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



Lincoln Southwest High School
Saturday, February 9, 2019



We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!




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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.



Boots & Cats, the premier all-female a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, features 16 undergraduate women from all areas of campus. Founded in 2011, the cats love to sing all kinds of music, from Arctic Monkeys to Beyoncé to Florence + the Machine. B&C was grateful for the opportunity to place 3rd in last year’s Quarterfinal, also receiving awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Choreography. The cats are so excited to be competing again this year! When they’re not rehearsing, learning to beatbox, or hanging out with one of the other UNL a cappella groups, you can probably find the cats at Village Inn enjoying Free Pie Wednesday. 

Cadence A Cappella was formed in 1998 as an offshoot of the men's glee club for a group of guys who wanted to come together, have fun, and sing awesome music. Coming out of their 20th year, not much has changed. They represent K-State through putting together ridiculous, fun, quality entertainment to perform for incoming seniors, local sorority houses, and many events for the surrounding Manhattan area and a good chunk of Northeastern Kansas. Students across campus look forward to Cadence's performances every semester and stream their yearly albums on Spotify. People know that if they need a laugh or want to listen to some great tunes, there's a group of guys around that can provide! 

Crimson and Blues is an a cappella group from the University of Kansas. This is their third year as a group and their third year competing in ICCA. They seek to find the most creative and talented vocalists at KU and build a tight-knit a cappella family. They strive to arrange all of their own music and pride themselves in fostering young composers and arrangers within our group. They primarily sing top 40 songs, but have delved into other genres of music and plan on expanding to more genres in the near future. 

In 2003, a ragtag group of students at the University of Kansas created an a cappella group fueled by a shared passion for music. Today, Genuine Imitation is still thriving and bigger and better than ever. With a membership consisting of a variety of majors, the original camaraderie that unified the group is undiminished and the group has remained as diverse as John Mayer’s musical repertoire. With a zeal for serenading others, from the university’s student body to the confused pedestrians of downtown Lawrence, Genuine Imitation is pleased to be a part of the university's impressive musical community. 

Pitch Please is UNL’s premier co-ed a cappella group. The group is in its sixth year on campus and continues to grow within the a cappella community. They perform a variety of music from R&B to rock to pop and beyond. Just like their array of musical genres, the members come from a variety of majors, including, but not limited to, music education, business, engineering, and nursing. The group rehearses two nights a week and is entirely student-led and directed. Each member has their own unique passion for the group and music as a whole, and that passion, combined with wonderful friendships, motivates the group to move forward. They are incredibly thankful for each performance opportunity and the chance to share all of their hard work. 

Rocktavo is an all-male a capella group from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Founded in 2007, the group has a long history of music-making and has performed not only around the state, but across the country. Currently, Rocktavo is composed of 14 talented undergraduate artists from across the U.S., each bringing a rich musical background that feeds into a creative and inventive environment. Almost all of their music is produced and arranged in this lab, culminating in a group fluent in multiple styles and genres. With a diverse set of music, and a sharp wardrobe to boot, Rocktavo is sure to deliver a memorable performance for almost any audience.

Shockappella is Wichita State University's first-ever mixed student-led a cappella group! They’re proud to represent the most diverse four-year state university in Kansas by offering musical opportunities to students of all musical backgrounds and areas of study. Their mission is to provide an open-minded environment for creativity and expression by sharing music of all styles with the community of Wichita. This will be Shockappella's first year as an ensemble. Go Shocks! 

Your favorite group of rascals is back! The Creightones is Creighton University's premier a cappella ensemble. Fresh off of two "learning experiences” in St. Louis and Lincoln, The Creightones are back with an army of freshmen and are ready to sing and stuff. The Creightones demand that you do not clap at all before, during, or after their set. Get 'Toned. 

The High Howlers, from the University of South Dakota, is an elite touring pop a cappella ensemble that strives to inspire their audience through musical excellence and individuality. The High Howlers specialize in pop music, but also reach into other genres, such as rock and jazz. 

The Red Keys is the newest co-ed a cappella club at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, established in 2017 by two freshmen, Antoinette Pino and Drew Spadaro. These students were inspired to create a new a capella group that would welcome students from any major, whether they were involved in music or not. They sought to find people who were not already showcasing their talent and love for music and mix these different voices, personalities, majors, and backgrounds together. When founding The Red Keys, Antoinette and Drew stated, “Our mission is music and to share it with as many people as possible.” Within three semesters, The Red Keys performed and hosted their own showcase, performed at over 10 gigs, had had articles written about their journey, and performed for a radio show. They have finally begun to arrange their own music are excited for what lies ahead, both musically and for the family that they have become. The journey of getting established and finding their vision was difficult, but The Red Kets hope that this music family will live and grow at the University of Nebraska for years to come.



Originally from Los Angeles, Calif., Bronwyn Bent has a background in vocal performance studies and arranging, and seven years of high-level stage performance experience. While in college, she was a part of Brigham Young University's award-winning a cappella group, BYU Noteworthy, where she served as assistant music director. She continued her undergraduate studies in vocal performance at BYU-Hawaii, and has participated in top-level choirs at both BYU-Hawaii and BYU. 

Kenny Kabak is a native of St. Louis, Mo. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music with an emphasis in choral conducting from Missouri State University, where he previously earned a Bachelor of Music Education and graduated with honors. Currently, Kenny is the children’s choir director at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, Mo. He recently served as the Conductor of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Kenny served as the student representative for the Missouri Choral Directors Association and was the sole planner and designer of the Student and New Teacher Academy. He has also served as music director for the contemporary a cappella group, The Beartones, which ranked as one of the top a cappella groups in the Midwest and performed at the National A Cappella Convention (NACC). He has toured extensively with the Drakensberg Boys Choir, as well as with the Missouri State Chorale, including trips around the U.S., Scotland, England, South Africa, and Japan. Professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association and the Missouri Music Educators Association. 



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

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 two finishing groups advance to the ICCA 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