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



The Playhouse on Rodney Square
Saturday, March 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.



The Supernovas is Villanova’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, founded in spring 1999. Singing music that spans a wide variety of genres including songs by Jessie J, Maroon 5, Sia, and Taylor Swift, The Supernovas are not just musicians; they are a close group of friends. Throughout the year, the Supernovas perform at a variety of events on and off Villanova’s campus. Making appearances at basketball games, Villanova’s Special Olympics Fall Festival, AcaPalooza, and even in New York City to audition for NBC's “The Sing Off,” The Supernovas bring their unique sound and fun presence to every performance. The Supernovas have competed in the 2014 ICCA, where they placed 3rd in the Quarterfinals and won Best Arrangement and have placed 3rd in an a cappella competition at St. Joseph's University. The Supernovas are proud to represent Villanova a cappella.

West Chester University's Under A Rest is the first co-ed a cappella group to hit West Chester's campus. Forming just two years ago, they have been able to make a name for themselves within the West Chester community and beyond, placing 3rd in last year's ICCA Quarterfinals with special awards for Best Choreography and Best Arrangement. This group is filled with a diverse group of people with different majors such as graphic design, education, and nursing. Their shared love for music inspires a set list ranging from rock to pop. One thing is for sure; the group is a bundle of fun, and they will not let you forget it.

, the most eclectic co-ed a cappella group at the University of Maryland, has been performing without the help of instruments for 22 years. This group’s extensive set includes songs from a wide range of artists and genres. With a passion for creating beautiful music, the pandas love to perform at public or private events on and off-campus anywhere in the D.C. and Baltimore areas. They have performed at universities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and love bringing lesser known music to a wider audience.

The GW Vibes 
is a student-run co-ed a cappella group at The George Washington University. Founded in 1999 by Alissa Roeder and Bess Paupeck, The Vibes’ repertoire covers a range of musical styles and eras, from 1960s’ R&B to today’s indie rock. The members of The Vibes perform around campus, in the White House, throughout D.C., and beyond. More than just a badass a cappella group, The GW Vibes is a big family that aims to entertain and have a great time doing it.

Legend has it, while in the midst of an arduous hike, group founder Michael Burns (‘98) cracked open an Odwalla Superfood beverage to regain his strength. Due to the drink’s bold flavors and refreshing content, he not only was able to complete his journey up the mountain, he was inspired to create an a cappella group as bold and refreshing as that initial sip. Today, Georgetown Superfood continues to embrace this mountain-conquering spirit by pushing the limits of Georgetown a cappella to new, intrepid frontiers. By revamping old classics and remixing today’s hits, Superfood’s rebellious arrangements illustrate its noteworthy and bold musicality. Check out Superfood's newly released album on iTunes and Spotify to hear more.

is Rowan University's newest premier a cappella group. The mixed group consists of 13 performers, including both music and non-music majors. The group was established in September 2016 as a way to unite students from across campus, by performing a variety of genres including jazz, rock, and pop.

Greetings, audience! The Lehigh University Melismatics comes here tonight all the way from good ol’ Bethlehem, Penn.! They’re the oldest a cappella group at Lehigh, a fact that they love to spew a little too often. And don’t get them started on their latest studio album, Addicted; every human (and squirrel) on campus has heard that speech at least 50 times. They’re engineers, business kids, and a few soon-to-be famous composers. After competing in ICCA Semifinals last winter, The Melismatics could not be more excited to be here tonight. So, with that, let’s hear it for The Lehigh Melismatics!

Founded in 1998, Hofstra University’s Sigma’cappella has established itself as a driving force in the Long Island and New York metro area a cappella scenes. Composed of members as different as the songs in its rep, Sigma refuses to settle for less than the best when it comes to making music. As 2015 ICCA Quarterfinal Champions and recipients of the award for Outstanding Arrangement at that event, Sigma has drawn praise from groups such as Ball in the House for its daring arrangements and commanding stage presence. They’re excited for this opportunity to sing for you tonight!

Vocal Point
is a co-ed group from the University of Delaware. The group is composed of all different majors, including vocal performance, music education, nursing, criminal justice, and business. They released an EP, Phoenix, in the summer of 2015, and they are honored to have some of its songs featured on BOCA and Voices Only. They are very excited to record more music and look forward to collaborating with other a cappella groups this year.

The Towson Trills, also known as The Trills, is Towson University’s newest a cappella group. The group formed in September 2015 as a group of friends with a huge passion for singing. Seven members strong, they can't wait to share their music with the rest of the a cappella community. Since they began, The Trills have won Towson's campus-wide talent competition, headlined a stage at a local arts festival, and performed at a wide variety of venues. Check them out on social media @towsontrills!



