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 Buffalo 
Saturday, March 24, 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.



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.

is one of the University of Rochester’s premier all-gender a cappella groups. Officially established in 2015, Trebellious is making its mark in the world of collegiate a cappella by delivering unique arrangements that show off the raw power and talent of its members. They are very humbled to have already been featured by College A Cappella’s news page this past summer for their arrangement and performance of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind.”

Hailing from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Eight Beat Measure is the original all-male a cappella group on campus. Eight Beat Measure began in 1987 as The RIT Men’s Octet. Originally faculty-led and formed as an extension to The RIT Singers, they quickly expanded their horizons and branched into the world of contemporary a cappella, changing their name to Eight Beat Measure to reflect the new attitude, and growing from only eight members. The group sings a variety of genres, including hip-hop, rock, R&B, and folk, so there is something for everyone in their repertoire. The boys continue to raise the heat for their audiences at two annual concerts and they're ready to compete on stages all across the country.

The Potsdam Pitches
is SUNY Potsdam's premier co-ed a cappella group. Founded in 2007, The Pitches is an award-winning group dedicated to spreading the love and joy of a cappella through high-quality performances.

Founded in 1998, The Midnight Ramblers is a nationally recognized, all-male contemporary a cappella group. Since their creation, they have been entirely student organized and directed. In 2016, The Ramblers won 1st runner-up in the ICCA Central Semifinals, winning awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion. Along with acclaim for their unparalleled energetic and musically ambitious live performances, The Ramblers’ recorded work has been recognized on all four of the major international a cappella compilation albums in recent years. The Ramblers have recorded 10 full-length studio albums since 1998. They have recently released a new single, “Death of a Bachelor,” and a six-track EP entitled This Side Up. For more information on The Ramblers, visit

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.

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!

Founded in 2010, the University of Pittsburgh’s C Flat Run has historically been made up of non-music majors who dedicate themselves to music, even if it has nothing to do with their future careers. They are an extremely diverse and loving group that has a blast competing at ICCA each year. In addition, they typically put on three concerts per year, including a benefit concert for a new cause each year. They love sharing a cappella with others and are thrilled to do so at ICCA again this year!

The Songburghs 
is a co-ed a cappella group at The University of Pittsburgh. This is their third year as an established group on campus, they’re excited for their third ICCA. This fun, quirky, energetic bunch truly loves singing and performing together, as well as making bird puns and jokes (#burghlove #tweettweet #flyestgrouponcampus). They perform at many campus functions and host their own fall and spring concerts each year. Their music ranges many different genres, but they always make sure to play to their strengths and most of all, have fun. Last year, they won Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Arrangement at ICCA Quarterfinals, and they hope to bring that winning energy and passion to the stage tonight! 


Who is JDVBBS, you ask? He makes pop/R&B music with hip-hop sensibilities. Imagine if Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliot had a baby, Justin Timberlake was his godfather, and Kanye West his high school bully. Onstage, he's a one-man band. He recreates his tracks on the fly, live-looping bass lines, guitar riffs, beats, grooves, and vocal harmonies. It’s production meets performance in a way that’s interactive, improvisational, and impressive AF.



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.

Ron Veiders
earned his B.A. in musicology and M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Buffalo, where he also co-founded The Buffalo Chips, an all-male a cappella group. Post-graduation, he founded the professional a cappella group, The Lake Effect, and acts as their business manager. He has been judging for ICCA since 2005, and currently works as Director of Marketing for Dynabrade in Clarence, NY. He also enjoys bowling, golf, the Buffalo Sabres, and spending time with his wife, Amy.

Gyasi Barber
, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups. 

Kevin Doherty is a musician and educator who found a lifelong love of collegiate a cappella during his first month of college, when saw Binghamton’s Rhythm Method perform in a dorm lounge. He went on to become Rhythm Method’s musical director, and produced and engineered, its 2003 release, Unsound Syncopaths. Kevin spends his days directing five choruses, giving voice lessons, and teaching general music and music theory at the Middle and High Schools in Waverly, N.Y. One of his greatest joys is performing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the primary chorus for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, and has performed with them more than 120 times, and in venues around the world, such as Boston’s Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Royal Albert Hall. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Binghamton University and a master’s degree in music education from the Boston Conservatory. Since graduating, he has remained active in the a cappella world by volunteering as a nominator and judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and adjudicating for Varsity Vocals competitions. Kevin lives in Sayre, Pa. with his beautiful wife, their three children, and three cats.

Lisa Hawkins is a performer and a cappella arranger from Anchorage, Alaska who recently moved to Buffalo, N.Y. to work for A Cappella Productions. Lisa has been an active singer, arranger, choreographer, and performer in the a cappella scene for seven years. She sang with Underground Sound during her college years, professional groups Cape Harmony and Revel after graduating, as well as one of the Northwest's most acclaimed choirs, the Adelphian Concert Choir. Although her expertise is in the field of a cappella, Lisa has competed in many solo competitions, singing in classical, contemporary, and musical theatre styles. In 2010, she won the Sing for Scholarships competition in musical theatre, as well as the Great Alaska Vocal Competition in contemporary. She spent two weeks in Europe this past summer touring with Da Capo choir and was lucky enough to sing in venues such as Notre Dame and other chapels across Germany and France. A freelance arranger, Lisa has arranged for a cappella groups around the world. She is also a program host on Acaville Radio and you can listen to her host "Theme Hour" every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. EST.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Center for the Arts and its teams, Katherine Trapanovski, Mackenzie McGuire, James Prichard, Nicole Kohlweiss, Matt Zager, Ryan Kadri, JDVBBS, A Cappella Productions, and Joey Cassata; 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 placing group advances to ICCA Finals!



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