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



Fox Theatre
Saturday, February 23, 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.



Dynamix is the first official a cappella group from Moorpark College! Since Dynamix started in the fall of 2017, they have performed pop and contemporary music all over Ventura and Los Angeles County, including last year’s ICCA. Besides performing at Moorpark College’s Vocal Showcase, Dynamix loves to carol for the holidays and perform at events on and off campus. One of their most successful performances was MC’s Multicultural Day, where they had the opportunity to teach two large classes of students about a cappella music, and even had a workshop on beatboxing! All of the group members spend a lot time together outside of rehearsals, going to In-N-Out for late night dinners and at their monthly group parties. They look forward to representing the community of Moorpark again, as well as creating a group that will last for years to come. 

Proud. Distinguished. Elite. These are words that have absolutely nothing to do with the group known as Fermata Nowhere. You might try other words, like “distracted,” “frolicking,” “ravenous,” or “devastatingly handsome.” After donning their trademark jumpsuits in 2003, they made their first trip from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. to ICCA Finals in spring 2004, taking 2nd place. In 2009, they made a return trip, this time becoming the first community college to win the ICCA Champion title. Fermata Nowhere would like to thank all of you for coming tonight, but especially their friends, families, and ex-girlfriends for their continued support. 

The Spartan Stellas is the first and only all-female a cappella group at San Jose State University, founded in 2016 by current director Lily Ardalan. In the group’s two years of existence, they have grown from six members to 18, and have performed at numerous venues, large and small. The group has never had a specific style, but they experiment every semester in hopes of finding their musical identity and finding what sets them apart from other all-girl a cappella groups. The Stellas are still finding their footing in the a cappella community, as the newest group at their university, but they are proud to be entirely self-run and self-funded. They strive for female empowerment and self-expression in all of their performances, and they are excited for the ICCA to be their next step in growing as a group and connecting with the a cappella community! 

Dil Se is UC Berkeley's premier South Asian a cappella group. Their unique music combines the melody-based raagas of Hindi film music with the depth and harmony that drive western music to create a fresh perspective on the tradition of a capella. This group consists of many accomplished singers with diverse sets of experience, with years of Hindustani and Carnatic music, to western classical and jazz choirs. Dil Se has toured across California and established themselves as one of the best Indian-fusion a cappella groups in the state. Each song offers audiences a well-rounded performance that emanates Dil Se, "from the heart." 

The UC Men's Octet is an eight-member a cappella singing group composed of some of the finest male singers at the University of California, Berkeley. Founded in 1948, The Octet has entertained audiences around the world with its unique mesh of close harmonies and zany stage antics. Dazzling fans with a wide repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, contemporary pop, modern alternative, and of course, Cal fight songs, the group has released dozens of recordings over the years. The Octet is also among the few two-time champions of the ICCA. 

Let’s take a trip back to a time immemorial. 1995. The scene: a quiet study lounge in the Tercero Housing Complex. Illuminated under fluorescent lights, several young men and women are gathered in the center of the room. The setting sun breaks through the clouds, enveloping the ring of figures in a warm shaft of light. The silence breaks. Once the light fades into a soft glow, a name emerges from the melodies and harmonies: The Lounge Lizards. Present day, 22 years later, The Lizards continue to show off their unique style and sass. The oldest a cappella group at UC Davis, they are often seen performing their favorite tunes, from MJ to Beyoncé, at campus and local events. The best time to hear them is at their annual concert, No Instruments Attached, where they assemble groups across California for a night of wonderful music. Like the original 1995 group, the current Lounge Lizards bring more than just their voices to the group. Offstage, they can be found getting boba, having freestyle rap battles, and sharing homemade chicken nuggets. They weave that friendship into every song they perform and always look forward to sharing that bond with new audiences. 

Acquire A Cappella is a co-ed cappella group from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Formed in February 2007, they entertain audiences with a wide range of material arranged solely by members of the all-student group. Twice a week, these singers come together to learn, arrange, and perform music that they love.


