Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 22nd 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 tournaments have grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase they are today, featuring more than 600 groups and 8,500 singers at 85 events across North America and the United Kingdom.

Our original tournament inspired the hit movie Pitch Perfect, based on the nonfiction book documenting the true story of rival groups competing against each other in our very own ICCA. The franchise released its third film this past December and remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

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 were thrilled to launch the International Championship of A Cappella Open last summer. “The Open” (#AcaOpen) is an all-access a cappella tournament that brings together singers of all ages, regardless of student status, to compete on an international stage for a chance at $25,000. In its very first season, The Open featured 70 groups from around the world and culminated in a sold-out Finals at New York City's Carnegie Hall -- and we expect even bigger things this summer, as our second season kicks off.

We hope that over the years, 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, right? 

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 22 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2018 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



Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Saturday, January 27, 2018



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), the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), and the International Championship of A Cappella Open (The Open). 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 3 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 13th 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.

The Open tournament took place for the first time in summer 2017 and featured 70 groups competing in six US  semifinals, an international semifinal, and a wild card round. The winners of those events advanced to The Open Finals at Carnegie Hall, where they competed against our reigning ICCA and ICHSA champions for $25,000. The second season of The Open will take place starting this summer and will culminate at Carnegie Hall on September 22.

 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.

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 Sharp Arrangement is SUNY Potsdam's premier treble a cappella group on campus. The Sharps were formed at SUNY Potsdam by female students in the spring of 1994. This award-winning group placed 3rd at ICCA Quarterfinals in both 2011 and 2014, winning Outstanding Soloist in 2014 as well. The Sharps typically consists of 12-18 girls that are dedicated to spreading music and encouraging music education at SUNY Potsdam and everywhere they tour!

The Girls Next Door is the premier, award-winning, and nationally recognized all-female a cappella group at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. They perform everything, from modern hits you can’t get enough of to classic songs you love to reminisce about!

The Golden Notes is the premier mixed a cappella group at the The College of Saint Rose. Established in 2010, The Golden Notes have performed in numerous locations with many fantastic groups. This will be their fifth appearance in the ICCA and they are excited to bring a new flair of performance to this year's competition. 

The Other Guys is The College of Saint Rose's sole all-male a cappella group, established back in 2012. They perform current hidden gems, as well as classics from the old days. Clad in blue plaid, these singers include some of the finest vocalists the Saint Rose music program has to offer, as well as those in other fields of study. They keep the music alive by competing in the ICCA every other year, and are thrilled to bring their love of performing to the 2018 ICCA Quarterfinals!

When the lights go out and all hope is lost in the city of Troy, Partial Credit, RPI’s only teal-clad a cappella group, is there. Since 2003, Partial Credit has been “bm bopping” and “zun zowing” across the Northeast, saving lost souls with the power of music. In addition to their various performances on and off campus throughout the year, PC holds their own show each semester and regularly competes in the ICCA. The group is fresh off the release of their newest album, Simple Harmonic Motionand music video, and has ambitious plans for the future.

In the fall of 1992, Kyle Hayden, Brian Hough, Rob Searle, and Dave Smith formed a barbershop quartet under the moniker of The Ripchords. The original idea was to sing valentines to raise money for their campus chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Their first real gig was at Boston University, singing barbershop and doo-wop classics. When Rob left school in the spring of 1993, the barbershop idea was scrapped and the three remaining members formed The Potsdam Pointercounts. The Pointercounts dedicate themselves to educating students of all ages about a cappella music and bringing their love of the arts into schools. Through educational workshops and performances in a variety of musical styles, The Pointercounts aim to engage the creative minds and spirits of students and adults alike.

The Rusty Pipes is a co-ed a cappella group from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Founded in 1997, this is RPI's second-oldest a cappella group, and they perform original arrangements of songs from many different genres of music. They perform at campus and local events, participate in competitions, host semester shows, and record music.

