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



New York Society for Ethical Culture
Saturday, February 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.



The Fordham Hot Notes, founded spring 2011 at Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y., has a mission to bring a unique style of vocal jazz to the world of a cappella. From your favorite pop songs, or nearly forgotten jazz standards, The Fordham Hot Notes are determined to keep their audiences guessing. This is their third consecutive year competing in the ICCA. They advanced to Semifinals in 2016 (Mid-Atlantic) and 2017 (Northeast). These Hotties are back again in 2018, and ready to hit you with some Hot Notes! "Love the Red!”

The Fordham Ramblers is Fordham University's premier all-male a cappella group. Started in 1893, The Ramblers is Fordham's oldest club and celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. The group has evolved over the past 125 years into a dynamic group, performing a cappella renditions of contemporary pop, rock, R&B, and alternative songs, with no inclination to any one genre. 

FREQUENCY A Cappella is from Pace University in New York, N.Y. One of two a cappella groups on Pace University's campus, this is FREQUENCY's first year in as an a cappella group and in the ICCA. The inspiration behind the name FREQUENCY came from the idea of radio frequencies. As a group, they contain a variety of different voices, which allows them to master all different genres, just like the different frequencies of a radio.

The Harvard Callbacks is Harvard’s premier co-ed a cappella group, specializing in bringing a soulful sound and powerful voices to modern favorites and classic hits alike. Founded with a focus on R&B and hip-hop, The Harvard Callbacks has since evolved into a hit contemporary a cappella group with a broad range of musical interests and a wide repertoire spanning the ages. The group is honored to have had a song from their most recent album, dubbed 1986 in honor of their 30th Anniversary celebration last spring, featured on the 2016 Voices Only compilation album.

The Macaulay Triplets is CUNY Macaulay Honor College’s premier a cappella ensemble. The group is composed of students from across the City Universities of New York in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Every week, the artists convene in the epicenter of Manhattan to rehearse an array of music, ranging from Latin pop, dancehall, motown, indie, and pop. The group covers artists such as Ariana Grande, Ricky Martin, Marvin Gaye, Sia, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alice Francis, and Beyoncé. The Triplets have performed in esteemed locations across the city, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Bronx Botanical Gardens, and the New York Society for Ethical Culture. “Why are you guys called The Triplets?” is a popular question for the group. The answer: the musical notation for a triplet closely resembles the “M” in “Macaulay!” The audience is always surprised when more than three people walk onstage after the group is announced. The New York-based group is proud to embody CUNY’s diverse and inclusive community. While every ensemble member has a passion for singing, most of them study topics outside of music, including engineering, linguistics, business administration, criminal justice, and LGBTQ studies. More than a performing arts student organization, this group is a support system and community for college and beyond. Despite being located on campuses miles apart, The Triplets work hard to uplift one another. The group thanks their friends and family for their continual love and inspiration, and the ICCA for the chance to share their music. They hope you enjoy!

The F#s are from Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus in the heart of Manhattan. Their claim to fame is having been retweeted by Josh Peck after singing for him on his birthday! They are so quirky that they are frequently referred to as the Zooey Deschanel of collegiate a cappella groups. In the 2015 Northeast Quarterfinal, the group won Oustanding Soloist and Outstanding Choreography for their performance of Pearl and the Beard's “Hot Volcano.”

The NYU Mixtapes take pride in their diverse approach to creating music. Coming from a campus that merges boundless musical perspectives, they strive for a sound that fuses their unique backgrounds together. With members from all across the world, The Mixtapes come together with a common musical interest in funk, R&B, and soul. They thrive on re-imagining the familiar, exploring new interpretations of classic songs, and infusing a fresh energy into contemporary hits. The Mixtapes made it to ICCA Semifinals for two consecutive years, and they are thrilled to present a new iteration of the group in this year’s competition. In a world of growing uncertainty, The Mixtapes are grateful to always have their musical family to return to, reminding them of the limitless power of the human voice.

The Vocaholics is an a cappella group from New York University, created to push the boundaries of a cappella culture and to foster a space of friendship and inclusion. To help that dream grow, they changed from an “all-male group” to a gender inclusive TTBB group in 2016. They sing a variety of contemporary songs and have members from all across NYU, representing several different majors and programs. They aim to cultivate a diverse group of singers and friends who share a love of performing. After 12 years of singing since its founding in 2005, the group has grown into a prominent and popular fixture of NYU’s student life!  They have had a great number of experiences over the years, one of the most notable being a performance for President Barack Obama and The First Lady Michelle Obama at The White House in Washington D.C. The group has recorded three studio albums since its inception: Find Me A Panda (2010), Vocaholics Anonymous (2013), and VocaholX (2015). They are excited to announce their current plans for their fourth, titled Everything’s Fine!, set to be released this spring! Additionally, they’ve toured along the U.S. East Coast over the past few years, extending their influence far beyond their New York roots. They’ve performed with other groups from across the nation and the world, from their Tri-state area neighbors to visitors from Europe. The Vocaholics have certainly become a prominent a cappella force to be reckoned with.

