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

 

The Fox Theatre
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

 

FUSE is a middle school and high school a cappella group representing the Young Artists Conservatory of Music from Vacaville, Calif. The group members attend different schools in the area and come together twice a week to make music. FUSE loves to sing all types of music and has a blast hanging out together in and out of rehearsal. They are so excited to share their music with you. 

Happily Ever After is one of Granada Hills Charter High School’s two all-female a cappella groups. The younger of these two groups, Happily was founded in 2012. This was GHC's first group to be founded on more modern, contemporary styles. Last year, they placed Excellent at the SCVA A Cappella Festival and they are excited to make their ICHSA debut this year. 

Relentless is an advanced a cappella choir from Woodbridge High School and ranges in size each year from 16-18 students. The group is mainly made up of seniors, with a few juniors mixed in to keep them humble. This group sings in on-campus concerts and is regularly called on to entertain for off-campus events. In 2018, they were selected as ICHSA Quarterfinalists. Relentless is one of eight choirs at Woodbridge High School, which, in 2016 was selected out of over 20,000 schools as the National GRAMMY Signature School for excellence in music education. 

SPARK is a brand new a cappella group from Vacaville, Calif., representing the Young Artists Conservatory of Music. SPARK is made up of elementary and middle school students who have only been singing together since this past September. Even though they all don't go to school together, they meet once a week at the Conservatory to sing together. SPARK members enjoy participating in youth theatre and their school choirs, in addition to singing a cappella. 

San Francisco University High School's Satonics is a completely student-led group, meaning adults only help them out if they need a ride! The group has been competing in the ICHSA for the past six years, and placed 2nd in Semifinals two years ago. While their school is famous for its intense academic environment, opportunities for vocal performance have been somewhat limited. As a totally student-run group, they’re independent from the school’s official arts programs and they rehearse every week during lunches or whenever they can to keep the singing spirit alive. In their singing, above everything else, they want to have fun. They love going back to the roots of a cappella and singing classic (what some may call cheesy) songs and timeless arrangements, some even arranged by their favorite alumnus, Deke Sharon. The group may be on the smaller side, but their love for singing is mighty. And yes, their name is supposed to sound like “satanic” - their school's mascot is the Red Devil. Horns up! 

Treble With Angels is Aragon High School's all-female a cappella group. Composed of singers from different walks of life, they strongly believe in the unifying power of a cappella music. Through their music, they hope to share the passion, love, and laughter that they have been able to experience in this Trebles family with their community!

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Danny Cavero has been performing a cappella music for over 10 years. His passion for a cappella music started in college at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he joined Acquire A Cappella. He competed during and post-college and won multiple awards, including Outstanding Vocal Percussion at ICCA and Harmony Sweepstakes. In 2014, Danny joined a group called SanFran6 that was featured on NBC’s "The Sing-Off." The group continued professionally performing at Bay Area athletic events for The San Francisco 49ers, Giants, and Golden State Warriors. Danny is still heavily involved in the Bay Area a cappella scene. 

Elena Georgieva is a graduate student at Stanford University, where she studies music, science, and technology. Elena has been singing collegiate a cappella for six years and currently performs with Stanford Counterpoint. She serves as the group's tracking engineer, primary arranger, and vocal percussionist, and has collabrated with several other campus groups on arrangements and various audio projects. Before coming to Stanford, Elena directed UCLA YOUTHphonics and taught an a cappella class at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. Elena also conducts research in the fields of music cognition and music information retrieval and currently performs computer music with the Stanford Laptop Orchestra. 

Lucy Jacobs has been Varsity Vocals’ ICCA West Producer for over 10 years, during which time she helped facilitate the region’s growth to triple its original size. In 2016, Lucy became founding director of The Open, launching and developing the program from its inception, culminating in a sold-out Final performance at Carnegie Hall in September 2017. A classically trained vocalist with performance credits across the globe, Lucy’s love for a cappella began at a young age when she performed with a Sweet Adelines double quartet, and founded and directed a co-ed quartet in high school. Lucy went on to study vocal performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she sang with the co-ed a cappella group, Naked Voices. After transferring to the University of Southern California, Lucy joined The SoCal VoCals and served as business manager, album producer, and president, leading the group to its first International Champion title at the 2008 ICCA Finals. As with many in the aca-family, Lucy has bounced around through several a cappella groups since college, including performing on the first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off" with The VoCals.

Chris Rishel was first introduced to a cappella music when he sang in a barbershop quartet in 8th grade and has been hooked ever since. Throughout high school and undergrad, he continued pursuing barbershop until he finally entered the realm of contemporary a cappella as a graduate student in the M.D./Ph.D. program at The University of Chicago. There, he led Voices in Your Head to victory in the BOSS collegiate competition and a renowned appearance at the ICCA Finals in 2012. He arranged for and coached the group extensively during their 2015 ICCA run that won 2nd place at Finals. His arrangements and compositions have also been individually recognized on numerous occasions. He has won the Outstanding Arrangement award three times at ICCA Quarterfinals and Semifinals, a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement twice, as well as CARAs for Best Professional Arrangement for a Scholastic Group and Best Scholastic Original Song. His arrangements have also been frequently featured on the compilation albums BOCA, Sing, Voices Only, and Ben Folds’s a cappella album. As a studio producer, he has helped groups across the Midwest earn over 15 CARA nominations and more than 20 compilation appearances. Having (finally!) graduated, he recently moved to California and is currently completing his residency at Stanford University in anesthesiology.

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 three 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