THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF HIGH SCHOOL

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

ICHSA MID-ATLANTIC QUARTERFINAL

 

Cherry Hill High School 
Saturday, January 26, 2019

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 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

 

New Song is a brand-new a cappella group making its debut performance at ICHSA this year.  This team is made up of 9th through 12th grade students from Baptist Regional School in Haddon Heights, N.J. New Song performed at a Broadway Cafe in the fall and are preparing for a Disney Palooza this spring.
They are excited to participate in this event and are looking forward to seeing the other groups perform. 

Rebel Yell is Howell High School's oldest a cappella team and one of New Jersey's oldest contemporary a cappella groups. Rebel Yell has recently become an all-female group and enjoys the richness of tighter harmonies (and less drama). These ladies prioritize excellent musicianship and service to the community and perform 25 to 30 shows each year outside of the competition series. Music, friends, intelligence, and fun define this dynamic group and they are always ready to take the stage! Ladies and gentlemen, Rebel Yell!

Rebelation
is a group of crazy, rebellious kids, mostly from Howell High School's marching band who consistently push the boundaries of what can be accomplished in a cappella. These busy young musicians pack their sacred weekly rehearsals with music, friends, french fries, and lots of fun! They are thrilled to share the stage with so many talented groups and can't wait to see you tapping your feet to the music! Let's hear it for Rebelation!

Reverb A Cappella
is Howell High School's newest vocal ensemble! Composed of mostly musical theatre students, this energetic group loves the down-stage-center and is always connecting with audiences. Featuring pop music, this co-ed team is semi-student-run and loves making memories as much as they love making sweet harmonies! Give it up for Reverb A Cappella!

The Seventh Street Singers
hail from Connetquot School District in Long Island, N.Y. This co-ed group has been seen performing at many district and community events over the years, including the ICHSA since 2014. In 2017, The Seventh Street Singers won Outstanding Arrangement at their ICHSA Quarterfinal. As they continue their a cappella adventures, they hope their audiences will "Remember the sounds for sounds so sweet--Seventh Street."

The Ridgewood High School AcaBellas
, established in 2011, are competing in the ICHSA for their sixth straight year. In 2015, The AcaBellas placed 3rd at Quarterfinals and 4th at Semifinals. Last year, The AcaBellas placed 2nd in Quarterfinals and won awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion and Outstanding Choreography.

The Foxy Jukebox
, from Moorestown Friends School in southern New Jersey, is a new group that formed in September 2018. This group is composed of sophomore, junior, and senior students who love to sing and strive to grow stronger as a team of musicians. Many of them have participated in the school's choral and drama program for several years, and hope to use those skills to transform this group into a strong pillar of the MFS music program. They would like to thank their families and peers for being supportive of this new musical adventure and also hope that you enjoy their music this evening!

The Ridgewood High School Maroon Men
, established in 2010, are competing in the ICHSA competition for the seventh time. In 2015, The Maroon Men won 1st place in their Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal, plus awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Vocal Percussion. Last year, The Maroon Men placed 3rd in Quarterfinals. In addition to singing sweet harmonies with their boys, each member of the Maroon Men can bench press 250 pounds.

W.A.V.E.
’s primary objective is to bring a cappella singing of excellent quality to the Wellsville community and beyond. The group follows through on this mission by performing for Wellsville, other high school audiences, community service venues, and private functions. The ensemble records their music periodically and travels to locations around Allegany County and throughout New York State.

