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



SUNY Potsdam 
Saturday, February 25, 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.



A Sharp Arrangement, SUNY Potsdam’s second-oldest, student-run, and only all-female a cappella group, works to entertain the public through music. The group takes pride in working with students and members of the community through performance. They have come together to explore a variety of musical styles and promote music in the lives of everyone they meet. The group fully supports music education in schools and strives to more actively engage students in music. A Sharp Arrangement is committed to learning healthy, supported, and energized singing that all of their audiences enjoy.

The Harpur Harpeggios, fondly known as "The Pegs," is the only all-female a cappella group at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y. The Pegs typically consists of 10-15 members. The Pegs formed in 1983, spawned by one visionary member of the Harpur Chorale, and has since grown to compete at the international level. The group has attended three previous ICCA competitions.

Stay Tuned is SUNY Potsdam's second official co-ed a cappella group. This close-knit family of music lovers is excited to bring its take on a cappella music to the public. The group was formed in October of 2012 by a small group of SUNY Potsdam students who desired to bring musicians together in a totally new group on campus. Since then, the goal of Stay Tuned has evolved into redefining a cappella music in creative ways. This includes original arrangements, a broad repertoire (including genres that aren't largely represented), and diverse members, all of which creates a new and unique a cappella experience.

The Musical InterDudes is the University of Waterloo's all-male group. Founded in fall 2014, The Dudes is the newest group at UWaterloo. The Dudes care about every member’s input, and find a way to make their ideas became reality. This close-knit family focuses on tight harmonies, with a dash of musical comedy. The Dudes cover a wide range of genres, but always stay true to their quirky performances and song choices. The Dudes take on bi-weekly gigs, ranging from the university stage to award ceremonies to community events.

The Potsdam Pitches is SUNY Potsdam's premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2007, The Pitches is an award-winning group, dedicated to spreading the love and joy of a cappella through high-quality performances. Coming on their 10th year, the singers of The Potsdam Pitches are excited to compete at ICCA once again.

The Potsdam Pointercounts is SUNY Potsdam's oldest and only all-male a cappella group. Founded in 1993, The 'Counts have been entertaining audiences for 24 years. Though they love performing and competing and are well-decorated (having won Outstanding Arrangement at their last ICCA Northeast Semifinal), The Pointercounts' main mission is to spread a love of music throughout educational systems around the country. They frequently tour schools on the eastern seaboard to perform and engage in workshops with students of all ages. Tonight, they hope to engage you with a thrilling set of songs both new and old, and hopefully spread their mission to an even wider audience.

The Unaccompanied Minors hails from the world of polar bears and lethal geese with big vocals, and is the only auditioned co-ed group at the University of Waterloo. This is their third time at the ICCA and come from a huge a cappella community back at their home school. They have performed at a variety of events such as campus coffeehouses, charitable events, even a proposal (she did say yes!). They are so excited for this year's ICCA, for the competition, as well as the unique experience to connect with other passionate singers and participate in one hell of a show.

Greetings from The Water Boys from the University of Waterloo! This all-male collegiate a cappella group loves to focus on intricate arrangements, high musicianship, and entertaining performances. Founded in 2008, they have come a long way, both as an a cappella group, and as friendly neighbors from The Great North. While they’re not melting polar ice caps with their captivating presence, they generate copious amounts of voluptuous puns to empower their singing abilities. So, put on your seat belts and get your trays in your upright position for take off, before diving deep into the watery trenches of supersaturated a cappella music, with a dynamic splash and a sizzling drizzle.

The Ultravioletones, from Clarkson University, is a group composed of people that love a cappella just as much as their math/science/engineering classes. Yes, Clarkson University is the kind of technical school where you find students huddled in the library studying for their next physics exam at any time of day. This doesn't stop The Ultravioletones from coming together to form the performance group you will see today. They hope you enjoy their set!



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.

Andrea Aquino was a founding member of Acquire A Cappella at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She sang alto, arranged more than a dozen pieces, and served as musical director from 2009-2010. During that year, she also led Acquire to its first ICCA Quarterfinal at the University of Oregon (and they sang "I'm On A Boat" in an abandoned shower, which was awesome). After graduation, she worked on Acquire's street team to assist with graphic design and marketing. Andrea lives in Burlington, Vt., where she co-founded Pitchcraft, a six-piece a cappella group, which focuses on contemporary pop and indie tunes. She works in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Vermont.

Mackenzie Cohn has been a part of the a cappella community since she joined the all-female group, The Girls Next Door, at The College of Saint Rose. After four years of performing, competing, and recording a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-nominated album with GND, she went on to join Cape Cod's premier professional all-female a cappella group, Cape Harmony. She spent her past two summers as Cape Harmony's publicity director and reliable lady-bass, and can't wait to get back to singing on the beach in June. In the little time Mackenzie has outside of a cappella commitments, she enjoys belting out rock tunes, re-reading the “Harry Potter” series, and baking as many confectionery treats as her kitchen will allow.

Catherine Lambe attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated with a degree in American Sign Language-English Interpretation. For three years, she participated in the all-female group, Vocal Accent, and was music director for two of those years. During Catherine's final year in school, she served as assistant music director for the semi-professional group, Cut-Off, in Rochester, N.Y. Catherine has created and edited arrangements for various groups, and performed in musical theatre. Catherine currently works with the a cappella company, Cut-Off Studios, as Director of Education and a workshop/masterclass clinician.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Dr. Michael Sitton (Dean, Crane School of Music), Dr. Kristin Esterberg (President, SUNY Potsdam), Lorelei Murdie (Craine School of Music Facilities), Nancy Hess and Donna Ober (CLEAR), Ruth Policella (Campus Life), Maureen Taylor (SGA), The Sisters of Sigma Alpha Iota, 18 & UP IMPROV!, Alumni of SUNY Potsdam A Cappella, The Potsdam Pitches, Clarkson University, Mindy Thompson, Jason Hunter, Adam Emery, John O'Connor, Michael Rosenberg, and Michaela Pawluk; 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!