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



Ironwood Ridge High School
Saturday, February 2, 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.



Gold Dust Avenue is Chaparral High School's extracurricular a cappella group. Gold Dust Avenue is self-run and includes nine singers. They specialize in pop, but occasionally throw in jazz, R&B, and alternative styles. This group of high school students includes singers with many different musical backgrounds, including focuses in classical, musical theatre, pop, R&B, and alternative music. Together, this mix creates a eclectic group of people and a totally unique sound. 

In Tone Nation is a 14-member mixed ensemble from Gila Ridge High School. This is their 3rd year performing in the ICHSA. As a group, they don't like to be tied down to any specific genre of music, and enjoy testing their vocal skills with pop, rock, jazz, alternative, country, and hip hop. Even when they sing popular titles, In Tone Nation likes to change them up and mix styles, creating a new musical experience with each performance.

Justified A Cappella from Gilbert Christian High School is a six-member ensemble, which performs contemporary arrangements and original renditions of sacred and secular music. 

Red Harmony A Cappella rehearses twice weekly after school, and takes pride in adding their own creative musical flourishes to popular songs. The auditioned contemporary ensemble performs alongside curricular choral classes at Walden Grove, and has become a featured presence at school and community events, while competing annually in scholastic a cappella festivals

Resolve is the premier contemporary high school a cappella group in the Utah Vally. Founded in 2010, the group started out as only five members who sought to create something totally out of the box, and a cappella was the answer. Every member in Resolve is involved in other programs across the school, including sports, drama, choir, band, and more. A self-run group, they want to show that a cappella has a place in every school and community. They have performed in local, school, church, and community venues, including the Rio Tinto Soccer Stadium, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Vocal Sport, and Utah High School A Cappella. Although they may seem small, the group wants to make their mark in the a cappella community. After taking 4th place at last year’s ICHSA Semifinal, they knew that they wanted to return and do even better! In their set tonight, Resolve hopes to share a positive message about coming together even when everything is working against you. “There’s a place for us…” - Carrie Underwood.

Vocal Effect is a group of highly diverse individuals that all come together to make music. From the outside, you might think no one should get along in Vocal Effect, with a mix of "cool" kids, kids who are friends with everyone, and the introverted kids who keep to themselves, but somehow, they all come together to make amazing music. They resolve most of group conflicts through impromptu Denny's meetings early in the morning! Somehow, that usually works for them. Vocal Effect provides hope for all of its members and reminds them that they are not alone. In their rural Colorado town, sometimes the most fun they have is in school. Grueling 7:00am practices can be a killer on their mental awareness, but they wouldn't have it any other way. Though they have their moments, the small town kids of Vocal Effect are doing their best and love making music together!



Celine Durney graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Choral Music Education. During her time in college, she participated in elite ensembles of various vocal styles, including choral, jazz, and opera, and was a founding member and music director of the nationally acclaimed all-female a cappella group, The NAU Axecidentals. She has been given an Honorable Mention under the voice: popular category by National YoungArts and is a professional recording artist and composer for various musical projects. Over the years, she has performed live on several radio shows and at various venues alongside the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Groove For Thought, The Real Group, and Grammy-winning artists such as Pentatonix and Josh Groban. She loves staying involved in the a cappella community as a frequent workshop leader for creating arrangements at choral and a cappella festivals across the state and has arranged for choir programs across the country. Celine currently teaches choir at Greenfield Junior High School and Gilbert High School, while still actively performing with and arranging for her own a cappella group, Side Note. 

Courtney Evans is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in choral music education. At NAU, she participated in vocal ensembles of various styles, including choral, jazz, opera, and contemporary a cappella. Courtney is a founding member of the award-winning a cappella group, Northern Arizona Unaccompanied, with whom she has recorded professionally and performed internationally. She is also a professional choreographer for high school and college-level show choirs and a cappella groups throughout the nation. As a soloist, she has many 1st place wins in vocal competitions at the state and regional levels. She has performed in professional choirs within Arizona and currently sings with Canto Vivo Chorale. As a clinician, Courtney has presented at various conferences, music camps, and a cappella festivals, leading workshops on competition preparation, student leadership, vocal technique, arranging, and vocal percussion. 

Nason Werth has been known to travel the country for a good a cappella show, and currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz. Originally from the great state of Michigan, Nason studied vocal performance at Michigan State University, where he served as music director and bass with MSU’s first co-ed a cappella group and ICCA fixture, Capital Green. He gained broad ensemble experience as a student with the university chorale, chamber choir, jazz octet, and section leader in the Okemos Presbyterian Church. Nason relocated to the Mid-Atlantic after college and has performed with the Handel Choir of Baltimore and the Bach in Baltimore ensembles. He currently serves as a nominator and judge for the A Cappella Video Awards (AVAs) and Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and is looking forward to a great show!



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank AJ Lepore, Caleb Moore, the entire team at Ironwood Ridge High School, and the amazing students for serving as such gracious hosts; 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 Southwest 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