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



Hinkley High School
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.



Air Academy High School sits on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, and proudly presents Out of the Blue. There are 16 members in the group this year, with 13 seniors and three juniors. This group performs for school events, and community and civic organizations. In 2013, Out of the Blue was runner up at the Mile High Vocal Jam held in Denver, Colo., and in February 2016, Out of the Blue made its first appearance at ICHSA Semifinals. Last May, the group was selected to perform for the Academy School District 20 Retirement Gala. They have received Superior ratings at the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival each spring. The group is choreographed by Lilly Britton and Josh Taniguchi and sound personnel are Kai Johnson and Kayden Olson. They are directed by Paula Baack, who has received regional and national recognition for her work with choral ensembles and vocal studies.

This is Montrose High School’s first year with a modern a cappella group in its vocal music program. The students in Red Valley Harmony are revolutionaries in bringing a newer style of music to the rural western slopes of Colorado, where the predominant genre is country/folk. The students and staff at MHS have especially enjoyed this group when serenading early morning classes in the stairwell or in the gym when working on choreography. What this group lacks in experience it makes up in quirky and fun personalities, work ethic, musicality, and a bond forged through the discipline of waking up at 7 a.m. for daily rehearsals. One of their favorite parts of being an a cappella group is being able to spontaneously share music with their fellow students, the residents local nursing homes, elementary and middle school students, and other community members. They are excited for to share their passion for music with an even more widespread audience through the ICHSA!

The T-Bird Singers has been in existence since Mare Hayden took over the choral program in 1993. They perform entirely a cappella music, be it contemporary, pop, jazz, or spirituals. They have performed in New York, Canada, Washington D.C., California, and will make their second performance at Universal Studios in Florida this year. This group consistently earns superior ratings at the UNC jazz festival and CHSAA Jazz and Show Choir festivals. The group is made up of juniors and seniors, plus one sophomore, AJ Webb. They are excited to showcase what they do best...sing!

In Tone Nation is a newly formed high school a cappella group from Gila Ridge High School located in Yuma, Ariz. This group contains 20 performers from all grade levels. Interest in this group stems from an eight-year tradition of performing contemporary and classical a cappella pieces. The students in this group are eager to showcase their talent among other nationally recognized high school a cappella programs. They hope you enjoy their original arrangements of popular contemporary songs.



Nic Widhalm has been an active member of the Colorado a cappella scene for over 19 years. He has judged for ICHSA, ICCA, and the Rocky Mountain Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, and has provided lectures for CSU, CU, and UNC on vocal percussion. As a performer, Nic provides vocal percussion and sings tenor for Regional Harmony Sweepstakes champs, Curious Gage. When he's not performing, Nic is a freelance writer and novelist, as well as a father of two feisty children and husband to a very patient wife.

Marla Wasson currently conducts two vocal ensembles in the Denver area: Safonia, a 20-member women's chamber group and The Arvada Chorale, a 60-voice community chorus. She sang with and directed the small a cappella ensemble of the Denver Women's Chorus, Take Note!, prior to becoming artistic director of the DWC. Marla is also a member of the nationally touring lesbian a cappella quartet, The Rhythm Method. Her work with both small and large groups of singers is an extension of her lifelong passion for music.

Tom Miles is a founding member of the four-person vocal band, Curious Gage, and has been performing with them for nearly 15 years in Fort Collins, Colo. Tom’s musical background includes large and small traditional choirs and several a cappella groups, including the Augustana College Choir and Chamber Choir (in Sioux Falls, S.D.) and The Rocky Mountain Chamber Singers (Loveland, Colo.). Tom has worked as the worship and music director at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Fort Collins for 13 years, directing the band and choirs.

Mister Tim is a singer, composer, arranger, teacher, and a cappella freak. He has created award-winning a cappella groups, including International Harmony Sweepstakes champions, Plumbers of Rome. He performs solo with his all-vocal live-looping show and classic crooning show, music directs for the entertainment company, YearRound Sound, runs the 80s a cappella band, Rubix, and travels the country as a choral and a cappella clinician. He was a guest artist in residence at Denver School for the Arts, has a published choir song about pirates, is famous on a dark corner of YouTube for his Metallica kazoo performance, and has won multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).

Dave Baumgartner, or "DB" as he is nearly universally known, is a remarkably versatile vocal percussionist who drums with a talent beyond his years. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Dave is a self-taught percussionist who began learning his craft in high school, amazing and annoying his friends and family on a daily basis. Dave continued to hone his skills with the CARA-nominated Vocal Tonic of Atlanta, Ga, and continues to learn new tricks and styles. He has toured the country as a sought-after mouth-drumming instructor and workshop panelist, as well as a performer. Dave also toured the country with Orlando-based 4:2:Five, and still occasionally gigs with them. Dave toured the Caribbean on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship with a doo-wop quartet, and became an expert on tropical drink consumption. Dave is the newest member of Washington, D.C.'s hottest new vocal band, Staticflow, and recently finished recording an EP with them. He occasionally performs with Toxic Audio in venues from cruise ships to Las Vegas. Dave also joined up with Almost Recess, based in Baltimore. Dave looks forward to a long career of spitting into microphones, and is excited to judge for the ICCA.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Hinkley High School administration; 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 three placing groups at this event will advance to the ICHSA Southwest 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!