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



Mount Baker Theatre
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 crisp maple scent wafts through the air. What could that sweet sensation be, eh? Equality? Free health care? Attractive political figures? That's right - the Canadians are here. After the fall of the Harper empire, Justin Trudeau bestowed a blessing upon Eh? Cappella, a team of 14 strapping young persons from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, before sending them off to America, armed with only their voices, Tim Hortons, and beaver pelts. Now, backed by the power of curly-haired politicians and over-glamorized teen idols, this ragtag group of hosers plans to fight relentlessly to bring aca-fame to the Great White North and restore its nation to its former glory. So grab a 2-4 of Molson or some ketchup-flavoured Lays and hold on to your toques as we do what Drake does best: respectfully communicate their emotions through the power of song.

Furmata A Cappella, established in 2008, is the only competitive co-ed contemporary a cappella group at the University of Washington in Seattle. After last year's Northwest Quarterfinal win, they are eager to return to the ICCA competition stage. The 2016-17 group again consists of all non-music majors, with focuses ranging from informatics, biology, psychology, and international studies, all with a common love for a cappella. Furmata is ecstatic to be able to share its music and enthusiasm, and hopes you have as much fun watching as the group does performing!

HERmonic A Cappella is the premier female a cappella group on Pacific Lutheran University's campus in Tacoma, Wash. HERmonic is a powerful, fun-loving group of 13 talented women who absolutely love to make music together. They have been a group for many years and have extensive experience in the field of a cappella music. HERmonic has competed in ICCA for the past few years and WON its Quarterfinal in 2014. This year, they plan on going even further. They sing contemporary music, with some older styles as well. They are proud of the work they do and the passion they share for a cappella music.

Major Treble is WWU's only women's a cappella group. It was found in the early 2000s making it a fairly young group. Since then, they have gained a fair amount of popularity within the school and are one of the most successful clubs. Major Treble is passionate about advocating for women through music.

Nada Cantata is Central Washington University's premier co-ed a cappella group. Although they come from the small town of Ellensburg, they are ready to make a big impact. This year’s group has already shown great dedication and musicianship and is ready to deliver a powerful performance.

PLUtonic Acappella is Pacific Lutheran University's premier men's ac appella group. The group is composed of 13 talented and goofy men who come together for the love of a cappella music! This dynamic group incorporates elements of traditional Lutheran heritage, as well as pop vocals in performances all over the greater Puget Sound area. They thank you for coming to support a cappella music and hope you enjoy their performance!

Rebel Clef is Western Washington University's all-male, auditioned a cappella group. Previously known as Undefined, the group has competed in the ICCA for the past five years. Its members come from a diverse selection of majors and musical backgrounds, but all come together through a shared love of singing. They are all looking forward to this year's competition.

In the year 2016, risen from the urban cacophony of the bustling city life, Vancouver-based a cappella group, The Fantastic Beats was born. Hidden in the heart of UBC, this group of 23 aspiring young musicians unite once a week to engage in the strive for vocal synergy. Disguised as students in the day, these vocalists fight against pitchy harmonies and the incessant rhythmic rushing at night. With butterbeer, chocolate frogs, and their voices as their only craft, Fantastic Beats embrace the impending challenge awaiting them in the secret chamber of Uncle Sanders, where they will continue to chase after the golden pitch alongside other practitioners of the musical arts.

Underground Sound is University of Puget Sound's oldest and only mixed-voice and competitive a cappella group. Beginning in in 1997 as Underground Jazz, the group changed its name to Underground Sound in 2010 to better suit its specialty in arrangements of contemporary popular music. The group has been featured on Acaville Radio and performs at major campus events several times each semester, including Logjam, Mistletoast, the A Cappella Extravaganza, football games, as well its own independent showcase every fall and spring. USound also makes efforts to perform around the Tacoma community. Underground Sound made its ICCA debut in spring of 2016 and is excited to return.



Aaron Lichtner began singing a cappella in college at California Polytechnic State University with his group, Take it SLO. He sang with them for four years and became one of the group’s primary arrangers. After moving to Seattle to earn his Ph.D. in materials science, he helped found the group, Seatown Sound and currently works as its music director.

In July 2016, Roger Mills retired from active judging for the Barbershop Harmony Society, after 25 years of consecutive certification in the Stage Presence and Presentation categories. He has traveled extensively, working with harmony singers from all over the world. Roger still teaches classes and coaches vocal harmony groups at Harmony College Northwest in Tacoma, Wash. each year, and gives private vocal lessons in the Bellingham area. Roger also plays the flute and resides in Birch Bay, Wash.

Growing up, Sarah Hooper sang with school and church choirs, in musicals, and with singing groups and cover bands with her friends and family members. Today, she manages a customer success team at a software start-up in Bellevue, but continues to nurture her passion for music. Post-college, her sales and management experience helped her as co-founder and concert coordinator of the Seattle Ladies Choir, where she planned all of the group's concerts. She left in 2012, and founded Seatown Sound, a Seattle-based a cappella collective.

Joseph Livesey loves a cappella! As a previous ICCA champ with Fermata Nowhere, he's humbled and grateful to come full circle and judge at the event that inspired his passion for a cappella over a decade ago. After getting his start performing in Southern California, he moved to Washington state to sing with the guys from Realtime, themselves previous champs of the Barbershop Harmony Society. They made a new group, viaVoice, and traveled and coached and had lots of fun! Currently, Joseph is launching a Kickstarter campaign to commission a new work for the Bellingham Chamber Chorale (, singing with and arranging for his present quartet, Marksmen (, and organizing the 2018 Seaside A Cappella Festival ( in Seaside, Ore. Keep singing, everybody!



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Mount Baker Theatre team, host group WWU A Cappella Club, especially David Cohen,  and The Dead Parrots Society; 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!