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

 

La Plata High School
Saturday, February 23, 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

 

Evolve from Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, Md. was founded in 2016 by alumni Michael Brisentine. Last year, Evolve was invited to perform with Deke Sharon at his DCINY Total Vocal Experience up in New York City, where they were selected to perform a song on the Lincoln Center stage in front of 3,000 people! Evolve likes to have quite a bit of fun, and sometimes, their weekly check-ins take up about half the rehearsal. Hopefully none of you notice that. 

Nothing But Treble is St. Mary’s High School’s all-female a cappella group. Since its founding in 2011, Nothing But Treble (or NBT) has hosted invitational shows, performed the national anthem at various events, and participated in the Maryland Hall A Cappella Showcase as an opening act for collegiate and professional groups. Annual traditions also include Christmas caroling during Midnight Madness in Annapolis and releasing studio recorded EPs. NBT has been honored to have tracks from their EPs selected for the BOHSA 2016, BOHSA 2018, and WACA Vol. 5 compilation albums. Nothing But Treble is excited to be returning to the ICHSA stage!

The Spartones hail from St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Md. Last year, they made their ICHSA debut with a 3rd place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals and advanced to Semifinals. They placed 3rd at the SingStrong D.C. high school competition and brought home awards for Best Arrangement, Best Vocal Percussion, and Best Male Soloist. They have performed with Blue Jupiter, Ball in the House, FreePlay Duo, and Pitches Be Crazy, among other local music groups. The Spartones look forward to meeting new groups and sharing their love for a cappella.   

At just two years old, Takin' Charge is Henry E. Lackey's only co-ed a cappella group. Led by alumni of UMD's Faux Paz and SMCM's Interchorus, the group is composed of both choral and non-choral students who just love to sing. They have performed at restaurants local to Southern Maryland, Aca-Ed Baltimore, and hosted their own performance showcase last year. This year, Takin' Charge is excited to try takin' the ICHSA stage! 

The Acatonics is the co-ed a cappella group from Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. This group combines the forces of Wootton’s all-female group, The Acabellas, and all-male group, The Supertonics, thereby creating one powerhouse group, The Acatonics. This ensemble sings a mixture of current songs and classics and puts their own twist on every genre. The Acatonics have well-rounded members who are involved in various high school activities, from varsity athletics to theatre productions. The diversity of this group, along with their shared loved of music, provides this group with a mixture of unique 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 younger singers in their community to use their talent and continue singing throughout their education. They are excited to represent their school and their community. 

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

The UnAccompanied Minors are excited to be making their second appearance on the ICHSA stage! They were founded two years ago and have been looking to expand their musical horizons ever since. The group is completely student-led and creates their own arrangements! They are excited to share their hard work over the course of the year with you tonight and they hope you enjoy the show. 

La Plata High School's Unplugged is a fun, energetic group of performers who love making their audiences smile. If they aren't found singing around school or onstage, they are raising money for local and national charities with their Coffee House concerts. This is Unplugged's 10th anniversary and sixth year competing in the ICHSA, where they have previously earned recognition for Outstanding Vocal Percussion, Outstanding Choreography, and a spot in the 2015 Finals. Check out Unplugged on iTunes and Spotify, including their single on the 2016 BOHSA album. Get ready to rock the house with Unplugged! 

The Edgewood High School’s Vocal Edge is the premier a cappella group in the Edgewood community. Vocal Edge specializes in performing contemporary a cappella music. The group is made up of current Edgewood High School students ranging from freshmen to seniors. 

Vocal Synergy is composed of some of the most talented and dedicated students from Dwight Morrow Academies at Englewood. Having only been on the a cappella scene for one year, they are eager to jump back into the swing of this year's season. Since last year, the group has grown in size and talent. This cluster of k-pop loving, R&B singing, harmony-creating students have been preparing like crazy and are ready to entertain audiences all over!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Originally from Torrington, Conn., Kyle Hogan currently lives in Washington, D.C. and works in antitrust law. As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, Kyle dedicated most of his time outside of his core studies to making music as he trained in classical voice and sang bass with The YellowJackets, joining shortly after their feature on NBC's “The Sing-Off.” Recently, Kyle has lent his voice to a number of collaborations, including work with Street Corner Symphony and June. Kyle currently sings bass in the new six-person vocal band, Nomadic.   

Garrick T. Jordan, is a native of Maple Hill, N.C. Garrick has been a featured soloist for the March on Washington Film Festival performing for the past three years. Performing as a soloist at the U.S. Capitol and the National Archives are some of his most treasured experiences. He has performed at the renowned Lincoln Theater as well as other great venues in the district. He was named the winner of both the Arlington’s Got Talent and the Arlington Sing-Off competitions. Adding to his accomplishments, Garrick completed his Master of Divinity at Shaw University Divinity School of Raleigh, N.C. and is a graduate of the University of Hartford's prestigious Hartt School of Music. Garrick  made his debut with Connecticut Opera in 1998 -2002 with Maestro Willie A. Waters, and performed in the company's productions of “Carmen,” “Di Zauberflote,” “Susannah,” and “Tosca.”  In 2000-2002, he began to tour with the world renowned Harlem Gospel Choir of New York, traveling to Italy, Malta, Japan, France, Belgium, Hungary, Cuba, Honduras, New Zealand, and Australia. One of his most memorable experiences was performing the national anthem on July 4, 2000 for ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Since that time, Garrick has graced many stages and venues and is grateful for any opportunity to share music, his greatest passion. 

Michael Sanky is a multi-instrumentalist hailing from the Boston scene, now living in Washington D.C. Michael recently graduated from Harvard, where he was the music director and primary arranger of Under Construction. In 2017, he was also part of Berklee's Upper Structure, where he sang bass and helped them place 2nd in their ICCA Semifinal and 2nd in the Wild Card round. The next year, he shifted his focus to Under Construction, taking them to their first-ever ICCA competition. Arranging and doing vocal percussion for their inaugural ICCA set, Michael won Outstanding Arrangement for the set, and the group won their first-ever Quarterfinal. With a strong love for a cappella and music, Michael loves arranging for and advising groups nationwide and is excited to be part of the musical journey of the groups competing 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

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

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THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019