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 Elsinore Theatre Saturday, March 25, 2017



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




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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.



Mind the Gap is the University of Oregon's only co-ed a cappella group. They've existed on campus for close to a decade and have achieved some pretty cool things in that time. They've moved on to ICCA Semifinals twice, took 3rd last year in Deke Sharon's VoiceJam, and took home 1st place at last year's Seaside A Cappella Festival, as well as the Bend A Cappella Festival. Keep an eye out for their new EP coming out this year, Hold Your Breath.

Outspoken is the premier men’s a cappella group at Oregon State University with thousands of followers. The group performs contemporary and classical hits, while constantly working to improve their musicality and share their love for a cappella music with the world through competitions, shows, and recordings. Outspoken is currently recording their fifth album! Outspoken has performed at ICCA multiple times, placing 2nd in the Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds of the 2016 ICCA season. In the years following, Outspoken has grown substantially and moved to a group of 12-15 men with a growing fan base on the Oregon State University campus and the West Coast a cappella community.

Utah Valley University’s renowned nine-man a cappella group, VoiceLine, combines harmony, humor, and remarkable vocal percussion into a thrilling showcase. Members are selected for their musical ability, creativity, and stage presence, and the result is exceptional sound and spirited performances for the whole family! In late 2014, VoiceLine made its very first music video that received over 43,000 views in less than two months on YouTube alone, and thousands more through social media! The success of that video inspired NBC to fly VoiceLine out to L.A. to audition in front of the celebrity judges for the 10th season of "America’s Got Talent," where they made it through to the second round! That same year, they hosted the Quarterfinal round of the ICCA and have since released their first self-titled album, which has been played over 200,000 times on Spotify alone. VoiceLine is so excited to compete for the very first time this year, and they can't wait to take to the stage with all the other amazing groups!

This year, Infrared A Cappella took one small step for a cappella, one huge leap for the Infra-family, when it was welcomed into the University of Utah's School of Music as an official class! Members have been quoted, saying “yeah, it’s pretty cool, I guess” and even “um, aca-something puns and stuff,” but make no mistake, they are stoked about this change. It means Infrared is here to stay! Infrared's 11 members are most likely found gigging or goofing off in the Salt Lake Valley. They are so excited to be back and bringing their best to the ICCA stage, and to get to rub elbows with other aca-nerds.

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!

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.

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, performed around the Davis community and throughout California, 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 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.


Quakers & Notes: George Fox University: Newberg, Ore. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us. We are one with the song and the song is with us.



Matt Caruso is the owner and chief engineer at the exclusively a cappella studio and production company, ACappellaPsych, based in Portland, Ore. He has been singing, arranging, directing, and teaching contemporary a cappella for over 14 years. His "Aca-Jedi Mind Tricks" workshop has been a highly attended, extremely successful event offered at major a cappella festivals, such as the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, Boston Sings, VoCAL Nation, AcappellaFest, SoJam, and more. He has performed masterclasses and clinics for choirs and a cappella groups around the country. From 2009-2012, Matt served as the music proctor and touring proctor for the American Boychoir and American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J. This is Matt's second year
adjudicating for Varsity Vocals and he can't wait to be blown away by the incredible talent onstage tonight.

Anna Corbett 
attended the University of Oregon and was part of the founding generation of Divisi, the school’s all-female a cappella group. Since graduating, she has continued her involvement in a cappella as a team member of the Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA), helping to put on their annual festival, SheSings, as well as participating in various bands and vocal music projects in the Portland area. While she is in the book, “Pitch Perfect,” none of the characters in the subsequent movies are specifically based on her. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as a judge for ICHSA/ICCA!

Chris Dobson
holds a Bachelor of Music in music education from the University of Oregon. He grew up in Eugene, participating in school choirs, the Oregon Children’s Choir, and the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy. At the University of Oregon, Chris sang with the University Singers, the Chamber Choir, and On the Rocks (the University of Oregon’s male a cappella group). In 2005, Chris received the Max D. Risinger Award for Excellence in Choral Music Education. An active local musician, Chris also conducts and sings with various choirs throughout the performance season. He has served as clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor for various Oregon choral festivals. Chris currently teaches choir at South Eugene High School and Spencer
Butte Middle School, directs the Oregon Boychoir and Outburst Acappella, and sings with the nationally-recognized contemporary a cappella group, Rezonate. He is also an active composer and arranger, having won the Best Original Arrangement award at the Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes competition in March 2009.

The daughter of a choir teacher and accompanist, Cate Caffarella received a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Music Education from Boston University. This is her 14th year at West Albany High School, where she directs three choirs and heads the drama program. WAHS choirs have won numerous awards, including top-five finishes at OSAA State Choir competitions, district championships, judges’ choice awards, and this year’s ICHSA Semifinal. Cate and her husband, Jason (also a musician), are former directors of the Oregon Children’s Choir Young Men’s Ensemble and the Classics. They and their children, Tobin, Taran, and Teah, enjoy singing and spending time together.

Isaiah Ragland 
began his a cappella career at Central Washington University in 2010, where he founded the school’s first a cappella group, Nada Cantata. Since then, CWU’s community has grown to include four on-campus groups. While working toward his Bachelor of Arts in music from CWU, Isaiah sang in the University Chorale, Men’s Choir, Chamber Choir, and Opera scenes, while still finding time to act as Nada Cantata’s music director. In 2014, Isaiah was awarded Outstanding Choreography at his ICCA Quarterfinal, while Nada Cantata took their first podium-finishing, second runner-up placement. Currently, Isaiah sings bass with the Seattle Symphony Chorale and in an a cappella quintet, 20/20, which performs and competes around the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, Isaiah was awarded Best Arrangement at the Pacific Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes, while 20/20 finished second overall. He is also on the Board of Directors and is a founder of the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute (CAMI). CAMI aims to educate, empower, and provide resources for a cappella musicians of all levels by hosting concerts, workshops, clinics, and networking events. In doing so, CAMI strives to foster growth in the quality and reach of contemporary a cappella.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Courtney Jensen (emcee), Pete Yoakum (sound), Elsinore Theatre,  especially Tom Fohn and Stephen Munshaw, and Quakers and Notes (guest group), especially Jake Yoakum; 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!