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



University of Wisconsin
Saturday, March 2, 2019



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 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.



As the oldest a cappella group at the University of Minnesota, 7Days A Cappella has a proud history of strong music quality, performance ability, and campus presence. Founded in 2003 by Anthony Brown and Brienne Foyt, 7Days began as an opportunity for a diverse group of students to come together and connect over a shared love of music and performance. Today, the group competes annually in ICCA and has a history of success, including placing in the top two spots in Quarterfinals and advancing on to Semifinals! 7Days A Cappella works hard to spread high quality music on campus and across the region. The group frequently performs at concerts, professional events, meetings, and high schools around the Twin Cities region. 7Days also works to expand the U of M a cappella presence by connecting with other a cappella groups from the U of M and other universities. This year, 7Days traveled to Boston to perform with several groups there, including Distilled Harmony. 

Basses Wild is the premier men's a cappella ensemble at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. They perform a wide variety of boppin' tunes that are sure to get your boogie on and set your feet a-dancin'. They’re rockin' the oldies, rollin' the latest hits, and wooing the ladies (and gentlemen) everywhere with their oh-so-sultry songs of love. They strive to show that you do not need to be studying music in school in order to create it beautifully.

 Alverno College's Nova is thrilled to return to ICCA for their second year. Founded in the fall of 2017 as a for-credit ensemble, these women represent the college's mission to have meaningful engagement with the world. Recently, they hosted an almost sold-out ICHSA Quarterfinal at the 900-seat Pitman Theatre on campus. Most of the group is composed of students from Alverno's pioneering music therapy program, and Nova takes care to give back to Alverno college and the surrounding community. They sing with passion and pride and their primary goal is to move their audience, no matter who is listening

Perfectly Authentic is the premier co-ed a cappella group at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. With a makeup of over 75% music majors, the current 18-member ensemble was formed in 2018 in order to provide new musical challenges and opportunities on campus. Perfectly Authentic’s repertoire consists of many different musical genres, representing the diverse tastes and passions of its members. All group members are encouraged to arrange pieces and present them to the group as they’re inspired to do so. Perfectly Authentic combines the unique talents of each member to work as a whole and provides opportunities for ensemble members to be engaged in all aspects of the organization. 

Pitches and Notes is UW-Madison's only competitive women's a cappella group. Singing a variety of popular music, Pitches and Notes is proud to represent a powerful and prevalent presence on campus, striving to entertain and empower. Along with biannual showcases, Pitches and Notes regularly performs around the UW-Madison campus and larger community for various events. Additionally, the group has participated in ICCA, travels for annual tours, and creates studio recordings. The group's newest EP, Empower, was released on Apple Music and Spotify in August 2018. 

The Carthachords was founded in the fall of 2011. The founding members of the group were Anna Schmidt, Angela Fuller, Skylar Reinhard, and Clare Reinholt. They became a recognized student organization of Carthage College in October that same year. Since then, they have performed once a semester at Carthage and grown to include a variety of members with many different majors. Auditions are held at least once a year. Their current E-Board is Allison Burns as president, Alex Bawek as music director, Kristina Lambert as vice president, Natalya Rassek as public relations chair, and Daejah Hawthorne as secretary. Some of their concert themes include sweater weather, pajama party, and swinter. They look forward to sharing their music with you! 

The Enchantments is the second-oldest acapella group at the University of Minnesota, and is the only all femme-identifying group today. They were founded in 2006 and have grown in number and musical style throughout the years. The Enchantments sing to redefine traditional all-female a cappella and perform powerful songs from all genres made famous by both men and women. They hope to empower women by singing songs like "God is a Woman" by Ariana Grande and "Fall in Line" by Christina Aguilera that encourage women to stand out and embrace their uniqueness. Besides competing in the ICCA, they perform at various events around the Midwest and host a biannual concert at the end of each semester. They also compete in Battle for the Vox, a competition between Minnesota and Wisconsin a cappella groups. They also support several charitable causes, such as The Aurora Center and The Walk to End Alzheimer's. The Enchantments are officially 1/8 gluten free and their mascot is a therapy dog named Andy Rottie. Their side quest is to save the bees. The Enchantments hope to encourage and inspire women everywhere to be strong and passionate in everything that they do. 

