Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 21st season! After two incredible decades of presenting the best student groups – on stage and in the studio – our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever.

Our tournament has grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase it is today, featuring nearly 500 groups and 8,000 singers at 81 events across the US and UK.

Our tournament has inspired the hit movie Pitch Perfect, based on the non-fiction book documenting the true story of rival groups competing against each other in our very own ICCA. Already the highest-grossing musical series of all time, the franchise will release its third film at the end of this year.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors are also the subject on the TV docu-series Sing It On, which follows competing groups on their journey to ICCA Finals. Sing It On aired in 80 million homes on POP TV and is now available 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 are thrilled to launch the International Championship of A Cappella Open this year. “The Open” (#acaopen) is an all-access a cappella tournament that will bring together singers of all ages, regardless of student status, to compete on an international stage.

The 2017 Open Finals will take place in Carnegie Hall on Saturday, September 23, and the winner will receive a cash prize of $25,000 to launch their professional career. The winners of the 2017 ICCA and ICHSA tournaments are automatically entered in The Open Finals.

We hope 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.

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 21 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2017 season takes 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!


Amanda Newman
Executive Director



University of Pittsburgh 
Saturday, March 4, 2017



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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) and the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA). We also produce the annual Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and 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 2 to 5 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 historic Beacon Theatre in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 12th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding quarterfinal rounds in most regions, so that we can feature even more high school groups. The winners of each of 8 semifinal rounds will advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City.

For a full tournament schedule, visit us at



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.

After the results are announced, the winners will perform and encore. Please show the winners the same courtesy and respect you’d want your favorite group to be shown and remain in the venue until they have finished their performance.    

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.



Acapella Stella is THE all-female a cappella group from California, Pa. They are a family as well as a group, and love to share their passion for music, exude confidence, and work the stage! They dedicate tonight's set to their Stella Sister, CC, who can't perform with them due to serious health issues.

The C# Singers is a co-ed performance a cappella group that represents C#, a larger musical organization that develops programs that contributes to the growth of a supportive musical community. In C#, members are encouraged to unwind from academics by challenging themselves as singers, performers, and leaders. In line with C#’s philosophy, the singers are also a close-knit group of friends with a shared appetite for all kinds of music, from the nerdiest video game tunes to Billboard chart-toppers. Always seeking to improve their musicality and performance skills, they are eager for every opportunity to share their music with the CMU community and beyond.

Counterpoint was established nearly two decades ago as the first all-female a cappella group at Carnegie Mellon University. Since then, the group has proven to be talented, artistic, charitable, and gosh-darn good looking. Counterpoint members have been busy in the past few years, winning both the hearts of CMU students and awards at the ICCA. They hope you enjoy their performance this evening, as they redefine what it means to “sing like a girl.”

Isolated Incident is a co-ed a cappella group from California University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 2015, it began as a six-person group and has grown to include 16 amazing members. Isolated Incident’s typical arrangement style features lush, legato harmonies over a driving rhythm section, and arrangements and choreography are created by members of the group. Isolated Incident competed in its first ICCA last year and has also performed at Disney Springs and Monessen’s annual Raise Your Voice music festival. The group is run by two voice majors in Cal U’s commercial music technology program and its ensemble features incredibly talented singers from majors including theatre, education, biology, and criminal justice. They are excited to return to the ICCA stage and rock some socks off.

Pitches & Tones started out in 1972 just outside of Philly as a Steve Buscemi fan club. They turned to crime in the mid-90s, made a small fortune, got in too deep, and were left with no choice but to disguise themselves as an a cappella group. They still worship Steve Buscemi though.

Founded in 1996, Soundbytes was the first secular co-ed a cappella group on Carnegie Mellon's campus. Known for their fierce color schemes and sultry style, the singers of Soundbytes pride themselves on their infectious performance groove and on having fun together with any song that they do.

Sounds Like Treble is the University of Pittsburgh’s only all-female a cappella group.  This tight-knit group loves to sing, and loves one another.  They believe having fun while performing is just as important as the music itself, and they can’t wait to show their hard work to this audience.  

The Songburghs, otherwise known as the FLYest group on campus, is a co-ed a cappella group at The University of Pittsburgh. Some may consider them the songbirds of this generation, and they skipped out on flying south for the winter just to be able to perform for you today. This group loves to sing, dance, have fun, make a ridiculous amount of bird puns, and they hope their sweet harmonies tweet their way into your hearts, and make you dance, flap your wings, and smile.

The Treblemakers is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group at Carnegie Mellon. Founded in 2010, they’ve quickly grown into a musical force to be reckoned with. They host Carnegie Mellon’s spring a cappella concert each year and regularly perform at events on and off campus. At heart, they’re a close knit and fun loving group of friends who love to share their passion for music with each other and the community. The group includes all kinds of singers and styles of music, and they work together to bring their visions to life.