Soulfege A Cappella
is Millburn High School’s student-led a cappella group, and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary! Last year, Soulfege placed 3rd in the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal, took home the awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Choreography, as well as Outstanding Vocal Percussion at Semifinals. They placed 2nd at SingStrong N.Y. and won 1st place at A Cappella for Autism, winning special awards for both, including Best Choreography, Best Vocal Percussion, and Best Male Soloist. In addition to performing, Soulfege has raised over $2,000 for Tunes to Teens, a music charity for underprivileged schools, and teaches a cappella after school classes to students at local elementary schools. The group was also featured on three episodes of Lifetime’s “Pitch Slapped.” Soulfege recently released its second single, “Take Me to Church” with a cappella record label, The Vocal Company, after releasing their first single, "You Give Love A Bad Name" in 2017. Both now available for download!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Hailing from From Burlington, N.J., J. Aaron Boykin is a member of New York City’s professional a cappella band, DUWENDE. Since he joined the group as a college student in 2010, Duwende has amassed millions of views on YouTube, made several national television appearances, and headlined domestic and international tours. Most recently, the band appeared on NBC’s “The Winner Is” with host Nick Lachey, “America's Got Talent,” and TED TALK as featured presenters. In 2016, they released Remember: The Music of Michael Jackson,Vol. 2 as a follow-up to their acclaimed Michael Jackson cover album, which put them in demand for tours and appearances around the world.. An ICCA veteran, J. Aaron spent four years in collegiate a cappella and competed with two Rutgers University groups, Casual Harmony and The OrphansSporks. His soloist work with Casual Harmony earned him Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) wins for Best Male Collegiate Soloist and Best Hip-Hop/R&B Song. 

Ashley Foster graduated with her B.A. in choral music education from the University of Delaware, where she performed in various capacities, spanning from the Opera Theater to the internationally acclaimed UD Chorale. As a four-year member of UD’s co-ed a cappella group, Vocal Point, she served as assistant performance director in 2014 and performance director in 2015. During her time, Vocal Point secured several Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Wild Card victories, culminating in a 3rd place finish at the 2014 ICCA Finals. Ashley was also a member of Cape Harmony, the renowned professional all-female a cappella group based in Cape Cod, Mass., and spent her summer performing throughout the Cape. She has been featured on four studio albums as a soloist and vocal percussionist. Currently, Ashley is the Director of Choral Activities at Newton High School. She remains active in a cappella by directing The Newton High School Harmonics, as well as adjudicating and workshopping throughout the Tri-State area. 

Carissa Pietsch is a mezzo-soprano from the greater Philadelphia area. Carissa fostered her a cappella career at Elizabethtown College by singing with and arranging for the all-female group, Melica. Her arrangements helped redefine the group as they evolved their sound from sweet to sassy. She currently performs with a ukulele group, directs the chamber choir Suburban Singers, and works as a studio music teacher specializing in voice, piano, guitar, and ukulele. Carissa continues to arrange music for a cappella ensembles and her students. She believes individuals are inherently musical and that talent can be accessed through patient and compassionate guidance. 

Meredith Strang O'Sullivan has been active in the a cappella community as a singer, arranger, judge, director, and group mentor for nearly 25 years. She is currently the music director for Treble NYC, which recently appeared in the movie, “How to Be Single.” As an arranger for NYC A Cappella, she creates award-winning arrangements for vocal groups across the nation. During her college years, she directed The University of Delaware Deltones, who went on to be cast on NBC's “The Sing-Off.” Meredith is a member of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL), the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), and was also a producer for CASA’s VoCALnation Festival, featuring headliners The Swingle Singers and Duwende. In addition to her love of a cappella, Meredith sings in a rock band, a jazz duo, and does backing vocals for artists such as Phillip Phillips, A Great Big World, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

Ian Wolfe
is a Pennsylvania State University graduate and  self-proclaimed a cappella nerd. At Penn State, he spent four years singing in a co-ed a cappella group, The Coda Conduct. With Coda, he become musical director and helped the group release an EP, Out of the Dark, and a full album, SPECTRUM. Ian competed in ICCA twice with The Coda Conduct, winning several Outstanding Arrangement awards. He also competed in the 2018 BOSS Scholastic Competition in Boston, Mass. Ian currently sings with the international 3rd place medalist barbershop chorus, Parkside Harmony, is a percussionist, and works with CASA as a nominator and judge for the CARAs.

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 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?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019