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 NORTHEAST QUARTERFINAL

 

Bellport Middle School
Saturday, February 29th, 2020

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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 lead 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

 

Varsity Vocals is the premier a cappella group at Carteret High School. Founded in 2015 under the direction of Mr. Kason Jackson, Varsity Vocals has performed at many venues throughout the state. Varsity Vocals was proud to represent the Carteret School District as the Head Performer at the NJSBA Workshop in October 2018. Varsity Vocals has received high praise, positive feedback, and awards from adjudicators in recent competitions, including Outstanding Vocal Percussion and Outstanding Choreography in the 2019 ICHSA. They are extremely thankful for their supportive faculty, student body, parents, and administrators! 

Elevate A Cappella represents 16 extraordinary individuals who have come together with the goal of creating a unique musical experience. In only its second year of existence, Elevate has nearly doubled in size, welcoming 10 new members. Although they are still new to the world of contemporary a cappella, the group members have dedicated themselves to becoming the best musicians they can be, as well as to cultivate a culture of acceptance, tolerance and love through song. In the words of the great Nelson Mandela, “Music is a great blessing. It has the power to elevate and liberate us. It sets people free to dream. It can unite us to sing with one voice. Such is the value of music.” 

Noteriety is a student-run a cappella group at Piscataway High School. Under the direction of Izabella Lopez and Madeleine Mendoza, this group performs renditions of music in various genres, all arranged by Madeleine. This group is all about sharing energy and passion with a crowd. Each member contributes to the group’s unique sound with their colorful personalities that shine through in every piece. 

In the spring of 2009, one small a cappella group, The Mahopac PACapellas, was founded at Mahopac High School. Due to a tremendous amount of student talent and a community wide demand for more a capella, this one small group has since expanded into the Mahopac A Cappella Coalition. PACaVoce is the MAC’s featured competition ensemble, with students selected from other MAC groups to create a sound that can’t be beat. PACaVoce is a community-focused ensemble, performing at events throughout Mahopac and the neighboring towns. The talented members of PACaVoce pride themselves on creating their own choreography and arrangements. They are so thrilled to be back at ICHSA this year representing Mahopac, N.Y.! 

Rhythm on Rye is the only a cappella group at Rye High School. Consisting of 18 students, the group is self-run by their two co-presidents, Sophie Rukeyser and Catherine Hudson, along with their music director, Nathaniel Valsania. The group performs at many community service events around Rye and New York, as well as for school events and concerts. They love guacamole, harmonizing, and of course, competing. The ICHSA is a high point of the group’s annual performances and drives them to continue improving themselves. 

Seventh Street Singers is an auditioned group of elite singers from Connetquot High School in Bohemia, N.Y.  Performing a variety of genres, from pop and rock to musical theatre and jazz, this co-ed a cappella group prides itself on dedication, precision, and creativity.  Under the direction of Nicole White, the group continues to perform detailed arrangements, often led and composed by students, featuring soloists who push the envelope with their unique confidence and expression. Seventh Street Singers has competed at the ICHSA for the past five years and proudly perform on the local and regional level.   

The Nightingales is an all-female, student-run a cappella group out of Ridgefield High School in Connecticut. Founded in 2013 by a group of Girl Scouts, The Nightingales have spent the past six years giving back to their community with the help of today’s top hits, from Sara Bareilles to Queen. With a hint of spunk, a touch of fire, and endless empowerment, The Nightingales meet every Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. to rehearse and give their all in every performance, big or small. As the premier a cappella group in town, The Nightingales are not only known for adding a tasteful beat to the best of Amy Winehouse, but for their powerful love of music. The past five years of performing in the ICHSA has brought unforgettable memories, incredible growth, and the honor of getting to know the amazing community of Varsity Vocals and the high school a cappella scene. This year, The Nightingales will bring it harder than ever before with student compositions, killer dynamics, and a whole lot of girl power. 

