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

 

Boston University
Saturday, February 1st, 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 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

 

Falconize is one of three a cappella ensembles from Danvers High School in Danvers, Mass., and has placed at numerous ICHSA Quarterfinal and Semifinals. Falconize's recordings have been featured on many BOHSA compilations and nominated for Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).  They enjoy singing at school and community events and recently performed the national anthem at Fenway Park.   

Luminescence, an all-female a cappella group from Marblehead High School, was founded in 2005 and has been entertaining audiences ever since. From a competitive standpoint, the group has received awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Soloist (ICHSA and N.E. Voices) and won the N.E. Voices competition in 2014. Luminescence earned 3rd place in the 2016 ICHSA Northeast Semifinal. Over the years, the group has partaken in other exciting endeavors, such as performing at Governor Baker's Inaugural Ball. Luminescence released a joint EP, C105, with The Jewel Tones in September 2017. Find C105 on iTunes and Spotify and be sure to follow Luminescence on Instagram @mhsluminescence. 

The Photosymphonizers is a student-run a cappella group that loves music as much as math and science. All the choreography and arrangements are created by students who love what they do. This is the group’s sixth year participating in the ICHSA. 

Scalestorm is a student-led a cappella group from Natick High School, located in Natick, Mass. Scalestorm was founded in 2016 by Caroline Hinrichs and Elizabeth Sparicio, and has grown significantly in the four years since its establishment. With sopranos, altos, tenors, basses, and vocal percussion represented by all four graduating classes, Scalestorm creates an environment of friendship with people all throughout the school. The group performs oldies and classics, new pop songs, and everything in between, with many original arrangements! During rehearsals, the Scalestorm family can be found laughing, cracking jokes, free style rapping, and, of course, making music. According to one singer, “Scalestorm is a place where you can be yourself without worrying about what others say. We’re all crazy, but it’s more fun that way.” As a student-led group, everyone is able to learn from one another, have a voice in the rehearsal process, and collaborate with their peers to succeed. Most importantly, Scalestorm loves sharing their music with the community and always appreciates the opportunity to perform. Notable performances include TEDx Natick, Montrose A Cappella Jam, Medfield High A Cappella Night, and the Natick Friends of the 4th Parade. 

South Avenue is Plymouth South High School's mixed-range, auditioned a cappella ensemble. South Avenue performs a wide range of contemporary a cappella music, from throwback groups such as The Jackson 5 to more modern artists like Shawn Mendes. 

The Jewel Tones is a co-ed a cappella group from Marblehead High School. Founded in 2003, the group has since shared their music with the community, and beyond. The Jewel Tones have participated in many competitions, including ICHSA and N.E. Voices. Over the years, the group has partaken in other exciting endeavors, such as performing at Governor Baker's Inaugural Ball. The Jewel Tones released a joint EP, C105, with Luminescence in September 2017. Find C105 on iTunes and Spotify and be sure to follow The Jewel Tones on Instagram @mhsthejeweltones. 

The Newtones is a student-run co-ed a cappella group at Newton South High School that was established in 1998. They have collaborated with Ben Folds on his University A Cappella album, and value community and collaboration to create their sound. Each year, Newtones hosts two of their own concerts, in addition to one combined a cappella and improv show with Newton South's improv group. Besides singing at various events in the area, The Newtones enjoy eating store-bought cookies, monthly bonding sessions, and rapping about salad. 

Founded in 2008, Voices ReChoired is Marlborough High School's one and only contemporary a cappella group. Their mission is to use the human voice and the art of storytelling to take their audience on a journey through music. They are the 2018 Champions of the N.E. Voices Festival, and recently released their premiere album, Origin. This is their first year competing in ICHSA. 

WitchPitch? is Salem High School's premier co-ed a cappella group, formed in 2009. Made up of students with an unquestionable love for music and performing, they are also involved in different activities outside of the group such as marching band, the school musical, and festival drama. They are very proud of how outspoken the group is and love to use music as a means to share their beliefs and bring attention to specific issues. This comes from their core belief that music is one of the most effective and powerful ways to communicate. Along with that, WitchPitch? is very passionate about breaking the usual mold of a cappella by continuously working to integrate hip hop and rap into their repertoire and encourage other groups to go outside of their comfort zone and consider the style. A cappella holds a special place in each member's heart and they are fortunate for the opportunities they have been given thus far. Finally, WitchPitch? is very excited and grateful to return to the ICHSA and perform with such talented groups!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Kate Elmendorf is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, where she earned a degree in music education while singing with the award-winning a cappella group, Upper Structure. Since graduating, Kate has remained active in the a cappella community as a producer of Haunted Harmonies and a showcase coordinator at the Betsy A Cappella Festival. Currently, Kate is a middle school music teacher in Arlington, Mass. and teaches private voice lessons throughout the Greater Boston area. 

Reena Freedman is the sole female voice of Similar Jones, an award-winning professional vocal band based in Boston. With roots in both classical music and modern a cappella, she has performed with, directed, and coached a cappella groups up and down the East Coast for over two decades. Reena served as the founding director of the Gann Academy ShenaniGanns, which received national recognition through both its live and recorded work. A veteran judge for the ICCA and the CARAs, Reena is happy to be a part of today’s panel. 

Kera Keene got her start singing a cappella in college with The Sapphires at University of North Carolina at Greensboro and took her love for a cappella to her semi-professional group Deviate after graduation. Kera went from client to contractor with The Vocal Company in 2013 and has been working with them ever since. She spends most of her weekends away from her day job traveling the East Coast and running sound for TVC clients and events (including Quarterfinals during the past several seasons of ICCA and ICHSA). One of her favorite memories as an aca-professional is traveling to Miami in 2014 to assist with sound for the first annual Betsy A Cappella Festival, formerly known as All Roads. Kera lives in Greensboro, N.C. 

Andrew John Kim is an a cappella producer, recording engineer, and arranger from New York City. He received his Bachelor of Music in music composition from Northwestern University and his Master of Music in film scoring from New York University. At Northwestern, Andrew was a founding member and music director of his collegiate a cappella group, Extreme Measures. He also founded, music-directed, and arranged for the professional a cappella group, Backtrack. With Backtrack, Andrew had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall, the Beacon Theatre, the UN, during the Broadway show, "Kinky Boots," and on "The Steve Harvey Show." Andrew currently manages vocal groups through his management company, AJK Artist Management, and sings with Iris, 2018 winner of The Open. 

Amy Malkoff is the Media Director of the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA), Marketing Director for the A Cappella Education Association, and one of the producers of Haunted Harmonies in Salem, Mass. Amy served on the board and as web content director for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and is a longtime ICHSA/ICCA judge, as well as a certified judge for other events. She is a frequent workshop teacher, master clinician, writer, designer, runner of social media campaigns (www.amymalkoff.com), and a singer/songwriter and studio musician (www.amymalkoffmusic.com). She was a founding member of award-winning groups All About Buford and Deadline Poet, and has appeared onstage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonathan Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University and master’s-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy's music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels. @amalkoff

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jeffrey Vachon, Kara Mullen, Anders Borg and Liquid 5th, Anthony Pulido, Jake McVey, and Sound Off; 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