An A Cappella Fundraiser in benefit of the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

It’s Varsity Vocals Finals Weekend, and our ICCA and ICHSA Finalists should be gathering in New York City to compete for The Gooding Cup. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced our 2020 season to an abrupt close, and our 10,000 competitors this year have dispersed to their homes to #stopthespread.

But, despite our distance, we in the a cappella community can still come together (virtually, of course) and do what we do best: lift spirits through the power of the human voice.

Presenting the Varsity Vocals Collective: 24 seasons of Varsity Vocals a cappella performers, coming together to sing in support of their fellow artists.

We’re virtually gathering 24 years of Varsity Vocals a cappella performers to social distan-sing their hearts out and raise money for the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, providing grants to musicians who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

All current and former Varsity Vocals competitors — that’s ICCA, ICHSA, and The Open, 1996-2020 — are invited to participate. We’ll be creating a virtual a cappella choir video to share on social media and raise funds for MusiCares.

SINGERS: Follow instructions below to access an amazing arrangement of “The Bones” by Maren Morris, courtesy of Grammy Award-winning Ben Bram and the incomparable Shams Ahmed. Learn your part, record your performance, and upload to join us. Submissions due April 24 at 10 pm EST.

A CAPPELLA FANS: You can help too! Visit our fundraiser page now to contribute in advance, and we’re counting on you to help spread the word using #vvcollective.

The Varsity Vocals Collective “The Bones” in benefit of MusiCares drops in early May.

We may be apart, but we can raise our voices together.

#vvcollective #musicares

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SINGER INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pick one regular part (soprano, mezzo, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, VP) that best suits your vocal range. Additionally, pick one of the “choir” parts which begin at letter J. And finally, you may also choose to submit a solo (optional).
  • In this folder (or here, if you have difficulty downloading), you’ll find the score, learning tracks, as well as karaoke and full mix tracks. Once you learn your part, you may use any of the tracks to record to.
  • See the notes below for tips on successful video and audio recordings.
  • Once your recordings are complete, upload them here into the correct folders. The filename should be your first name, last name, and the part you are submitting for in all caps (i.e. “Ben Bram BARITONE” “Ben Bram CHOIR 3” “Ben Bram SOLO”).
  • Submissions due April 24 at 10 pm EST.

VIDEO RECORDING

  • Horizontal videos only (think YouTube not TikTok!)
  • Set up your lens at eye level for the most flattering angle.
  • Film during the day facing a window to get even, natural lighting.
  • Make sure the background looks clean and tidy. Solid color walls are always good.
  • Test your audio by singing the loudest part. If it’s distorting, you may need to turn down the microphone input level on your device.
  • Play the track in your earbuds (wireless if you have them) while you sing along. We should only hear your voice in the video, no track. Take one ear out to hear yourself better.
  • Have fun and really perform!

STUDIO AUDIO RECORDING (optional)

  • You may choose to submit a studio recording in addition to your video. (If you go this route, please still sing in your video though!)
  • Upload one consolidated mono audio file for each part you submit for. No stacks, no layering, and no compression, EQ, reverb, or pitch correction.
  • The audio files you send should line up with the learning tracks.

SOLO SUBMISSION NOTES

  • If the whole solo isn’t in range for you, you may submit only the parts that are best for you. Tenors/baritones may also take the verses down the octave and/or make melody modifications.
  • In addition to the regular solo, you may also submit an ad lib track (use the “choir full” track to record to since it starts at letter J). Do your own thing — you don’t need to copy the recording, though you can if you want.
  • If you choose to do a studio recording of your solo (and not just a video), please record first and then shoot your video singing along to what you recorded.
VOCAL PERCUSSION NOTES

  • Try to stick somewhat closely to the pattern on the demo, though you can certainly put your spin on it and embellish tastefully.
  • Also, instead of doing the main beat you could do a layer of aux percussion (shakers, fills, etc.) that works together with the main beat.
  • We won’t be able to use all of the vocal percussion submissions, so if you’d like to submit a vocal part as well, you can.

QUESTIONS

Please send questions or concerns to Amanda Newman, Varsity Vocals Executive Director, at [email protected].

Submissions due April 24 at 10 pm EST!