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



The Morton Theatre
Saturday, February 10, 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.



Established in 2000, The AcaBelles is Florida State University's premier all-female a cappella group. The 'Belles were ICCA South champions in 2009 and 2011. In their 2011-2012 season, they earned 2nd place and Best Choreography at SoJam, 2nd place and Outstanding Choreography at ICCA South Quarterfinals, and 2nd place, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Soloist, and Outstanding Arrangement at ICCA Semifinals. They have also released multiple albums which have earned Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations and wins, including Best Female Collegiate Arrangement. In 2013, AcaBelles earned international recognition for their cover of Lorde's "Royals," which was featured on outlets such as “Good Morning America,” CNN, HLN, Buzzfeed, MSN, Elle Magazine, and more. The video has over 9 million views and has even been shared by Lorde herself. In recent years, The AcaBelles have been working hard and having a blast competing in and attending numerous a cappella events and creating video content on YouTube. The AcaBelles are proud to be a group of empowering women who love and support each other, while having the opportunity to make amazing music with their best friends. 

Beyond Measures A Cappella, University of Alabama at Birmingham's premier co-ed a cappella group, was founded in the fall of 2015 with 10 members. Now 18 members strong, this team prides itself on being one of the most diverse organizations on campus, both in terms of nationality and academic pursuits. Almost all of the members are non-music majors, and everyone is actively involved in the UAB community. When they aren't running between classes, meetings, and work, you can find them rehearsing in the Hill Student Center. The group is united in their love of music as well as their passion for performing! 

Cockappella is the University of South Carolina's premier co-ed a cappella group. Established in 2008, the group is composed of students from all majors and musical backgrounds. Cockappella's uniting factor is its members' passion for sharing their love of music with one another and their school community. The group's unofficial motto is to always take their music seriously, while never taking themselves too seriously. They sing, they dance, they love like a family. 

The Cocktails, the University of South Carolina’s first and only all-female a cappella group, was formed in 2002 and has been on the rise ever since. The Cocktails most recently were awarded an opportunity to perform for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House in December of 2016. Among their ICCA highlights, they placed 3rd at the 2010 Quarterfinals, 1st at 2011 Quarterfinals, won Outstanding Choreography in 2011, and placed 1st at the 2016 Quarterfinals, also receiving Outstanding Choreography. The Cocktails also received a CARA nomination for alum Nadia Shutkufski's arrangement of Linkin Park's "Numb," which can be found on their most recent album, Another Round. The group has opened for “The Sing-Off” runner-up Streetcorner Symphony and performed for the Carolina Panthers halftime show. Recently, The Cocktails released its third studio album, Old Fashioned. They are more than excited for this opportunity and look forward to performing at such an amazing event.

The Mercer Bearitones is Mercer University's only student-led a cappella group.  When they're not busy singing and making harmonies, they enjoy midnight jam sessions, cookout runs, board games, memes, and long walks on the beach. The group accepts members of any year and major, with the purpose of performing competitive a cappella music, while allowing the members to grow as musicians. They’re excited to be a part of this year's ICCA competition and they hope that everyone enjoys the performances!

reVOLution is the premier female a cappella group at the University of Tennessee. This group of powerhouse women provides Knoxville with its own spin on a variety of musical styles  From singing the national anthem at a Vols game to jamming out on a Thursday night, their fun-loving personalities and energy give all audiences a smile and a breath of fresh air.  You say you want a reVOLution?!

Freshly off the Carnegie Hall stage, The Shirley Tempos is Elon University's newest all-female a cappella group, consisting of 16 women who love to sing and goof around. While singing is something they all have in common, they also share a passion for putting their talents towards a better cause. In the fall of 2016, The Tempos hosted the first-ever Acapocolypse on Elon’s campus, a Halloween-themed a cappella concert which benefits a different children's charity every year. The event features all of Elon’s a cappella groups, as well as others across North Carolina.  Past benefiting charities have included the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, and Camp Sunshine. During their time together off campus, they've made several visits to the studio to record singles such as “Hide and Seek,” as well as their EP, Tempest, which was released last April. In addition, The Shirley Tempos took a trip to New York City last year to perform on the world-renowned Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. 

Sympathetic Vibrations (SympVibes) is Georgia Tech's premier all-male a cappella group. Founded in the fall of 1997, they usually have 12-15 active members. They perform at various events on Georgia Tech’s campus in Atlanta and across the state of Georgia. This vibrant group loves to spread around their love for music in a fun and enjoyable way. They enjoy performing music ranging from pop to rap to R&B, and are always excited to perform for audiences of all ages and backgrounds! 

The men of VOLume like to consider themselves the original southern gentlemen of a cappella and are excited to compete in ICCA again. Hopefully, we have a better shot at moving forward than UT does at winning a football game. With this year being a large rebranding year, they are excited to have a brand-new group with only five returning members. The singers of VOLume are diverse in their musical styles, majors, and personalities. But one thing stays true from year to year: they are a group of guys who love each other and love to make music together.



Guang Ming Whitley is a founding member and former music director of The USC Sirens, and restarted and directed The Scales of Justice at the University of Chicago Law School. She is the Chief Operating Officer of the Whitley Household, and writes books on the side. Guang Ming taught at the University of Chicago, practiced intellectual property law in Los Angeles, and then retired to care for her four children (ages 8, 6, a set of 5 year-old twin boys who are feral.) In 2015, her family relocated to Charleston, S.C. Guang Ming has judged the ICCA and SoJam (and has spoken at SoJam), and has been both a nominator and judge for the CARAs. With The Sirens, she has had featured solos and arrangements on three straight BOCA compilations, and has won CARAs for her songs and arrangements. Guang Ming is a writer for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), and was awarded a Varsity Vocals scholarship in 2002 for her contributions to collegiate a cappella. less 

Gina Deaton has a background in vocal performance and has been singing as long as she can remember.  Her love for a cappella, though, began after college when she co-founded the semi-professional group Breakdown. The group performed primarily in the Atlanta area, and Gina served as co-director, writing original songs and arrangements for them. She began volunteering as a judge with Varsity Vocals in 2010 and has coached for a cappella performances and recordings throughout the region. Gina currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) as the Director of Human Resources. She is also recording an album of a cappella originals which will be available this spring.

Paige Betts is the orchestra director at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. This is her sixth year as a music educator, having taught string orchestra, chorus, and musical theatre, and was recently runner-up for Teacher of the Year. She has given clinics with various orchestras, chorus, and a cappella ensembles across the Southeast, and has taught private voice and voila lessons. Paige is a 2009 graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.M. in music education. There, she was a member and musical director of UGA's all-female a cappella group, Noteworthy. Paige lives in Buford, Ga., with her husband Andrew, and their rescue dog, Jake.

Samantha Rich found a cappella in the same way as many of tonight’s performers: as part of a college group. She played multiple roles in Georgia Tech’s Infinite Harmony, from arranger to eventual president, and was able to be a part of several recordings that the group later released as EPs. She has since moved on to perform with Best to Burn, a post-collegiate group in Atlanta. They perform all around the city and in surrounding areas, bringing their own funky twist to top 40s, plus a fair number of original songs. In this time, she's also worked on SoJam planning committees in North Carolina and Georgia. Currently, Sam be found working on solo performances in venues around Atlanta when she isn't jamming with Best to Burn.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank The UGA Accidentals and Noteworthy; 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 South 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