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



West Orange High School
Saturday, January 27, 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.



Above The Keys was founded in the spring of 2009 at the University of Miami by six members of the University Chorale. Auditions were then held, and a 10-voice ensemble became the campus’s only a cappella group. Above The Keys held its first concert on May 9, 2009. They auditioned for their first competition in November of that year and went on to compete in the 2010 ICCA Quarterfinals. Since then, ATK has performed at several events at UM, including Canes Kickoff, Family Weekend, Relay for Life, and the Homecoming Opening Ceremonies, as well as off-campus events such as birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, corporate events, and a sneak preview screening of the hit movie "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues." In April 2015, ATK took part in the inaugural VoiceJam competition in Fayetteville, Ark. The group currently includes 13 male voices from various majors and schools throughout the University of Miami. They rehearse twice a week and sing everything from barbershop to hip hop.

It all began with a beach house, a storm, and a brave pup named Yahtzee. In the fall of 1998, Brian Haverkate gathered fearless singers, who needed no instrumental accompaniment, to form the first group of its kind at Florida State University. Dubbed All-Night Yahtzee, the group held its first concert in the spring of 1999, and thus, a cappella music was born at FSU. Since then, Yahtzee has competed annually in the ICCA, where they have received acclaim and numerous awards over the years. They also perform regularly at other festivals, like SoJam and BOSton Sings!, host a series of concerts and events around campus, and gig throughout the community. They tour Florida every winter and spring, stopping at all their favorite cities and many of their hometowns. They were also featured on the Pop Network docu-series, “Sing It On.” Their members come from different places, musical backgrounds, and interests, but blended together, they bring great music, entertainment, and a fun time to every audience. They look forward to yet another year of sharing their music and learning more from the growing a cappella community along the way!

BisCaydence is one of the  co-ed a cappella groups at the University of Miami located in sunny Coral Gables, Fla., right outside of Miami. Biscaydence's name is a tribute to the gorgeous beaches of Key Biscayne located close to the Miami campus, as well as the musical term, cadence. The group’s unique and energetic sound brings joy to all who listen. BisCaydence's performances are sure to get you on your feet and singing along.

The EnsemBULL is a third year a cappella group at USF. After coming together as a group to connect a passion for music and community service, The EnsemBULL began performing at senior homes and on-campus service events. Shortly after, EnsemBULL started to compete in talent show events and cultural presentations, leading up to assisting with a public surprise marriage proposal during their second year. This year, EnsemBULL hopes to give its all at the ICCA and bring their joy for music and performing to the competition.

Phoenyx is the University of Miami's newest and hottest co-ed a cappella group. The group is busting out of the gate with exciting arrangements of all kinds of songs, including oldies, new hits, and originals. Phoenyx is excited to make its ICCA debut this year and is ready to #RISE!

Rocky's Angels A Cappella is an up and coming a cappella group from the University of South Florida in the sunny city of Tampa, Fla. This all-female group is dedicated to empowering women through music and sisterhood. Rocky's Angels was formed in the spring semester of 2016 and this is their first year competing. The best thing about Rocky's Angels is that most of them are not music students. These women come from all walks of life and with different goals and dreams, but share a common love for music and singing. They strive to channel that love toward empowering women on their campus and community, as well as giving back to their community by participating in charity and philanthropy events. They describe themselves as sweet, sassy, fun, and quirky, and when not singing, you can find them eating brownies and painting glitter all over their shoes!

In 2012, a few incredibly talented and good-looking ladies came together to form the first and only a cappella group at Nova Southeastern University. Over the years, The Riff Tides has grown into a diverse group of confident men and women that vary in background, culture, major, and voice. This unique makeup defines the group’s personality and unique sound. From swag to sass, they've got all the bases covered. The Riff Tides have revolutionized the concept of entertainment at NSU and in Fort Lauderdale and they plan on doing the same at ICCA South!

