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

 

Skyline High School
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

 

Chicappella from Brighton High School is all class and sass. This group of girls is entirely student-run, with a significant majority of their arrangements created by members of the group! They pride themselves on being an all-female group of strong women, and hope to inspire other young girls to go out there and achieve their dreams!   

Da Capo is Brighton High School's student-run mixed a cappella group and they are ecstatic to compete at this year's ICHSA.  Brighton High School's largest a cappella group consists of 18 devoted members, each of whom brings something unique and powerful to every rehearsal and performance. They've helped raise money for Alzheimer's Awareness, performed at the Detroit Zoo, and held various choir concerts and fundraisers. They would like to thank their choir director, Phil Johnson, for supporting the group through all of their endeavors and for allowing them this wonderful opportunity. Good luck to all of the other performers! 

From The Top is a brand-new high school a cappella group from Northview High School. After years of having a thriving choral program, they decided it was time to take these kids' talent to the contemporary a cappella world. In this inaugural year for From The Top, they are solidifying their identity and purpose as musicians, artists, and friends, all while telling beautiful stories onstage. With a quickly expanding repertoire, this group is learning what it takes to put on unforgettable shows for every audience. 

Kaleidoscope, from Clyde High School, in Clyde, Ohio, is in its sixth year of existence and will be competing in the ICHSA for the sixth time. This group is composed of 13 members, ranging from sophomores to seniors. Kaleidoscope has performed at the National A Cappella Festival, Downtown Disney in Orlando, Fla., Camp A Cappella, and as openers for The Filharmonic. The students of Kaleidoscope share a familial bond which makes the group very special. 

Major VI is a group dedicated to creating wonderful a cappella music with intricate choral-based musicianship. They love making music together and sharing their gifts with the community. 

Notetorious is Brighton High School’s exclusive all-male a capella group. They are, according to Jenna Jacobs of BHS’s Chicappella, “the most athletic a cappella group.” While that might’ve been a joke, it is true that the members of Notetorious do much more than sing. Some do sports such as skiing and swimming, while others are into science olympiad and theatre. They are all passionate about a cappella and pour their talent and energy into building the group up. In addition, Notetorious is mostly self-sufficient, arranging most of their music and selecting their own members and performances. They would like to thank their alumni members for making the group what it is today and Mr. Johnson for being an incredible mentor for everyone. Good luck to everyone competing! 

Skyline Blues, from Ann Arbor Skyline High School, was founded in 2008 and is under the direction of Lindsay CieChanski and Austin Terris. The group meets twice a week after school and participates in various performances and competitions each year, including the MSVMA Solo and Ensemble, where they recently earned a Superior rating. They are also a consistent force at the ICHSA. Last year, Blues placed 1st at Quarterfinals, 1st at Semifinals, and 2nd at Finals, which took place at The Town Hall in New York City. During that same competition season, Skyline Blues won awards for Outstanding Choreography at Quarterfinals and Semifinals, and Blues member Chris Ekpiken won Outstanding Vocal Percussion at Finals. In the spring of 2017, Skyline Blues was featured at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC) in Memphis and was a guest lecturer at the MSVMA Summer Workshop in August. In 2018, they represented Vocal Music at the State Capitol for Arts Advocacy Day, and were invited to sing at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids. Earlier this year, the group professionally recorded their entire competition set. 

Touch of Class from Port Clinton High School is a co-ed a cappella group from Port Clinton, Ohio with a strong performance history at both the community and competitive levels. Touch of Class strives to blend traditional pop a cappella aesthetics to non-traditional pop repertoire to create a truly unique sound. Students within the group hail from different social circles and organizations within and outside of their school, ranging from athletes, instrumentalists, National Honor Society inductees, and everything in between. They hope you enjoy the performance and the story they share with you today. 

The Wellsville A Cappella Vocal Ensemble (or W.A.V.E as they like to be called) may come from a small town in Western New York State, but they sing with a big heart! They love performing pop songs with a high level of musicality and sharing their love of music with members of their school, community, and the surrounding areas. They hope you connect with and enjoy hearing their set!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Lyndsay Burke graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in voice performance and music education. While in college, she sang, arranged, and music directed The Dicks and Janes, who competed in ICCA every year of her tenure. She is currently an elementary vocal music teacher in the Ann Arbor public schools. Lyndsay is also an instructor and music director at the Ann Arbor School of Rock and still actively performs in Michigan. 

Olivia Child knew as soon as she arrived at Michigan State University that she had to get involved in a cappella - specifically Ladies First, the only all-treble group on campus. Being a member of Ladies First meant a lot to her, especially because her own mother was one of the founders of the group when she attended MSU in 1985! Olivia performed with Ladies for all four years of her undergraduate career, competing in ICCA each year in the Great Lakes region and moving on to Semifinals in Chicago for two years in a row. She was an arranger for the group and served as business manager for a year and a half, thriving in the additional logistical challenges involved in these roles. After graduating from MSU in 2018, she found herself wanting even more a cappella and joined the off-season group, MSU Spartones. She competed with Spartones at the ICCA Open in 2019 and looks forward to finding more opportunities to stay involved with a cappella in the future, starting with this exciting opportunity to judge the talented groups this season! 

Jeff Magee is a vocal music education graduate from the University of Toronto, and currently teaches high school vocal and instrumental music. He has been an active part of Toronto's a cappella community for 12 years as a beatboxer, singer, director, arranger, and vocal coach. Jeff has experience in a variety of a cappella choirs, ranging from jazz and classical to pop music. He has directed collegiate a cappella choirs for eight years, incorporating award-winning choreography, soloists, and arrangements. Jeff is passionate about bringing the fun and excitement of a cappella music to new audiences. 

Jake Przybyla began his life in music with piano lessons at the age of six. He joined the school choir in 3rd grade and continued singing in choirs and musicals through high school. Jake attended Michigan State University where he joined The MSU Accafellas in the fall of his freshman year. Becoming one of the "Fellas" was a pivotal experience for Jake and he went on to lead them as president and music director during his junior and senior years. At the group's 2012 ICCA Quarterfinal, Jake shared the award for Outstanding Arrangement and the group placed 3rd overall. After his first four years of college, Jake took a year off his studies in order to pursue professional music opportunities. He and a few of his fellow Accafellas formed an a cappella quartet and landed a six-month contract with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines singing on the Celebrity Summit. Since coming home and finishing his degrees, Jake works as a chemistry supervisor by day, but carries his passion for music with him by continuing to arrange music for a cappella groups and participating in musical theatre in the Lansing area. 

With a Master of Music in Choral Conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory and Performance (Ashland University), Brandy Kay Riha is an a cappella educator and arranger with a special focus on treble repertoire. Her arrangements have been performed by middle school, high school, and collegiate singers around the globe. Brandy Kay teaches voice, theory, and a cappella at Tiffin University. She has founded and directed numerous a cappella groups, in both scholastic and semi-professional contexts, and she has led workshops on arranging, aca-directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. Brandy Kay is the founder, director, producer, and arranger for Zero to Sixty, a yearly-auditioned summer a cappella group centered between Cleveland and Akron.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Emily Flanders, Lyn Ciechanski, Andy Filmore, Skyline High School, Cameron Clemens; 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