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

 

Illinois State University 
Saturday, January 18th, 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

 

The #harmonics are so happy to be back for another ICHSA competition season! The #harmonics is the premier a cappella group of Rockford, Ill., and they perform throughout the area and at Guilford High School! They relish the opportunity to compete each year because they love pushing themselves to be the best they can and getting inspired by other groups to keep getting better! 

Edison Jr. Sr. High School is home to the best a cappella group in Northwest Indiana: Drown Out! This group is in its fourth year of existence and is composed of students in grades eight through 12. The group only rehearses twice a week after school because each student is also involved in other extracurricular activities. The group has competed in the ICHSA competition for two years and considers the experience to be the highlight of each school year. These students may come from a very small school, but they prove each and every day that size doesn’t matter if you put your heart into it. The students enjoy singing all different genres of music as long as it has a good groove. 

Youth Choral Theater of Chicago's a cappella group, IMPACT, is an audition-based ensemble based in Wilmette, Ill. The group is composed of singers all over the North Shore of Chicago. This will be IMPACT’s first competition and they are excited to share their music with you. 

Mod21 is the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy’s star a cappella group! Entirely student-led, Mod21 is an 18-member group filled with the most talented and passionate singers in the IMSA family, who are also some of the brightest students across the state of Illinois. They are extremely excited to start the 2020 season after competing in the 2019 Quarterfinals. Each  year, they perform a diverse set of songs in multiple languages for IMSA’s four Culture Shows, Diwali from the Indian Student Association, Lunar New Year from Asian Students in America, Harambee from the Black Student Union, and Casa de Alma from Alma Latina. They also sing at campus events, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly, Senior Banquet, and their annual Luau, as well as at malls, nursing homes, and other off-campus venues. As students at a STEM-focused school, the members of Mod21 use a cappella to get their creative juices flowing. Rather than striving for uniformity, they encourage and help each member find their own unique voice. Mod21’s music director also offers help to members who wish to arrange and review music theory. They are so excited for all the aca-mazing opportunities that await them!

Northern Voices comes from Plainfield North High School, where they traditionally perform madrigals and vocal jazz. Since 2005, Northern Voices has performed throughout the Plainfield community and is excited to be part of the Varsity Vocals family for the first time tonight. Northern Voices invites you to clap, shout, and cheer them on as they perform their set. 

KC A Cappella is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to providing a unique educational and musical experience for high school students around the Kansas City Metropolitan area. This organization houses the nationally ranked contemporary vocal a cappella group Sound Proof, in which ensemble members are introduced to the world of contemporary vocal a cappella and given the opportunity to grow as performers, vocalists, and musicians. 

VCR (Vocal Chords Required) hails from Urbana, Ill. and strives to highlight the diversity of their school and community through the music they perform. 

Through friendship, passion, and dedication, the sisters of High Fidelity work hard to show their audiences the story of love, heartbreak, and realization. This group of best friends loves to empower the crowd just like they empower one another.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Katherine Bodor is an arranger, a massive choir nerd, and an award-winning composer of contemporary choral and chamber music. Her arrangements have been featured on compilation albums such as BOHSA and Voices Only, and her original compositions have received premieres throughout the U.S. She works as a freelance arranger for scholastic and professional a cappella groups and is on the arranging team with Viridian Productions and The Vocal Company. Whether arranging for voices or writing for contemporary chamber ensembles, Katherine’s musical focus  is on layering, texture, and nuance within emotional story arcs. Katherine has a master’s degree in composition from IU Jacobs School of music and a Bachelor of Science in engineering and music from Washington University in St. Louis. 

Cory Ellis is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where he studied music education, performance, and music industry leadership. He is a founding member and former music director of The NIU Huskie Hunks, the first all-male a cappella group on campus. Cory helped lead The Hunks to perform at the VoiceJam A Cappella Festival in Arkansas, as well as the National A Cappella Convention (NACC) in Tennessee. In addition to his a cappella contributions to NIU, Cory was the head drum major of The Pride of the Midwest, the Huskie Marching Band, and an arranger and member of the world-renowned NIU World Steelband, which recently performed at Symphony Center in Chicago. 

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. 

Ian Lundquist is a graduate of Illinois State University, where he studied music education. While at ISU, Ian was an active member and soloist for all-male a cappella group The Acafellaz for four years. The group competed in ICCA, toured, and performed at venues large and small. Ian also served as a member of ISU’s prestigious Concert Choir and Madrigals.

Emily Weber is a 2018 graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in vocal music education. At ISU, Emily was a member of Secondary Dominance, the premier all-female a cappella group, for four years, where she served as a soloist, arranger, and music director. She was also a member of the ISU Concert Choir and Sigma Alpha Iota. Emily is in her second year of teaching general music at Clara Peterson Elementary School in Paxton, Ill., and serves as a worship leader at her church.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank The ISU Acafellaz, Nick Benson, Alex Sheafor and Audio Max Productions, Jordan Smart, Rob Blumstein, and the entire ISU CPA Team; 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