Voce di Coeli is an auditioned ensemble of 24 female-identifying students from Hall High School in West Hartford, Conn. Founded by Lorri Cetto, Voce has been in existence for 19 years. Voce di Coeli’s roots are in the choral tradition, and this ICHSA experience is the group's first foray into the world of competitive a cappella. The excitement is real! You can find this crew of queens rehearsing every Monday night to prepare for events such as seasonal choral performances, a Madrigals spectacular, a yearly love-themed concert, collaborations with middle school students, and even a women’s choral festival. In recent years, Voce has had the privilege of working with renowned choral composers Joan Szymko and Kathleen Allan and they look forward to collaborating with Rosephanye Powell this coming spring. While music initially brought this diverse set of students together, they have become a true sisterhood of strong, brave, supportive young women. Voce di Coeli hopes that you will enjoy listening to the voice of their heart.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Gyasi Barber, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups. 

Alex Green is a recording engineer, producer, and arranger from New York City. He is a graduate of Tufts University with a dual degree in music and archaeology, where he sang with and directed the Tufts Amalgamates and with whom he recorded 2011′s Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning Hands Off The Mannequin. He is a co-owner and producer at Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production company with dual home bases in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Somerville, Mass. Alex shares two RIAA-certified Platinum and Billboard-charting albums with Ed Boyer and Ben Bram for his work with Pentatonix, while other clients of Plaid Productions have had songs featured on SING, BOCA, Voices Only, and have garnered over 100 CARA nominations. Since graduating in 2010, he has regularly served as a masterclass leader and instructor at a cappella festivals nationwide, sung with Overboard (Boston, Mass.), and written for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). 

An instrumentalist for most of his early life, Christopher Hoffman found his calling in vocal music as a member (and eventual president) of Hofstra University's Sigma'cappella. He helped bring the group to ICCA Semifinals twice in its first three years of competition, and earned individual awards on the way for Outstanding Arrangement. During this time, he began arranging for and collaborating with various professional, collegiate, and high school groups, and has continued in this work since graduation. Christopher helped SingStrong coordinate collegiate talent for its inaugural New York festival, and has worked with The Vocal Company’s marketing team. He currently lives on Long Island where he spends his free time working with high school a cappella groups. 

Originally from Southern California, Hannah Juliano attended Berklee College of Music and led its co-ed group, Pitch Slapped, to ICCA Finals two years in a row. The group was crowned ICCA champion its second year and went on to win the SoJam competition in 2011 and then appeared on season 2 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” After college, Hannah became a member of Musae, a professional all-female frontier blazer, and Delilah, the all-female powerhouse group from season 3 of “The Sing-Off.” She has since performed all around the world, taught workshops and masterclasses, and arranged for groups and individuals around the country. Her clients include Leslie Odom Jr., Eden Espinosa, Joshua Henry, Karen Olivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Ledisi, Josh Groban, Ingrid Michaelson, The Beverly Belles, and VoicePlay, among others. She toured for two years with Deke Sharon’s a cappella show, “Vocalosity,” as a performer and music director, was a soloist at Carnegie Hall for the “Total Vocal” show, and is a performer in the Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes. She is a commercial session vocalist working in New York City, singing on ads for Pepsi, Adidas, Mazda, Samsung, and others, as well as performing and producing in multiple bands for weddings and events. She is also a newlywed, snagging Bryant Vance, bass man extreme, who sings for Rockapella! 

Dr. Marc Silverberg is the Director of Vocal Music at Five Towns College. He is currently the director of the Five Towns Chamber Singers and the contemporary a cappella ensemble. Marc has established himself as one of the leading voices in a cappella education today. He has served on the executive board of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as Director of Education and presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several A Cappella Education Association (AEA)-sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, the Nassau County PEAK Festival, the National A Cappella Convention (NACC), and the American Choral Directors Association’s (ACDA) 2013 National Convention. In spring of 2018, Marc became the first guest conductor for the Suffolk County Music Educator Association’s all-county contemporary a cappella group. His professional performing group, Satellite Lane, recently took 2nd place at the 2018 Varsity Vocals Open Semifinals and he won the prestigious Outstanding Arrangement award for that competition. Under his pseudonym, “Docacappella,” he has released several humorous a cappella parodies, which have been nominated for three CARAs.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Kenter Davies, Kyle Sherlock, and RDX; 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 Northeast 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