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 MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Grunin Center for the Arts
Saturday, February 1st, 2020

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

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

 

First Edition is West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South’s premier a cappella group. One of three groups on campus, First Edition performs at township and school events, including The Mayor’s Ball, Arbor Day, the 9/11 Memorial, the Christmas Tree lighting, and sporting events. In addition to their main repertoire of pop, R&B, and classic a cappella genres, First Edition also focuses on holiday music, enjoys experimenting with collegiate a cappella arrangements, and creates their own arrangements in house. Affiliated with the choir program at school, First Edition includes members from all three music programs (choir, orchestra, and band). With 15 members, First Edition is a diverse group with a powerful sound. Living in West Windsor, these singers maintain challenging academic and extracurricular schedules in addition to weekly two-hour rehearsals. Everyone in First Edition has a genuine passion for learning, growing, and performing. 

Tamanend Middle School Gold’n’Blues is a lively group of eight and ninth grade students from Warrington, Pa. who love to sing. Their dirty little secret, though, is that they are not actually an a cappella group, but a chamber choir with an a cappella habit. Directed by Mr. Ian Sanchez, they have been selected to perform at the Pennsylvania State Music Educators Annual Conference each time they have applied, won multiple Grand Sweepstakes Awards from their spring adjudication with Music Showcase Festivals, and are yearly participants in the Central Bucks Save the Music Charity Concert, the largest scholastic fundraiser for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. As an a cappella group, they have been commended for their engaging, energetic, and sometimes humorous performances. They were noted for their strong visual presentation and tight rhythm section at AcaTamaJam, their local a cappella competition. Performance highlights include their selection as the opening act for Vocalosity at the Bucks County Playhouse and their annual participation in the Highlands A Cappella Festival and Central Bucks A Cappella Festival, where they have enjoyed working with many highly respected a cappella clinicians. They are thrilled and honored to compete in the 2020 ICHSA.   

LumeNAtion is from Newark Academy in Livingston, N.J.  This the group’s sixth year in the ICHSA, coming off of two consecutive appearances at Semifinals after earning 1st place at Quarterfinals. The group is incredibly excited to perform for you and hopes that you enjoy their set tonight! Let's hear it for Newark Academy’s LumeNAtion! 

Remix is Montclair Kimberley Academy's a cappella group and includes 17 singers and a vocal percussionist. A group of students who shared a passion for singing and performing created the group in August 2017. Since its debut, Remix has performed in numerous concerts and competitions. The group competed in the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal and progressed to Semifinals in 2018. In collaboration with Cycle for Survival, the group has hosted concerts and raised over $10,000 for rare cancer research. 

Neptune High School's Scarlet Sound is competing in its fourth ICHSA. Scarlet Sound has consistently been the highest-rated vocal ensemble in Monmouth County, and is coming off its third consecutive appearance at the N.J. State Teen Arts Festival. Additionally, Scarlet Sound has earned 1st place trophies from various state and regional competitions, notably the Virginia International Music Festival in 2018. This April, the group will perform in Walt Disney World for the second time. They look forward to sharing their music with you! 

Southside is a student-run, auditioned group of 17 students from CB South High School in Warrington, Pa. They have done workshops with collegiate a cappella groups such as The Brown University Jabberwocks and have worked with Deke Sharon. They perform at many local and school related events and this is their first ICHSA. Go Birds! 

Since their inception in 2012, Stay Tuned from Cherry Hill East High School has experienced great and widespread success. Created and directed by Heather Lockart, they were selected to be featured on an eight-week Lifetime docuseries, “Pitch Slapped,” which aired during the winter of 2016.  During this time, they were coached by music director and arranger of the “Pitch Perfect” movies, Deke Sharon. Since then, Stay Tuned has performed at the Kimmel Center, Lincoln Financial Field, The Town Hall, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall alongside the cast of the “Pitch Perfect” movies. Most recently, Stay Tuned has competed in two ICHSA Finals competitions amongst the top groups from across the nation in New York City. While the group has enjoyed such great national success, their number-one priority has always been serving their community by sharing their love and passion for music with their local friends and supporters. The members of Stay Tuned are thankful for every performance opportunity and always strive to inspire and bring joy to their audiences.   

Vocal Resolution is the first a cappella group established at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, N.J. They transformed from an after-school select chamber choir into a modern a cappella group in 2013 and began participating in ICHSA in 2016. The members of Vocal Resolution love finding new ways to make music with just their voices. The organic art form of a cappella music is more than just a hobby  for this group, but a therapeutic practice and life necessity. Above all, Vocal Resolution is resolved to share their joy for singing throughout their musical journey. They are so grateful for this opportunity to perform and look forward to meeting others who share a similar passion for music. 

Vox Blue is a 16-voice a cappella group based at Delaware Valley Regional High School. They perform throughout the academic year in school and in the surrounding community. Founded just last year, Vox Blue auditioned and made it into ICHSA Quarterfinals and they aim to advance further this year!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” vocal producer, Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, composer, and educator. Based in New York, Kari has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. She taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School, and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women's Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a Conducting Fellow at the Young People's Chorus of New York City. She directs "The Art of A Cappella" at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing contemporary a cappella music. In addition to her vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the U.S. Kari graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in music education from the Eastman School. Find her online at acappellaprofessor.com 

Alex Green is a recording engineer, producer, and arranger from New York City. He is a graduate of Tufts University with a dual degree in music and archaeology, where he sang with and directed The Tufts Amalgamates and with whom he recorded 2011′s Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning Hands Off The Mannequin. He is a co-owner and producer at Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production company with dual home bases in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Somerville, Mass. Alex shares two RIAA-certified Platinum and Billboard-charting albums with Ed Boyer and Ben Bram for his work with Pentatonix, while other clients of Plaid Productions have had songs featured on SING, BOCA, Voices Only, and have garnered over 100 CARA nominations. Since graduating in 2010, he has regularly served as a masterclass leader and instructor at a cappella festivals nationwide, sung with Overboard (Boston, Mass.), and written for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). 

An instrumentalist for most of his early life, Christopher Hoffman found his calling in vocal music as a member (and eventual president) of Hofstra University's Sigma'cappella. He helped bring the group to ICCA Semifinals twice in its first three years of competition, and earned individual awards on the way for Outstanding Arrangement. During this time, he began arranging for and collaborating with various professional, collegiate, and high school groups, and has continued in this work since graduation. Christopher helped SingStrong coordinate collegiate talent for its inaugural New York festival, and has worked with The Vocal Company’s marketing team. He currently lives on Long Island where he spends his free time working with high school a cappella groups. 

Jonathan Sears began singing a cappella in 1996 at Elizabethtown College with the all-male group, Phalanx. In his senior year, he led Phalanx to its first-ever ICCA showing. After graduating in 2000, he performed with a number of professional a cappella groups at shows and festivals throughout North America. He is a two-time CARA nominee, first in 2000 in the Best Male Collegiate Arranger category, and again as a professional in 2005 in the Best Contemporary Pop/Rock Original Song category. He is a five-year veteran of RARB, where he adjudicated over 70 a cappella albums submitted by both collegiate and professional groups. Jonathan lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his beautiful wife, Kelly, and their two girls, Molly and Emma. 2020 marks Jonathan’s 15th year as an ICCA/ICHSA adjudicator, capping almost 25 years as an active member of the a cappella community.

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

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 Mid-Atlantic 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