Calif. She frequently sings with the San Diego Opera, including the roles of of Annina in “La Traviata” and Edith in “Pirates of Penzance,” and will be appearing as Frasquita in “Carmen” and High Priestess in “Aida.” Tasha will also be singing that same role in “Aida” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Riccardo Muti in June 2019. As the 2017 1st place winner in the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Young Artist Competition, Tasha was featured as the soprano soloist in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 that season. Tasha made her debut with the San Diego Symphony in their Beyond the Score concert with Maestro Jeffrey Kahane. Tasha  has been a Regional Finalist at the MONC Western Regional Competition in Los Angeles and a Finalist in the 2017 Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition in New York City. Tasha holds a Master of Music in voice performance from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from Northwestern University. At Northwestern, Tasha was the high soprano and music director for Purple Haze, a co-ed group that competed twice at ICCA Finals during her tenure and garnered multiple recording awards. Her operatic performance highlights include the title role in Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Alice Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff,” Donna Anna in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Countess in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” www.tashakoontz.com

"I've only heard the a cappella version" has been Jeeves Murphy's life credo. A lifelong singer from Washington, D.C., Jeeves found his passion for a cappella music in 2003, singing tenor in his high school barbershop quartet. In college, Jeeves formed three contemporary a cappella groups, including the first of its kind at UMBC, his alma mater. In his free time (time he should have been studying), he arranged music and coached, directed, and subbed for groups at other schools. Jeeves became an ambassador for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) in 2006, contributed album and performance reviews at CASA.org, and founded the A Cappella Embassy to expand the singing community in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.  Most recently, Jeeves sang and beatboxed professionally for Snowday and Euphonism in D.C., sharing the stage with groups like The Swingle Singers, The House Jacks, Take 6, Face, Cluster, and Fork to name a few. Jeeves moved to southern California two years ago and stays connected with the scene through festivals, shows, and coaching groups, combining his passion for mentorship and his love of spreading music! 

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