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



Ball State University
Saturday, February 16, 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.



Ball State asked for a charming, handsome, charismatic a cappella group in lime green ties to fill the stands for every show. Instead they got Unexpected Resolution, an all-male group with a name that's too long to remember, and they love to do their best! Unexpected Resolution, or UnR for short, has been performing for five years on and around Ball State University's campus, and they hope to continue making passionate music for as long as they can! 

The Parallels is an all-female a cappella group at Ball State University. Founded in 2015, they are known for their signature blue shoes. They are very excited to be competing in their third ICCA competition!

Note to Self is one of Ball State University's five a cappella groups, and one of only two all-male groups on campus. Founded in 2012, Note to Self was one of Ball State's first a cappella groups. Since then, they've performed hundreds of shows across multiple states. In 2016, Note to Self won their ICCA Midwest Quarterfinal and moved on to Semifinals in St. Louis, Mo. Note to Self is a group that's all about fun, and they're here to bring the beat to your heart and the music to your ears! 

Founded in 2012, Ladies' Choice A Cappella is an all-female a cappella group at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. They belong to BSU's Association of Collegiate A Cappella (ACA), an organization created in late 2014. The ladies of LCA hail from many different areas of study, including speech pathology, musical theatre, telecommunications, acting, music composition, and more. They are proud to be a very unique group of women, with a variety of different interests and personalities! LCA dabbles in many styles of music, from jazz to R&B to pop to musical theatre. They draw inspiration from strong ladies such as Beyoncé, Betty White, Hermione Granger, Sara Barellies, Leslie Knope, and Tori Kelly. 

Sedoctave is Ball State University's only mixed gender a cappella group. They're a group full of soul, jazz, pop, and R&B, and all of the group members share a strong passion for music. They value diversity and inclusivity, which they try to showcase in all of their performances! 

Ten40 Acappella is an all-male a cappella group from Bowling Green State University. Members of the group come from a variety of majors on campus, but connect over a shared love of music. Ten40 sings regularly for campus events, charity events, and private events, and enjoys taking part in showcases with other a cappella groups. The group is proud to perform music from a wide variety of genres and entertains audiences wherever they go. 

Tonal Eclipse is Bowling Green State University's only mixed pop a cappella group on campus. Tonal performs for many events on and off campus throughout the fall and spring semesters, and takes pride in having a wide variety of majors involved in the group. Formerly known as Not Yet Perfect A Cappella and created in 2011, this is the group’s first ICCA. Tonal Eclipse believes in empowering young aspiring musicians at Bowling Green State University to become future leaders, to embrace and celebrate their own unique qualities, and express themselves through music. 

Hooshir is Indiana University's premier all-gender Jewish a cappella group. They sing everything from American pop to Jewish sacred music. Hooshir is the two-time champion of Kol HaOlam, the national Jewish collegiate a cappella competition in D.C., and last year they placed 4th in their ICCA Quarterfinal. Hooshir is proud to bring their diverse talents to this year’s ICCA stage. 

On A Side Note is the premier a cappella group at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), established in 2016. They focus on perfecting contemporary music pieces and sharing them with the Indianapolis area. They have performed at several events, including IUPUI's Speech Night, Timmy Global Health Charity Event, Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, and IUPUI Regatta. Before practices, they can probably be found at the campus Starbucks grabbing their third cups of coffee. This year, their set follows an individual struggling with mental illness, showing the importance of social support in that journey. This will be their second year at ICCA and they can’t wait to perform for you! 

REEDefined is a student-led a cappella group at the Ohio State University at Lima. This is their first year singing together and they’re excited to share their passion for music with their campus, surrounding cities, and the a cappella community. The group represents most of the majors on campus and they’re a little unique in that their campus doesn't offer a music major. They are named after the first Dean of Ohio State Lima, J. McLean Reed, whose vision included a great education and high potential for students in their little part of Ohio. The group loves what they do, and they exude pride in their ability to spread joy through their music. Go Bucks!



Tony Benda has been a performer and musician for about 20 years. In high school, Tony was a part of the All-State Honors Chorus in 2010 and 2011, and has also performed with the ACDA Men's Chorus. In college, he studied film composition and music education, and sang and directed The Northern Illinois University Huskie Hunks. In the last five years, Tony has had an extensive a cappella career, co-founding the ICHSA competitive group, Off the Record (Lockport Township High School), and consulting for multiple groups in the Chicagoland area. In addition, Tony arranges extensively and has produced EPs for multiple groups. 

Christopher M. Diaz co-founded the international touring group, The Exchange, which performed hundreds of shows for audiences in over 25 countries on six continents, notably opening for The Backstreet Boys in their 32-city “In A World Like This” stadium tour. He graduated from Florida State University School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. There, he led the co-ed All-Night Yahtzee to three consecutive ICCA Finals appearances and was a two-time winner of the Outstanding Soloist award. Christopher’s voice and arrangements have appeared on compilations such as Voices Only, BOCA, SING, and Voices Only Forte, and have been nominated for numerous Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). As a coach, Christopher has adjudicated, sung, and instructed at vocal festivals around the country and world, and he has served on the vocal coaching and arranging staff of “The Sing-Off.” 

A native of Branson, Mo., Giovanni Hernandez (or as most people call him, Gio) developed a passion for vocal music at a young age through the folk, gospel, and bluegrass influences of his hometown traditions. He became involved with church choirs and high school choir, and continued nurturing his love for music as a vocal music education major at Missouri State University. In college, he also sang with The Missouri State University Chorale, Men’s Chorus, Multicultural Ensemble, and The Beartones, MSU’s all-male a cappella group. With the Chorale, he performed at the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) State Conference, the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) National Conference, the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association Divisional (SWACDA) Conference, the China International Chorus Festival, and toured all across the United States, South Africa, and Scandinavia. During his time in The Beartones, Giovanni served as music director and vocal arranger. Last year, under his direction, they placed 1st at the ICCA Midwest Semifinals, performed at ICCA Finals in New York City, and recorded a full-length studio album with The Vocal Company. Professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), A Cappella Education Association (AEA), Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), and the National Education Association (NEA). 

Luke Thomas received a B.S. in socio-political communication and an M.A. in communication from Missouri State University. During his time there, he sang with the Missouri State University Chorale, touring the United States, South Africa, Scandinavia, China, and more. Luke also sang in the all-male a cappella group, The Beartones, from 2014-2018, where he served as business director, brand manager, choreographer, and president. In 2018, as choreographer and president, he helped lead the group to Finals and received three separate awards for Outstanding Choreography. Currently, Luke serves as a production assistant with Varsity Vocals, where he has aided in producing shows, working social media, and running the current website. He is very happy to stay connected with the ICCA and be back as a judge. 



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 Midwest 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