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



George Washington University 
Saturday, January 26, 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.



From killer mashups to dubstep beatboxing, Georgetown Superfood has become Georgetown’s standard for bold a cappella and many have taken note. By revamping old classics and remixing today’s hits, Superfood’s rebellious arrangements showcase its noteworthy and bold musicality. With a set list that includes Mapei, Hozier, and Gin Wigmore, the group has also wholeheartedly embraced the alternative music world, with hopes of enlightening audiences for years to come. Within the last few years, Superfood has sung for the Georgetown Wall Street Alliance in New York City, sung the national anthem for thousands of basketball fans at the Verizon Center, and sung for Michelle Obama at the Japanese Embassy. On top of all of that, Superfood is now an award-winning group, having received Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and Outstanding Arrangement, as well as 1st and 2nd place in the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal! 

Mason Some Noise is George Mason University’s premier co-ed a cappella group! Founded in 2014, MSN performs at events on campus and in the D.C. area. Thing mostly pop music, but dabble in other genres as well. In 2018, they became the first a cappella group in Mason history to compete in the ICCA and delivered a strong debut performance, winning the award for Outstanding Arrangement. They are aiming to advance further in the competition this year! The group highlights the diversity of GMU, with singers of different races, ethnicities, ages, majors, and personalities, all united through their love of music and friendship. They consistently raise the bar of excellence in the collegiate a cappella community and rehearse with this goal in mind. They are proud of what they do, they love what they do, and want all of their supporters to love it too. From everyone at Mason Some Noise: Thank you for your support! 

Note-oriety is James Madison University's premier award-winning all-female a cappella group, founded in 1998 by Kelly Myer and Bonnie Estes. You can find the lovely ladies of Note-oriety performing all around the JMU campus and at events up and down the east coast. They are a sisterhood bound by a shared love for music and lifelong friendship. Note-oriety is a nationally recognized group, consistently ranked as one of the top all-female a cappella groups in the country. They have been praised by many prominent figures in the music industry, including Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, and TLC. Most recently, College Magazine named them one of "The 10 Female Groups Running the A Cappella World" in February of 2018. They have also been recognized with prestigious awards, including a 2016 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) win for Best Female Collegiate Song for "Bang Bang" off of their self-titled album, Note-oriety. The song was also chosen as one of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board's (RARB) Songs of the Year, while Note-oriety was named their 2016 Album of the Year. Their most recent album, titled XX in honor of their 20th anniversary, was released in May 2018. XX was produced by James Gammon Productions and is now available on Apple Music and Spotify. 

Patriot Pitches is George Mason University's first co-ed a cappella group, founded Halloween night 2013. Their goal is to share their joy and love for music with everyone who will listen. The Pitches are excited to compete in their first ICCA and look forward to this unique experience! 

Redline A Cappella was founded in 2003, and is the oldest a cappella group at The Catholic University of America. This is their 15-year anniversary! They have a reputation for singing incredible music on the university campus, at other universities, and in public spaces around the Washington, D.C. metro area. Performing music genres that range from today's hits to universal classics, alternative music, and more, their shows have enough variety to please all types of audiences. This group of undergraduate men and women spans various majors and interests, but shares a common love for a cappella, and they hope you'll grow to love it too. 

Founded in 1996, The GW Pitches is proud to be the first all-female a cappella group at The George Washington University. They have performed at a variety of events in D.C. such as the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walks. The Pitches is a tight-knit family who loves to sing and spend time together. They sing a variety of genres, but they specialize in music that empowers women. They hope to use music as a means to encourage women to make a difference in the world. Catch their new LP, State of Emergency, on Apple Music! 

The Vibes is the premier co-ed a cappella group at the George Washington University. "Giving the GW community aural pleasure since 1999,” The Vibes cover a repertoire ranging from 1960s R&B to today’s indie rock. The Vibes can be found performing at the highest levels of collegiate a cappella, in the ICCA, the White House, Disney World, and beyond. More than just a bad-ass a cappella group, this group is a big family that always aims to entertain and have a great time doing it. 

