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, March 31, 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.



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.

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.

The SoCal VoCals, founded in 1996, is composed of 17 members, varying in majors from popular musical performance to environmental studies. In the last year, The VoCals sang for the President and First Lady, toured Hong Kong and London, and released their newest album, VoCabulary, on Spotify and iTunes. They have sung at the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, and the Staples Center, for such audiences as Chris Martin, Taylor Swift, Chaka Khan, and Sara Bareilles. VoCal alumni have been featured on NBC's “The Sing-Off,” won multiple Grammy Awards, and are currently starring on Broadway. Above all, The VoCals are about to making music and having a good time, and are so excited to compete in ICCA!

The After School Specials! hails from the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of liberal arts colleges in the southern California area. Characterized by their upbeat attitudes, green attire, and signature A.S.S. (After School Specials) hats, they sing their own arrangements that cover an expansive range of music. Their members are as diverse as the music they sing, with members from all corners of the country and world. They also major in fields spanning all academic disciplines, across the gamut of the humanities and sciences. The group believes in creating a space for passionate individuals that share a love for making music, regardless of their backgrounds, in order to create a community to share great music. The After School Specials have also had the privilege of performing and recording at various exciting locations. Past venues include The Fonda Theatre, Diane Warren's recording studio, and the White House. They love getting to showcase their assets in front of as many people as possible, and they hope to make music wherever people will listen. This will be the group’s third appearance at the ICCA. Each time has been a great competitive experience, as well as a time to celebrate their members (soloists, vocal percussionists, and arrangers) and other groups. They are very excited to share their music for you at this year’s ICCA!

Eh? Cappella is back in the States for another year to make their maple syrup-guzzling, hockey-crazed, Trudeau-tastic country proud. This group is made up of members from UBC A Cappella, which was formed in 2007. They sing anything from pop to hip hop to alternative rock and beyond. With their toques on and their hockey sticks held high, this bunch of canucks will ride into the theatre on mooseback and unapologetically give it their all.

PLUtonic Acappella is Pacific Lutheran University’s premier men’s a cappella group, composed of 13 talented and goofy men who come together for the love of a cappella music! They love to sing fun and challenging music, ranging in genre from jazz to pop to R&B and everything in between. They work with complex arrangements, as well as catchy ones! They love to perform, and regularly do so with gigs and events on campus and throughout the greater Puget Sound region.

The UC Men's Octet is an eight-member a cappella singing group composed of some of the finest male singers at the University of California, Berkeley. Founded in 1948, The Octet has entertained audiences around the world with its unique mesh of close harmonies and zany stage antics. Dazzling fans with a wide repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, contemporary pop, modern alternative, and of course, Cal fight songs, the group has released dozens of recordings over the years. Go Bears!

The Liquid Hotplates is the hottest a cappella group at UC Davis! Born in the fall of 2000, the group began as a jazz octet named The Davis Aces. After a flourishing transition to a more contemporary modern style, the founding members met one evening to determine a new group name with wider appeal. From The Davis Aces, the group ultimately called itself The Liquid Hotplates, from MTV's short-lived show "Liquid Television," coupled with the affordable hotplates in which poor college students often cook ramen. Thus, their attention-grabbing and thought-provoking name was born. Now, The Liquid Hotplates is a student-run, co-ed a cappella group that brings people of diverse backgrounds together through a shared passion for making music. The Liquid Hotplates also happen to be a group of STEM majors, who work hard on both academics and music. They perform unique and eclectic arrangements of various genres, from early 2000s grunge bands like My Chemical Romance and Soundgarden, to more mellow artists such as Bon Iver and Adele, to Chance The Rapper. The Hotplates love performing around Davis and at school events, as well as traveling far and wide to represent Aggie a cappella and meet groups from other schools. Whether competing at the ICCA or delivering “Singing Valentines,” they put their hearts and souls into their music, and do it as a family!