Treblemakers, founded in 2004, is Northwestern University’s award-winning, co-ed, premier East Asian-interest a cappella group. They perform and arrange songs in multiple languages including English, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Cantonese. Their repertoire covers pop hits, rock anthems, jazz tunes, ballads, and more. The group members come from all over the world, hailing from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and various parts of the United States. They strive to not only spread Asian music around campus but to celebrate Asian and Asian-American musical excellence. 

Under A-Rest A Cappella is a competitive co-ed a cappella group composed of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under A-Rest, or “UAR,” is UW-Madison’s newest a cappella group. UAR consists of members from various majors who love arranging, learning, and performing a cappella music. UAR is proud to have build a diverse musical repertoire, including genres such as pop, rock, country, classical, and many others. While UAR offers musical learning and performance opportunities to its members, it also allows students to participate in a fun group of like-minded, talented individuals.  Every year during winter break, the group goes around the Midwest to perform for various high school choirs and towns in an attempt to spread the importance of music to communities in their area!  Under A-Rest also gives back to the community through charitable events, sometimes donating portions of their concert admissions to charities. Each year, UAR performs in the ICCA, which allows the group to improve their musicality and stage presence each year. 

Vocal U A Cappella seeks to develop the musical talent of its members and to display and promote the arts for its audiences! Vocal U consists of University of Minnesota undergraduate students from various backgrounds. They celebrate their unique sound and group makeup, performing at charity events that resonate with their group members, building the university community at U of M events, and spreading their harmonies in surrounding communities, especially the University District and greater Twin Cities area.



Matt Chastain is originally from Vernon, N.J., and is currently pursuing a Master of Music at the University of Wisconsin. Prior to moving to Madison, Matt received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from UMass Amherst, where he was a founding member of the six-person group, Hexachords, appearing three times at the ICCA Northeast Semifinals. 

Tyler Knowles began playing instruments at an early age, but didn't discover his voice as an instrument until he fell in love with a performance featuring UW-Madison's premier men's a cappella group, The MadHatters. He auditioned for the group, and learned he had a knack for singing really, really low. Tyler sang with The MadHatters from 2002-2005, competing in and hosting ICCA during that time. After college, he sang professionally in the a cappella quartet, The Traveling Sailsmen, on the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, cruising from Alaska down to the Horn of South America and numerous ports in between. 

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 

Antonio Rodriguez graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang with The Amateurs for four years. He also served as arranger and music director of the group. He spent the next five years performing as a stage actor in St. Louis before gaining his union card and moving to Chicago in 2014. Favorite past musical credits include “The Who’s Tommy” (Tommy Walker), “Urinetown” (Bobby Strong), and “Altar Boyz” (Matthew). He was a member of the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award-winning ensemble of the a cappella musical “All is Calm” for three years, and is a four-time nominee and two-time Theatre Circle Award winner for his individual acting work in both musicals and straight plays. In addition to performing in full-length stage works, he has conceived and performed two solo cabarets in both St. Louis and Chicago. Antonio is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. 

Kimberly Raschka Sailor is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), and she has written more than 300 reviews of high school, collegiate, and professional groups since 2005. A former ICCA Finalist, Kimberly is the co-founder and past president of the University of Southern California's Reverse Osmosis. Kimberly has also served as a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominator and judge. In addition to volunteering in the a cappella community, Kimberly is an author and elected school board member for the Mount Horeb Area School District in Wisconsin, where she also sings with the Mount Horeb Chorale. This is Kimberly's 14th year adjudicating for Varsity Vocals. 



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank  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 Great Lakes 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