Tones of Gold is a (currently) non-audition collegiate a cappella group at the University of South Florida. They began in the fall of 2013, originally labeled an "alternative choir" because they performed accompanied, non-choral pieces, as well as a cappella songs. They are now, however, a cappella exclusive. As a musical group, they pride themselves on being diverse and all-inclusive, accepting singers of all different majors. They have performed at various functions around the Tampa Bay area, including singing the national anthem at Tropicana Fields for Tampa Bay Rays baseball games. They are a personal favorite of the USF System President, Judy Genshaft, and are often asked to sing the alma mater at events hosted by the USF Alumni Association. Since their inception, they were under the direction of Beverly Sutherland, who is now the choral director at Bloomingdale High School. Today, they are directed by Kevin Trapasso, who recently obtained his Master of Music at USF. Even with Kevin’s direction, the group is largely student-led by its Leadership Council who are a group of elected student leaders. Their music repertoire consists mainly of student-arranged pieces, with arrangers teaching the rest of the group their respective pieces.  They are excited to be the first a cappella group at the University of South Florida to compete in the ICCA. They have grown exponentially over the past couple years in terms of namesake and ability, and they hope to continue growing that in the years to come.



Matthew Swope serves as director of choral activities and performing arts chair at Winter Park High School where he conducts four choirs and directs two a cappella groups (Take 7 and Naughty Scotty and the Octapella). He is on the executive board of the A Cappella Education Association and the staff of Camp A Cappella. Matthew has served on the voice faculty of Rollins College and was a founding member of the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers. He holds an M.M. in voice performance and pedagogy, as well as bachelor’s degrees in music and classics from Penn State University. Matthew is the 2013 recipient of the Penn State Outstanding Alumni Music Educator Award. Ensembles under his direction have competed at ICHSA Finals (2012, 2015), appeared on BOHSA (2017, 2018), and performed for conferences of the Florida American Choral Directors Association (2011, 2015) and the Florida Music Education Association (2016).

Skip Stradtman is an a cappella veteran whose biggest claim to "aca-fame" is his involvement with Reverb, FSU's all-male a cappella group. With Reverb, he performed multiple times in the ICCA, including their 2013 ICCA Finals performance in New York City, which placed 4th overall and received the award for Outstanding Choreography. During his two years as music director, Reverb placed 2nd at the 2013 SOJAM a cappella festival competition, placed 1st at the 2014 BOSS competition, and produced the group's first full-length album, Evolve, which went on to receive multiple CARA nominations. Skip was personally recognized with an Outstanding Arrangement award at ICCA 2013 Quarterfinals and Semifinals, SOJAM 2013, and BOSS 2014. Currently, Skip is the chorus director at East River High School in Orlando, Fla. He continues to arrange for high school and collegiate a cappella groups, as well as for various choral ensembles across the Southeast.

Nick Powers is a chorus director and keyboarding teacher at Apopka High School. Previously, he was the chorus director at both Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. and Central Middle School in Melbourne, Fla. Nick was the founding director of the high school a cappella group, Acapocalypse, which has placed at ICHSA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Currently, Nick directs an a cappella group at Apopka High School called High Key. He holds his Bachelor of Music Education from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.

Born and raised in Dunedin, Fla., Katherine Crumrine graduated with honors from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Music Education in 2005 and a Master of Music Education in 2011. She was a member and music director of The AcaBelles from 2002-2005. She then taught in Pinellas County Schools for six years, first as assistant director of band and chorus at Largo High School, and then as director of chorus and strings at Dunedin Highland Middle School. While teaching, she directed four high school a cappella groups and was a founding member of the co-ed group, Eleventh Hour A Cappella, based in Tampa. Katherine was a founding member of Festival Singers of Florida and former member of Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, the Zielinski Singers, Opera Tampa, and Tapped In, Inc., a professional Tap Company. Most recently, she graduated with a master's degree in arts administration from Florida State University and relocated to Los Angeles. She remains involved in the vocal world through groups such as Premiere All-Female A Cappella and the Long Beach Master Choral, as an adjudicator for Varsity Vocals, and as an instructor and master clinician for the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Evan Powers and Daryl Yasay; 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