From the heart of Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay area, vocal band Business Casual combines unexpected musical styles to produce stylish, a cappella versions of vintage chart toppers, top 40 hits, and award-winning original songs. In 2018, Business Casual won the National Champion title of the Harmony Sweepstakes a cappella competition. In previous years, they swept the San Francisco regional Harmony Sweepstakes a cappella competition, taking home awards including Best Arrangement, Audience Favorite, Best Original Song, and 1st place overall. Business Casual has performed at corporate events and conferences, including Dreamforce and Wizard World Comic Con, as well as community events such as the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and San José Christmas in the Park. In addition to a regular schedule of private events, the group has played live public gigs at Neck of the Woods and Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco, and opened for Naturally 7 at the Great American Music Hall in 2017. In 2018, Business Casual had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall in Varsity Vocals' 2018 Open Finals. The group’s first original single, “Ain’t No Way,” was released in March 2018. Business Casual also conducts workshops with local schools and participates in collaborations with other Bay Area artists. 



Brian Clanton has been involved with music from a very young age. His interest in a cappella began when he joined InToneNation of Montgomery Blair High School as a freshman, and flourished in college when he joined Rochester Institute of Technology's Eight Beat Measure. Brian served as the group’s music director, which culminated in the production of Eight Beat's third studio album, Polarized, which went on to receive excellent reviews from the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB)! He currently works as a software engineer at Zynga and continues to feed his a cappella needs by arranging for college groups. 

Doug Friedman has an undergraduate degree in music from Brandeis and a master’s degree in music technology from NYU. He has been a vocal performer for over 22 years, having been a member of  Voicemale at Brandeis, the semi-professional group Overboard, barbershop choir Fog City Singers, and he is a current member of Beyond Zebra, a semi-professional pop a cappella band in the Bay Area. Doug is a certified recording engineer and currently works for iTunes/Apple Music. 

Bill Hare is a Grammy-winning recording engineer/producer, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella. Over the past 35 years, Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known contemporary a cappella groups around the globe, from The Swingle Singers to The King’s Singers in the U.K., Basix to Vocal Line in Denmark, Italy's Cluster, The Ghost Files, Alti & Bassi and Maybe6ix, German supergroups Wise Guys, Amarcord, and Maybebop, to name just a few, as well as artists from dozens of other countries, from Australia to Zambia. At the same time, he also covers the U.S. from his home base in California, working with top American acts, including The House Jacks, m-pact, Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, The Backbeats, Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys, as well as working on the hit NBC show, “The Sing-Off.” Collegiate a cappella clients include The Tufts Beelzebubs, University of Oregon’s On The Rocks and Divisi, The Stanford Harmonics, and scores of others. Bill’s story was also told in the original book version of “Pitch Perfect,” from which the popular movies were adapted. Bill’s accolades include more than 70 appearances on BOCA, over 100 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations, nearly 40 albums on RARB's "Picks of the Year" lists, and 11 "DeeBee" awards since 1987 in the vocal jazz category from Downbeat Magazine. Bill has also had numerous appearances on Billboard, iTunes, and other major charts, Gold and Platinum record certifications around the world, and multiple music awards and nominations. 

Jessie Louise Mark holds a bachelor's degree from Duke University, where she majored in history and minored in music, and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. During her four years as a member and director of Duke’s award-winning all-female a cappella group, Lady Blue, Jessie developed a love for music theory, arranging, and a cappella education. Upon graduation, she taught music theory and vocal arranging at a cappella festivals around the country, ultimately co-founding Miami’s a cappella festival, The Betsy’s A Cappella Festival, in 2014. Jessie currently sings and beatboxes with all-female vocal band VXN. She is currently based in the Bay Area where she works as an HR Consultant. Contact Jessie at

Like most a cappella performers, Kali Smith Monma grew up in jazz, concert, and show choirs before graduating to collegiate a cappella with The USC Sirens. With The Sirens, she choreographed numbers for two ICCA seasons, recorded three albums, toured the East Coast twice, and served as group manager for two years. Her first arrangement, "Time Is Running Out," was included on the 2005 BOCA album, and she was nominated for a 2006 CARA for Best Female Collegiate Solo. Kali graduated from USC in 2007 with a degree in theatre and minor in dance and she is currently a working actress in Los Angeles.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Pete and Trina from Yoakum Light and Sound, our guest performance group and tonight's emcees, Business Casual, and all the staff at the Fox Theatre, especially Eric, Lori, Michelle, Ernie, and Nigel; 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