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

 

The Pitman Theater
Saturday, February 15th, 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

 

Academy Kids has been singing since ‘73. Started as a glee club, #outwiththeoldinwiththenew only 16, but they are a dream team. This SATB family sings all genres of music old, new, and everything in between! #musicisourpassionsowemakeithappen #himom #anyoneatenor  #jesusisthereasonforthisacappellaseason Psalm 13:6 "I sing to the LORD for He has been good to me." #GODSQUAD 

Colla Voce is a co-ed a cappella group from Madison West High School. Founded last year by a group of students, they originally began as a small vocal jazz group that performed at choir concerts. Now expanding their horizons, they take on all styles, ranging from classical to alternative to pop. A completely student-run group, all of Colla Voce's arrangements and choreography are original and they run rehearsals independently. Colla Voce is made up of students dedicated to creating beautiful music and working as a family to tell stories through music. 

Genesis is a brand-new female a cappella group at Brookfield East High School. As a close friend of many of the amazing members of Unaccompanied Minors, junior Julia Galang was inspired to start a girl group in 2019. With the help of her younger sister Aya Galang, she began looking for girls interested in developing their musical skills within a group. Eventually, they would hold their first round of auditions and added 10 more girls to the sister duo. Since then, the group has expanded to 17 members. The members of Genesis are passionate about music, as well as their other activities, which range from minority-inclusive clubs to running for class elections. A student-led group, Genesis recently began arranging their own music and learning more about music theory to develop their talents and creative potential. Their weekly rehearsals usually include food, testing how low their alto 2 can go, gossiping during sectionals, and experimenting with their arrangements. This is their first year performing at ICHSA and it is a dream come true. Lastly, the Genesis girls would like to mention that yes, they are aware of the Phil Collins band, and no, their name was not inspired by his band. 

The Insongniacs is an all-female vocal a cappella group from Appleton East High School. They are a student-led ensemble united by a common passion for performing and empowering women. These shared goals continue to drive them forward and unite them not just as a group, but a family. 

Knight Club is a group of tenacious singers who hail from Oak Creek, Wis. They love sharing emotive performances and drawing in their audience with a story. Knight Club will be competing for its fifth year in ICHSA and hopes to captivate their  audience with every chord. They take pride in their enticing choreography and moving tales told throughout every piece. Knight Club even has a single, “The End of Love,” that you can find on all streaming platforms. Also follow their social media, @ochsknightclub on Instagram and Twitter. 

Founded to provide advanced music students with additional opportunities to perform tight a cappella harmonies in a small group setting, Limited Edition is a talented mixed ensemble of young men and women from the Port Washington / Saukville School District. Now in its 17th year, this group’s name comes from the fact that this group is only an ensemble for a “limited” time (one full school year). After that, all spots within the group are re-auditioned and an entirely new group is formed. 

Midnight Voices is an all-female group from Madison, Wis., combining members from the Madison-area high schools. They were formed by Ida Pajunen, an alumna of UW-Madison's Tangled Up In Blue. Since then, they have worked closely with UW-Madison's a cappella groups, opening for their shows, singing combined songs, and caroling with them. Their current music director is an alumnus of UW's Fundamentally Sound. They love to take every opportunity to meet new people in the a cappella community and share the joys of making music. Midnight Voices are no strangers to ICHSA and are very excited to compete again this year! 

Sol-Town (fixed "Do" version of GTown) from Germantown, Wis., is pleased to be competing at ICHSA for the first time this year. The group is thankful for all the support they have received from the school community and administration on their journey to this season's competition. Special thanks to Gillian and Sam at Oak Creek and Dennis at Port Washington for their encouragement to jump into this wild adventure. Also, thanks to Will Berendsen for his amazing arrangements and aca-expertise. 

The Guys! is Palatine High School's tenor-bass a cappella group. They are sophomores, juniors, and seniors from the music department. They perform the national anthem at different sporting events, provide musical entertainment at community events such as Palatine's Oktoberfest, and tour with Midnight Blues during the holiday season to entertain local groups. The Guys! enjoys singing, sports, and video games. This is the group’s first year competing in ICHSA and they are excited to share the stage with all of the other competitors. Good luck to all! 

Treble in Paradise is Palatine High School's soprano-alto a cappella group. Treble in Paradise is affectionately known as “Tippy” to the members of Palatine High School choirs. They perform at many school functions and community events. The members of Tippy are sophomores, juniors, and seniors from the music department. This is their second year competing in ICHSA and they are excited to return to the Varsity Vocals stage. Good luck to all of the competitors!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Oliver Cardona studies music education at the University of Wisconsin and expects to graduate with his degree this May. An award-winning a cappella arranger, Oliver music-directed Fundamentally Sound at UW-Madison, leading them to 4th place and 2nd place finishes at ICCA Great Lakes Semifinals. He has attended many a cappella competitions and festivals over the years and also participated in UW's Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensembles. He is excited to return to ICCA as a judge this year! 

Luke Dutelle is an a cappella enthusiast from Madison, Wis. and holds a vocal performance degree from UW-Madison. Luke was a member of the all-male group, Fundamentally Sound, for all four years of undergrad, and music-directed the group for his final three years. In his time as the director of the group, he led workshops at a cappella festivals, was recognized by the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) as an award-winning arranger, and helped guide Fundamentally Sound to place in three ICCA Semifinals and record a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-nominated album. He also took home individual awards for Outstanding Arrangement in the ICCA and has coached several high school a cappella groups. Luke currently works as a professional a cappella arranger and is pursuing a career in sound engineering. 

Laura Kruschke has been involved in a cappella since her college days at UW-Madison, where she sang with Tangled Up in Blue while earning her degree in music education. In 2007, she participated in launching the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) and founded greenTONE A Cappella in fall 2007. gT is 10 members strong today and sings for a variety of local events, including weddings, holiday parties, fundraisers, and flash mobs. In addition to gT, Laura now serves as A Cappella Director at Edgewood College and continues to offer her expertise to local high school choirs through workshops and group coaching. In addition to Laura’s aca-involvement, she arranges music for local show choir groups, sings in a local band, teaches yoga, and helps her three kids remember their F-sharps when 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 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 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 Jordan Smart, Leslie Henry, Nova, Lee Stovall, Rollie Layman, Alex and Paul at Audio Max Production, Rob Blumstein; 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