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

 

James Madison High School
Saturday, February 22nd, 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

 

A-Side has been a part of the A&M Consolidated High School family for almost two decades. Although the name has changed several times, their passion for contemporary a cappella music has remained a consistent force. The group has landed on the name A-Side due to their love of all things retro and because the greatest hits were always found on the A-Side of the record or cassette tape. 

Iron Maidens is a select group of 12 sophomore, junior, and senior women from Harker Heights High School. In addition to singing a cappella, each of the group members is also a part of the Harker Heights High School Master Singers, the school’s traditional varsity mixed choir. These ladies are true student leaders who bring a myriad of experiences to the team, including involvement in band, orchestra, cheer, dance, athletics, student government, and more. Harker Heights is proud to be represented by such a fine group of talented young women! 

Madison Avenue is the best of the best at Madison High School. These 15 fine performers represent their school throughout the city of San Antonio with pride and great talent. They have been featured on local newscasts, private parties, and even had the pleasure of opening for the legendary 80s rock band, Foreigner, at the Majestic Theatre. In their first year of ICHSA competition, Mad Ave won the right to represent the Southwest at ICHSA Finals in New York City. In 2019, they won the 1st place title in the Wildcard round, earning a spot in ICHSA Finals for a second time. They are back again and thrilled for another shot at this amazing opportunity.

PFC is from MacArthur High School in San Antonio. Under the direction of Matt Woodward and Anna Gann, they won the title of ICHSA National Champions in 2011, and competed as ICHSA National Finalists in 2012, 2016, and 2019s. They have enjoyed the opportunity to open for a cappella groups including Clearly Vocal, Overboard, Delilah, Arora, Dcappella, and The Swingle Singers. Over the past several years, PFC has been a featured entertainment at TEDxYouth@Austin, served twice as host group and performers at the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA)-sponsored Texas A Cappella Celebration (TAC), served as the host group for the South Texas A Cappella Camp and Talent Overload (STACCATO), and served as emcees and featured entertainment at ICCA Southwest Quarterfinals. They have worked closely with many a cappella greats, including Deke Sharon, Courtney Jensen, Ben Stevens, Michael Eldredge, Erin Hackel, Tom Anderson, and The House Jacks. In 2019, they professionally recorded a song, “High Hopes,” that was retweeted and shared by the original artist, Panic! at the Disco. Currently, “High Hopes” has over 250K views on YouTube and Facebook.

Pitch Black is Harker Heights High School’s varsity mixed pop a cappella ensemble. Students selected in this ensemble are also enrolled in Harker Heights High School’s varsity concert choir. The group members are actively involved in other organizations on campus, such as varsity football, ROTC, softball, volleyball, marching band, and symphonic orchestra. This will be Pitch Black’s third year participating in ICHSA. In 2019, Pitch Black placed 3rd in ICHSA Southwest Semifinals. Pitch Black looks forward to performing at this year’s ICHSA competition. 

Purple Flair is the Anna High School a cappella group, established in 2018. They competed in the ICHSA Quarterfinals in their first year! This close-knit group is dedicated to impactful performance, vocal clarity, and musical excellence. 

Zero Hour is so excited to be back at ICHSA Southwest Quarterfinals this year. Zero Hour is made up of students from Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, including athletes, dancers, thespians, academics, and all around fun-loving musicians! The Zero Hour family looks forward to performing and is honored to share the stage with each of the groups here tonight! They wish everyone the best of luck onstage.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Wes Davis is in his fifth year as Head Choral Director at Marcus High School, having been the assistant director for five years. During this time, he founded a female contemporary a cappella group called Fusion. Fusion is very active at Marcus and in the community, performing at school functions, sporting events, community events, and fundraisers for charities in the area. As the group’s director, arranger, and choreographer, Wes has led Fusion to a top-three finish in ICHSA Southwest Semifinals for the past three years. In 2015, Fusion won its Semifinal and competed at Finals in New York. Wes is a member of the A cappella Education Association (AEA), Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA), and the Texas Music Adjudicators Association (TMAA). 

Hailing from the soybean capital of the world, Elliott Robinson is the current bass man and co-founder of Axiom Vocal. El is an a cappella veteran, having toured the globe with professional groups Chapter 6, The House Jacks, Home Free, and more. You also might recognize his rich bass notes as being the sonic foundation of Das Sound Machine in “Pitch Perfect 2.” In his spare time, he enjoys reading, working out, listening to music (with instruments), and being grateful that he no longer lives in Minnesota. 

Sue Schreiner received her B.A. and M.A. in vocal music performance from California State University-Northridge. After graduation, she served as a member of the Los Angeles Opera Company, performed as a featured soprano soloist with various symphonies and choruses throughout the country, and sang the national anthem for several professional sports teams including the New England Patriots and the Portland Trailblazers. She has taught vocal music students at both the university and the high school levels for the past 40 years until her retirement in 2016. Sue founded and directed the contemporary a cappella group, Soul’d Out, at Wilsonville High School in Oregon in 2007. Since then, the group has enjoyed great success, winning the Northwest ICHSA Semifinal in 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2018. They placed 2nd at ICHSA Finals in 2011, and were chosen to be the only high school group to perform on season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Sue has been a certified judge of a cappella, as well as state high school and college choir competitions, since 2008. She has judged and coached a cappella competitions throughout the Northwest, prior to moving to the Austin area in 2016. Sue loves Texas and she loves a cappella.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Nicole Kohlweiss, Edie Cooksey, Peter Cunningham, Loaded Sound, and the James Madison High School staff and administration; 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

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THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?


FALL 2020