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



Phillips Center for Performing Arts 
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.



Above the Keys is the University of Miami's premier all-male a cappella group. Known locally as the "most-male" a cappella group, ATK performs a genre-bending set of hits across the decades. ATK was formed in 2009 and has performed across the country. In 2012, Above the Keys took 4th place in ICCA Quarterfinals and in 2014, they were selected among six a cappella groups to perform at the first-ever VoicesJam competition. Their motto is "Over the Line."

 is one of UM’s four a cappella groups. In 2015, they were featured on the TV show, “Sing It On,” when they advanced to ICCA Semifinals. BisCaydence has performed for events across the state, including at a Florida Panthers game, Cultureshock Miami, and more. They sing everything from pop hits to throwbacks to Disney songs. They frequently host joint concerts with visiting schools and have performed with The Yale Whiffenpoofs, Semi-Toned from the United Kingdom, and recently held two concerts with The Vanderbilt Melodores, winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off.” Like BisCaydence on Facebook for news about upcoming events.

 is a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Florida in Gainesville. As the newest group on campus, Gestalt seeks to invigorate the a cappella community, both locally and nationally. The set curated for tonight’s show portrays the nuanced frustrations and triumphs of cultivating an artistic vision. Founded only this past August, the vocal unit made its a cappella debut at The Betsy’s A Cappella Festival, performing a show-closing set at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. In January, they crowdfunded over $12,000 with a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their first studio album, Beyond The Archetype. #BTA will be released later this year! Gestalt is excited to be making its ICCA debut this season and wishes all competing groups the best of luck! Dynamic voices, dynamic people #dvdp @GestaltACappella

is a group of individuals so varied, they have just about one thing in common: they love to sing. The only a cappella group in Florida International University, HEARTbeats was established in January 2014 through The Honors College with the goal of giving back to the community through music. When they’re not busy performing at FIU events or winning awards for their contributions to the community, you can find them raising money for charity or singing anywhere and everywhere they can. Although most of them are not formally studying music, the singers of HEARTbeats are wholly dedicated to and united by their love of music. They also enjoy warm mugs of tea and long walks on the beach. So, if you’re looking for a Miami group with Miami spice, keep an eye out for HEARTbeats; they’ll be the ones singing their hearts out.

is the only all-female a cappella group at the University of Central Florida, and the group has accomplished many things in just the past two years. They won $10,000 at the Schick "Rock Your Legs" a cappella competition and used their prize money to put on the first-ever UCF a cappella festival, Orlando Soundwave. They released their second EP, War Without Weapons, which features six songs that showcase many aspects of the group. The women in KeyHarmony enjoy storytelling and providing an experience through music. They also believe that the relationships they share allow them to make such meaningful music. Each of these lovely ladies brings a different element to this group, and they cannot wait to perform tonight.

No Southern Accent
 is University of Florida's premier co-ed a cappella group. They are wholly composed of and run by music students across all years and majors. They bond and continue to represent the South proudly by performing at events sponsored by the university, gigs hosted by parties in the Gainesville area, and events hosted by third parties up and down the East coast! #goNSA

Standing Room Only 
is a co-ed a cappella ensemble from the University of Florida. This diverse group brings multiple backgrounds and skill sets, and began in the spring of 2013 as UF's official jazz choir. Their goal is to blend traditional jazz with contemporary pop music to create a unique experience that will get audiences in the groove. Standing Room Only performs at UF events, in concert with School of Music performance groups such as the Gator Jazz Band, as well as at Gator sporting events and in the community. They are very excited to return to the ICCA stage this year.

The 18th Notes 
is the University of Miami's Jewish co-ed a cappella group sponsored by University of Miami Hillel and Voices of UM. They sing a mix of American Top 40 music, Israeli pop music, and traditional Jewish music. The group has made a name for itself on campus and in the Miami Jewish community, performing at such events as Congregation Bet Shira's 25th Annual Tu Bishvat Concert, the opening of the new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Life, a benefit concert for the National Association for Music Education, and Miami Hillel's Frenk Friday event with President Julio Frenk.

Tone Def 
found its niche as "that unpredictable a cappella family with the genre-bending covers." They are seamlessly coordinated, daringly creative, and unabashedly competitive. They're determined to make a mark in collaborative a cappella. Tone Def is on a mission to reDEFine music as you hear it. Unpredictable and unreserved, competitive and collaborative, Tone Def is a co-ed a cappella group at the University of Florida.

is a collegiate, co-ed a cappella group, based out of the University of Central Florida. Established in the summer of 2014, Voicebox was founded on a desire to create powerful music and share their experiences with audiences everywhere! Currently defending the 2016 ICCA South Champion title, Voicebox looks to return to the ICCA Finals stage again this year!



PJ Wilford was born and raised in Tallahassee, Fla. His a cappella experience began as a senior at Leon High School in Mane Event, and continued 2008 through 2012 in Florida State University’s All-Night Yahtzee. He was the music director of All-Night Yahtzee between 2010 and 2012, during which time he led the group to ICCA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. PJ graduated Florida State University in the spring of 2012 and is currently the music minister for his church, where he continues his passion for teaching music.

Jeff Watson
graduated from The University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. At USC, he served as president and three-time ICCA chair for his a cappella group, Reverse Osmosis. With Reverse Osmosis, Jeff reached the 2011 ICCA Semifinals as a featured soloist, opened for Ben Folds at the Hollywood Palladium, and performed in Alaska, New York, D.C., and all over the West Coast. He recently served as an ICCA and ICHSA judge in the Midwest and Southeast, and has sung with the Chicago Chamber Choir. Jeff is the Senior Manager of Global Communications and Publicity for the Women's Tennis Association in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Cindy Lupkey
is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and founding member of the all-female a cappella group, The Cocktails. She served as president for all four years of her college career and helped develop the organization into a flagship music group at Carolina. Her love of a cappella music goes way back and she couldn't be more excited to judge the competition this evening. Currently, Cindy is the Manager of Global Administration and Projects for the Women's Tennis Association.

Bo Crane
is a music business entrepreneur with three decades of experience in all genres of popular music. He graduated from the University of Miami with a master’s degree in music theory-composition. Professionally, he has arranged and produced music for a variety of musical groups. As a Billboard and BMI award-winning record label owner and music publisher, his works have been recorded by Janet Jackson, Black-Eyed Peas, Ciara, Flo-Rida, Lil' Jon, and many more. Bo's own Kriztal record label is home to Rio de Janeiro-based and  the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) award-winning a cappella group, BR6.

Greg Hilliard, Jr.
is the front-line music director of The Capital Chordsmen, the chorus of the Tallahassee, Fla. chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Under his artistic leadership, the chorus has achieved as high as 2nd place in a Sunshine District chorus competition. He earned “certified director” status within the BHS in 2015. As a performer, he sings with THX, five-time BHS International Chorus Finalists, and has won awards singing with several men's and mixed barbershop quartets, including Capital Edition (inaugural Sunshine District Mixed Quartet champions) and On A Whim (Sunshine District Novice Quartet champions, 2015). He holds a bachelor’s degree in choral music education from The Florida State University, where he served as the co-creator/co-music director for The FSU Acafellas, the university's first registered all-male a cappella group (the pre-cursor to the pre-cursor to Reverb, 2013 ICCA Finalists). He is currently the Director of Choirs and Theatre at James S. Rickards High School and is a music assistant at Trinity United Methodist Church. Greg also maintains an active schedule as a solo vocalist, guest choral conductor/clinician/adjudicator, and vocal coach for barbershop/vocal jazz/a cappella groups.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Matt Cox, Virginia DeMoss, and The Sedoctaves; 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 South 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!