Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 23rd season! Our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever after almost a quarter century of presenting the best student groups on stage and in the studio.

Our tournaments have grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase they are today, featuring more than 650 groups and 9,800 singers at 87 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 Pitch Perfect franchise 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 enjoyed a long stay 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 two years ago. “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. Its third season will kick off this summer.

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 23 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2019 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



Binghamton University 
Saturday, January 26, 2019



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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 annually produce The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The 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 three to five 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 in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 14th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2019 season will feature the largest high school tournament field in our history. The winners of each of seven Semifinal rounds will advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City.

The Open Tournament took place for the second time ever in summer 2018 and featured six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2018 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 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. 

Please note that no food or beverages are allowed in the theatre and all cell phones must be silenced during the performance. To ensure audience safety and comfort, House Managers and ushers will request all patrons follow generally accepted rules of audience behavior.

If you need to leave the theater during the presentation, an usher will escort you to the rear to minimize distractions for other patrons. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of the House Manager. Infrared hearing assistance headsets are available for patrons with hearing impairments. If you wish to use a headset, please speak to an usher.



Hooked on Tonics is SUNY Oneonta's only co-ed a cappella group. Established in 2002, H.O.T. has sung all over campus and the town of Oneonta. They sing a variety of songs, ranging from Michael Jackson mashups to “All Time Low” by Jon Bellion. They like to refer to themselves as "hotties." 

ICVoicestream is Ithaca College's premier co-ed a cappella group. The group was founded in 2002 by a group of students who wanted to sing songs outside of normal a cappella culture. Now, over 15 years old, Voicestream sings a variety of different music, from pop hits by Ariana Grande to their classic indie rock vibes. The group is made up of about 15 students of all different majors and interests that come together a few times a week to sing. Voicestream is a family that loves making music together, and they hope you love their performance just as much. 

Ithacappella began in 1996 as the Ithaca College Men’s Chorus, Ithaca College's only all-male identifying a cappella group. Their repertoire often contains choral pieces and traditional tunes that trace back to the group’s early days, but they mostly integrate contemporary hits into their music today. They bring professionalism and personality to classrooms, school assemblies, and performances nationwide. Their mission is simple: they want to show how music can help people grow and learn. The group members are students first and musicians second. For some members, Ithacappella is a stepping stone to continue pursuing a professional entertainment career, and for others, it’s a chance to make lifelong friends. They’re all here to entertain, connect, and offer an experience you may never forget! 

Otto Tunes is an all-male a cappella group of 19 young men sharing their voices and hearts with Syracuse University and the world alike. The group burst onto the scene in 2011 and has been making their mark on the a cappella community ever since. Dabbling in everything from Whitney Houston to The Beatles to Chip Skylark, an OT performance could have you laughing, loving, or crying. Through it all, they embody the spirit of Syracuse with high quality music and positive vibes. Their iconic orange pants and charismatic personalities endear them to audiences far and wide and they are tremendously honored to be singing for you tonight! 

Pitch Slapped is SUNY Oneonta’s all-women a cappella group established in 2012. They sing a collection of pop and R&B songs and strive for technical excellence while promoting a fun and exciting musical experience. Pitch Slapped has competed at the 2017 ICCA and the SUNY Chancellor’s event for the past two years. They rehearse at least four hours a week and focus on being a cohesive and supportive group who sings together and spends time together outside of the choir room. Pitch Slapped supports numerous clubs and organizations on their own campus at SUNY Oneonta and those of other schools in the surrounding area. They love to promote happiness and joy and spread positive messages to all of their audiences. 

Premium Blend is Ithaca College's only all female-identifying and female-oriented a cappella group. They consider having an audience and a stage to speak from to be a privilege which should be used wisely. Therefore, they work hard to select songs and conduct themselves in a manner which reflects their values and makes statements about things they think matter. Additionally, they use their music to work with students of all ages (elementary, middle, and high school) in choirs, a cappella groups, and even musical newcomers on their two tours to various locations in New England, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions every year. Whenever possible, they take gigs in their local community as well. They primarily sing pop and indie songs, and act as ambassadors for their school and the a cappella community wherever they go. The size of the group changes from year to year, but generally ranges between 16 and 20 Ithaca College undergraduates who share a passion for music, a cappella, female empowerment, and friendship. 

The Class Notes is Cornell University’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, originally founded as a jazz group in 1983. Since then they have transitioned to genres such as pop, alternative, and R&B, and they are so excited to be performing on the ICCA stage tonight! Their set is entitled “Lost in Love.” 