Founded in 1996 by J.R. Snow and Dave Keller, The Madison Project is James Madison University's premier all-male a cappella group. They are deeply dedicated to the education, performance, and recording of fine a cappella music. The Madison Project has received several awards, been featured on compilation albums such as BOCA and Voices Only, and has toured up and down the east coast! Aside from the music, The Madison Project is first and foremost a brotherhood. New members are welcomed into a 100+ alumni base, which creates and nurtures lifelong relationships. 

Founded in 2008, The One Note Stand is an independent, student run, co-ed organization of music loving students from the University of Mary Washington. They arrange all of the music they perform themselves. In addition to singing at campus and community events, they showcase their wide-ranging repertoire at competitions and large-scale concerts throughout the year. 

Founded in 2012, Xenharmonics is the only co-ed a cappella group at Frostburg State University. This group features a wide range of musical backgrounds, majors, and student athletes. The one thing that brings them all together in an unlikely fashion is their love for performing. A true family, they feed off of one another’s strengths, helping them grow as individuals and as a group. Their music has allowed them to reach out to members of their community and provides a new exciting way to enjoy their favorite songs.



Ken Coolbaugh started his vocal career as a Pennsylvania All-State musician, and co-founded, Blue in the FACE, one of Penn State University's co-ed a cappella groups, soon after. There, he served for several years as a musical director, featured arranger, and soloist on their 2015 professional EP, FACE the Music. Ken has more recently had the pleasure of being an advisor for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Champion Towson Trills is a judge for the 2019 CARAs.

Megan Coolbaugh has been involved in music since she was a child. She attended Peabody Preparatory throughout high school, and kept busy with band, orchestra, choral, and theatre activities at her home high school in Pennsylvania. A graduate of Penn State University, Megan directed the young collegiate group, Blue in the FACE, for three years before receiving her Bachelor of Music Education. During her time as director, she led the group through recording their first professional EP, Face the Music (produced by the Vocal Company), and continues to act as a coach and arranger for the group. Last year, she had the honor of working with her husband to coach The Towson University Trills through their first ICCA run, leading these talented and dedicated singers all the way to the national stage. Since graduating from Penn State, Megan has been teaching in the Anne Arundel County Public School District as a high school and a middle school choral director, where she continues to share her passion for vocal music, recording, and arranging with her students. 

Bree Hunter Cox is a seasoned performer and music educator who enjoys all types of music, especially opera and a cappella. She earned a bachelor's degree in music education and vocal performance from the University of Dayton, and a master's degree in opera performance from University of Minnesota. She has been teaching since 2007 as a choir director, music teacher, and private voice instructor, and has directed and choreographed student musicals. She is also an experienced arranger for a cappella ensembles of various levels. As a professional soloist and soprano, Bree has appeared with the Dayton Opera, the Rochester Symphony Orchestra (MN), and the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Kentucky. She recently sang a recital as a part of the University of Dayton Alumni Artist Series. 

Stephen Cox has been a passionate advocate for contemporary a cappella since joining The Vanderbilt Variations as an original member. Since then, he has founded another collegiate a cappella group (The Kent Clarks), sung with the May Festival Chorus, and was most recently seen in Stephen Sondheim's “Putting it Together,” alongside his wife, Bree. Stephen is very happy to adjudicate for Varsity Vocals once again. 

Michelle Gahagan got her start in a cappella in 2008 as a high school student. She's still at it 10 years later, singing with Washington, D.C.'s namesake a cappella group, The District. Michelle's work with the District has recently been featured on Voices Only Forte VI for her arrangement of "No Me, No You, No More" by The Staves. Before entering the post-collegiate world of a cappella, Michelle sang with Virginia Tech's Sensations before transferring to the University of Virginia in 2012, where she joined The Virginia Belles. As The Belles’ former music director, Michelle oversaw production of the group’s 2015 CARA-nominated album, Right Hook, and received two CARA nominations for Best Female Collegiate Arrangement. 



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 Mid-Atlantic 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