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 Perfect" franchise 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



Sunset High School
Saturday, February 22nd, 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.



Downbeat is The Harker School’s Show Choir that performs a cappella and accompanied arrangements from a variety of genres, including pop, jazz, world music, musical threatre, and traditional choral music. The singers are mostly juniors and seniors, chosen through audition for their vocals, musicianship, and dance skills. Downbeat performs for community events such as school galas, fashion shows, holiday events throughout the Bay Area, and for school concerts. Members of Downbeat maintain rigorous academic schedules while pursuing their artistic passions. They are highly involved in school plays, musicals, and jazz ensembles, while also taking on various leadership roles at school and in the larger San Jose community as leaders of clubs, stage directors for the Student Directed Showcase, members of student council, and as student activists.   

Free to Breathe, hailing from Sunset High School in rainy Portland, Ore., is excited to be participating in the ICHSA competition again this year. Other than singing, FTB members enjoy cheerleading, theatre, cross country, watching old “Spongebob” episodes, and getting Boba Tea.   

Sunset High School's Sunsettes was originally formed as an all-female barbershop quartet. Expanding into the world of a cappella, Sunsettes are excited to come back swinging this year at ICHSA. Catch them at the local riff-off outside Voodoo Donuts on a rainy Saturday morning. 

Synergy is the treble a cappella ensemble from the Oregon Children’s Choir, made up of treble singers from high schools in the Eugene/Springfield, Ore. area. 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. In just their first year, Synergy placed 3rd at the ICHSA Northwest Semifinals. The singers of Synergy have established a reputation as a tight musical group with a bold sound, sharing their musical stories of strength and empowerment. 

hOWLers are characterized by their proclivity for making musical noise with their mouths. They can be found humming, whistling, beatboxing, and singing at almost any given moment. Freestyle rap and mellow acoustic guitar-vocalist duos are particularly frequent when they are together in their natural habitat. When they're not making noise, the hOWLers are often observed eating in creative ways, doodling on manila folders, and writing acrostics. h- haggardly high schoolers O- Ornate octaves W- Whimsical wild wanderers L- Lethargic lyric lovers e- eccentric edelweiss enthusiasts r- rippin ragged reggae rap rhymes s- splendiferous subharmonic-singing students. 

Founded in the fall of 2018, True North brings together high school students from many different Portland, Ore. schools to form one close-knit, collaborative a cappella ensemble. Under the direction of Lauren Fitzgerald and the umbrella of her independent, community-based choral organization, Shine Children's Chorus, True North is finding its voice as it enters its second year of performing and competing. They had an amazing time and learned so much at last year's ICHSA Quarterfinal, and are excited to return this year for more! 

Vivace, Lincoln’s student-led a cappella group, loves to sing, create music, and perform for their community at various gigs and competitions around town! They sing contemporary and popular pieces, mostly arranged by their very own members, Abbey Russell and Juliet Cabraja. With any piece they sing, they focus on what the song means on the individual and group levels. They use that emotion and connection to drive their passion during each performance!



Ian Adams-Dirks was born and raised in Portland, Ore. and began his musical journey at age four playing classical piano. Vocal performance came into the picture when he was at Grant High School and sang in choir, performing around the world at sites such as the Salzburg Dome, Notre Dame, and Mt. Saint Chapelle. Ian's put together his first a cappella arrangement at age 15 as the first student arrangement recorded for Grant High School. A cappella became a fixture in his life when he performed with Cloud 9 in the 2007 ICHSA and he went on to compete multiple times in the ICCA with OSU's Outspoken and PSU's The Green Note, winning three Outstanding Vocal Percussion awards and one Outstanding Arrangement award. With his experience as music director of Outspoken and founder/music director of The Green Note, Ian went into the semi-professional world of a cappella with his group, The Portland Timbre. Throughout his a cappella career, Ian has been fortunate to work with producers and arrangers such as Peter Hollens, Tom Anderson, Russell Kamp, Ed Boyer, and Bill Hare on a full spectrum of recording projects. Ian can be found singing the national anthem for The Portland Trailblazers throughout the season and judging at a cappella competitions and conferences in the Pacific Northwest. 

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. 

Rachelle DesRochers is a vocalist and native Oregonian. She has been involved in a cappella since 2006 when she got her start in Divisi, the University of Oregon’s award-winning female a cappella group, featured in the best-selling book, “Pitch Perfect." Since Divisi, Rachelle has performed with The Backbeats (featured on NBC's "The Sing-Off") and was a member of JANE, a professional a cappella group based in Salt Lake City. Most recently, she competed with JANE in the inaugural Varsity Vocals Open competition and advanced with them to Finals at Carnegie Hall. Rachelle has been the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement for the Women's A Cappella Association (WACA) since 2012. She has competed in four Varsity Vocals competitions since her collegiate a cappella days and is thrilled to be one of your judges tonight!

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.



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 three placing groups will 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


FALL 2020