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



The Elsinore Theatre
Saturday, January 26, 2019



We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!




Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and join the conversation using #ICCA and #ICHSA.



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.



Hilltop Harmony was founded as Corban University's a cappella group in 2012. In the group's six years, they’ve gone from singing in their campus coffee shop to singing at massive school functions, traveling to Washington to sing for church services, performing in elementary school assemblies, and competing twice in the ICCA. They have also evolved from performing simple arrangements of top 40 hits to incorporating a wide variety of genres and complex arrangements. They pride themselves on maintaining a consistent small group, with eight members last year and 10 this year. In several of their pieces, they have every group member singing their own unique part, without anyone doubling up. The group's main goal is to represent the power of Christ, whether through singing church music at school events or just demonstrating what a blessing music is and the amazing gifts they have been given as vocalists. 

Big Bing Theory, or BBT, from Gonzaga University, was established in 1999 by Erica Heinz, and remains Gonzaga's only a cappella group. The group is completely student-run and arranges all of their own music. They sing a wide variety of music from the latest popular songs to classic hits. The group size has traditionally ranged from 12-16 members, and includes both men and women. They are quite well-known by the student body, and often perform on campus, They also reach out to the larger Spokane area, performing at retirement homes, local libraries, restaurants, various other venues, and of course, the ICCA. Every other year, BBT records in a professional studio and has albums for sale to help fundraise and promote their group. Big Bing Theory holds auditions at the beginning of every fall semester and everyone is encouraged to audition! 

Blue Light Special is Linn-Benton's all-male a cappella group. Blue Light sings everything from 80's one-hit wonders, today's top 40 hits, and everything in between. Blue Light performs in competitions and events around the Willamette Valley year-round. They regularly ask themselves these questions: “Why are we here? What are you getting at Taco Bell? Soup or salad?” 

Divine is the all-female premier a cappella group from Oregon State University. Divine women are strong believers in female empowerment and using their voices to create change. Through many practices, gigs and outings, they have become 16 best friends who one another’s backs, no matter what. They are strong, smart, and determined women with unique individual life passions, but collectively share a love for music. They could not be more excited to compete in ICCA this year! 

Power Chord is Oregon State University’s co-ed a cappella group! Here in the heart of the valley, they have a blast singing around campus, in the community, and in competitions around the Pacific Northwest. The group members range from business majors to chemical engineers and they have found a familial bond through their diverse mix of personalities. Outside of rehearsal time, they enjoy hanging out together, including fro-yo runs and retreats to Sunriver. Thanks for all the support! Love, the PC fam. 

Outspoken was founded back in the fall of 2002 by Jason Taylor and David Emmert and has grown in popularity and success ever since. These young men have a Friday show each week throughout the school year, and frequently perform at concerts and private events.

Portland State University's The Green Note is a passionate group of musicians always reaching for the top. With a focus on high- level musicianship, sportsmanship, and their goal of cultivating a support network for its members, they have come far in their eight years as the only a cappella group on campus. They are getting ready to release their first album and are thrilled to show the a cappella community what they have to offer! Their unique arrangements, individual style, and broad repertoire reflect the group’s diversity and signature modern sound. The Green Note attends regional and national competitions, clinics, and events. In addition to the competitive scene, the group keeps busy working gigs on campus, in the Portland metro area, and around Oregon.This inclusive group of committed students loves performing and sharing the beauty of music! 

Dulcet A Cappella began at Southern Oregon University in 2005. Since then, the group has grown to include around 14 members from various majors, and remains the only pop a cappella group on campus. In the last few years, they have opened for renowned all-male British a cappella group Semi-Toned, performed one of their in-house arrangements with SOU's Concert Choir, and headlined at the 2018 Southern Oregon Women's March. They have also produced and been involved in benefit performances for local organizations such as the Jackson County Fuel Committee, as well as national causes like Puerto Rico hurricane relief. 

Mind the Gap is the University of Oregon's co-ed a cappella group. They were founded in 2007 by Russell Kamp and have moved steadily upwards ever since. This ambitious and passionate group of people loves to make music together and wants to take their skills as far as they can go! 

Founded in 2003, Headband is Willamette University's only male-voice a cappella group. Now 15 years later, they're still dedicated to melting their audiences' ears off with delicious and mind-blowing tunes. Known for their explosive energy, charm, sensitive performances, and ability to talk themselves up in self-written group bios, Headband is here for you, for your ears, and for your entertainment.



The daughter of a choir teacher and accompanist, Cate Caffarella received a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Music Education from Boston University. This is her 14th year at West Albany High School, where she directs three choirs and heads the drama program. WAHS choirs have won numerous awards, including top-five finishes at OSAA State Choir competitions, district championships, judges’ choice awards, and ICHSA Semifinals. Cate and her husband, Jason (also a musician), are former directors of the Oregon Children’s Choir Young Men’s Ensemble and The Classics. They and their children, Tobin, Taran, and Teah, enjoy singing and spending time together. 

Jason Caffarella currently teaches music at Linn Benton Community College and is the founder of the award-winning a cappella group, Rezonate. He earned a B.S. in voice from State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Oregon. From 2001 to 2007, he directed choirs and small ensembles, including a cappella groups, in the Oregon Children’s Choir organization. He enjoys adjudicating vocal festivals of all kinds, including solo/ensemble, a cappella, and choral for age groups ranging from middle school through college. 

Jackie Emmett attended Ricks College as a vocal performance major on scholarship where she was able to perform as alto soloist in their presentation of Handel’s Messiah. After Ricks, she attended BYU and became the bass in the all-female a cappella group, Noteworthy and in her second year, went on to win the ICCA in New York. She is currently singing with the Portland Choir and Orchestra where she was recently a featured soloist. Jackie is happily married with three little boys, teaches voice lessons, and directs the children’s choir for her church congregation. 

Amanda Farmer is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she sang, arranged, and served as president for Capital Greene, a co-ed a cappella group, leading the group to multiple appearances at ICCA Semifinals. Now a resident of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Amanda created and coached an a cappella group at Pacific Crest Community School from 2014-2017. She has worked in music licensing and custom commercial and film composition, taught voice lessons, and performed with a Portland-based band for several years. Having both competed and assisted with the production side of Varsity Vocals, she is excited to join this evening's panel. 

Dr. James Reddan is director of choral activities and choral music education at Western Oregon University. Prior to his appointment at Western, he was the director of choral activities at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., where he conducted the University Chorale, Chamber Singers, vocal jazz ensemble, and is artistic advisor for two vocal a cappella ensembles, Xenharmonics and BelleTones. Ensembles under James’ direction have been featured at local, regional, national, and international conventions and choral festivals, including the ICCA. His ensembles have performed at Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin), Royal Academy of Music (London), Beijing Conservatory of Music (Beijing, PRC), the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and won a World Championship in the Mixed Chamber Choir Category at the eighth World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia in 2014. He has appeared as adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, presenter, and panel member throughout the United States. In 2010, James received the Special Citation for Excellence in Music Education from the American Prize in Choral Conducting.



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 West 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