Jonathan Sears began singing a cappella in 1996 at Elizabethtown College with the all-male group, Phalanx. In his senior year, he led Phalanx to its first-ever ICCA appearance. The group placed 3rd at Quarterfinals, and this debut set the stage for future showings in which they advanced to Semifinals and earned a spot on BOCA. After graduating in 2000, Jonathan performed with a number of professional a cappella groups at shows and festivals throughout North America. He is a two-time Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominee; his first was in 2000 for Best Male Collegiate Arranger, and his second was in 2005 for Best Contemporary Pop/Rock Original Song. He is a five-year veteran of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), where he adjudicated over 70 a cappella albums submitted by collegiate and professional groups. Jonathan lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his beautiful wife, Kelly, and their two girls, Molly and Emma. 2017 marks Jonathan’s 11th year as an adjudicator for the ICCA and ICHSA, and his 21st year as an active member of the a cappella community.

Shams Ahmed is an arranger, music director, and educator from Cherry Hill, N.J. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, where he directed the 2013 ICCA champions, The Nor'easters. During his tenure, the group picked up several compilation placements and CARAs, won SoJamX, and gained national attention. Shams also earned more arranging awards than any other collegiate arranger before him. Throughout an exciting a cappella career, he has developed a strong belief that the heart of an a cappella group is its arrangements. He is working to bring better arrangements to groups all over the country in the hope that he can, in some small way, push the boundaries of a cappella at large. Shams wholeheartedly believes in the spirit of competition and owes much of his a cappella development to the ICCA, so judging this season's shows is extremely exciting for him. Shams currently lives in Boston, working as a financial services derivatives specialist at State Street Corp., arranging music for The Vocal Company, and coaching local a cappella groups.

Elie Landau i
s a Tony and Emmy-nominated theatre and film producer. He is Executive Producer at Triptyk Studios, where he oversees the company's slate of theatre, film, and television projects in development and production, which includes the touring and London productions of "An American in Paris," the upcoming Broadway musical, "Amélie," the new "Archie" musical by Academy Award winner Adam McKay, based on the timeless comics, and "Freedom Run" in partnership with Stevie Wonder. Select prior management credits include the Broadway productions of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (for which he served as Executive Producer of its Grammy-nominated original cast recording), "Lucky Guy," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "Seminar," "The Addams Family," "Red," and "Spamalot. Through his own production company, Ergo Entertainment, he has co-produced 10 Broadway shows including "Speed-the-Plow," "You're Welcome America," "The Homecoming," and "November," and several films, including the award-winning documentary, "Paper Clips." He has sung with with the Penn Glee Club, Pennchants, and Beat’achon. A CARA judge and nominator, Elie has judged Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds of the ICCA and the Finals of Kol HaOlam, hosted concerts at LAAF and BOSS, as well as the second annual CARA ceremony in Boston and the inaugural A Cappella Video Awards (AVA) in Los Angeles, and given masterclasses at festivals throughout the U.S. Since 2000, he has had nearly 300 a cappella album reviews published by RARB.

Grammy-winning conductor and singer Frank Albinder currently directs the Washington Men’s Camerata, the Virginia Glee Club at UVa and the Woodley Ensemble. A native of Hollywood, Calif., Frank holds degrees from Pomona College and the New England Conservatory of Music. Like most musicians, he has held a number of non-musical jobs, including counter man in a delicatessen, secret document destroyer for a major military contractor, tour guide at Universal Studios and problem-fixer for FedEx. He was Director of Choral Activities at Davidson College in the mid-1980s, and for 11 years, he was singer, associate conductor, and finally acting director of Chanticleer, the world-renowned vocal ensemble. During his tenure with the group, Frank performed in all 50 states and in 20 foreign countries. He appears on 21 of the ensemble’s recordings, including "Wondrous Love," which was recorded under his direction, and the Grammy-winning "Colors of Love," for which he designed the concept and selected the repertoire. Other performance credits include the Boston Camerata, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, the Washington Bach Consort, and the Concord Ensemble. He recently completed two terms as the National Chair of Repertoire and Standards for Male Choirs for the American Choral Director's Association; he is currently President of Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses, a member of the steering committee for ChoralNet, the internet's principal portal for information and resources relating to the choral field and the D.C. representative of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. He sang for 12 years as part of the professional music staff at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, the Church of the Presidents.

Originally from Tustin, Calif., Hannah Juliano attended Berklee College of Music and led its co-ed group, Pitch Slapped, to the Finals stage two years in a row. They were crowned champions the second year. The group went on to win the competition at SoJam 2011, and appeared on season 2 of NBC's "The Sing-Off.” After college, Hannah became a member of Musae, a professional all-female frontier blazer, and Delilah, the all-female powerhouse from season 3 of "The Sing-Off." She has since performed all around the world, taught workshops, masterclasses for all ages of all-male, co-ed, and all-female groups, and arranges for groups around the country. She is honored to be a judge at tonight's event.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Euphonism and the Grand Opera House venue staff; 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 placing group advances to ICCA Finals.



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!