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 MIDWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

560 Music Center
Friday, February 7th, 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 led 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

 

Maximum Forte, the premier choral outreach group from Charleston High School in Charleston Ill., is an auditioned co-curricular ensemble devoted to performing an eclectic repertoire of choral literature, ranging from madrigals to contemporary pop/jazz arrangements. Under the direction of Juliane Sharp, the group has been invited to sing at the Kettering National A Cappella Festival in Ohio for the past six years, in addition to tours and performances in Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, and Cleveland. In addition to their active performance schedule, this competitive ensemble placed 3rd in the 2018 ICHSA Midwest Quarterfinals in St. Louis, taking the award for Outstanding Choreography, and 2nd place in the 2019 ICHSA Quarterfinals in Bloomington, Ill., winning awards for Outstanding Vocal Percussion and Outstanding Arrangement, moving on as Great Lakes Semifinalists. 

White House Heritage’s contemporary a cappella group Patatonics has been showing their Patriot pride since 2017 through their energetic renditions of popular songs. Patatonics is now on its second full year of performing together. They have performed for various audiences throughout middle Tennessee. 

The Cat's Meow is a mixed a cappella group from Licking, Mo., home of the Wildcats. Now in its fourth year at Licking High School, this clowder of cats is drawn together by their love of music. They represent a wide range of students, from smart cats, sporty cats, and cheer cats to, of course, jazzy cats. Growing up in a small rural community with a funny name, these tom cats and kittens are proving every day that they aren't your average alley cats. They are The Cat's Meow! 

Titan Harmony is composed of 18 singers who enjoy singing together in various styles. Outside of Titan Harmony, you can find many of these faces rehearsing with the show choir, acting in the school plays, or practicing for various athletic teams, including golf and tennis. This is Titan Harmony's second year as an a cappella group! They look forward to improving their sound, creating memories, and making their school music and theatre departments proud. They want to wish all the other groups luck in creating their unique art onstage. 

Tonal Uproar is Jefferson City High School's a cappella group. Tonal Uproar is in its fourth year as a group and has been having a blast getting to know the Missouri aca-community. They are very grateful for the opportunity to have been invited to the Brirarcrest OneVoice Invitational this year. They would like to thank their families and community for all of their support. 

Like Odin's "Hall of the Fallen" from Norse mythology, the Parkway North Viking singing warriors you will hear tonight come from a special place, a place called "Valholla." 

VHS (Vocal Harmonies Supplied) aims to represent the diversity seen in their school, Urbana High School, and in their community with the eclectic music they sing. 

Viva Voce is the treble voice a cappella group at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Mo. Viva was founded in 2016 after being inspired from attending an ICCA at Washington University.  Currently, Viva Voce is a group of 16 students ranging from 8th grade to seniors in high school.  This group is completely extracurricular and meets outside of the school day, which allows each member to pursue other passions, such as tennis, science olympiad, theatre, cross country, regatta, field hockey, and soccer. Even as they keep busy with these other endeavors, they are always excited to unite through their love of a cappella and vocal music.

GUEST PERFORMER


Mosaic Whispers is WashU’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, having celebrated their 25th birthday at their annual concert in Graham Chapel in 2016! They sing music from every genre and tour each fall and spring with recent stops in Chicago, San Diego, New York, Washington D.C., and Boston. The Whispers compete internationally, with a recent 1st place finish at the 2017 ICCA Midwest Quarterfinals and a performance at Broadway’s Beacon Theater in the 2016 ICCA Finals. Last year, they competed as Finalists at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC) in Memphis. Their 11 studio albums have received praise from a cappella critics, including two Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) Top Tracks of the Year from their latest album Oasis (2018), which can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Eion Blanchard hails from piano and vocal jazz, but broke into a cappella during his undergraduate years at the University of Florida, where he spent two years arranging for and directing No Southern Accent. Eion then co-founded Gestalt and served as music director for its first two seasons (#dvdp). Under Eion's tenure, Gestalt was named an ICCA Quarterfinal Champion and runner-up for ICCA South Semifinals, SoJam XV, Boston Sings (BOSS) 2018, and the 2018 NACC. Gestalt broke records at the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) garnering 11 nominations with its debut album, Beyond The Archetype, and winning multiple. Since graduating from Gestalt, Eion has stayed involved in the a cappella scene by leading masterclasses and now judging for Varsity Vocals, all while pursuing his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Daniel Fister is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis studying musicology. He earned his undergraduate degree at Chapman University in vocal performance and music history and his master’s degree at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in music history. He has presented and written on collegiate a cappella, musical theatre, and other American music. Before his life as an academic, he directed, sang, and arranged for Wilsonville High School’s Soul’d Out, leading them to the 2010 ICHSA Finals, and went on to participate just as actively in Chapman University’s SoundCheck, with whom he competed regularly in ICCA and directed the production of their debut album, Everything (2012). He remains involved in a cappella as a judge and arranger. 

Taylor Hawkins is a lifelong vocalist and sang through high school, college, and professionally. Taylor has always been especially passionate about a cappella and has had the privilege of working with high school and college groups across the state. Taylor was a part of The True Men from Truman State University (go Bulldogs!) and is currently in a professional group called One Too Many A Cappella. Taylor is super excited to be here and wishes luck to all the groups tonight!

A native of Branson, Mo., Giovanni Hernandez is currently the vocal music teacher at Raytown Middle School in Kansas City, Mo., where he leads a comprehensive vocal music program of over 300 students. Before his tenure at Raytown Middle School, he attended Missouri State University where he majored in vocal music education and sang with The Missouri State University Chorale, Men’s Chorus, Choral Union, Multicultural Ensemble, and The Beartones, MSU’s all-male a cappella group. With the Chorale, he has performed at various state, regional, and national conferences, and the China International Chorus Festival, and toured all across the United States, South Africa, and Scandinavia. During his time with The Beartones, Giovanni served as music director, leading the group to compete in ICCA Finals in New York City and record a full-length studio album. Professional affiliations include the National Education Association (NEA), American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), and the A Cappella Education Association (AEA).

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Danielle Sutherland, Cameron Clemens, Leah Alrutz, Liquid 5th, 360 Music Center, Kate Morton, Chris Andres, Luke Thomas, Leah Scheidt, Washington University, and The Mosaic Whispers; 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 Midwest 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