Born in Oregon and raised in Rochester, N.Y., music has been with Mickey Hamilton for as long as he can remember. He found a cappella at Mansfield University as a singer, arranger, and music director for The Ellison Collection, and fill-in for the former Ithaca-based group, The Sons of Pitches. Mickey has since graduated with a degree in voice performance, and earned subsequent degrees in recording technology and entertainment business from Full Sail University. In the midst of his schooling, he has participated in various Rochester-based groups including Innerloop, The Smoking Hot Pipes, and Cut-Off, and even had the opportunity to learn from Bill Hare and Deke Sharon through the Soup 2 Nuts program. Now, Mickey is happy to be working for Cut Off Studios as an engineer, arranger, and producer. In addition to his a cappella background, Mickey runs live sound for local bands in the Rochester area, sings with Nik and the Nice Guys, and DJs for private and public events.

Kathleen Pellington is in her third year of teaching at Wapakoneta High School. She graduated from Otterbein University in 2014 with her degree in music education. During college, she co-founded and co-directed the a cappella group, Ottertuned. She also served as the president of their touring ensemble, as well as OCMEA. In her first two years working at Wapakoneta, she led the show choir to multiple top-five finishes in addition to several Best Soloist and Best Costumes awards. Kathleen also created the a cappella group, Midweek. Midweek quickly earned acclaim competing in the 2016 and 2017 ICHSA seasons, and was invited by Deke Sharon to perform at Carnegie Hall in April 2018. Kathleen is also an avid performer, arranger, and clinician.

Bryan Guffey has been singing longer than he can remember (seriously, ask his parents). Since forming his first group, 50/50, in high school in 1997, Bryan has been a passionate advocate and believer in the power of vocal music to change lives for the better. After graduating with his B.F.A. in musical theatre from Kent State in 2006, Bryan worked with Grammy Award-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn on a remount of the Broadway musical The Civil War in Gettysburg, Pa., which led him to audition for Full Sail, an a cappella group on the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises, where he had the opportunity to work with and learn from the likes of Home Free’s Tim Foust. Bryan returned to the US where he n helped launch A Cappella Records and become much more involved in the a cappella community. Today, when not solving technical issues for nonprofits, Bryan spends much of his time coaching a cappella groups in the Great Lakes Region and volunteers his time with CASA, The Vocal Foundation, the Women’s A Cappella Association and SingStrong, as well as serving as the President of the Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. Additionally, Bryan works closely with Centerville High School’s Forte A Cappella, having co-produced their most recent all-original album, Uncharted Heart, and their upcoming album, Save My Soul. @musicjunkieg

Holly Cloyd hails from the Midwest and has loves music and a cappella through and through. She spent her time in college with two different a cappella groups at Arizona State University and the University of North Texas. Her group at Arizona State was the first all-female group in Arizona to advance to ICCA Semifinals. Holly's passion for music didn't stop there though. She currently travels all through the country, working as a dueling piano player. Her career has taken her to work for big names such as The Big Bang, Ernie Biggs, Louie Louie's, The Shout! House, and Howl At The Moon. In her spare time, Holly loves hanging out with her two poodles. Being a fur mom is a beautiful thing, folks.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank University of Pittsburgh, CMU Inter-A Cappella Association, CMU OriginalsSoldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, AB Tech, A Cappella Productions, Emily Flanders, and the community for their support; 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 Jackson
The Open Director
ICCA Southwest Producer

ICCA Northwest Producer

Andrew Poole
Director of Digital Media

Emily Sucher
Director of Publications

Erica Tackett
Director of Marketing & Social Strategy

Virginia DeMoss
Album Production Coordinator

Mark Chen
Adjudication Co-Director

Emily Flanders
Adjudication Co-Director
ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Sara Yood
ICCA & ICHSA Finals Producer
ICHSA Northeast Producer


Holly Hayes
ICCA Northeast Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Andy Pacer
ICCA Central Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
ICCA Midwest Producer

Matt Shirer
ICHSA West Producer

Henry Harrod
ICCA UK Producer

Elise Hackl
ICHSA Midwest Producer
ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
ICHSA South Producer
ICHSA Southwest Co-Producer

Pearce Illmer
ICHSA Southwest Co-Producer

Courtney Jensen
ICHSA Northwest Producer



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 advance to the ICCA Central Semifinal.



The International Championship
of A Cappella Open


Carnegie Hall
Saturday, September 23, 2017



Find your favorite groups on Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on iTunes and Loudr!




Just in time for the start of the 2017 ICCA and ICHSA season, the official Varsity Vocals store is open for business! Did your favorite group make it on BOCA or BOHSA this year? Are you competing in the 2017 ICCA or ICHSA? Is your favorite group competing and you want to be properly attired at the show? Represent with your very own official Varsity Vocals swag!