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

 

St. Charles High School
Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

Dragon Scales, sponsored by David Speaks and Liddy Gallagher, is a mixed a cappella group from the Appomattox Regional Governor's School (ARGS) in Petersburg, Va. The school has around 360 students made up of 14 different localities, which provides Dragon Scales a wide range of singers from different backgrounds! They recently released an original single, “Bumblebee,” written by Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning alumni of the group. Their single and EP can be found on iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play. Dragon Scales pride themselves on having student leaders who help run the group, write arrangements, choreograph, and music-direct! Good luck everybody, let's have a great show! 

Hall Pass is a middle school a cappella group at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School. Don't let their age or energy fool you into thinking they don't work hard! They come from diverse backgrounds, including dancers, singers, actors, instrumentalists, artists, gymnasts, sportists... sporters? Oh well, it actually doesn't matter, because they have a Hall Pass to say it however they want. They love meeting new people, going to other venues to sing, and if you ever need a hall pass for anything, they’re your tribe! 

Hawkappella from River Hill High School is ecstatic for their debut as a competitive, choreographed a cappella group! Previously, Hawkappella was composed of two separate a cappella groups, The Leading Ladies and Talon Tones. This year, they have expanded and are proud to boast a new, competitive group, drawing from the best qualities of both ensembles. Hawkappella is grown out of their director’s love for her own collegiate a cappella group, The University of Delaware Deltones. The Deltones live by the motto, “Friends first, singers second,” which manifests itself in Hawkapella’s mission to spread kindness along with music. They hope you will join them in accomplishing their exciting new goal to share their music on a larger scale than ever before! 

No Fella A Cappella is an all-female auditioned a cappella group at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Va. This student-led group consists of 16 members, ranging from sophomores to seniors. No Fella is in high demand for local performances including the University of Virginia Women Against Violence benefit concert (the only high school group invited), the Lighting of the Lawn at UVA, Wintersongs (a day of all-female singing which raises money for the Shelter for Help In Emergency,) and the Miss Greater Charlottesville Pageant. They love to use pieces arranged by members of the group and maintain an eclectic musical set list. They sing pop, jazz, Broadway, R&B, and a variety of other styles. Members rehearse outside of the regular school day, practicing three days a week in the mornings before school. New members are selected at the end of every school year through a three-round audition process conducted by current members. No Fella has established a reputation of excellence among their peers and entire community at Albemarle High School. 

The Ramettes is the first all-female a cappella group to come out of McDonough High School. The Ramettes started as a normal advanced women's choir that occasionally sang pop songs. In 2017, the choir program at McDonough had a change of director. With this new director, the style of Ramettes evolved from choral music to contemporary a cappella. With a combination of passion, hard work, and talent, these young ladies have made tremendous strides and continue to wow their crowds. 

Entering their first full year of existence, The Screechin' Eagles is North Point High School's mixed a cappella group (not to be confused for a heavy metal rock band). The group is composed of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, each of whom brings their own unique contributions to the table. One member even brought a delicious breakfast casserole, but that’s a whole other story! While there are many a cappella influencers currently in mainstream media, these fierce students have not become leeches and enjoy performing a variety of musical styles. Not only do the students have a passion for a cappella, members of Screechin' Eagles are also a part of the choral music family at North Point High School. Numerous members have gone on to further distinguish themselves by being selected for regional and state-wide honor ensembles. While the group is still in its infancy, they have enjoyed performing at elementary and middle schools in their district. It is their small way of thanking those who helped shape them while growing up and they hope to inspire young students to do great things themselves.   

The Acatonics is the co-ed a cappella group from Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. This co-ed ensemble sings a mixture of current songs and classics and puts their own twist on every genre. The Acatonics have well-rounded members involved in all aspects of high school, from varsity athletics to theatre productions. The diversity of The Acatonics’ membership, along with their shared love of music, creates a unique mixture of talent and infectious energy. They have performed throughout the greater Washington, D.C. area, both at school events and at community performances. They pride themselves on inspiring young singers in their community to use their own talents and continue singing throughout their education. They are excited to represent their school and their community. 

