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



University of Waterloo 
Sunday, February 18, 2018



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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.



The AcaBellas is University of Waterloo's all-female a cappella group. Founded in 2009 by seven girls who just wanted to sing, the group has now grown to include as many as 20 members at a time, and was the first a cappella ensemble at Waterloo to truly incorporate choreography into its performances. They are a truly inclusive group that promotes skills development among members through arranging, beatboxing, and choreography teams. They like to eat food and have fun, and their nourishment of choice is fried chicken (with lots of water, of course - have to stay hydrated for their voices!).

From Brantford, Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Golden Notes are excited to have another chance to perform at the ICCA. Originally formed as a school choir, The Golden Notes rebranded themselves as an a cappella group just last year. This is their second year competing in the ICCA and they are so excited! While The Golden Notes love all genres of music, they tend to sing popular, well-known songs. Watch out for their intricate harmonies, unique formations in their choreography, and a group of students who genuinely love to sing!

Hawkapella is Laurier's Waterloo campus a cappella group. Started in 2010, the group makes huge leaps and bounds each year towards becoming a high-level competitive group. Competing last year at Queen's university a cappella competition, they now feel ready to take on the international scene and compete in the ICCA. This year, they hosted the Canadian A Cappella Conference at Laurier, with 10 Canadian a cappella groups in attendance, and they look forward to branching out and meeting groups from the States as well!

Established in the fall of 2017, In Full Colour is a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Waterloo that draws inspiration from the stage. The group focuses on combining amazing music and choreography into masterful storytelling. In Full Colour is extremely excited for their ICCA debut and to share their very first story with you.

Macappella is McMaster's first official co-ed a cappella group. They perform all across campus, and in Hamilton as well. They have performed the national anthem for football games, sung for curling events, and have performed for various charities. They mainly cover pop music and occasionally jazz! They cover PTX, The Real Group, Peter Hollens, and Rajaton, and arrange their own music! They hope you enjoy their performance!

The Musical InterDudes is the University of Waterloo's 12-member all-male a cappella group, as well as the youngest main group on campus. Founded in fall 2014 after a small group performance the previous term, The Dudes form a close-knit community with a focus on tight harmonies and a dash of musical comedy.

TBA (Tunes. Beats. Awesome.) is an award-winning co-ed collegiate a cappella group at the University of Toronto. Formed in 2003, TBA has since made a name for itself with its fresh sound, tight harmonies, and innovative arrangements. The group now heads into its 15th anniversary year full speed ahead, backed by the momentum of five stellar seasons at the ICCA. In 2016, TBA won its first ever Quarterfinal in the new Central Region, and reached Semifinals for the fourth consecutive time. This season, TBA aims to take Toronto and the world by storm with exciting arrangements and electric performances, while keeping its age-old motto always in mind: Have fun, sing good.

The Unaccompanied Minors, from the University of Waterloo, was founded in the fall of 2009, and is a group of around 20 dedicated, energetic, and music-obsessed students. They put a unique spin on all the songs they perform, from current top 40 pop hits to older rock favorites. As a group, they’re focused on developing their vocal skills and creating outstanding arrangements with clever choreography to help promote a greater appreciation for a cappella music on campus and around Waterloo!

The Water Boys from the University of Waterloo is an all-male collegiate a cappella group that loves to focus on intricate arrangements, high musicianship, and entertaining performances. Founded in 2008, they have come a long way, both as an a cappella group and as friendly neighbors from The Great North. While they’re not melting polar ice caps with their captivating presence, they generate copious amounts of voluptuous puns to empower their singing abilities. So put on your seat belts, get your trays in the upright position, and prepare for takeoff, before diving deep into the watery trenches of supersaturated a cappella music, with a dynamic splash and a sizzling drizzle!

WIBI A Cappella (ˈwiːˈbiː) is an innovative contemporary a cappella ensemble founded in 1988 at York University. WIBI is the longest-running collegiate a cappella group in Canada and the group is officially celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! WIBI got its start as “Wibijazzin,’” an a cappella group focusing on jazz charts. Over the years, this semi-professional student group has explored a broad range of musical styles, and evolved into the WIBI A Cappella you see today, with a current focus on pop music. WIBI has shared the stage with Grammy winner Ben Folds, Juno winners The Nylons, as well as Cadence, Retrocity, and others. The group has alumni in notable acts including The Swingle Singers, Countermeasure, and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Rehearsing twice a week, the members of WIBI come together to share a love of singing and music. The current members come from a variety of musical backgrounds and love to incorporate one another’s knowledge into their work, through member-made arrangements. Each year, WIBI performs two end-of-semester showcases, in addition to gigs throughout the school year and summer season. Not only do the members of WIBI enjoy close friendships with one another, but they also are grateful for their opportunities to share their music and hard work with an audience. The group pushes itself to achieve high standards of musicality and creativity, and above all, WIBI strives to maintain its legacy as both an a cappella group and a family.



Elise Hackl has worked with and performed music for over 15 years. A graduate of Illinois State University's music education program, Elise is currently working towards a Master of Music Education. Elise has held positions such as vocal percussion, arranger, music director, president, and section leader in her collegiate years, and served as the a cappella liaison for four groups at Illinois State University through the School of Music. Most recently, she has arranged pieces for over 20 high school and collegiate level groups throughout the Midwest. She also teaches private voice lessons and assists with solo and ensemble and clinician high school and middle school groups throughout Illinois. In her spare time, she loves judging Varsity Vocals events and writing raps for adaptive musical theatre groups.

Born in Oregon and raised in Rochester, N.Y., music has been with Mickey Hamilton for as long as he can remember. He found a cappella at Mansfield University as a singer, arranger, and music director for The Ellison Collection, and fill-in for the former Ithaca-based group, The Sons of Pitches. Mickey has since graduated with a degree in voice performance, and earned subsequent degrees in recording technology and entertainment business from Full Sail University. In the midst of his schooling, he has participated in various Rochester-based groups including Innerloop, The Smoking Hot Pipes, and Cut-Off, and even had the opportunity to learn from Bill Hare and Deke Sharon through the Soup 2 Nuts program. Now, Mickey is happy to be working for Cut Off Studios as an engineer, arranger, and producer. In addition to his a cappella background, Mickey runs live sound for local bands in the Rochester area, sings with Nik and the Nice Guys, and DJs for private and public events.

Christopher Brody is a graduate of Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Miss. Armed with his music education degree, he is currently working to tackle the big problems of the world: poverty, hunger, and the shortage of beatboxers. Christopher is a proud alumnus of Gold Vibrations. He was a rare four-year music director, which inspired his love of arranging. As an award-winning arranger, he was part of the team that helped lead Gold Vibrations to ICCA Finals in 2016. Christopher continues his passion through studio a cappella and through his commissioned arrangements. He has workshopped with many different High school and college groups and currently teaches at Walnut Creek Middle School in Walled Lake, Miss. He plans to create the first ever a cappella group composed completely of pugs.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Peter Carette, The Humanities Theatre, The University of Waterloo, Nicole Kohlweiss, Emily Flanders, UW A Cappella Club, and Elise Hackl; 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