Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 26th season! Our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever after more than 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, this year featuring more than 578 groups and 8,772 singers at 77 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.

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 skills and relationships.

We provide insightful 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.

Two years ago, our 2020 tournament was sidelined mid-season by the pandemic, and we were unable to crown champions for the first time. In 2021, as a cappella groups were unable to gather to rehearse or perform, we adapted our program by challenging groups to create 4-minute music videos, recorded and edited remotely. The astonishing artistry and skill in these videos is a testament to the adaptability, ingenuity, and determination of our competitors, and we couldn’t be prouder.

This season, we are again challenged by the pandemic, as we attempt to present live events across thousands of miles in an ever-changing COVID landscape. Although some of our events have been postponed or converted to virtual, we are determined to see the season through. Many groups haven’t been able to compete live since 2019 – some students for their entire high school or college career. We are humbled more than ever by the importance of our role in setting the stage for the creation of so much magic.

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 26 years ago, and we can’t wait to see how our 2022 competitors push the envelope. Committed to promoting our singers and energized by the incredible music they create, we look forward to another memorable season. Thank you for joining us!


Amanda Newman
Executive Director



Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture
Saturday, March 19, 2022



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 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 23rd.

The high school tournament is now in its 17th year. 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 22nd.

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 ten 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.



Founded in 2007, Maize Mirchi is the University of Michigan’s premier fusion a cappella group. Operating under the motto "South Asian-inspired, but never required,” they incorporate Indian styles of Hindustani and Carnatic music based in ragas (melodic frameworks exclusive to South Asian songs) alongside Western genres such as contemporary pop or R&B. In the same vein, they utilize both solfège (do re mi fa so la ti do) and the South Asian equivalent of Sargam (sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa) to learn music. This produces a diverse makeup of chord progressions, harmonic themes, and key signatures to explore for any given song. Synthesizing these two styles even expands their options for vocal percussion! Konnakol, for example, is a vocal expression of percussive syllables common in Carnatic music. Although Konnakol and beatboxing differ in their traditional settings, both can serve as a rhythmic foundation. Outside of their music style, Maize Mirchi prides itself on fostering a tight-knit group culture that advances each member’s creative goals and well-being. From connecting with South Asian groups on campus to competing abroad, they artistically collaborate as a family. They hope to display their signature comradery and cultural fusion in every performance! 

The DJs is a fun-loving, goofy, diverse group of University of Michigan students. While all of the members come from different sides of campus, they share the same intense passion for making excellent music! Known for experimenting with all different types of genres and sounds, this incredibly close musical family thrives on pushing boundaries and trying new things. While “DJ” doesn't stand for anything in particular, the group does stand for fostering a fun and inclusive environment for all of its members and audiences. They are also known for having the best game nights and trying to put “DJ” in front of every word. They hope everyone is just as D-Jazzed as they are to hear and perform live music again. In 2020, they snagged 1st place at their Great Lakes Quarterfinal and are so excited to be back this year! 

Pitches and Notes is the University of Wisconsin-Madison's only competitive treble-voiced a cappella group. Pitches and Notes strives to increase a cappella opportunities for upper-voiced musicians on the UW campus, utilize members' talents to bring forth new musical experiences, and foster individual character and musical growth in a group setting. While they primarily specialize in pop, they are open to trying any and all musical styles! 

Under A-Rest is an all-gender-inclusive a cappella group composed of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under A-Rest or “UAR” is UW-Madison’s only gender-inclusive group that competes in ICCA and it is one of their absolute favorite things to do. The members of UAR are all students who love arranging, learning, and performing a cappella music for live audiences! Above all else, UAR is a family and the group believes that making music together is one of the greatest things in the world! 

Euphoria is a co-ed competitive a cappella group from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. Over the past few years, Euphoria has competed in a series of different competitions including ICCA, BOSS, and SoJam, placing 2nd in BOSS in 2018 and 3rd place in VoiceJam in 2019. Alongside competitions, Euphoria also participates in a series of different events and gigs both for the Grand Valley and West Michigan community. Over the last year and a half, Euphoria has continued to make the most of working through quarantine and virtual rehearsals and truly could not be more excited to be performing in person again! When they aren't rehearsing, Euphoria loves to have group movie nights, talk about new TikTok trends, and play Mario Kart.

Capital Green is known as the oldest and hottest co-ed a cappella group at Michigan State University. Celebrating 22 years of singing, the group enjoys competing in numerous competitions every year, singing at the annual MSU Accapalooza concert, going on tour across Michigan every spring, and participating in many other fun events. Most importantly, members of Capital Green enjoy spending time with their close-knit chosen family at MSU. The group welcomed a record nine new members this year, all of whom are exceptionally talented. You can find CG on Instagram @msucapitalgreen and on the web at 

The Ransom Notes is an all-gender a cappella group from the University of Chicago that can be found performing on campus, at local venues in Hyde Park, and all around the city of Chicago. They have an annual winter tour of Chicago and bi-annually visit colleges and cities around the country during their spring tour. They have been a vocal presence at UChicago for the past 24 years and recently released their album, Built to Last (which had the honor of being featured on Voices Only), and a Christmas single "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," both of which are available on iTunes and Spotify. There is more to come, including their 2020 ICCA set, which will be released as an EP later this season. They primarily perform pop songs, but have experimented with rock, jazz, and country styles, among others. They’re a fun-loving group of musicians who love one another as much as they love to sing. The group members most enjoy performing in informal arch sings, teaching music workshops to high school students around the South Side during their annual Chicago-focused winter tour, and singing carols at invited holiday markets.

