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



Mandarin High School 
Saturday, January 26, 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 After School Specials is a co-ed a cappella group composed of 20 students, selected from the entire student body of Palm Harbor University High School. The group performs in a variety of vocal styles, including classical, rock, and musical theatre, but feels most at home with their favorite pop song arrangements. The group was founded by the original chorus teacher, Mr. Justin Havard, and it continues to perform many of his arrangements at concerts, community gigs, and competitions each year. After School Specials has competed at ICHSA competitions for several consecutive years and looks forward to another exciting season! 

First Take is a 25-member a capella group from Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla. The group is composed of 10th through 12th grade students, all with a passion for music and performing. First Take sings a variety of selections, ranging from jazz to pop and everything in between. The second piece of their set was choreographed by one of their own students, Jordin Drayton. While First Take has been a group since 2004, this will only be their second year competing at ICHSA. Last year, the group won their Quarterfinal and was honored to compete at Semifinals in Douglasville, Ga. Though the group is still new to the competition scene, they love making music and giving their audiences an awesome experience. They are grateful to be back at the ICHSA and can’t wait to perform for you tonight! 

The PVHS Sharkappellas is the only a cappella group at Ponte Vedra High School. Mostly student-run, this eclectic group of talented singers includes programming beatboxers, lifeguarding soloists, and the musical cross country runners known to man. The Sharkappellas perform hype songs at Homecoming pep-rallies, Christmas carols at retirement homes, love songs, and songs about sharks to anyone who will listen. As the first and only a cappella group in St. John’s County, The Sharkappellas have worked their way up the a cappella ladder and hope to achieve world domination in their field. The group has rehearsals once or twice a week, and usually begin each practice with a choreography and dance session to former hit 90s songs, to honor their roots as millennials and Gen X children. Where these 17 and 18-year-olds fall short in managing a 25-person group, director Jason Nettle picks up the slack. If you are interested in meeting this superhuman individual, he will be selling albums in the lobby following the performances for tonight. The Sharkappellas are extremely excited to be performing at ICHSA, and consider it their highlight every year. FINS UP, PV! 

The Tribe A Cappella started humbly in 2011 and has grown to include most of the interesting people at Chamberlain High School. They meet every school day, plus several doughnut and pizza-filled Saturdays to try their hands (and feet) at choreography. They love every type of music imaginable and never agree on anything. This will be their eighth consecutive appearance in ICHSA. 

Tonal Spectrum is the premier a cappella group at Crest High School in Shelby, N.C. In 2015, these small-town kids won the ICHSA Ohio Valley Semifinal, placed 4th in the Finals, and released their first album. This auditioned, student-led group devotes their time to sharing their music with the community. In 2016, Tonal Spectrum released their single, “Stitches,” along with its music video. They’ve been nominated for Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and featured on the Sing and BOHSA 2017 compilation albums. Their rehearsal space is a school lobby and their microphones are expo markers, but they still get the job done. Tonal Spectrum wants everyone to know that talent and hard work will always persevere, even without an auditorium or expensive sound system. The legacy of this group lies before its current members and they are ready to live up to the expectations! “We rep the Spectrum!” 

Vocal Affinity is Myers Park High School’s very first mixed a cappella group, composed of 18 auditioned members from grades 10 through 12. All of their concert and competition music is arranged by Duncan Pickett, co-president and bass 2. They tirelessly begin rehearsing in the summer and then twice a week during the school year. They’ve performed a variety of music, including songs by Radiohead, Adele, Gustav Holst, Elton John, and more! Vocal Affinity believes that they are able to perform so well together because of the “family dynamic”: their shared love of music and value for one another. Vocal Affinity is a club rather than a class, so every member chooses to dedicate their time to this group. This is their second year competing in ICHSA, and they are so excited to be back!


The Mandarin High School Choral Department is composed of five different choirs who all love to sing: Training Choir, SSA, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorale, and Chamber Choir. The Chamber Choir, the highest-level choir in the department, is audition-based and encourages all students to audition. MHS Chorus performs four concerts a year on campus, in addition to performances at the annual District and State Music Performance Assessments and in Disney’s Candlelight Processional. These various groups and opportunities allow students to express themselves and hone their talents, while learning and having fun!

, coming to us all the way from Tallahassee, is Florida State University’s only tenor-bass a cappella group. Established in fall 2007, Reverb performs at various concerts, competitions, and other events in the Tallahassee community and throughout the United States. Reverb is known for having members who aren’t afraid to break musical boundaries, dance onstage, and push past what’s expected of a typical tenor-bass a cappella group. Though its members may change every few years, Reverb will always strive to produce performances that are musically impressive, emotionally captivating, and thoroughly entertaining.



Elisabeth Crumrine is a graduate of Florida State University where she was an active member of The Acabelles from 2003-2006. She has a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music Education in choral conducting from Florida State. Elisabeth is also a member of The Festival Singers of Florida, an auditioned choir that promotes music education around the state. Elisabeth has been a certified adjudicator for the Florida Vocal Association since 2012. She is the choir director at Ducan U Fletcher High School and Ponte Vedra United Methodist. 

Christopher Hickey is an up-and-coming conductor and educator in Volusia County, Fla. He teaches chorus and piano at Campbell Middle School in Daytona Beach and is the traditional music director and founding artistic director of the Grace Notes Concert Series at Port Orange Presbyterian Church. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Stetson University in 2016. At Stetson, Christopher directed Hat Trick, a tenor-bass a cappella group composed of 14 majors and non-majors. Hat Trick went on annual tours throughout the state and performed at various events on the DeLand campus. Christopher is also a first tenor with The Qwatet, a professional caroling group in Detroit, Mich. In 2015, Christopher was a national conducting finalist of the ACDA undergraduate conducting competition in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is currently the tenor section leader of the Festival Singers of Florida under the direction of Dr. Kevin Fenton, a tenor soloist with Voci Del Core under the direction of Dr. Jeffery Redding, and a tenor soloist with Florida Pro Musica under the direction of Dr. Larry Kent.

Nick Powers is the chorus director at Lake Brantley High School. Previously, he was the chorus director at both Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. and Central Middle School in Melbourne, Fla. Nick was the founding director of the high school a cappella group, Acapocalypse, which has placed at ICHSA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. He is an active a cappella arranger and choral judge and clinician around the state of Florida. He holds his Bachelor of Music Education from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.

Joshua Singer served as music director and arranger for two-time ICCA Finalists, University of Maryland Faux Paz. In 2016, he was awarded Outstanding Arrangement for the Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Josh arranged the winning 2017 BOSS Scholastic Competition set for Faux. His work has been nominated for multiple CARAs, including a 2016 nomination for Best Electronic Song for his arrangement of "Our Own House" by Misterwives. Josh won the CARA for "Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement" for Faux Paz's single, "Where Are Ü Now" by Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo. Josh was a featured director on the second season of Pop Network's “Sing It On," which followed his group's ICCA journey to Finals. Josh continues to engage with the a cappella community through his arrangements, collaborations, and workshops, and actively works to inspire groups across the country to take their music and performance to the next level.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Mandarin High School Administration, Alyssa Weaver (Producer’s Assistant); 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 South 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