Founded in 2014, Tonal Recall is Pace's premier a cappella group on the New York City Campus. "DownTown Sound," as it was originally called, was a mere seven members in its second semester. Ther first performance in front of an audience was a simple arrangement of "Uptown Funk," the trademark song of 2015. The choreographed number with only two cordless microphones remains an embarrassing, yet hilarious, anecdote for the members at the time. Now, Tonal Recall has blossomed into a competitive group that performs at school events and all around the Tri-state area. They have incredible new members this year and they cannot wait to see what the future holds for the group! 

Vocollision is the first and only co-ed Asian-American a cappella group at New York University. One of the group’s unique characteristics is their proud specialty in singing music of different languages. With their extensive repertoire, including American pop, J-pop, K-pop, and Bollywood music, they always promise to deliver the importance of cultural diversity through the power of music. Founded in 2012, they are also the youngest group on campus. Within the last five years, the group has quickly grown and amassed a number of valuable experiences. They have performed at various places in New York City and have also traveled to colleges around the country, including Northwestern University and University of Michigan. Finally, they are so passionate about ICCA and are determined to show their uniqueness and entertain with the other amazing groups.



Sean Patrick Riley has worked for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) on the social media and talent teams for ACappellaFest, SoJam, LAAF, and BOSS, and has served in CASA's ambassador program for the past seven years. He holds a bachelor's degree in both music and communication, as well as a master’s degree in nursing from Saint Louis University. At SLU, Sean served as music director and business manager of recent ICCA Finalists, The Bare Naked Statues, and was featured on the Voices Only and BOCA compilations. Sean coaches a cappella groups across the country, and is the camp nurse and counselor for the L.A.-based summer camp, A Cappella Academy. He currently lives in New York and works in the surgical ICU at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Originally from Tallahassee, Fla., Caitlin Nelson graduated from Florida State University, where she majored in music and sang with All Night Yahtzee, FSU’s premier co-ed a cappella group. During her years in All Night Yahtzee, Caitlin served as an arranger and choreographer, and received Best Choreography awards at her 2007 ICCA Quarterfinal, Semifinal, as well as 2008 ICCA Finals, at which All Night Yahtzee placed 2nd. Caitlin’s voice was featured on Voices Only 2009, singing Ben Folds’ “Missing the War” with All Night Yahtzee. Since graduating, she has served as music director of Boston’s The 508s, the founder and music director of Seattle’s Shot in the Dark, and as music director of New York’s Empire A Cappella. She currently serves as music director for Concrete, a mixed-voice vocal band based in New York. In addition to arranging for and performing with Concrete, she is a member of the Founder’s Board for the CAL. 

Candice Helfand-Rogers has been active in the a cappella community for decades. At Rutgers University, she sang with and music directed Deep Treble, then went on to help found (and music direct) ShockWave. After graduating in 2005, she teamed up with several collegiate a cappella alumni in New York City to form Restated (formerly known as The Red States), and served as musical director for its first three years of existence. She has garnered multiple awards for her contributions to these groups, both onstage and in the studio. Candice's voice can also be heard in Universal Studios' hit a cappella movies, "Pitch Perfect" and "Pitch Perfect 2." She performs to this day with numerous New York ensembles, including Restated, Broadway Inspirational Voices, and Ghostlight. By day, she is a writer at a nonprofit called The Story Exchange and serves as a content producer for the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA). She has previously written for CASA and A Cappella Records.

David Rowen is an actor, musician, and producer, based in New York City. He earned a Bachelor of Music in voice and piano from James Madison University, where he music directed the premier co-ed a cappella group, The Overtones. He has had arrangements featured on the BOCA and Voices Only compilation albums. David has performed Off-Broadway and at numerous regional theatres, and has spent time working as a music teacher, music director, and private piano instructor. He regularly arranges music, and covers a variety of songs and musical genres through his music YouTube channel, davidrowen/creative.

Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” vocal producer, Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, composer, and educator. Based in New York, Kari has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. She taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School, and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women's Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a Conducting Fellow at the Young People's Chorus of New York City. She directs "The Art of A Cappella" at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing contemporary a cappella music. In addition to her vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the U.S. Kari graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in music education from the Eastman School. Find her online at



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 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 Northeast 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