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 SOUTHWEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Deer Park High School
Saturday, February 8th, 2020

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

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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

 

Apex has been singing a cappella music for the last five years. Members of Apex have been selected to their All Region and All State Choirs, and have been involved in the school musical, varsity athletics, early college programs, and the Houston Opera Scholars program. They serve as ambassadors to the Deer Park community with various performances throughout the year. 

Encore is a mixed a cappella group based out of Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas. Relatively new to a cappella pop, they competed in their first ICHSA two years ago and came in 1st place in their Southwest Quarterfinal. In addition to singing, Encore members enjoy a variety of other activities, including sports medicine, tennis, theatre, writing, and journalism. 

Infiniti is a group of 18 singers from Rockwall Heath High School. All members of Infiniti are also members of choir at RHHS. Infiniti only started their a cappella journey last year when they competed in ICHSA for the first time. They are excited to be back this year with a little more experience! The members of the group range from freshmen to seniors and half of them are new to the group this year. They also have a wonderful student sound engineer, Cordell, and they couldn't make it without his help. Infiniti loves what they do and they are so excited for another year of a cappella!   

Vocal Legacy is the contemporary mixed a cappella group from Bryan High School. Group members are active in many clubs and organizations at Bryan High, including theatre, football, cheerleading, drill team, golf, and more. This group loves performing together and has become a close-knit choir family! 

Vox Cor is a high school a cappella group from Rudder High School in Bryan, Texas. They are a tight-knit group of young singers who share a passion for contemporary a cappella. Their name stems from the Latin words for “voice” and “heart” and they seek to perform in such a way that it is hard to tell where one starts and the other begins. 

Walk the Line was originally formed in 2013 in Rockwall, Texas as a vocal ensemble that “walked the line” between a traditional show choir and a non-competitive a cappella group. By 2015, they decided to enter ICHSA and become a full time a cappella ensemble. In 2016, they reached ICHSA Semifinals and in 2017, they advanced to ICHSA Finals in New York City. The members of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 ensembles came together over the past two years to record songs from all three years and release their first EP, Leading Me Home, in May 2019. "Emotions," one of their singles from this album, was also chosen to appear on the 2019 BOHSA compilation album. These 16 students are extremely excited to compete again this season!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Annie Blakeslee is an arranger and music director from Dallas, Texas. She is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University, where she received numerous awards as music director of two-time national All-American Awaaz champions, Swaram A Cappella. Annie was awarded Outstanding Arrangement at the national All-American Awaaz competition in both 2017 and 2018. After being nominated for a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) in 2019 (Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement), Annie arranged and performed a piece at "Howdy, Modi”  in which the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of India attended alongside an audience of 50,000. 

Alyssa Dunn has a long and varied musical history. She studied piano, music theory, and composition before and during her high school years, and sang in a variety of ensembles, including varsity choir, barbershop quartet, chamber choir, and her church worship team. With these groups, Alyssa participated in regional and state-level competitions, performed in concerts, and acted as chorus lead during four school musical productions. She took her love of ensemble singing to the next level in college as a member of the a cappella group, HardChord Dynamix. In addition to performing, Alyssa frequently arranged for the group and music-directed them for two of her four years. She competed in ICCA for three seasons as a collegiate member of HardChord Dynamix and filled in for them several years after graduating when they competed in the first Aca Open, sharing awards for Outstanding Choreography and 2nd place overall. Since graduating college, Alyssa started a professional a cappella group, 908, and competed with them in The Open. For the past four years, Alyssa has been singing lead for a 90s cover band, Uncle Jesse's Hair. She is excited to be collaborating with Varsity Vocals as a judge!

A native of upstate New York, Erin (Shults) Smith developed her passion for contemporary a cappella while getting her B.A. in voice at Ithaca College. As a member of Premium Blend, Ithaca College’s CARA-winning all-female a cappella group, Erin quickly discovered a love for arranging and vocal percussion. Soon after earning her B.A. in 2010, Erin moved to Florida to pursue her M.A. in arts management at the Florida State University College of Music. Since then, she moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and worked on the development teams for Fort Worth Opera and the University of North Texas (UNT) College of Music. Erin is currently the Director of Foundation Relations Communications for the UNT Division of Advancement, and is pursuing her M.B.A. in marketing at UNT. Since her Premium Blend days, Erin continues to arrange and has previously served as a master clinician, workshop presenter, and panelist at SoJam. She continues to sing as a member of the Lewisville Civic Chorale and with the Denton Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, and remains a dedicated advocate for the contemporary a cappella discipline and the performing arts.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Ben Garza, Jason Dove, Deer Park High School, Andy Moore; 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 Southwest 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