Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 24th 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 660 groups and more than 10,000 singers at 90 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 Perfectfranchise remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors were also the subject of the TV docu-series "Sing It On," which followed 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 three 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 fourth 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 24 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2020 season will take 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



University of Tennessee
Saturday, January 25th, 2020



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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 four 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 at The Town Hall in New York City on Saturday, April 18th.

The high school tournament is now in its 15th year and continues to grow every year. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2020 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 on Saturday, April 17th.

The Open Tournament celebrated its third year in summer 2019 and featured six Semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2019 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 groups competed in October 2019 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

 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.



Ascension from East Tennessee State University aims to ascend through time by performing songs from all decades and styles, all while pushing the boundaries on a cappella itself. This is their first year as a group and they rehearse twice a week for an hour and forty-five minutes. The group works to cultivate an uplifting, loving, and familial culture during all of their time together. They perform songs from every decade starting with the 1950s, so their concerts truly have something for everyone. From grandparents, to their own parents, to their peers and all the rest, everyone will know at least one song. Their repertoire ranges from The Jackson Five, Prince, Frankie Valli, Jon Bellion, Charlie Puth, Shania Twain, Corinne Bailey Rae, and many more! They have been thinking about ICCA since their first summer rehearsals and are super excited to take things to the next level! 

The ETSU Swashbucklers is an all-male a cappella group from East Tennessee State University. The Swashbucklers has been around for almost five years now and remains student-led and full of energy and friendship! 

Greyscale was founded in 2013 at East Tennessee State University. They perform a wide range of musical styles, from pop to jazz to country to gospel. Greyscale has released four studio albums that are available on all major digital platforms. 

Harmonium is East Tennessee State University's only student-led, all-female a cappella group! Founded in 2016, this group of women loves to perform all styles of music. They believe that a cappella is a great way to form connections, begin relationships, and make incredible music! 

Resonance, established in 2018, is the first student-led, all-women's a cappella group on the University of Memphis campus. Resonance's repertoire consists of original student arrangements of popular works. They cover various genres, including R&B, pop, and soul. 

The Volatiles is the only all-male a cappella group that resides outside of the School of Music here at UTK. They provide a platform for those who love music but are not pursuing it academically. The group is completely student-led, and they are excited for their third year as a group! 

UT Singers is the oldest vocal ensemble on the UT campus and was the original choral ensemble in what was then the Department of Music. Its roots date back to the 1950s and and the group has been named Tennessee's Musical Ambassadors by the Tennessee General Assembly. UT Singers started as a traditional choral ensemble, incorporated a show choir element over the years, eventually became a jazz choir, and is now an a cappella group. 

VOLT is the University of Tennessee’s premier co-ed a cappella group! VOLT is filled with energetic performers who love making music together and embrace their originality and diversity. This year’s group is composed of nine returning members and four newbies that have caught the aca-bug and want to share it with you. 

VOLume is the University of Tennessee's original all-male a cappella group. The group has made a name for itself across Tennessee for their energetic and humorous performances. The group members represent many majors and are involved in numerous student organizations across UT's campus. VOLume is proud to represent the University of Tennessee and VOLunteer spirit!



Paige Betts is the orchestra director at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. This is her sixth year as a music educator, having taught string orchestra, chorus, and musical theatre, and has been a runner-up for Teacher of the Year. She has given clinics with various orchestras, chorus, and a cappella ensembles across the Southeast, and has taught private voice and viola lessons. Paige is a 2009 graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.M. in music education. There, she was a member and musical director of UGA's all-female a cappella group, Noteworthy. Paige lives in Buford, Ga. with her husband Andrew and their rescue dog, Jake. 

A graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano pedagogy and a concentration in musical theatre, Sarah R. Fowler currently serves as a vocal coach and staff accompanist for the WCU School of Stage & Screen. She also works with the WCU School of Music as the vocal director for their premier vocal and instrumental performing group, Catamount Singers and Electric Soul. She is one of the most sought-after vocal coaches and accompanists in Western North Carolina, having performed at both the Grand Ole Opry and at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. She performs regularly at various professional theatres as a music director and at regional area high schools as a choral accompanist. During her college years, she performed alongside notable opera singers Angela Brown, David Malis, Tonio DiPaolo, and Sherrill Milnes. She has also performed with the United States Army Field Band. Sarah currently resides in Lake Junaluska, N.C. and serves as the Director of Music and Youth Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church in Weaverville where she directs the adult, handbell, and youth choirs as well as the orchestra. She is honored to return to Varsity Vocals for her seventh season as an adjudicator. 

Kim Neidlinger attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she earned a B.S. in music mducation (voice, piano) and an M.M. in choral conducting, studying under Don Neuen. Mid-career, she attended Georgia Southern University, Statesboro and received the Education Specialist degree in music education (ABD). She has taught at all levels (elementary, middle, and high school), teaching general music, chorus, beginning guitar, and piano lab in South Carolina and Georgia. She has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, The Warwick Choral Festival , and as a soloist with the Savannah Symphony Chorus. She has performed on double bass with the Oconee Regional Orchestra and the Athens Symphony. Kim currently teaches at Haywood Community College and Western Carolina University as an adjunct instructor. 

Tye Tavaras was a member of Emory University's Aural Pleasure from 2005-2009 and from 2012-2013. She was also a member of Catatonic, a semi-professional group based in Atlanta, Ga. and the 2104 Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes Champions. In addition, she was co-executive producer of SoJam in 2014. She currently works for Emory University and is having fun singing with The Graduates. 

Rachel Wein is an alumna of Boston University, where she was the music director of In Achord, leading the group to ICCA, recording an album, and performing at Fenway Park. Rachel is a seasoned songwriter and arranger, and currently lives in Nashville, Tenn., where she works in A&R (scouting) for Prescription Songs. Along with her boss, Rachel is spearheading the Nashville branch of their company and seeks o help build up Nashville as a legitimate place where writers, artists, and producers can create on a competitive level with their peers in other parts of the world.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank 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

Patty Floyd

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Courtney Jensen
 Associate Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Bronwyn Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Gemma Davies
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Christopher Witham
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
PA/MA Program Coordinator  
ICHSA Great Lakes, Midwest, & Southwest Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West 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 placing groups will advance to the 2020 ICCA 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


FALL 2020