THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF HIGH SCHOOL

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 Perfect" franchise 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

ICHSA GREAT LAKES QUARTERFINAL

 

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
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

 

Good Old Acappella is from Beaver Dam High School.  Although it is their first year competing in the ICHSA, the group has been actively performing in the Beaver Dam community for decades. The group began as a glee club and performed under the name The New Media Singers, mostly as a show choir.  In the early 90s through 2019 the group was called SWAZZ, a combination of swing and jazz, which were the group’s focus at that time. One of the group’s current sopranos’ mothers was a member of the group as a student and Good Old Acappella is proud to have a multi-generational performer in the group! 

South Milwaukee's first ever co-ed a cappella group, Apollo, is the competitive combination of the all-male-identifying Delta-V and all-female-identifying Pop Rockets. New to the ICHSA stage this year, Apollo aims to perform captivating, emotional sets that are driven by their love for music. This premier South Milwaukee High School group hopes to find its identity this year by performing music that uniquely resonates with the current group members. 

Beloit Turner Overdrive is in its fourth year of existence at Beloit Turner High School. They are an extracurricular group that meets one evening and one morning each week. They perform throughout the community with most of their gigs happening during the holiday season. They are a tight-knit group that enjoys hanging out at Culvers in their spare time when they've gathered enough Scoopy tokens! They perform for their fans but they sing for one another! 

Focus A Cappella is the extracurricular a cappella ensemble for Port Washington High School. The group ranges from freshman to seniors and is proud to perform almost all originals arranged by their director Mr. Steven Lanza. 

Ladies Knight is one of two competing a cappella groups at Oak Creek High School. They have been competing in ICHSA for five years. These 18 radiant individuals strive to connect with their audience by displaying powerful emotions through their performances. Their set touches on the experience of finding yourself while being surrounded by positivity. Ladies Knight can’t wait to share their hard work with tonight’s audience! 

The Accidentals is a 14-member auditioned, a cappella vocal group based out of Arcadia High School in the small town of Arcadia, Wis. The group contains freshmen through seniors and has truly become a family. The Accidentals are directed by Pam Siewert. Although they are all involved in different activities, they all make time to come together to harmonize as one! They are called The Accidentals because they always look SHARP, their singing is a NATURAL talent, and their personalities are never FLAT.   

The Blenders was founded three years ago at Clinton High School. They meet everyday during honors choir and work on Class A music from Wisconsin. They enjoy singing pop a cappella and working on their sound. This current group started in September.   

The Treblesome Teens is a student-led group from Hortonville High School. The group contains every grade level, from freshmen through seniors. The group originally began with a few friends seeking to form a small group and perform for choir concerts and then eventually grew into a competitive team with winning potential!

Unaccompanied Minors is an a cappella group at Brookfield East High School in the Greater Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. Inspired by the rise of high school a cappella groups in the area, alumni Emma Jester and Macy Gardner took on the challenge of starting their own in 2017. Now in its third year of existence, UM has grown from 12 to 18 members, maximizing their sound and ability. This year, the group has expanded the age range, finding some extremely talented freshmen to add to the mix. Unaccompanied Minors is a completely student-led group and their rehearsals consist of food, sectionals, more food, choreography boot camps, and random outbursts of “High School Musical” karaoke. The group values teamwork as well as individual growth. Each member has a passion for music, and although they got their starts in different ways, they are grateful to have found one another through a cappella. In 2019, UM competed at ICHSA Semifinals and they are excited to return to the stage and showcase their new set. While everyone has different voice parts and musical backgrounds, each voice is equally and valued to create the artistic expression that is a cappella. 

Violet Noise, from DeForest Area High School in DeForest, Wis., is in its second year of existence and is thrilled to be back at ICHSA. This 11-member ensemble is a rambunctious and quirky group of juniors and seniors who enjoy their time together as much as they love memes, 2013 Vine references, and making fun of Tanner (bass). Violet Noise is a vital part of the choral program at Deforest High School, which provides a variety of community engagement opportunities, from caroling to home shows. Fresh from their inaugural ICHSA experience last year, they are ready to compete again with a completely revitalized excitement and appreciation for a cappella.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Anna Corbett attended the University of Oregon and was part of the founding generation of Divisi, the school’s all-female a cappella group. Since graduating, she has continued her involvement in a cappella as a team member of the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), helping to put on their annual festival, SheSings, as well as participating in various bands and vocal music projects in the Portland, Ore. area. While she is in the book “Pitch Perfect,” none of the characters in the subsequent movies are specifically based on her. She is currently pursuing her J.D. at Chicago-Kent College of Law and is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as a judge for Varsity Vocals.  

James Harrington has worn many hats in almost 20 years in the a cappella world. He has arranged for and given clinics to high-caliber groups such as Oregon's On the Rocks and Cornell's Last Call, sung for four years with Cape Cod's Hyannis Sound, served as a hired gun for professional groups such as Ball in the House and Home Free, and remains an active arranger and clinician. With Varsity Vocals, James has competed in, adjudicated, and produced over 20 ICCA and ICHSA shows. He is an operatic bass who holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and Florida State University, and a current doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His first book, a career guide for aspiring opera singers, will be released this spring on Routledge.

Laura Kruschke has been involved in a cappella since her collegiate days at University of Wisconsin Madison, singing with the all-female group, Tangled Up in Blue, while earning her degree in instrumental music education. Back then, she served as the group's primary vocal percussionist, music arranger, and director. After graduation, Laura had the opportunity to help launch the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). After a whirlwind trip to San Francisco for an inspiring weekend with other like-minded aca-people, she returned to Madison and founded greenTONE A Cappella in fall 2007. gT is 10 members strong today, and sings for a wide variety of local events including weddings, holiday parties, fundraisers, and flash mobs. Laura is still involved with CAL today, serving as the organization's membership coordinator. Laura has also offered her expertise to local high school choirs through vocal percussion workshops, clinician opportunities, and group coaching. In addition to aca-involvement, Laura also arranges music for high school show choir, sings and plays saxophone in a local cover band, teaches yoga, and helps her three young children remember their F-sharps while practicing piano.

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since.

Kimberly Raschka Sailor is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), and she has written more than 300 reviews of high school, collegiate, and professional groups since 2005. A former ICCA Finalist, Kimberly is the co-founder and past president of the University of Southern California's Reverse Osmosis. Kimberly has also served as a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominator and judge. In addition to volunteering in the a cappella community, Kimberly is an author and elected school board member for the Mount Horeb Area School District in Wisconsin, where she also sings with the Mount Horeb Chorale. This is Kimberly's 14th year adjudicating for Varsity Vocals.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Adam McNeil, Jordan Smart, Noah Bossert, Lee Stovall, Rachel Sorce, Nick DaVia, and the entire South Milwaukee Team, Alex Sheafor, and Audio Max Production; 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 ICHSA Great Lakes 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