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
Friday, January 26, 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 six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six regional champions, a wild card champion, an international champion, and our 2017 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those ten groups competed at Carnegie Hall in New York City this past September.

 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.



Free to Breathe was formed in 2008 after a small group of Sunset students attended ICCA Finals in New York City. Since then, they have enjoyed performing throughout the Portland metro area and are excited to be here tonight.

The Sherwood High School Mixolydians is a group of fun-loving musicians from Sherwood, Ore. They love spending time together just as much as they love singing and creating crowd-pleasing choreography. For the past four years, The Mixolydians have placed in the top three at the Portland Rose City Sing-Off. In 2015 and 2016, they earned the Rose City Sing-Off 1st place title! The Mixolydians are also proud of their 2015 ICHSA awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Arrangement of their entire set, and most recently, their 3rd place title at the 2016 ICHSA Northwest Semifinal. They are very excited to be back this year!

Rebelation! is the premier a cappella ensemble at South Albany High School. They meet at 6:45 a.m. every morning. These students come from many walks of life and different groups on campus, but have come together for something truly special. Aside from competing at ICHSA, Rebelation! has participated in the Bend A Cappella Festival, Rose City Sing Off, and the A Cappella in Albany Festival. The group has also sung at Disney World, Disneyland, the top of the Space Needle, and at a variety of functions and events around the Albany area.

Rhythmix hails from West Albany High School and is thrilled to perform for you this evening. Under the direction of Cate Caffarella, Rhythmix specializes in performing everything from madrigals and motets to contemporary a cappella chart-toppers. Rhythmix has received superior ratings at ACDA small ensembles festivals, the OR ACDA Gold Award for outstanding performances, and Judges’ Choice awards at the A Cappella in Albany Festival. In 2016, Rhythmix won 1st place at ICHSA Semifinals. Most importantly, they enjoy performing for enthusiastic audiences throughout the Mid-Willamette Valley.

Something Dangerous is the premier mixed-voice a cappella ensemble at McNary High School. This group combines the student-led men’s ensemble, The Dangertones, and the student-led women’s ensemble, Something Blue, into a full vocal spectrum dream team. Something Dangerous works under the guidance of McNary choir teacher Joshua Rist and always brings engaging, charismatic performances to their school and community. They know how to get down and bring their audiences' spirits way up.

Soul'd Out is a mixed a cappella group from Wilsonville High School in Wilsonville, Ore., just south of Portland. Founded in 2007, the group is composed of students from all grade levels, musical backgrounds, and vocal types. They have enjoyed much success over the years, consistently achieving high scores and praise for their work. Most recently, they took 2nd place at the 2017 ICHSA Northwest Semifinal, with awards for Outstanding Choreography and Vocal Percussion. The group meets every morning to rehearse and make music together before the school day begins. They enjoy singing for their community and look forward to sharing their passion for making great music with tonight’s audience.

Spartacappella was established as a zero period class in 2010 at Corvallis High School. Since 2010, they have performed at various a cappella competitions in Oregon. They meet twice a week and each member participates in one or two other high school choirs. Spartacappella enjoys performing around the community throughout the year and is excited to be here tonight.

Synergy is the young women’s a cappella ensemble from the Oregon Children’s Choir, which includes women from surrounding high schools in Eugene/Springfield, Ore. Brought together through a love of music and a desire to sing in an all-female ensemble, these women share a strong bond both onstage and off. Synergy was created in the fall of 2012 by Evynne Hollens, co-founder of the University of Oregon’s premier women’s a cappella group, Divisi. Since then, the women of Synergy have established a reputation as a tight musical group with a bold sound. In just its first year, Synergy placed 3rd at the ICHSA Northwest Semifinals and Maddison Ketting brought home the award for Outstanding Soloist. They went on to win the 2013 ICHSA Wild Card round, which earned them a spot in ICHSA Finals. In 2015, Synergy went on to place 4th at Semifinals and Arielle Ward received Outstanding Arrangement for “Sang Sang.” In 2016, Synergy again placed 4th, Arielle Ward received Outstanding Soloist, and Kyra Siegel received Outstanding Choreography. In 2017, Synergy won 1st place at Semifinals and competed at Finals. They can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!

Vivace is Lincoln High School's completely student-run a cappella group. Founded in 2010, Vivace has grown into a passionate community of singers who work hard at what they love. They have performed in many local venues, from the Rose Queen Coronation to TEDX events to busking on sidewalks. The multifaceted individuals that make up Vivace come together to share their vocal talents, bringing a variety of other skills along with them. Abbey Russell has played soccer since kindergarten and piano for seven years, while Isaac Cannon competes in Oregon's only independent percussion ensemble. Luke Gladen-Kolarsky sings with the Portland Boychoir and volunteers at his local library. Sara Blodgett plays water polo and lacrosse, Sarah Faldetta writes and releases original songs, and Audrey Walker is on Lincoln's constitution team. Though they all come from different backgrounds, these singers share a  passion and love for a cappella.


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 shares the same brand of weirdness and loves to share 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. 

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.

Raymund Ocampo is a conductor with experience leading choirs of different age levels and talents, including symphonic choruses, and high-level ensembles. Raymund serves as Music Program Chair and Director of Choral Studies at Linn-Benton Community College. There, he conducts the highly acclaimed chamber choir and concert choir and teaches courses in music appreciation, theory, world music, and music fundamentals. Previously, Raymund served as the Bonita L. Bass Memorial Assistant Conductor for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and has prepared choruses for symphonic conductors Michael Francis, Evan Rogister, Earl Rivers, Joshua Weilerstein, Jeff Tyzik, Stuart Malina, and Danail Rachav. His other leadership roles in the music world range from serving as Director of Music at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, to leading public school choral programs in Ohio and Indiana. In addition, Raymund founded and served as artistic of 'ascend,' a professional eight-member vocal ensemble dedicated to performing new works in unique ways. Raymund holds a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of South Florida, where he studied under the guidance of Dr. James Bass, and a Bachelor of Music in music education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he studied with Dr. René Clausen and Dr. Paul Nesheim.

Lucy Jacobs has been Varsity Vocals’ ICCA West Producer for the past 10 years, during which time she helped facilitate the region’s growth to triple its original size. In 2016, Lucy became founding director of The Open, launching and developing the program from its inception, culminating in a sold-out Final performance at Carnegie Hall in September 2017. A classically trained vocalist with performance credits across the globe, Lucy’s love for a cappella began at a young age when she performed with a Sweet Adelines double quartet, and founded and directed a co-ed quartet in high school. Lucy went on to study vocal performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she sang with the co-ed a cappella group, Naked Voices. After transferring to the University of Southern California, Lucy joined The SoCal VoCals and served as business manager, album producer, and president, leading the group to its first International Champion title at the 2008 ICCA Finals. As with many in the aca-family, Lucy has bounced around through several a cappella groups since college, including performing on the first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off" with The VoCals.



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 placing group advances to ICHSA Finals at Lincoln Center!



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