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 Elsinore Theatre
Saturday, January 27, 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.



Blue Light Special is Linn-Benton's all-male a cappella group. Blue Light sings everything from 80’s one-hit wonders, today’s top 40 hits, and everything in between. Blue Light performs in competitions and at events around the Willamette Valley year-round. They regularly ask themselves these questions: “Why are we here? What are you getting at Taco Bell? And soup or salad?”

On a rainy Friday at 4 p.m. in the fall of 2001, Eight Ladies & A Beau Tie performed for the first time at the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union. Just three months later, the Eight Ladies traded in their Beau Tie for ties of their own to become the university’s premier all-female a cappella group. Over the past 15 years, Divisi has grown from the roots of its original members, united by a common love of music and friendship.

Dulcet A Cappella began at Southern Oregon Univesity in 2005. Since then, they remain the only pop a cappella group on campus and have grown to include 18 members from various majors. In the last few years, they have competed at the ICCA, opened for renowned all-male British a cappella group Semi-Toned, performed one of their in-house arrangements with SOU's Concert Choir, and they continue to make appearances around Ashland and Oregon's Rogue Valley.

The Green Note is the only a cappella group on the Portland State University campus. Unlike most groups who identify as a men's, women's, or co-ed group, they identify as an all-inclusive group. Not all of their members identify as men or women and they like their name to reflect everyone’s part in the group’s collective identity. They sing a variety of music, including pop, alternative, R&B, and occasionally country. They aim to bring people together through a shared love of performing music, as well as to encourage musical development in our members. They rehearse upward of eight hours a week, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Very few of their members actually study music. They pride themselves on being a group that is accessible to people of all technical music backgrounds and levels. As a group, they have participated in community outreach by hosting The Rose City Sing-Off and holding workshops with groups such as Wilson High School's Singing in the Rain. Their first album, Kicked Out, is up and coming! ICCA is the biggest competition they do and something they look forward to every year. 

Hilltop Harmony is an a cappella group from Corban University founded in 2013 by the majestic Kent Wilson. Their group is dedicated to providing a musical experience that shows their love of Christ and how they do everything for his glory. This is their second time performing in the ICCA. They are the first a cappella group to exist on their campus, and have expanded from basic praise music and hymns to encompass a wide variety of musical genres and styles, including sacred, rock, punk, pop, musical theatre, and classic ballads. Hilltop Harmony is completely student-run, featuring original arrangements by members of the group, a student choreographer, Madelyn Hawken, and current group leaders, Brylie Fitzgerald, Michael Anderson, and Devin Desmond. As a whole, the group consists of four music majors and five who just love to sing and slay at it. Of the music majors in the group, they have one student going into choral education, one into band education, one into composition, and one into saxophone performance. Other majors include ministry, business, math education, English, and elementary education. Their skills and personalities bring a variety of perspectives together to form a totally unique performance experience. They consider themselves truly blessed and lucky to have such an amazing group form out of their small pool. They hope to perform at as many places as possible for people of all ages and groups of any kind. 

Power Chord is Oregon State University’s co-ed a cappella group! They have a blast singing around campus, in the community, and in competitions around the Pacific Northwest. Here in the heart of the valley, they have members ranging from business majors to chemical engineers. Outside of rehearsal time, they enjoy hanging out together, fro-yo runs, and going on retreats to Sunriver. This month, Power Chord is celebrating its fifth anniversary! The PC fam sends love to its fans and thanks for all of the support! 

The Sirens is an all-female a cappella group founded in 2010. They perform year-round throughout the Willamette Valley, including venues such as the Majestic Theater in Corvallis and Sybaris in Albany, as well as on the LBCC campus. This will be their fifth year competing at the ICCA. These sisters work together like a family, taking care of one another and standing together to create a beautiful sound, singing styles from hip-hop and pop to 80’s rock and roll. They enjoy eating pizza, playing with cats, and performing for their friends and family. #sirens #rice #cats #friendgoals

Long ago, two groups formed independently. Both had a high interest in music but low interest in musical instruments. One day, the two groups met face to face and engaged in an epic battle. Both fought valiantly, but ultimately reached a point of mutual respect in understanding that neither group could be beat. As a result, they decided to join forces and become one all-powerful group now known as The West of Us.


