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



Hofstra University
Saturday, March 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.



The Hot Notes is Fordham University's co-ed jazz a cappella group. In their nine-year history, The Hot Notes have developed into a prominent group, thanks to their unique sound, which mixes various genres of music and infuses them with a jazz twist. This is the group's third time performing in the ICCA and they are so excited to be back! They hope you "love the red" and enjoy their performance! 

The Vocaholics is the fiercest a cappella group at NYU! A gender-inclusive TTBB group, they sing a variety of iconic bops, from artists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga to Nathan Sykes and Michael Jackson. The group includes members from all across NYU, in several different majors and programs. They aim to cultivate a diverse group of singers and friends who share a love of performing. 

The Hofbeats is a 20-person co-ed a cappella group from Hofstra University, located in Hempstead, N.Y. Established in 2009, the group has grown tremendously over the years. The members pride themselves on performing student-arranged music and having a blast doing it. The Hofbeats are so excited to be welcomed back to the ICCA competition after placing 1st at Quarterfinals in 2018! Check them out on Facebook (The Hofbeats), Twitter/Instagram (@thehofbeats), and Snapchat (thehofbeats)! 

Founded as a casual singing group back in 1998, Sigma'cappella comes from humble beginnings at Hofstra University. Flash forward 20 years to today, and although the group has definitely grown, they’ve stayed true to their roots as a tight-knit group of singers who live, breathe, and thrive on music. Together, the members of Sigma'cappella belt, riff, and harmonize through a wide variety of music. Performing a repertoire of Radiohead, Bonnie Raitt,Ariana Grande, and everything in between, Sigma'cappella has covered lots of ground in the Northeast region as three-time award winning ICCA competitors. They’ve recently released their first studio single, "Creep," which is available on all major music platforms! 

Makin' Treble is Hofstra University's only all-female a cappella group on campus! They sing a variety of musical genres, ranging from pop to alternative. They are a team of beautiful, confident, talented, dedicated, and hard-working women, and they aim to share their talents and love for music with the world. 

The Queens College iTones is a co-ed a cappella group founded in 2013, funded by the Queens College Student Union. It is the only co-ed student a cappella group currently at Queens College. They perform a wide variety of pieces, from pop to jazz to musical theatre. 

Tizmoret is Queens College Hillel’s professional Jewish a cappella group. Tizmoret draws singers from colleges throughout the New York City area and has taken Jewish collegiate a cappella to the next level, performing classic Jewish melodies, American pop music, and contemporary Israeli tunes. They have produced seven albums and two EPs, and annually tour the east coast and beyond. Tizmoret has performed for college campuses, countless b’nei-mitzvot and synagogues, and various music festivals. Some of their favorite travels and achievements include performing in Merkin Hall and Symphony Space, winning the fifth annual Long Island College A Cappella Challenge in 2010, performing in Italy at a New Years party, performing at the annual White House Hanukkah party in 2014, winning the first annual Philadelphia Jewish Collegiate A Cappella Competition in 2017, winning Kol HaOlam (the National Jewish Collegiate A Cappella Competition) in 2011, 2012, and 2015, and competing in the 2017 ICCA! 

A student-run organization, The Stony Brook High C's of Stony Brook University is the campus's only all-male a capella group. Founded in 2004, the group offers a wide array of song choices to appeal to any listener, including pop, classic rock, R&B, and hip hop. Since the group’s creation, they have provided entertainment for on-campus events, and have begun to do more events off campus within the past five years. Whether they are performing at a community center, another college, competition, or on campus, this group pleases every crowd with their energy and passion for music. The group is composed of various male singers, from freshmen to seniors, all of whom have shown a true talent for music. Made up of future doctors, teachers, journalists, and engineers, this group is a second family for all of its members, and provides an outlet for them to relieve stress and make music together. 