Resonance began in 2012 as a quintet that quickly grew in size and sound to become one of the premier vocal ensembles at UCLA. Over the past several years, Resonance has established itself as a vibrant a cappella group with a unique sound and high level of musical excellence. In 2014 and 2016, the group qualified and performed for an audience of 10,000 at UCLA's Spring Sing, the university's largest, highly competitive musical showcase. In 2015 and 2017, Resonance competed in the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF). Just last year, the group competed in its very first ICCA season, placing 2nd at the Southwest Quarterfinal, 3rd at the Southwest Semifinal, and winning awards for Outstanding Arrangement at both competitions. In 2017, Resonance also recorded and released its first studio album, In This Light. Their first track, “In The Name Of Love,” is featured on Voices Only 2017, a highly selective a cappella album that showcases only the finest tracks from collegiate and high school groups across the world. Guided by their passion for performing and friendship, Resonance hopes to share its music with their community and make a lasting impact. As such, Resonance can be found performing at at a number of philanthropy events and concerts across California, the greater Los Angeles area, and on their school campus.

Founded in 2014, The ChapTones is the youngest and fastest-rising group at Chapman University. Based in Orange, Calif., they pride themselves on being first and foremost, a family who takes care of one another, that also happens to perform an eclectic mix of chart toppers and old favorites on campus and beyond! This is their third consecutive year competing in the ICCA, and after a Quarterfinals win last year’s season, they’re so excited to return to the stage!



Isaiah Ragland began his a cappella career at Central Washington University in 2010, where he founded the school’s first a cappella group, Nada Cantata. Since then, CWU’s community has grown to include four on-campus groups. While working toward his Bachelor of Arts in music from CWU, Isaiah sang in the University Chorale, Men’s Choir, Chamber Choir, and Opera scenes, while still finding time to act as Nada Cantata’s music director. In 2014, Isaiah was awarded Outstanding Choreography at his ICCA Quarterfinal, while Nada Cantata took their first podium-finishing, second runner-up placement. Currently, Isaiah sings bass with the Seattle Symphony Chorale and in an a cappella quintet, 20/20, which performs and competes around the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, Isaiah was awarded Best Arrangement at the Pacific Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes, while 20/20 finished second overall. He is also on the Board of Directors and is a founder of the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute (CAMI). CAMI aims to educate, empower, and provide resources for a cappella musicians of all levels by hosting concerts, workshops, clinics, and networking events. In doing so, CAMI strives to foster growth in the quality and reach of contemporary a cappella.

Taylor DiBernardo
is a singer and teacher in Los Angeles, Calif. She graduated from UCLA, where she sang with award-winning co-ed a cappella group, The ScatterTones. During this time, she performed at prestigious venues all over the country including the White House, the Hollywood Bowl, and the ICCA Finals in New York. She is an English teacher, vocal coach for Calabasas High School groups, Unstrumental and Bare Rhythm, and a counselor and instructor at A Cappella Academy.

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.

The daughter of a choir teacher and accompanist, Cate Caffarella received a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Music Education from Boston University. This is her 14th year at West Albany High School, where she directs three choirs and heads the drama program. WAHS choirs have won numerous awards, including top-five finishes at OSAA State Choir competitions, district championships, judges’ choice awards, and this past year's ICHSA Semifinal. Cate and her husband, Jason (also a musician), are former directors of the Oregon Children’s Choir Young Men’s Ensemble and The Classics. They and their children, Tobin, Taran, and Teah, enjoy singing and spending time together.

Matt Caruso 
is the owner and chief engineer at the exclusively a cappella studio and production company, ACappellaPsych, based in Portland, Ore. He has been singing, arranging, directing, and teaching contemporary a cappella for over 14 years. His "Aca-Jedi Mind Tricks" workshop has been a highly attended, extremely successful event offered at major a cappella festivals, such as the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, Boston Sings, VoCAL Nation, AcappellaFest, SoJam, and more. He has performed masterclasses and clinics for choirs and a cappella groups around the country. From 2009-2012, Matt served as the music proctor and touring proctor for the American Boychoir and American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J. This is Matt's second year adjudicating for Varsity Vocals and he can't wait to be blown away by the incredible talent onstage tonight.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Pete and Trina from Yoakum Light and Sound, tonight's emcee Jake Yoakum, Jake Young, Forest Deters and Grant Harris, all the staff at the Elsinore Theatre - 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 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