The Harpur Harpeggios (more fondly known as The Pegs) is Binghamton University's only all-female a cappella group. Founded in 1983, The Pegs was one of the first two a cappella groups formed at the university. Since then, they have had many amazing opportunities, such as recording a music video to be featured on Kelly Clarkson's social media, recording music for use on Spotify, and opening for The Rockettes at the “Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular!” The group sings music from all types of genres and time periods, and all of their songs are arranged by members of the group. The Pegs’ main events are their shows at the end of each semester, consisting of 10-15 songs, plus several songs from an opening group. In between rehearsals and preparing for these performances, The Pegs perform at various events on and off campus, participate in invitationals with other a cappella groups from other schools, and collaborate with other Binghamton a cappella groups. In addition, The Pegs organize a winter tour to sing throughout New York at schools, nursing homes, family events, and more during each year's winter recess! They occasionally have the opportunity to lead workshops with grade-school students where they teach an arrangement and perform it with them. After celebrating a 35th anniversary this past year, The Pegs look forward to many more years of music, collaboration, performing, and passion! 

The Originals, hailing from Carnegie Mellon University, is an a cappella group that challenges what it means to be an all-male ensemble. Through intentional, emotionally aware performances, they aim to tell evocative stories while sharing their individual experiences with every audience. Over the past few years, The O’s have been lucky enough to travel and perform at festivals across the country, including SoJam, VoiceJam, and BOSton Sings! Recently, the group recorded an album with The Vocal Company to be released in the coming months! They look forward to performing in the ICCA for the first time since 2016, and are so excited to share their music with the world! 

The Monroe Community College Tributones are excited to be a part of the ICCA for the sixth year in a row. The Tributones have set the bar high for singing at MCC. This two-year college group of talented, dedicated, and strong-spirited individuals enlighten audiences and school attendees alike, leaving them amazed at the diversity of their music. They are excited to share their passion for a cappella with you tonight.



Ariel Arbisser is a versatile, in demand performer based in Ithaca, N.Y. Her award-winning a cappella endeavors include The Funx, powerhouse female ensemble Lady Jaye, and experimental funk duo, Frisky Business. Ariel got her start with The Cornell Chordials with whom she became a nationally recognized soloist, and co-produced two of their award-winning albums. After Cornell, Ariel graduated from the Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca, where she studied the Meisner Technique and went on to become a lead in its theatre company and a teacher’s assistant. From her Meisner roots, she developed the teaching module, “Sing It Like You Mean It,” which she continues to teach at festivals and schools nationwide. Ariel currently lives in Ithaca, N.Y., where she coaches private voice students, performs with soul outfit The Jeff Love Band, and works on her songwriting. She is CASA’s program manager of marketing, and on the Board of Trustees for the Melodramatics Theatre Company, Inc. 

Kevin Doherty is a musician and educator who found a lifelong love of collegiate a cappella during his first month of college, when he saw Binghamton’s Rhythm Method perform in a dorm lounge. He went on to become the group's musical director, and produced and engineered its 2003 album release, Unsound Syncopaths. Kevin spends his days directing five choruses, giving voice lessons, and teaching music at the middle and high schools in Waverly, N.Y. He is also in his third year as the musical director for the Valley Chorus, a community chorus based in the twin tiers. One of his greatest joys has been performing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the primary chorus for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, with whom he has performed in venues around the world. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Binghamton University and a master’s degree in music education from the Boston Conservatory. He loves the opportunity to aid in the development of young singers and watch the evolution of a cappella by judging for Varsity Vocals. Kevin lives in Sayre, Pa. with his beautiful wife, their three children, a dog, a cat, and a ferret. 

Austin Matson is the vocal/choral director in the Dryden Central School District for grades six through 12. Austin has a bachelor’s degree from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where he studied music education with a concentration in voice. During his studies at Crane, Austin was a member of The Potsdam Pitches, SUNY Potsdam's oldest co-ed a cappella Group. Austin has appeared as a soloist on several studio recordings by The Pitches and his arrangements and choreography have appeared in several ICCA competitions. 

Shannon Connor is a board-certified music therapist working at the Holy Childhood, Hochstein School of Music and Dance, and Roberts University. She also currently serves as Director of Arranging for Cut Off Studios in Rochester, N.Y. Within this studio, she serves as an educational speaker for their LENS (Learn. Envision. Network. Sing) a cappella events. She has studied piano for 17 years, and has accompanied musicals, soloists, and choirs. Her musical background ranges from bands, jazz bands, pit bands, choirs, and a cappella groups. She has a passion for a cappella and directed Melica, the all-female a cappella group at Elizabethtown College for three years, leading them to a 1st place finish at Quarterfinals her senior year. She is excited to judge this year's competitors. 



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank The Anderson Center staff, Binghamton University, Caleb Whelden, Ryan Kadri, Macy Hyland, and The Binghamton Crosbys; 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 Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Helena Benthall
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest & Southwest


Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South Producer

Nicole Kohlweiss
 ICHSA Northeast 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 finishing groups advance to the ICCA Central Semifinal!



Find your favorite groups on The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on Apple Music and Amazon Music!





The International Championship
of A Cappella Open


Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019