William Paterson University's Acamonics began two years ago when a nursing major sought to share her passion for music with her isolated, mountainside campus in Wayne, N.J. Through trial and error, she and her team of four founding members developed a small group of friends with similar interests into a competitive, audition-based group of singers. Their first meeting began with an awkward rendition of the game “ninja,” followed by an extensive lesson on the cup routine from “Pitch Perfect.” Needless to say, only seven of the initial 17 stayed that first semester. As the executive members gained experience, more students joined, helping the group develop a solid, unique sound. The first group of its kind on the small metropolitan campus of William Paterson, Acamonics currently includes 13 students from various majors and backgrounds, including those with little to no musical experience. Acamonics works to provide resources and training for members who demonstrate potential and dedication. This semester, the group is dedicating a large portion of their repertoire to 80s rock in honor of the new movie centered around Freddie Mercury! A relatively new group in the Northeast, Acamonics seeks to spread their love for music throughout their community.



American baritone Bryan Elsesser holds a master's degree in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Bachelor of Music in music education from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Bryan has coached opera and studied voice in New York with Kathleen Miller, David Pittman-Jennings, Garth Bardsley, and Kirk Severtson, and in Salzburg, Austria with Stephen Rainbolt and Mary Dibbern under the auspices of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. In Milwaukee, Bryan was met with tremendous success under the tutelage of his current teacher and mentor, baritone, Kurt Ollmann. Now residing in Centereach, N.Y., Bryan remains active with New York City’s and Long Island’s regional theatre stages. He has most recently been seen in "Cox and Box" with the Delaware Valley Opera Company (Mr. Cox), and the Light Opera of New York’s production of "Naughty Marietta" (Simon). Bryan is also one of the leading researchers and performers of the works of Stephen Lias. In 2007, Bryan founded The Potsdam Pitches, the first successful mixed a cappella group on the SUNY Potsdam campus. Last year, that very same group performed at the ICCA Finals at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. When not performing, Bryan shares his time as a volunteer firefighter and a proud husband and father. 

Alex Green is a recording engineer, producer, and arranger from New York City. He is a graduate of Tufts University with a dual degree in music and archaeology, where he sang with and directed the Tufts Amalgamates and with whom he recorded 2011′s Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning Hands Off The Mannequin. He is a co-owner and producer at Plaid Productions, a full-service a cappella production company with dual home bases in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Somerville, Mass. Alex shares two RIAA-certified Platinum and Billboard-charting albums with Ed Boyer and Ben Bram for his work with Pentatonix, while other clients of Plaid Productions have had songs featured on SING, BOCA, Voices Only, and have garnered over 100 CARA nominations. Since graduating in 2010, he has regularly served as a masterclass leader and instructor at a cappella festivals nationwide, sung with Overboard (Boston, Mass.), and written for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). 

Andrew John Kim is an a cappella producer, recording engineer, and arranger from New York City. He received his Bachelor of Music in music composition from Northwestern University and his Master of Music in film scoring from New York University. At Northwestern, Andrew was a founding member and music director of his collegiate a cappella group, Extreme Measures. He also founded, music-directed, and arranged for the professional a cappella group, Backtrack. With Backtrack, Andrew had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall, the Beacon Theatre, the UN, during the Broadway show, "Kinky Boots," and on "The Steve Harvey Show." Andrew currently manages vocal groups through his management company, AJK Artist Management, and sings with Iris, 2018 winner of The Open. 

Katya Dreyer-Oren is an award-winning a cappella arranger and leader. She has been the music director of Fermata Town and BLACKOUT NYC A Cappella, leading both groups to numerous CARA wins and nominations, as well as placements on multiple Voices Only albums. She has led arranging workshops at BOSS and NAAC. Katya holds a degree in vocal jazz performance from New England Conservatory. 

Dr. Marc Silverberg is the Director of Vocal Music at Five Towns College. He is currently the director of the Five Towns Chamber Singers and the contemporary a cappella ensemble. Marc has established himself as one of the leading voices in a cappella education today. He has served on the executive board of as Director of Education and presented workshops on vocal improvisation at several AEA-sponsored festivals, SUNY Purchase, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, The New York State School Music Association, the Nassau County PEAK Festival, the National A Cappella Convention (NACC), and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) 2013 National Convention. In spring of 2018, Marc became the first guest conductor for the Suffolk County Music Educator Association’s all-county contemporary a cappella group. His professional performing group, Satellite Lane, recently took 2nd place at the 2018 Varsity Vocals Open Semifinals and he won the prestigious Outstanding Arrangement award for that competition. Under his pseudonym, “Docacappella,” he has released several humorous a cappella parodies, which have been nominated for three CARAs. 



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 Northeast 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