Ser·en·dip·i·ty: n. 1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. 2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries. 3. An instance of making such a discovery. Serendipity is the first and only all-female a cappella group at UAlbany. They are dedicated women of various ages, majors, and personalities, who all love to sing! They hold auditions every semester and perform at gigs on and off campus, as well as ICCA. Follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to check out who they are and what makes up their set list. Learn about their upcoming performances on and around UAlbany's campus. Enjoy and check back often for site updates!

Stay Tuned is SUNY Potsdam's second official co-ed a cappella group. This closely-knit family of music lovers is excited to share their take on a cappella music with the public. The group was formed in October of 2012 by a small group of SUNY Potsdam students who sought to bring together musicians in a totally new group. Since then, Stay Tuned has aimed to redefine a cappella music in many ways, with their original arrangements, broad repertoire (including many genres that aren't largely represented), and their individual members, creating an altogether unique a cappella experience.

The Ultraviolet Tones is a group of a cappella singers studying at Clarkson University.  They sing locally around Saint Lawrence County, N.Y., and annually compete at the ICCA.  They hold auditions every year and accept any members enrolled at Clarkson.



Betsy Stambach-Fuller holds both a B.M. and an M.M. from SUNY Fredonia. There, Betsy founded and directed the university's first all-female a cappella group, Some Like it Hot. The group went on to record three studio albums and perform at the ICCA. Presently, Betsy clinicians and performs regularly in the New York Capital District. She is also the choral director at South Glens Falls High School, where she directs three choral ensembles, including the region's first high school contemporary a cappella ensemble, Vocal Point. In addition to competing at the ICHSA and hosting the region's popular a cappella festival, TuneUp, Vocal Point has recently released its first studio album and will be performing at the inaugural National Convention of A Cappella in April. Apart from her professional accomplishments, Betsy takes pride in her two 'Ben Folds-a cappella loving' children, Evelyn and Timothy. 

An instrumentalist for most of his early life, Christopher Hoffman found his calling in vocal music as a member (and eventual president) of Hofstra University's Sigma'cappella. He helped bring the group to ICCA Semifinals twice in its first three years of competition, and earned individual awards on the way for Outstanding Arrangement. During this time, he began arranging for and collaborating with various professional, collegiate, and high school groups, and has continued in this work since graduation. Christopher helped SingStrong coordinate collegiate talent for its inaugural New York festival, and has worked with The Vocal Company’s marketing team. He currently lives on Long Island, where he spends his free time working with high school a cappella groups. 

Amy Malkoff is the Media Director of the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA), Marketing Director for the A Cappella Education Association, and one of the producers of Haunted Harmonies in Salem, Mass. Amy served on the board and as web content director for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and is a longtime ICHSA/ICCA judge, as well as a certified judge for other events. She is a frequent workshop teacher, master clinician, writer, designer, runner of social media campaigns (, and a singer/songwriter and studio musician ( She was a founding member of award-winning groups All About Buford and Deadline Poet, and has appeared onstage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonathan Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University and master’s-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy's music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels. @amalkoff

Melissa Rashford is a proud alumna of The Mandarins, Syracuse University’s oldest all-female a cappella group. Under her direction, The Mandarins competed and performed throughout the Northeast and earned national recognition by advancing to the ICCA Finals in 2004. Melissa holds degrees in music industry and business administration from SU and currently works in the University's Office of Marketing and Communications. She arranges for local ensembles, adjudicates area festivals, and performs with the SU Oratorio Society. Melissa also teaches high school marching band and musical theatre, and takes every possible opportunity to encourage her students to join a cappella groups when they get to college.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Miles Avila, Sarah Petrillo, The Rensselyrics, Duly Noted, Kim Gardner, Kim Strosahl, Michele Cassaro, Cameron McLean, Holly Hayes, Nicole Kohlweiss, and the rest of the production team at RPI EMPA; 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 Jacobs
The Open Director
 ICCA West Producer

Andrew Poole
 Director of Digital Media

Erica Tackett
 Director of Marketing & Social Strategy

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Emily Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Sara Yood
 ICCA & ICHSA Finals Producer
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Henry Harrod
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South & Southwest Producer

Mark Chen
ICHSA Southwest Co-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 ICCA Central Semifinals.



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!





The International Championship
of A Cappella Open


Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, September 22, 2018