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

 

William Henry Harrison High School
Saturday, February 15th, 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

 

Above the Noise is just that: above the noise. They make music that you have to hear! An 18-member mixed a cappella group, they are run like a "tour band," with students in charge of every aspect of their operations. The group’s director, Mrs. Cherie Brooks, drives the metaphorical tour bus, helping the along the way and making sure they remember why they are on this journey: THEY LOVE TO SING. 

Alpha from West Clermont High School has been entertaining and enhancing their community in Cincinnati for just over a decade. Regularly requested by their district, school, local businesses and charities, Alpha brings contemporary a cappella to their area to entertain, heal, and transform their audiences. In a given year, they average 20-25 pieces of music, all while meeting only once per week for two hours of rehearsal. Over the years, Alpha has performed a wide array of musical genres, from jazz to movie music to the latest hits. Originally a large auditioned contemporary a cappella ensemble with upwards of 40 members, they have streamlined into a 16-18 member group of the best singers in West Clermont High School in order to begin competing in ICHSA. They are excited to be here and look forward to performing for you! 

DYNAMIX is the oldest a cappella group at Harrison High School. Formed in 2016, DYNAMIX began with 36 members, a large amount for an a cappella group. DYNAMIX has performed in Acafest in Kettering, Ohio, Voices in Harmony in Lexington, Ky., Choral Collision at Walnut Hills High School, the ICHSA, in an end-of-year showcase titled “MIC’d,” throughout the community of Harrison, and for students in the elementary tours. In 2019, DYNAMIX advanced to ICHSA Great Lakes Semifinals and aims to return to New York with a spot in the ICHSA Finals. DYNAMIX also seeks to explore recording and will continue upholding an alternative, new-age, and contemporary style of music, which thrives on progressive music arranged by the members of the group. DYNAMIX performs artists like Sylvan Esso, Tune-Yards, Glass Animals, Imagine Dragons, Billie Eilish, Queen, Kimbra, and AJR. They are proud to be a musically advanced and vocally challenging group, representing the a cappella program with leadership and class. 

The Limelighters is in its second year as an a cappella choir. Previously a show choir, they are greatly enjoying the a cappella scene. Limelighters consists of sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney, Ohio. 

Locked Out is a co-ed vocal group from Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville, Ind. Almost all of the group members are in the choral or band program at the high school, and singing a cappella provides another way to showcase their talents. They can sing just about any genre, but they especially love jazz and classic hits from the 70s and 80s. Folks often ask about the story behind the name "Locked Out." The group rehearses before school in the mornings and in the early days, the director was forgetful and didn't unlock the doors on time, causing the whole group to be "locked out." This sparked a slew of silly jokes and puns and resulted in a pretty catchy name. Locked Out loves singing a cappella because they can perform anywhere and anytime, which allows them the chance to venture outside their campus and share their love of singing with the community. They're so excited for this opportunity! 

Oakappella is formed of students of Oakstone Academy in Westerville, Ohio, who are passionate about a cappella arrangements and performance. Over the past few years, Oakappella has recorded five full-length albums and two Christmas EPs, all while competing at ICHSA, performing at school events, and showcasing their talents around central Ohio. The group is inspired by all a cappella styles, including classic choral, musical theatre, funk, and jazz. Oakappella will be doing some shows over the summer looks forward to continual performances throughout the academic year. 

Coming from all walks of high school life, Polarity is one of the most exciting youth vocal bands. These young voices blend into a particularly delightful mix of harmony voices and sing challenging arrangements with ease. The group includes varsity athletes, theatre enthusiasts, honors students, marching band members, and active community members. Though pop a cappella has not gained popularity in South Central Ohio, these students demonstrate their love and commitment to the art of making music! They’re just a bunch of small-town kids that like to sing! 

Take Note has been a group in the a cappella program since 2017. Beginning with 18 members, Take Note has performed in Acafest in Kettering, Ohio, Voices in Harmony in Lexington, Ky., Choral Collision at Walnut Hills High School, the ICHSA, in an end-of-year showcase titled “MIC’d,” throughout the community of Harrison, and for students in the elementary tours. Take Note is excited to compete in the ICHSA again and serves as the all-girls varsity group in the a cappella program. Take Note will continue their style of female-empowering  music in contemporary and popular music genres.  Take Note will perform music from groups like Little Mix, Lorde, Janis Joplin, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J. 

Vega comes to you from Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School and is currently in its 10th year of existence. Vega has released six recording projects, opened for Grammy-winning jazz/gospel group, Take 6, placed 2nd in ICHSA, and had multiple appearances on the national compilation album, BOHSA

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Noah Casino has been studying music since childhood and holds a B.I.S. in music and theatre from Kent State University. At Kent, he was the music director for The Kent Clarks, Kent's premier co-ed a cappella group, and he founded, music-directed, and arranged for Kent State's premier all-male a cappella group, Momentum. He has also taken music coursework at the University of Akron, where he sang in Akron's all-male a cappella group, Nuance. Noah is also a prolific arranger, with over 75 arrangements spanning numerous genres, including pop, choral, barbershop, punk, jazz, and hip hop. 

John DeFerraro is the Director of Choral Activities at Conner High School in Hebron, Ky. Under his direction, choirs consistently earn state distinguished ratings with Sweepstakes honors and collaborate with other artists, such as the African Children’s Choir and Point of Grace. John is active in KMEA, ACDA, and NAfME, as a clinician and on a national NAfME recruiting and mentoring task force. In a cappella, he serves as the Small Group Coordinator for Camp A Cappella, and is a regular judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). John is also the co-producer for the National A Cappella Convention and Voices in Harmony (Lexington, Ky.), and is proud to be an alumnus of The University of Kentucky acoUstiKats. 

Eric Neuenschwander is a choral director at Eastmoor Academy, a high school with Columbus City Schools. A proud 2011 graduate of The Ohio State University, Eric co-founded and music directed the group Majors & Minors and created an organization to help other a cappella groups form. Since graduating, Eric stays connected with Ohio State a cappella by helping the various groups prepare for competition season. In college, Eric performed with The Ohio State Men's Glee Club, The Statesmen, and The Ohio State Chorale. He developed a passion for musical theatre through his work with a student-led group, Off The Lake Productions, which went on to shape him as a performer. Eric continues to perform onstage and in the pit for various community theatre productions, and performs in improvised musicals with TDB: The Musical in Columbus and The Black Box Improv Theatre in Dayton. 

Alexis Paxton joined the a cappella scene in 2013 when she first attended Camp A Cappella. She has played a pivotal role in forming multiple groups in the Louisville area. In addition to being the vocal music director for Louisville Male HIgh School, Alexis also directs Cardinal Rule at the University of Louisville. She has served in the aca-community as a director at Camp A Cappella and a clinician and host at various a cappella festivals throughout the region. Alexis is also the Midwest Regional Director of the A Cappella Education Association.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Cameron Clemens, Chris Andres, Jason Hollowell & Sound Station Production, Harrison High School, and Kelsey DeMange; 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