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 Auditorium Theatre
Friday, March 3, 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.



Hailing from Niles West High School in Skokie, Ill., Echo Effect features 13 male vocalists who bring urban, rock, and cutting-edge influences to a cappella. Their energetic humor, versatile choreography, and diverse personalities combine to create genuine and hard-hitting a cappella performances you will never forget. Echo Effect is in its ninth year competing at ICHSA.

High Fidelity
is an all-girl a cappella group from Niles West High School in Skokie, Ill. These dazzling dames have been wowing audiences with their dynamic voices for years. This group of 14 powerhouse divas is in formation and ready to take your breath away!

KC A Cappella is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to providing a unique educational and musical experience for high school students around the Kansas City Metropolitan area. This organization houses the contemporary vocal a cappella group, Soundproof, whose members are introduced to the world of vocal a cappella and given the opportunity to grow as performers, vocalists, and been wowing audiences with their dynamic voices for years. This group of 14 powerhouse divas is in formation and ready to take your breath away!

Delta V 
(V as in the letter) is the equation for a rocket, as well as a family of gentlemen who come together to sing. This dynamic group from South Milwaukee High School works toward success through perseverance and being there for one another. The members of Delta V work and have fun together, whether through rockin' beatbox sessions or questionable dance moves. With their state-of-the-art wooden microphones, squeaky pig mascots, and love of songs about pineapples, they are ready for anything. They hope you enjoy their performance as much as they enjoy being on stage.

Pitch the Keys 
is Warrenton High School’s original mixed a cappella ensemble. PTK, as they are often called, is made up of students of all ages and levels of choir experience. The group was founded in 2012 as an after-school activity, and has since grown to be a staple in the Warrenton, Mo. community. PTK is thrilled to compete at ICHSA Semifinals for the second time, this year under the direction of Megan Petrie.

Tonal Uproar 
is in its inaugural year as an a cappella group. Its members are from all walks of musical life, including orchestra, band and choir! They would like to thank ICHSA for hosting this awesome competition and Jefferson City for the community’s love and support! GO JAYS!

Enharmonic Fusion 
is a mixed a cappella ensemble from DeKalb High School in DeKalb, Ill. Established in 2010, they advanced to the ICHSA Finals its first year, and again in 2012, 2015, and 2016. When not rehearsing or performing, they enjoy getting ice cream and listening to a cappella jams. They also enjoy hearing Mr. Erikson cheerfully remind them to clean up their water bottles and music binders. They would like to send a huge thanks to all who have helped them prepare for this event, and to their friends and family for support. They would also like to thank Varsity Vocals for the opportunity to participate and wish the best to all of the other contestants!

Vocal Point 
performs in over 25 different events and represented the entire state of Wisconsin at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio a few summers ago. There, they shared the stage with groups from over 65 different countries. Through ICHSA, they have placed in the top 20 high school groups in the country for three years in a row. In 2015, Vocal Point was one of seven high school groups in the country to be selected for the very first contemporary a cappella festival at Carnegie Hall in New York, hosted by "Pitch Perfect" musical director and the ‘Godfather’ of a cappella himself, Deke Sharon. Along with performing, Vocal Point also reaches out to schools all across the Midwest by presenting workshops on the value of hard work and the role of music in their lives.



Kimberly Raschka Sailor is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), with more than 300 reviews authored since 2005 for groups at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She is the co-founder and past president of the University of Southern California's Reverse Osmosis, a group that has competed in the ICCA Finals. Kimberly has also served as a CARA (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award) nominator and judge. In addition to volunteering in the a cappella community, Kimberly is an author and elected school board member for the Mount Horeb Area School District in Wisconsin.

Liz Hutchinson
earned her bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2011 and a master's degree in music education from DePaul University in 2015. While completing her undergraduate work, Liz was an active member of the choral music and a cappella communities, performing with many university ensembles and serving as music director of The Illinois Rip Chords. She is the recipient of several scholarships and awards, including the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award at Illinois and the Graduate Music Education Scholarship at DePaul. This is Liz’s sixth year as choral director and music theory teacher at West Aurora High School, in Aurora, Ill., where she leads a choral department of over 250 singers and nine choirs. She is a performer in the Chicago area, singing with the TVK Orchestra and An Octave Above A Cappella. Liz is also a freelance arranger and has created custom a cappella arrangements for several high school choral groups in the Midwest. She currently resides in Oak Park, Ill. with her husband, Andrew (also a choral director) and their pitbull, Chuck.

Shams Ahmed
is an arranger, music director, and educator from Cherry Hill, N.J. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, where he directed the 2013 ICCA champions, The Nor'easters. During his tenure, the group picked up several compilation placements and CARAs, won SoJamX, and gained national attention. Shams also earned more arranging awards than any other collegiate arranger before him. Throughout an exciting a cappella career, he has developed a strong belief that the heart of an a cappella group is its arrangements. He is working to bring better arrangements to groups all over the country in the hope that he can, in some small way, push the boundaries of a cappella at large. Shams wholeheartedly believes in the spirit of competition and owes much of his a cappella development to the ICCA, so judging this season's shows is extremely exciting for him. Shams currently lives in Boston, working as a financial services derivatives specialist at State Street Corp., arranging music for The Vocal Company, and coaching local a cappella groups.

Antonio Rodriguez
graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang with The Amateurs. He spent the next five years performing as a stage actor in St. Louis before gaining his union card and moving to Chicago in 2014. Favorite past musical credits include “The Who’s Tommy” (Tommy Walker), “Urinetown” (Bobby Strong), and “Altar Boyz” (Matthew). He was a member of the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award-winning ensemble of the a cappella musical, “All is Calm” for three years, and is a four-time nominee and two-time Theatre Circle Award winner for his individual acting work in both musicals and straight plays. In addition to performing in full-length stage works, he has conceived and performed two solo cabarets, in both St. Louis and Chicago. Antonio is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Carolyn Boudreau
is the Fine Arts Department Chair and Secondary General Music teacher at Lindblom Math & Science Academy in the Chicago Public School system. She teaches a variety of popular music courses dealing specifically with integrating vocal and instrumental techniques, including Lindblom Rock Society, Experiences in Music, Creative Arts Therapeutic Methods, Stagecraft and Technical Theatre, Advanced Music Theory, and Composition I and II. Carolyn is a former voice and piano teacher at the School of Rock Chicago and professional member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. She is on the two-time Grammy award-winning CSO Resound recording of Verdi's “Messa da Requiem.” She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.M.E.,  and completed her graduate studies in music education with a focus in music technology at Northwestern University. Carolyn is a former member of UIUC's No Strings Attached.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Emily Flanders, Kam Hobbs and the staff of the Auditorium Theatre Team, Trent Snyder, Lauren Wilson, and Sarah Maskill; 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 ICHSA 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!