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



Fox Theatre
Saturday, February 25, 2017



We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!




Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #ICCA and #ICHSA.



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.



Acquire A Cappella hails from the coastal redwoods of Santa Cruz, California. Acquire is a close, loving family of people who love to sing, and its members come from all backgrounds and musical experiences. Each member puts in a substantial time commitment, and the hard work is reflected in the amazing performances for which Acquire is known.

Hi from Chinese A Cappella at Berkeley (BCA), UC Berkeley's Asian-interest a cappella group. As a very unique group of singers, they jam in English and various Asian languages. The surge of Asian Interest in the Bay Area has earned them various performances, from weekly singing in front of the school's Sather Gate to off-campus gigs in UC Davis and Stanford. From random jamming sessions to recording annual albums, they have done a lot, but ICCA is a new milestone! They look forward to singing on the ICCA stage and showing the very best of their music!

Hailing from the misty hills of Santa Cruz, California, Cloud 9 is proud to be UCSC's original a cappella group. When they aren't singing, the singers of Cloud 9 spend their time frolicking with deer, visiting with local turkeys, and sharing the joy of music up and down the West Coast. Cloud 9 has competed in the ICCA for over 10 years, most notably placing 3rd in the 2015 West Semifinal. They are very proud to represent UC Santa Cruz in this year's competition.

UC Berkeley's Dil Se was founded by Arjun Ohri in 2004 after many semesters of it being just a dream. Dil Se combines the melody-based raagas of Hindi film music with the depth and harmony that drive Western music to create a fresh perspective on the tradition of a cappella. The group combines a wide range of experiences, from years of training in Hindustani and Carnatic music, to Western Classical and Jazz Choirs, and even countless mornings of singing in the shower. Their goal is to entertain audiences with well-rounded performances that emanate Dil Se, or "from the heart.”

Dulcet is Southern Oregon University's premier contemporary a cappella group. They are dedicated to making and performing grade-A music, supporting and enriching the university as best they can, and having a good time.

The Mendicants is a group of 22 guys devoted to performing the best songs of today, yesterday, and several decades ago. They pride themselves on having a wide range of styles, from gospel and barbershop to original compositions, jazz standards and contemporary pop. You can see them onstage, serenading in stairwells, or even just breaking out into song around campus.

The Liquid Hotplates is the hottest student-run, co-ed a cappella group from University of California-Davis. LHP prides itself in bringing people of diverse backgrounds together through a shared passion for making music. The group started off as a jazz octet and was officially established in fall of 2000. Since then, The Hotplates have inducted generations of new members, arranged songs in a multitude of genres such as pop, R&B, and classical, traveled around the Davis community and throughout California to perform at events, participated in philanthropy events, and recorded their first single. Whether competing at ICCA, performing at a showcase or delivering singing grams, The Liquid Hotplates put their hearts and souls into their music, and they do it as a family.

The UC Men's Octet is an eight-member a cappella singing group, composed of some of the finest male singers at the University of California, Berkeley. Founded in 1948, The Octet has entertained audiences around the world with its unique mesh of close harmonies and zany stage antics. They dazzle fans with a wide repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, contemporary pop, modern alternative, and of course, Cal fight songs.



Bryan Kendall is former member of the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, former musical director of The Friars at Michigan, and a student of music. Playing piano since age 5, Bryan learned music early and started singing at 12, performing with multiple groups during his time at Michigan. Since graduating, Bryan continues to advise The Friars, study music, and perform in San Francisco. He now works as a software engineer in San Francisco, Calif.

Greg Casper is a professional singer/actor/director/teacher/coach with over 40 years of experience. He has done everything from fronting rock bands to singing in classical chorales, and has performed everything from opera to country, from The Messiah to musical theatre. He has performed as a vocalist on television, radio, stage, and several independent albums, as an actor on numerous stages throughout the Bay Area, as a director with several theatre companies, and as a singer/musician in a number of bands, as well as a solo act, both with instruments and a cappella. He has been singing with The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers, the world’s largest professional a cappella Christmas caroling company, since 1989.He has taught and directed several local and regional choral groups and taught voice and guitar at the Northern California School of Music for four years. As a performance coach, Greg coached the nine-woman a cappella group, Noteworthy (BYU), to a 1st place finish in the 2007 ICCA. He has been a nationally certified adjudicator for the ICCA for over 15 years.

Chris Rishel was first introduced to a cappella music when he sang in a barbershop quartet in 8th grade and has been hooked ever since. Throughout high school and undergrad, he continued pursuing barbershop until he finally entered the realm of contemporary a cappella as a graduate student in the MD/PhD program at The University of Chicago. There, he led Voices in Your Head to a victory in the BOSS collegiate competition and a renowned appearance at the ICCA Finals in 2012, and arranged for and coached the group extensively during their 2015 ICCA run that won 2nd place at finals. His arrangements and compositions have also been individually recognized on numerous occasions. He has won the Outstanding Arrangement award three times at ICCA quarterfinals and semifinals, the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement twice, and CARAs for Best Professional Arrangement for a Scholastic Group and Best Scholastic Original Song. His arrangements have also been repeatedly featured on the compilation albums BOCA, Sing, and Voices Only, as well as Ben Folds’s a cappella album. As a studio producer, he has helped groups across the Midwest earn 15+ CARA nominations and 20+ compilation appearances. Having (finally!) graduated, he recently moved to California and is currently completing his residency at Stanford University in anesthesiology.

Adam Blaine has been playing piano since age 5. He has covered styles from classical to musical theatre, and has accompanied musicals at all levels, including collegiate, community, and masterclasses with professional Broadway talents. He has been singing since high school and has participated in the Ithaca Gospel Fest twice. His music theory skills came into play from piano, and helped him arranged many songs for his college a cappella group.

Richman Neumann has been directing, arranging, and performing a cappella for nearly a decade. A classically trained pianist, Richman currently directs a cappella septet, Side Note, and 31-member pop choir, Scales of the City, both based in San Francisco. Richman competed in the ICCA for four years with The Carnegie Mellon Originals, and was awarded Best Choreography and Best Arrangement for his work. He believes that pop music, a genre which draws influences from R&B, rock, theater, cinema, and beyond, can make wonderful emotional statements to its listeners.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Fox Theatre team and our guest performance group, The Vocal Network, especially Leolee Xiong; 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 Northwest 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!