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



Elsinore Theatre
Friday, January 25, 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.



South Albany’s Ascend! (the artist formerly known as Rebelation!) is an energetic group of a dozen South Albany High School students. They meet at 6:40 a.m. each morning to hone their brand of a cappella music. They are excited for this year’s ICHSA!

, from Cottage Grove High School in Cottage Grove, Ore., is celebrating its third year performing rock and pop a cappella and its first year as an all-female group. Members of Microphonics are also in the school's award-winning jazz choir, Shades of Jazz. This choir won group competitions and multiple solo awards last year, including Mike Wiggins Memorial Award for Best Jazz Vocalist, Alex Istudor. All Microphonics members are also in Cottage Grove's Chamber Choir, which hopes to return to the state competition in Oregon this year. Altogether, these students have cultivated a well-rounded discipline of classical, jazz, and popular singing, with multiple opportunities to sing for diverse crowds at festivals, competitions, and blues revues. They have plans to perform in Sacramento and San Francisco this May. No matter the style, the singers of Microphonics believe that the most important aspect of music is connecting with the audience, and they look forward to sharing that experience today.

The Sherwood High School Mixolydians
is a group of fun-loving musicians from Sherwood, Ore. They love spending time together just as much as they love singing and creating crowd-pleasing choreography.  For the past five years, The Mixolydians have placed in the top three at the Portland Rose City Sing-Off, and earned 1st place in 2015 and 2016! The Mixolydians are also proud of their 2015 ICHSA Quarterfinal  awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Arrangement of their entire set, as well as their 3rd place title in 2016. Most recently, they earned Outstanding Arrangement at their 2018 ICHSA Quarterfinal and a 1st place title at the Bend A Cappella Festival. The Mixolydians have enjoyed participating in the ICHSA for six years in a row and are so excited to be back this year! 

Rhythmix hails from West Albany High School and is thrilled to perform for you this evening. Under the direction of Cate Caffarella, Rhythmix specializes in performing everything, from madrigals and motets to contemporary a cappella chart-topping hits. Rhythmix has received superior ratings at ACDA small ensembles festivals, the OR ACDA Gold Award for outstanding performances and Judges Choice awards at the A Cappella in Albany Festival.  In 2016, Rhythmix earned 1st place at their ICHSA Semifinal. Most importantly, they enjoy performing for enthusiastic audiences throughout the Mid-Willamette Valley. 

Something Dangerous 
is the premier mixed-voice a cappella ensemble at McNary High School, combining the school’s student-led men’s ensemble, The Dangertones, and student-led women’s ensemble, Something Blue, into a full-vocal-spectrum dream team. Something Dangerous works with the guidance of the McNary choir teacher, Joshua Rist, and brings engaging, charismatic performances of various musical styles to their school and community. They are proud of their tight-knit community and love to share their enthusiastic, moving performances with others. 

Soul'd Out
, founded in 2007, is a mixed a cappella group from Wilsonville High School in Wilsonville, Ore., just south of Portland. The group is composed of students from all grade levels, musical backgrounds, and vocal types. They are quickly making a name for themselves as one of the best high school a cappella groups in the country with their stunning arrangements and breathtaking solos. In 2010, they won the ICHSA Northwest Semifinal, received awards for Outstanding Choreography and Soloist, and placed 5th at ICHSA Finals. Soul'd Out took 2011 head-on, winning the Western Regional and taking 2nd place at ICHSA Finals. In 2012, Soul'd Out took 1st place in the first-ever Rose City Sing-Off, and sang in the Portland Rose Parade. Later that summer, they produced their first studio-recorded album, Off The Loft. In the 2014 ICHSA Northwest Semifinal, Soul'd Out took 1st place and again went on to compete in Finals. Later in 2014, Soul'd Out received 1st place in the Rose City Sing-Off for the third consecutive year in a row. They have continued this streak of success in the years since, earning 1st place at the 2018 ICHSA Northwest Semifinal, and performing at Lincoln Center with the 10 best high school a cappella groups in the nation. 

Synergy is the young women’s a cappella ensemble from the Oregon Children’s Choir, made up of women from surrounding high schools in Eugene/Springfield, Ore. Founded in the fall of 2012, Synergy was created by Evynne Hollens, co-founder of Divisi, the University of Oregon’s premier women’s a cappella group. The women of Synergy have established a reputation as a tight musical group with a bold sound. In just their first year, Synergy placed 3rd at the ICHSA Northwest Semifinals and Maddison Ketting brought home the award for Outstanding Soloist. They then won the Wild Card Round, which sent them to New York City to compete in the 2013 ICHSA Final. In 2015, Synergy placed 4th in Northwest Semifinals and Arielle Ward received Outstanding Arrangement for “Sang Sang.” In 2016, Synergy again placed 4th at Semifinals, with awards for Outstanding Soloist Arielle Ward and Outstanding Choreography for Kyra Siegel. In 2017, Synergy earned 1st place at Semifinals, with Arielle Ward winning both Outstanding Soloist for "River" and Outstanding Arrangement for "Til It Happens To You,” and Kyra Siegel winning Outstanding Vocal Percussion. Synergy then competed in the 2017 ICHSA Finals in New York where Arielle Ward won Outstanding Arrangement for "Til It Happens To You."



Jordan Rashaun Bilbrew began his music career in his early childhood, studying classical music since age nine. After seven years of attending performing arts schools, he brought his talents to Florida State University as a leader, assistant arranger, and focal soloist for the award-winning group, All-Night Yahtzee. There, he competed in many ICCA and Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) competitions, including an appearance in the 2016 ICCA Finals. Upon graduation, Jordan began as the lead tenor for New York City’s award-winning professional a cappella group, Backtrack Vocals. He has toured, competed, filmed numerous YouTube videos, and was even invited to headline Sing Strong A Cappella Festival. He is presently on a break from performing professionally to pursue a career in medicine, but is still very passionate about a cappella education!

Sean Braxton has been on the a cappella scene for 14 years, arranging for numerous groups. He currently performs with and is the primary arranger for Restless Vocal band, an award-winning seven-part vocal band in Seattle. Sean also performs lead vocals, keys, and percussion for top-40 party band, The Nines, and has opened for the likes of Jay Leno and Joel McHale. He is currently signed to Verbal Inc, a hip hop and R&B songwriting collective.

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.

Raymund Ocampo is a conductor with experience leading choirs of different age levels and talents, including symphonic choruses, and high-level ensembles. Raymund serves as Music Program Chair and Director of Choral Studies at Linn-Benton Community College. There, he conducts the highly acclaimed chamber choir and concert choir and teaches courses in music appreciation, theory, world music, and music fundamentals. Previously, Raymund served as the Bonita L. Bass Memorial Assistant Conductor for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and has prepared choruses for symphonic conductors Michael Francis, Evan Rogister, Earl Rivers, Joshua Weilerstein, Jeff Tyzik, Stuart Malina, and Danail Rachav. His other leadership roles in the music world range from serving as Director of Music at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, to leading public school choral programs in Ohio and Indiana. In addition, Raymund founded and served as artistic of 'ascend,' a professional eight-member vocal ensemble dedicated to performing new works in unique ways. Raymund holds a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of South Florida, where he studied under the guidance of Dr. James Bass, and a Bachelor of Music in music education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he studied with Dr. René Clausen and Dr. Paul Nesheim.

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 Pete and Trina from Yoakum Light and Sound, our photographer Jake Young, guest group Up Top, and all the staff at the Elsinore Theatre, especially Tom Fohn, Greg Reider, Stephen Munshaw, Carlee Wright, and Heather Duncan; 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 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