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



Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Friday, January 25, 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.



Bear Necessities is the co-ed a cappella group from Vestal High School, home of the Vestal Golden Bears. The group was founded in 2011 and has helped many young singers develop into leaders of their college groups and lifelong singers. The members of Bear Necessities are respectful, talented, funny, and motivated members of the Vestal, N.Y. community, and keep busy organizing and performing in eclectic activities year-round. Bear Necessities is a subset of the select mixed choir, Vestal Voices. 

Established one year ago, Dramatic Paws is the premier a cappella group at Johnson City High School, and consists of students in grades 10 through 12. Directed by Kat Eucker, the group is totally student-run and specializes in pop music and occasionally jazz. In the past year, Dramatic Paws has begun begin touring the community and recorded a TV spot for last holiday season. Dramatic Paws has had the opportunity to work with Ithaca College's ICVoiceStream, and took 2nd place at last year’s Quarterfinal in Albany.  

For Good Measure is the a cappella group from Mohonasen High School in Schenectady, N.Y. They have been performing at local school and community events since 2012. The 17 members of this group are highly involved in their high school music department, including various instrumental ensembles, several choirs, and their school theatre program. This is their fourth year competing in the ICHSA and they were very proud to be runners-up at last year’s Northeast Semifinal! They look forward to another great experience this year!

Newly formed this year, The PacaBellas, also known as The Bellas, is an expansion of Mahopac High School’s The PACapellas. This student-led group provides fresh ground to explore a more feminine and unique sound to a cappella.

The PACapellas
is a co-ed a cappella team founded in 2009. They have shared the stage with many performers, from singer/songwriter Hailey Knox to the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-r Shirley Austin Reeves. They are known to burst into song in stairwells, hallways, donut shops, and delis, and frequently perform at community and charity events.

Rhythm on Rye is a student-run a cappella group from Rye High School in Rye, N.Y. This group of sophomores, juniors, and seniors loves to perform for their community. Whether at their own high school or in local elementary schools and nursing homes, the group loves to make others smile through music. The singers of Rhythm on Rye have become guacamole connoisseurs due to the ongoing guac-appella competition that takes place each rehearsal. Sara Bareilles enthusiasts, the members of Rhythm on Rye love to sing the top 10 hits, but aren't afraid of a good old throwback, either. They are grateful for the amazing opportunity to participate in the 2019 ICHSA!

South Glens Falls High School’s Vocal Point hails from upstate New York and is returning to the ICHSA for a sixth season. A cappella accomplishments include a 2017 L.A. performance tour and multiple professional recording studio projects. Be sure to follow VP on social media or email them at for information on their sixth annual a cappella festival, TuneUp.

Vocalibrium comes to you from York Central School, a tiny school about 30 miles south of Rochester, N.Y. Class sizes average around 55 a grade and "everyone does EVERYTHING." Although Vocalibrium is an all-female group competing in the mostly co-ed ICHSA world, they are unfazed! You can usually find them running around from rehearsal to sports practice, eating copious amounts of pizza, and practicing their part tapes.

The Nightingales is an all-female, student-run a cappella group at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut. As a group, they strive to create an accepting, empowering, and loving atmosphere where they can connect through music. They are proud to share their love for singing throughout their community. With a repertoire ranging from the best of Queen to the songs heard on the radio today, The Nightingales are ready to break into song at a moment’s notice. This is both a blessing and a curse.



Gyasi Barber, a New Jersey native, completed his Master of Music in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. There, Gyasi played Figaro in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Don Pedro De Hinoyosa in Offenbach's "La Perichole," and Ben Benny in "Paul Bunyan." Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Syracuse University, and played such roles as Pish Tush in "The Mikado," Frank in Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," and Sarastro in "Die Zauberflote." Gyasi has performed as a featured soloist with the Masterworks Chorale in Boston, as the bass soloist for their annual Messiah Sing, and played Collatinus in Opera Brittenica’s production of Britten's "Rape of Lucretia.” Currently based in New York City, Gyasi performs with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to other small groups.

A graduate of the Crane School of Music, Holden Maiorana music directed the Potsdam Pitches for two years, leading them to ICCA Finals. An award-winning arranger, Holden actively arranges for college and high school groups around the Northeast. He is currently the high school choir director at Spackenkill High School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he created the school's first ever a cappella group.

Anthony Pulido
is an arranger and director for Uproar, a Boston-based, professional a cappella group. He attended Northeastern University, where he directed and arranged for The Unisons. He also records and workshops groups and artists in the greater Northeast region, notably at festivals such as BOSS, NE Voices, and Haunted Harmonies. You can also find him as the third member of the “Head/Voice” podcast team. Check out the podcast to hear Anthony discuss a cappella with other members of the community.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jacob McVey, Bri Jessmore, A Sharp Arrangement, Michele Cassaro, Kim Gardner, Kim Strosahl, John Cook, and the rest of the production team at RPI EMPAC; 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 three finishing groups advance to the ICHSA 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