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 SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

Western Alamance 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 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

 

Crescenloe of Enloe High School is full of individuals who are incredibly passionate about a cappella. A completely student-run group, the students of Crescenloe lead themselves, teach themselves, choreograph themselves, and usually arrange themselves! While they love a good uptempo pop song and an R&B tune, they can groove and even rock out on occasion. The group was created four years ago by students who wanted to introduce a cappella to their school and many of their alumni have gone on to perform in college a cappella groups. They believe a cappella is all about connection, and rely on each member of the ensemble to keep balance. They have competed in ICHSA twice now and love every step of the competitive journey. After-school rehearsals quickly turn into evening rehearsals and their familial bond deepens with their dedication to the group. This time around, they want to honor their previous group members while also creating a new image with the current ones. Every year brings a new group of people with a new sound and they want nothing more than to show you what they’ve got! 

Looking for Treble is an all-female a cappella group from Western Alamance High School in Elon, N.C. LfT was formed in December 2014 as a way for female students to branch out in the world of music. The group allows students to collaborate with their peers to create great music. While many of the group members are enrolled in chorus classes of different levels, LfT provides an opportunity for the students to grow as musicians outside of the classroom, and because the group includes members from various experience levels, it helps them grow as individuals and ensemble members. Since LfT's debut performance in May 2015, they have competed in ICHSA three times and placed 2nd in a local competition. 

N'Harmonics is the co-ed a cappella group at Norcross High School. This audition-based group was founded four years ago by their director, Kim Money. This will be their third year competing and they are very excited to be a part of the Varsity Vocals experience. 

Pitch Please is Northwood High School’s award-winning contemporary a cappella ensemble, performing under the direction of NHS choral instructor Matthew Hanson. In 2016, 2017, and 2019, the group was named State Champions at the NC Association of Scholastic Activities (NCASA) High School A Cappella Competition. They have won choral competitions, been featured at regional and national a cappella conventions, and performed twice at the NC State Legislature for Arts Day. Since Pitch Please’s inception in 2012, more than 45 students have been a part of the ensemble. In the fall of 2016, the group submitted an audition tape and was invited to New York City to participate in Total Vocal, a performance directed by noted producer and arranger Deke Sharon and organized by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY). Pitch Please stays active in the Chatham County and Triangle communities and performs for a variety of festivals, charity functions, and community events. 

The Acapostles emerged from Cary Christian School in Cary, N.C., aiming to break the mold from the classical music sung in their school choir. They are striving to prove that modern music can be wholesome too! They are the first and only a cappella group that their school has ever seen and enjoy singing a mix of pop and R&B music. 

Voce Bella is Norcross High School's all-female a cappella group. The group is composed of 10 confident, sassy students who love to take the stage. 

WA Cappella is Western Alamance’s premier co-ed a cappella group. The group was founded in the fall of 2010 by a group of students who wanted to perform music outside of the classroom. 10 years later, the group has developed into an established, award-winning group with a close bond both on and off stage. The group has performed at a variety of events, including the ICHSA, Acappallooza at Elon University, Jam for Hope in Winston-Salem, Parkapella, and other community events. WA Cappella released their first EP in January of 2017. In the future, WA Cappella hopes to continue growing as musicians, performers, and a family. 


GUEST PERFORMERS


Tar Heel Voices, established in 1988, is UNC’s oldest co-ed a cappella group. Since its founding, THV has played a pivotal role in Carolina’s music scene. From performing at "Late Night with Roy: as the 2017 National Championship banner was presented, to competing in the ICCA, THV continues to leave its musical mark on audiences at UNC and the surrounding area. Tar Heel Voices most recently placed 2nd at the ICCA South Quarterfinal in Durham, winning special awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Soloist, and will be advancing to the Semifinal round on March 7th. Additionally, this past month, THV released their newest album, Ignite, which is available on all streaming platforms. Tar Heel Voices is a close group of students and friends, bonded by a passion for music and community. They carry on a tradition of camaraderie and togetherness, remaining 16 hearts, one voice. 