The Rose Tones is a professional a cappella group fresh on the scene in Portland. Founded in fall of 2016, they spent last year building up their membership, gigging around PDX, and putting on concerts. Like a cappella families everywhere, this diverse group of singers shares the same brand of weirdness and loves sharing their passion for singing with their audiences. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram @portlandrosetones and email them at



Dr. Kerry Burtis has taught choral music and voice at the high school and collegiate level for more than 20 years. He received his bachelor's in music education from Augustana College in South Dakota and master's and doctorate degrees in music from the University of Southern California. Besides teaching, conducting, and serving as an adjudicator and clinician, he has served on several professional choral boards. Sought after as a clinician and adjudicator, Kerry has conducted orchestras and musicals and been a music critic, professional singer/arranger, and timpanist.

Chris Dobson
holds a Bachelor of Music in music education from the University of Oregon. He grew up in Eugene, participating in school choirs, the Oregon Children’s Choir, and the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy. At the University of Oregon, Chris sang with the University Singers, the Chamber Choir, and On the Rocks (the University of Oregon’s male a cappella group). In 2005, Chris received the Max D. Risinger Award for Excellence in Choral Music Education. An active local musician, Chris also conducts and sings with various choirs throughout the performance season. He has served as clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor for various Oregon choral festivals. Chris currently teaches choir at South Eugene High School and Spencer Butte Middle School, directs the Oregon Boychoir and Outburst Acappella, and sings with the nationally-recognized contemporary a cappella group, Rezonate. He is also an active composer and arranger, having won the Best Original Arrangement award at the Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes competition in March 2009.

Jordyn Meeker
is an active performer and teacher in the greater Seattle area. She holds a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in vocal performance from Washington State University, and is a certified teacher with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (active board member since 2015). She currently performs and arranges for Restless Vocal Band (PNW Harmony Sweepstakes Winners, voted #2 Best Local Band in Seattle), and performs about 30 shows per year with them for corporate events, private parties, high school education programs, and fundraisers. Jordyn is a part-time lecturer and music director for the University of Washington Musical Theatre Department, and teaches an average of 25 students per week at her studio, Edge Performing Arts and Dance in Seattle. Edge also provides education programs to local schools in musical theatre, pop, dance, and drama. She firmly believes that music education can save lives and present endless opportunities to thrive in artistic careers or hobbies. Past a cappella group affiliations include Open Bar (2013-2014) and WSU Vojazz (Lionel Hampton Festival winners 2009 and 2010).

Amanda Tran 
began her musical journey in elementary school with clarinet, tenor sax, piano, and drumline, and continued all throughout high school. She started writing songs and performing with rock bands in high school, but began her a cappella ventures later at the University of Washington as a member of Furmata A Cappella. She performed as a tenor 1 and vocal percussionist from 2009 to 2013, and held the positions of communications director, PR, and treasurer. In her senior year, Amanda pushed Furmata to be the first UW group to ever compete in ICCA, all while earning her B.A. in anthropology, medical anthropology, and global health, plus a music minor. In the last few weeks of undergrad, Amanda riled up a few of her aca-friends and formed the quintet that became SeaNote. After only two months, they became the 2014 PNW Harmony Sweepstakes Regional Champions, taking home Audience Favorite and Best Original Arrangement, and placed 3rd at the Harmony Sweepstakes National Championships soon after. In August 2014, SeaNote released its debut studio album, Vocal Static, for which Amanda was the album coordinator and designer. Since September 2014, Amanda has been Furmata’s alumni adviser and was the main event coordinator for the 2015 ANWAC Festival. In May 2015, she released her debut solo EP, Back of My Mind, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Science in communication through Purdue University. Amanda is a co-founder and co-director of CAMI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides resources and programming for a cappella musicians of all ages. Amanda hopes to share her incredible experiences and deep love of all things a cappella to all that enjoy it and wish to grow as artists.

Sean Braxton 
has been on the a cappella scene for 14 years, arranging for numerous groups. He currently performs with and is the primary arranger for Restless Vocal band, an award-winning seven-part vocal band in Seattle. Sean also performs lead vocals, keys, and percussion for top-40 party band, The Nines, and has opened for the likes of Jay Leno and Joel McHale. He is currently signed to Verbal Inc, a Hip Hop and R&B songwriting collective.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Pete and Trina from Yoakum Light and Sound, tonight's emcee Jake Yoakum, our guest performance group, The Portland Rose Tones, and all of the Elsinore Theatre staff, especially Tom Fohn, Greg Reider, Stephen Munshaw, Carlee Wright, and Heather Duncan; 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 West 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