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 WEST QUARTERFINAL

 

Elsinore Theatre
Friday, January 24th, 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

 

The Choralaires is the small contemporary a cappella group on the Silverton High School campus. Under the direction of Ric Cooper, The Silverton High School Choralaires have won many awards at both in and out of state festivals for their vocal jazz performances. Last spring, The Choralaires performed at ICHSA Quarterfinals for the first time.They won 1st place, earned a special award for Outstanding Soloist, and went on to place 4th at Semifinals. They are excited to be back for another ICHSA season! 

Encore is the a cappella ensemble from American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork, Utah.  All of the members of Encore are also members of Evolution, the only competitive show choir from Utah. Along with a cappella and show choir, Encore also sings classical festival musical literature. The ALA choirs are under the direction of Rick Lunt, who has been teaching there for 12 years. Currently in its 12th year, Encore performs for local business functions in Salt Lake and down to the Utah Counties. Each spring, Encore performs their yearly showcase, featuring their a cappella set, along with several other songs based on a theme. Encore would like to thank the ALA administration for allowing them to compete and their parents for their support. Let's bring on an Encore! 

The Sherwood High School Mixolydians is a group of fun-loving musicians from Sherwood, Ore. In addition to singing, they love creating crowd-pleasing choreography and just spending time together. For the past six years, The Mixolydians have placed in the top three at the Portland Rose City Sing-Off. The Mixolydians are proud of their 2015 ICHSA awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Arrangement for their entire set, their 2018 win for Outstanding Arrangement, and their 3rd place title at the 2019 ICHSA Quarterfinal. They also won 1st place at the Bend Acappella Festival. The Mixolydians have enjoyed being a part of ICHSA for seven years in a row and are so excited to be back! 

Rhythmix hails from West Albany High School and is thrilled to perform for you this evening. Under the direction of Cate Caffarella, Rhythmix specializes in performing everything from madrigals and motets to contemporary a cappella charts. Rhythmix has received superior ratings at ACDA Small Ensembles festivals, earned the OR ACDA Gold award for outstanding performances, and holds many other honors and accolades. Most importantly, they enjoy performing for enthusiastic audiences throughout the Mid-Willamette Valley. 

Soul'd Out, founded in 2007, is a mixed a cappella group from Wilsonville High School, in Wilsonville, Ore., just south of Portland. The group is composed of students from all grade levels, musical backgrounds, and vocal types. They pride themselves on their diversity of character, timbre, and musical selections. In 2010, they won the ICHSA Northwest Semifinal and received awards for Outstanding Choreography and Soloist, going on to place 5th  in the nation at the 2010 ICHSA Finals. In 2011, Soul'd Out won the West Semifinal l and took 2nd place at Finals. In 2012, Soul'd Out took 1st place in the first Rose City Sing-Off and sang in the Portland Rose Parade. Later that summer, they produced their first studio recorded album, Off The Loft. In 2013, Soul'd Out took 1st place in the second annual Rose City Sing-Off. In 2014, ICHSA Northwest Semifinals, Soul'd Out took 1st place. Later in 2014, Soul'd Out competed in the Rose City Sing-Off and received 1st place for their third consecutive year. More recently, the group took 1st place at the ICHSA Northwest Semifinal in 2018 and 3rd place in 2019. 

Spartacappella comes to you from Corvallis High School. They are a group of dedicated students who meet at 6:30am every other day. Spartacappella gigs around Corvallis, singing for the Farmer's Market, holiday parties, and performing the national anthem at countless sporting events. Their favorite traditions include eating breakfast together in the mornings after concerts, ICHSA, and playing sardines at their choir retreat. 

Established in 2015, Take Note is an up-and-coming high school contemporary a cappella group under the direction of Katie Linza. From small but mighty Pinewood School in sunny Los Altos Hills, Calif., Take Note includes a mix of students, ranging from freshmen through seniors, who study hard, play hard, and sing hard. Their first EP release, WARRIORS, was released last year. Check it out on Spotify, iTunes, and any other streaming services!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Jordan Rashaun Bilbrew began his music career in his early childhood, studying classical music since age nine. After seven years of attending performing arts schools, he brought his talents to Florida State University as a leader, arranger, and focal soloist for the award-winning group, All-Night Yahtzee. There, he competed in many ICCA and Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) competitions, including an appearance in the 2016 ICCA Finals. Upon graduation, Jordan began as the lead tenor for New York City’s award-winning professional a cappella group, Backtrack Vocals. He has toured, competed, filmed numerous YouTube videos, and was even invited to headline Sing Strong A Cappella Festival. He is presently on a break from performing professionally to pursue a career in medicine, but is still very passionate about a cappella education! 

Dr. Kerry Burtis has taught choral music and voice at the high school and collegiate level for more than 20 years. He received his bachelor's in music education from Augustana College in South Dakota and master's and doctorate degrees in music from the University of Southern California. Besides teaching, conducting, and serving as an adjudicator and clinician, he has served on several professional choral boards. Sought after as a clinician and adjudicator, Kerry has conducted orchestras and musicals and been a music critic, professional singer/arranger, and timpanist. 

Amanda Farmer is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she sang, arranged, and served as president for Capital Greene, a co-ed a cappella group, leading the group to multiple appearances at ICCA Semifinals. Now a resident of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Amanda created and coached an a cappella group at Pacific Crest Community School from 2014-2017. She has worked in music licensing and custom commercial and film composition, taught voice lessons, and performed with a Portland-based band for several years. Having both competed and assisted with the production side of Varsity Vocals, she is excited to join this evening's panel. 

A former NASA and DOD aerospace engineer turned professional a cappella-singer, Mike Mendyke believes every vocal group should include at least one rocket scientist. At MIT, Mike sang with The MIT Logarhythms (mitlogs.com) and learned to write and arrange music as his arts concentration. Mike is perhaps best remembered for his time in the 90s Boston music scene as the bass for Five O'Clock Shadow (focs.com). In 2000, Mike moved to L.A. and had the good fortune to meet film and TV legend Dick Van Dyke, with whom he formed a quartet called Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix (vantastix.com). Now 20 years later, The Vantastix continues to perform at West Hollywood clubs and events around the greater Los Angeles area. Mike recently started a new group, A Cappella Time Machine, which sings classic 80s hits for performance art centers all over the country (www.atm.band). 

Raymund Ocampo is a conductor with experience leading choirs of different age levels and talents, including symphonic choruses, and high-level ensembles. Raymund serves as Music Program Chair and Director of Choral Studies at Linn-Benton Community College. There, he conducts the highly acclaimed chamber choir and concert choir and teaches courses in music appreciation, theory, world music, and music fundamentals. Previously, Raymund served as the Bonita L. Bass Memorial Assistant Conductor for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and has prepared choruses for symphonic conductors Michael Francis, Evan Rogister, Earl Rivers, Joshua Weilerstein, Jeff Tyzik, Stuart Malina, and Danail Rachav. His other leadership roles in the music world range from serving as Director of Music at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, to leading public school choral programs in Ohio and Indiana. In addition, Raymund founded and served as artistic of 'ascend,' a professional eight-member vocal ensemble dedicated to performing new works in unique ways. Raymund holds a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of South Florida, where he studied under the guidance of Dr. James Bass, and a Bachelor of Music in music education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he studied with Dr. René Clausen and Dr. Paul Nesheim.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 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 West 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