For the last 58 years, The Western Alamance Chorus has offered the students of Elon, N.C. the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The choirs have received Superior ratings in show choir, a cappella, and choral adjudications, and have performed all over the East Coast. They are excited to share their community with you and can’t wait to see all of the wonderful performances tonight.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Alexander “Alex” Alberti currently teaches at Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh, N.C. As Director of Instrumental Music and Psychology, he teaches concert band, wind ensemble, orchestra, jazz, A.P. Music Theory, A.P. Psychology, music history, and a contemporary a cappella course. He also works with the Middle Creek High School Marching Band, teaching front ensemble and percussion. Alex previously taught at Southern Lee High School, and directed band, orchestra, chorus, and their first a cappella group, The Cavalyrics. Alex has conducted for musical theatre productions at UNC Chapel Hill and was the 2015 conductor and clinician for the Lee County Middle School Honor Band. Also a composer, Alex has premiered original pieces the North Carolina Governor's School East and the Vancouver Chamber Choir. He holds a degree in music education and a minor in psychology from Appalachian State University. There, he participated in the ASU Men's Glee Club, wind ensemble, concert band, symphonic band, orchestra, and was a music theory tutor. Alex is a researcher in the fields of music education, contemporary music, and music theory pedagogy, and has presented his findings at NAfME, the College Music Society, and NCUR. In his spare time, Alex composes both choral and instrumental works, judges for the ICCA and A Cappella Education Association, and participates in the semi-professional a cappella group, Spectrum Vocals. 

Valerie Davidson is in her seventh year teaching chorus in Forsyth County Schools. She holds a bachelor's degree in choral music education and a master's degree in music education, both from UNC-Greensboro. She has been a student and lover of music since she started piano lessons at age six, and eventually became involved in choirs throughout her middle school, high school, and collegiate years. In addition to her long experience singing with traditional choirs, Valerie has also performed in show choirs, gospel choirs, and contemporary pop a cappella groups. During her undergraduate studies, Valerie founded and directed the first co-ed a cappella group at UNCG Greensboro, entitled The UNCG Chariots. She also completed her student teaching at Glenn High School in 2012 with Mrs. Carol Earnhardt and went on to serve as the chairperson for middle school chorus in Winston Salem/Forsyth County. Valerie teaches at Atkins High School and recently founded a co-ed a cappella group there. 

A graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano pedagogy and a concentration in musical theatre, Sarah R. Fowler currently serves as a vocal coach and staff accompanist for the WCU School of Stage & Screen. She also works with the WCU School of Music as the vocal director for their premier vocal and instrumental performing group, Catamount Singers and Electric Soul. She is one of the most sought-after vocal coaches and accompanists in Western North Carolina, having performed at both the Grand Ole Opry and at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. She performs regularly at various professional theatres as a music director and at regional area high schools as a choral accompanist. During her college years, she performed alongside notable opera singers Angela Brown, David Malis, Tonio DiPaolo, and Sherrill Milnes. She has also performed with the United States Army Field Band. Sarah currently resides in Lake Junaluska, N.C. and serves as the Director of Music and Youth Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church in Weaverville where she directs the adult, handbell, and youth choirs as well as the orchestra. She is honored to return to Varsity Vocals for her seventh season as an adjudicator. 

Kristin LoBiondo is no stranger to the a cappella community. She has worked as the assistant director of events for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), and performed with professional groups, Snowday, Vox Pop, and Jaded. She earned her B.A. in vocal music at Elon University, and has judged the ICCA in North Carolina and Maryland. Kristin is super excited to be judging again, and can't wait to see how the aca-bop has transformed over the years. 

Lauren Thomason has been an active a cappella performer and arranger since 2002. A longtime piano student, her vocal music experience began in high school and college choirs, and she continued singing and arranging contemporary a cappella as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since college, Lauren has kept growing musically by singing with the semi-professional group, Cognitive Resonance, and serving as co-founder and co-president of Triadic Vocals.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Hagerty Chorus director Christopher Hickey, Chorus Booster president Val Oberson, the Hagerty Chorus Booster members, and the Hagerty Chorus students; 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 three placing groups will advance to the ICHSA South 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

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THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?


FALL 2020