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



Missouri State University 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.



1-2-5 is starting its ninth year as the premier a cappella group at Hastings College. Known as a diverse group, they represent men from all majors and activities on campus. Their diversity is imperative, as it helps them sing multiple styles and genres. They credit their Midwestern roots for their strength and confidence as a group, and believe they can succeed in any of their aspirations.

A Cub Bella is the premier all female a capella group on the campus of Missouri State University. The group was founded in 2002 and they are very excited for their 15-year anniversary this year. They hope you enjoy their set, which is dedicated to all of their loyal family, friends, and alumni.

Boots and Cats is the first and only female a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Established in 2011, the group consists of 15 undergraduate women from all areas of campus. The Cats sing a variety of styles, ranging from jazz to top 40 music. In their free time, they enjoy beatboxing lessons and indulging in a slice of pie or two.

Crimson and Blues is a first-generation ensemble at the University of Kansas. The group consists of music and non-music majors alike, who all possess a passion for a cappella singing. Formed just in September, The singers of Crimson and Blues have worked diligently to prepare for their premiere performance at the 2017 ICCA. They are excited to be here, and can't wait to see what else is in store!

In 2003, a diverse group of students at the University of Kansas created an a cappella group fueled by a shared passion for music. 14 years later, Genuine Imitation is still thriving and diverse. They have engineers, a couple of journalists, musicians (of course), and that’s just a handful of the students that make up the group. With pride in their hearts and zeal for serenading others, from the university’s student body to the confused pedestrians of downtown Lawrence, Genuine Imitation is thrilled to perform again at ICCA.

Mizzou Forte is Mizzou's premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2005, the members of Mizzou Forte had a beautiful dark twisted fantasy: to combine fun arrangements and friendship with being really, really good-looking. They achieved those things, and now they're trying to take it up a notch. For ICCA this year, the group hopes leave an impact. They want to present music that was crafted with artistry, produced with precision, and performed with passion. Basically, they only want to make the Highlights. And what artist is better for this task than the one and only Kanye West? Riding in on an Ultralight Beam, here is Mizzou Forte with its setlist, “We Feel Like Pablo.”

Pitch, Please! is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's premier co-ed a cappella group. They perform a variety of genres, from blues and R&B to classic rock to pop. They love to sing, and they love to challenge themselves and each other to become better singers, performers, and people. The group is made up of different people from very different backgrounds and disciplines, but they are united through music and their love for each other.

RainbowTones is the official co-ed a cappella group at the University of Central Missouri. Created in 2012, the group is based on a foundation of acceptance and diversity, as well as a love for music. Their motto is "music in all colors."

The Beartones was conceptualized in 2000 under the frameworks of musical excellence, brotherhood, and just having a good time. For more than a decade, The Beartones have thrilled audiences of all shapes and sizes. The group is renowned for its “polished” and “memorable” sets, and has racked up notable performances across the country, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis, Chicago, and New York.

Since forming in 2012, The Hibernotes has been known for its high energy and captivating performance style. Regardless of what songs they sing, they perform with power and confidence in their vocals and choreography. They are ready to leave their mark on the ICCA stage with another show-stopping set!



Kevin Keller arranges a cappella charts for barbershop and vocal jazz, as well as standard SATB voicings. He has coached numerous barbershop quartets and choruses, is a member of the award-winning Ambassadors of Harmony chorus, and is the current chairman of judges for the Barbershop Harmony Society. Kevin is also a master black belt (continuous improvement) at Anheuser-Busch InBev, and sings with his vocal jazz group, City Nights.

Daniel Fister is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, studying musicology. He earned his undergraduate degree in vocal performance and music history at Chapman University, and his master’s degree in music history at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He has presented and written on collegiate a cappella, musical theatre, and other American music. Before his life as an academic, he directed, sang, and arranged for Wilsonville High School’s Soul’d Out, a group he led to the 2010 ICHSA Finals, and for Chapman University’s SoundCheck, with whom he competed in ICCA and directed production of its debut album, Everything (2012). He remains involved in a cappella as a judge and arranger, and is interning this year as a Varsity Vocals production assistant.

Judy Luxton holds a degree in vocal music education from William Jewell College. Prior to working professionally in music education, she completed a year-long solo concert tour through 25 countries. She has worked with church music programs in Australia and Curacao, and was the coordinator for an ministry organization at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and again in 2016 in Rio. She is a four-time anthem soloist at Dodger Stadium. She is currently the choir director for the Pipkin Middle School concert choir, and has had a private voice studio in Springfield, Mo. for about 12 years. She performs often in productions at Springfield Little Theatre and Springfield Contemporary Theatre.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank A Cub Bella, Danielle Sutherland, Missouri State University, Plaster Student Union, Nick Driscoll and Hibernation Productions, Amanda Etter, Dale Obermark, and Kelsey Haeger; 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 Midwest 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!