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



Elsinore Theatre 
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.



Blue Light Special is Linn-Benton's all-male a cappella group. Blue Light sings everything from 80s one-hit wonders, today's top 40 hits, and everything in between. Blue Light performs in competitions and events around the Willamette Valley year round. They regularly ask themselves these questions: “Why are we here?” “What are you getting at Taco Bell?” And “soup or salad?” 

Divine All-Female* A Cappella is Oregon State University’s premier women’s a cappella group. The  asterisk in their name after “all-female” clarifies that Divine accepts any person who identifies as female! Divine is made up of strong women in all areas of study, ranging from the arts to the sciences, all of whom share a passion for singing. Every woman in Divine is unique in their own way. Some are presidents/members of other organizations on campus, many are double majors, and one is even a student athlete! What most clearly defines this group is the amount of heart and soul they put into the growth of their ensemble and into empowering women. Divine is a sisterhood which creates lasting friendships and memories from the music they create and they hope to share that experience with all who listen. 

On a rainy Friday at 4:00pm in the fall of 2001, Eight Ladies & A Beau Tie performed for the first time at the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union. Just three months later, the Eight Ladies traded in their Beau Tie for ties of their own to become the University’s premier all-women’s a cappella group, Divisi. Over the last 18 years, Divisi has grown from the roots of these original members, united by a common love for music and friendship. Today, Divisi strives to promote women’s empowerment while taking bold strides in the world of a cappella music. 

Headband is a vivacious group of tenors, baritones, basses and vocal percussionists who perform contemporary a cappella music in a variety of genres. Headband performs on Willamette's campus, sings around Salem, travels to regional festivals, and competes in the ICCA. Check them out on YouTube and Spotify!

Hilltop Harmony is a small group, but they always have a great time! They bond through their shared love for music, singing at churches and around school. They have especially enjoyed performing in the ICCA for the past several years and are excited to be back! 

Outspoken is a collegiate a cappella group consisting of 12 men from various majors who love to sing and connect with their fans from Oregon State University and around the world! Outspoken was founded in the fall of 2002 by Jason Taylor and David Emmert and has grown in popularity and success ever since. These young men have Friday shows throughout the school year (inside OSU’s Memorial Union), and frequently perform in concerts, private gigs, as well as the ICCA. The group enjoys performing at Greek life philanthropy events and many other performances for charitable causes and corporate events. The group’s music consists of many different genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and more! The group is limited to male-identified members but form a powerhouse in their performances and shows!

Established in 2013, Power Chord is Oregon State University's all-inclusive a cappella group. Although Power Chord has only been around for a short time, they have been featured in shows all across Oregon as an up-and-coming a cappella group. They have also performed with other a cappella groups around Oregon and beyond, including Blue Light Special, Headband, and Mind the Gap. They have performed as a guest group at the ICCA Northwest Semifinal, at the Oregon State Glee Choir's Sing Off, as hosts of the 2018 Contemporary A Cappella Musician's Institute’s annual festival, and so much more. The group has participated in the ICCA for three years running and plans to remain a consistent and ever-present powerhouse in the competition. The group members represent a variety of majors, from earth science to criminal justice, but a common love of music brings them together. This SATB group has a blast performing on campus and local venues and they would love it if you plugged in with Power Chord! 

Portland State University's premier a cappella ensemble, The Green Note is a passionate group of musicians always reaching for the top. With a focus on high -level musicianship, commitment to teamwork, and goal of cultivating a support network for its members, they have come far in their 10 years as the only a cappella group on campus. They are getting ready to record more music and are thrilled to show the a cappella community what they have to offer! Their unique arrangements, individual style, and broad repertoire reflect this diverse group of performers with a signature modern sound. The Green Note attends regional and national competitions, clinics, and events, and performs at gigs on campus, in the Portland metro area, and around Oregon. This inclusive group of dedicated students loves to perform and share the beauty of music with their audiences! 

The Sirens is an all-female a cappella group founded in 2010. They perform year-round throughout the Willamette Valley at venues including the Majestic Theater in Corvallis and Sybaris in Albany, as well as on campus at LBCC. These sisters work together like a family, taking care of one another and standing together to create a beautiful sound, in styles ranging from hip-hop and pop, to 80s rock and roll. They enjoy eating pizza, playing with cats, and performing for their friends and family. #sirens #rice #cats #friendgoals 

Up Top is Willamette University's beloved soprano/alto a cappella group. They enjoy long walks in lush green environments and anything involving the color yellow. They specialize in brightening people's days with their melodious and mellifluous mellow tunes which include all varieties of music and other exciting noises. They love a good high five as much as the next person and they might just be three ducks in a trench coat, but most importantly, they love and support one another through all of their individual endeavors and love getting to show that love by performing for you.



Dr. Kerry Burtis has taught choral music and voice at the high school and collegiate level for more than 20 years. He received his bachelor's in music education from Augustana College in South Dakota and master's and doctorate degrees in music from the University of Southern California. Besides teaching, conducting, and serving as an adjudicator and clinician, he has served on several professional choral boards. Sought after as a clinician and adjudicator, Kerry has conducted orchestras and musicals and been a music critic, professional singer/arranger, and timpanist. 

The daughter of a choir teacher and accompanist, Cate Caffarella received a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Music Education from Boston University. This is her 14th year at West Albany High School, where she directs three choirs and heads the drama program. WAHS choirs have won numerous awards, including top-five finishes at OSAA State Choir competitions, district championships, judges’ choice awards, and ICHSA Semifinals. Cate and her husband, Jason (also a musician), are former directors of the Oregon Children’s Choir Young Men’s Ensemble and The Classics. They and their children, Tobin, Taran, and Teah, enjoy singing and spending time together 

Jason Caffarella currently teaches music at Linn Benton Community College and is the founder of the award-winning a cappella group, Rezonate. He earned a B.S. in voice from State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Oregon. From 2001 to 2007, he directed choirs and small ensembles, including a cappella groups, in the Oregon Children’s Choir organization. He enjoys adjudicating vocal festivals of all kinds, including solo/ensemble, a cappella, and choral for age groups ranging from middle school through college. 

Matt Caruso is the owner and chief engineer at the exclusively a cappella studio and production company, ACappellaPsych, based in Portland, Ore. He has been singing, arranging, directing, and teaching contemporary a cappella for over 14 years. His "Aca-Jedi Mind Tricks" workshop has been a highly attended, extremely successful event offered at major a cappella festivals, such as the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, Boston Sings, VoCAL Nation, AcappellaFest, SoJam, and more. He has performed masterclasses and clinics for choirs and a cappella groups around the country. From 2009-2012, Matt served as the music proctor and touring proctor for the American Boychoir and American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J. This is Matt's second year adjudicating for Varsity Vocals and he can't wait to be blown away by the incredible talent onstage tonight. 

Jacob Steinberger received bachelor's and master‘s degrees in music education at the University of Oregon. During his time at UO, he sang with the nationally acclaimed a cappella group, On the Rocks. In 2010, he competed with On the Rocks as a contestant on Season Two of NBC’s "The Sing Off." Jacob is currently in his ninth year of teaching at Churchill High School in Eugene, Ore. There, he is the Director of Choirs and teaches AP Music Theory. 



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jake Yoakum, to our sound crew, Yoakum Light and Sound, and everyone at the Elsinore Theatre; 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 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


FALL 2020