The Spartones hail from St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Md. The group consists of 14 unique performers who have a passion for wowing audiences with their fun and energetic performances. The Spartones have had the pleasure of working with current Pentatonix bass, Matt Sallee. They have also shared the stage with amazing a cappella groups Resound, Ball in the House, and Blue Jupiter. The Spartones earned 2nd place last year at Quarterfinals, where their very own Tamia Harrell won the award for Outstanding Arrangement. The Spartones are excited to be here and hope that you enjoy their performance!

ThomasTones is the first co-ed a cappella group at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, Md. Currently in its fourth year, this group is made up of dedicated, hard-working, and talented students. They are brownie connoisseurs, meme critics, and they love to spill the tea. There is never a dull day in rehearsal with this bunch and they pride themselves on being a family as well as an ensemble. 

You may remember them as "The Unaccompanied Minors.” Now known as Tonal Eclipse, this a cappella group is based out of Bowie High School. They have been singing together for three years now and are proud to be a group of versatile vocalists. Tonal Eclipse performs at school events, local competitions, and may be coming to a Bar Mitzvah near you, so stay on the lookout. Their sponsor, Mrs. Brooks, is so proud of the work they do everyday to become better than they were the day before.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Aaron Bayne is a recent graduate of Towson University and currently acts as the General Manager and co-owner of The Trills, LLC. As an undergraduate student, Aaron was the vocal percussionist, president, and founding member of 2017 and 2019 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Champions, The Towson Trills. During college, The Trills released an EP called Pillars, performed at two ICCA Finals, featured on WBAL-TV’s holiday special, and performed at venues across the East Coast. Aaron also earned awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion each year The Trills entered ICCA and placed 9th in the tag-team portion of the 2018 American Beatbox Championships. The Trills are continuing as a Baltimore-based professional ensemble and have many other projects on the way. Aaron has also lent his vocal percussion to other vocal projects, like Embassy A Cappella, Euphonic A Cappella, and Clear Harmonies Productions. Aaron is extremely excited for tonight’s performances and wishes everyone luck!

Joshua Singer served as music director and arranger for two-time ICCA Finalists, University of Maryland Faux Paz. In 2016, he was awarded Outstanding Arrangement for the Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Josh arranged the winning 2017 Boston Sings Scholastic Competition (BOSS) set for Faux. His work has been nominated for multiple CARAs, including a 2016 nomination for Best Electronic Song for his arrangement of "Our Own House" by Misterwives. Josh won the CARA for "Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement" for Faux Paz's single, "Where Are Ü Now" by Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo. Josh was a featured director on the second season of Pop Network's “Sing It On," which followed his group's ICCA journey to Finals. Josh continues to engage with the a cappella community through his arrangements, collaborations, and workshops, and actively works to inspire groups across the country to take their music and performance to the next level. 

A 2012 graduate from Berklee College of Music, Nadia Sosnoski earned a bachelor’s degree dual majoring in professional music and songwriting and a minor in acoustics and electronics. While attending college, Nadia acted as soprano and tour manager for the international award-winning a cappella group, Pitch Slapped, and was proud to be part of the winning group at 2011 ICCA Finals. She went on to perform on cruise ships and music-direct for theme parks. Nadia eventually landed in Nashville where she was a soprano in the Nashville Symphony Chorus for two seasons, as well as lead singer for a Motown band called The Soul Searchers and for the rock band, JGX. Her original music has been featured on daytime television shows and her voiceover work can be heard in both television and radio commercials. Nadia has performed with Alison Krauss, David Burnham, Susan Egan, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. She now resides in Washington, D.C. where she is a soprano for the official chorus of United States Air Force, The Singing Sergeants, and the lead singer of the new Air Force pop band, Supersonic. 

Tony Wang sang with The Washington University Sensasians from 2011 to 2015. During his years as music director, Tony led the newly-found group to their first-ever ICCA competition, where his arrangement of "Human" won Outstanding Arrangement. Tony's love of music began on the piano, but continued through voice, guitar, and percussion, as well as arranging. Since graduation, Tony has stayed involved in the a cappella community, serving as a musical adviser for his former group and singing with a recreational a cappella group. Tony is an avid music theory junkie and vocal percussionist, and would love to trade some beats with anyone who asks tonight!

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