The ICCA, or International Championship
of Collegiate A cappella
, is, for all intents and purposes, an exposition
for college a cappella groups to compete at. Formally known as NCCA (National
, instead of International), in 2001, the competition has expanded to incorporate groups from Canada
. The competition is sponsored by Varsity Vocals
, a group formed to promote a cappella music nationwide.
In order to participate, groups have to send in audition tapes. The tapes have to be of a live show, rather than a CD of their music. Then, from the hundreds of groups that submit applications and tapes to the ICCA, only 108 are chosen to compete.
There are six different regions, each of which has three different quarterfinals. Six groups compete at each of the quarterfinals. The six regions are: the MidAtlantic, the South, the Northeast, New England, the Mid-West, and the West. From each region, six groups make it to the semifinals, two from each of the three quarterfinals within the regions. At the six separate regional semifinals, one group wins to advance to the finals, which are held at Avery Fisher Hall, at Lincoln Center in New York City.
There are many rules and aspects of the competition that should be noted:
- The Group: All-male, all-female, and co-ed groups are each welcome to participate, but will not be segregated by their gender make up. No alumni, non-students or random people off the street are allowed to participate.
- The Music: Almost anything is allowed and encouraged, within good taste as there will be family and children attending the shows.
- The Time Limit: There is a strict 15 minute time limit for each group's set. Exceeding the 15 minute time limit will result in a penalty, usually lowering your placing at the competition by one spot.
- The Judges: The judges consider two major categories when ranking the groups, Musicality and Performance.
- Musicality: This includes arrangement, soloist, blend, and pitch. Basically, this is everything related to the music part of the group.
- Performance: This includes choreography, stage presence, costuming, etc. In other words, this includes everything not sung. Special emphasis will be placed on creativity, soloists and original arrangements.
- The Prizes: Prizes are awarded for Best Soloist, Best Arrangement, Best Vocal Percussionist, and their respective runner-ups. In cases of outstanding occurrences, awards will be created and given specially to that group (for example, Best Choreography and Best Boy Band Impression). Also, the winners of the finals will receive $1,000. The second place finishers will receive $500.
So, if you want to catch some amazing music of a variety you probably don't hear too often, I highly recommend checking out the Varsity Vocals website (given below) and finding out when the next ICCA show is going to be in your area.
Thanks to www.varsityvocals.com for the nitty-gritty details.