Voices in Your Head, founded in 1998, is an all-gender student-run a cappella group from the University of Chicago, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students whose areas of study span as far as their musical tastes. Their repertoire includes original compositions, as well as an eclectic mix of pop, R&B, rock, and alternative music and is available on all streaming platforms. Voices regularly competes in the ICCA and strives to perform around their campus and community. 

Clef Hangers is the premier mixed vocal a cappella group at Illinois State University, founded in August 2008 by a small group of ambitious students who shared a passion for a cappella music. The group consists of treble and bass voices and currently features three or four voices on each part, plus a beatboxer. Clef Hanger rehearsals are typically three days a week for two hours each time and are crucial for the group to build a cohesive sound with high-caliber musicality. Their repertoire selections are decided by vote, showcase the group’s wide range of musical interests, and are mostly arranged by current or graduated members of the Clef Hanger family. They average between 10 and 15 performances per semester for events such as The American Red Cross Banquet, Relay for Life, College Mentors for Kids, Christmas Open House in uptown Normal, the Festival of Trees in Bloomington, the Alumni Center, "You Can Do ISU" for potential future ISU students, Dorm Kickoffs, ISU Basketball games, and other events in the Bloomington-Normal area. This close-knit group of friends loves to make music together and share their musical creations with their campus, the community, and beyond.

The Xtension Chords from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the university's premier competitive a cappella group composed of 16 strapping young gentlemen. With over 29 years of tight harmonies and electrifying performances under their belts, The Xtension Chords remain on the cutting edge of collegiate a cappella while honoring their roots of friendship and brotherhood. They've released nine studio albums (with a tenth on its way), one EP, and numerous music videos and live performance recordings. They've also been featured on several BOCA albums and earned multiple Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). They perform for various events on campus and throughout the Midwest and go on tour twice a year, performing for aspiring college students and fans. Last spring, The Xtension Chords brought 11 groups together for Acappellapalooza 2021, a free concert livestreamed and posted on YouTube that kept the a cappella spirit alive while live performances were still on hold. Back in person, they are more excited than ever to demonstrate the power of a cappella. Follow them on Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify, and keep an eye out for their single "Nina Cried Power," an arrangement that made its debut at the 2020 ICCA. 


The G-Men, or Gentlemen for long, is the premier all-male a cappella group at the University of Michigan. In addition to their unusually large triceps, The G-Men have performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, sang the national anthem for the Detroit Pistons and Tigers, and competed in four ICCA Finals. Rocking audiences around the country since 1995, The G-Men are honored and proud to be hosting this year's ICCA Great Lakes Semifinal! 



Dubbed “the next generation of a cappella specialist” by “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” vocal producer, Deke Sharon, Kari Francis is an avid vocalist, composer, and educator. Based in New York, Kari has shared the stage with Taylor Swift at the American Country Music Awards, collaborated with Imogen Heap in her “Earth” project concert series, and competed on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with Kinfolk 9. Kari studied composition with Lei Liang and Chinary Ung at UC San Diego and conducting with Mark Scatterday and Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music. She taught musicianship classes through the Eastman Community Music School, and was assistant conductor to the Eastman Women's Chorus and the Amadeus Children’s Choir Chorale. Following her time at Eastman, Kari was a Conducting Fellow at the Young People's Chorus of New York City. She directs "The Art of A Cappella" at CUNY Hunter College, an ensemble-class dedicated to exploring, arranging, and performing contemporary a cappella music. In addition to her vocal projects, Kari has been an active lecturer and clinician since 2009. She routinely gives workshops on musicianship, arranging, and vocal percussion at music festivals and vocal camps across the U.S. Kari graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in music education from the Eastman School. Find her online at 

Elise Hackl-Blumstein (she/her) is a music educator in the suburbs of Chicago who fell in love with a cappella during undergrad as a member of Secondary Dominance. Elise is a lifelong learner, holding post-graduate degrees in music education, educational technology leadership, and educational administration. In 2018, Elise was awarded the Illinois State Board of Education’s Teacher of the Year “Those Who Excel” award for her work in music curriculum development. In addition to her full-time job, Elise serves as the director for two treble a cappella groups, multiple accessible musical ensembles, and barbershop choruses. Elise has presented for Hal Leonard, NAfME, ILMEA, and more. Her published work can be found in music education journals and texts nationwide. 

Benjamin Lebovitz, a graduate of the University of Arizona, is an experienced arranger, clinician, and educator. As Arizona's ambassador to the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) and with the state's chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), he organizes regional festivals for collegiate and high school ensembles while regularly facilitating at music educator conferences. A National Board Certified Teacher in music, Ben taught at Walden Grove High School for seven years prior to returning to the classroom. Today, he is a Ph.D. student in education and an active musician in Madison, Wis. 

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for CASA, associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 

Antonio Rodriguez graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang with The Amateurs for four years. He also served as arranger and music director of the group. He spent the next five years performing as a stage actor in St. Louis before gaining his union card and moving to Chicago in 2014. Favorite past musical credits include “The Who’s Tommy” (Tommy Walker), “Urinetown” (Bobby Strong), and “Altar Boyz” (Matthew). He was a member of the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award-winning ensemble of the a cappella musical “All is Calm” for three years, and is a four-time nominee and two-time Theatre Circle Award winner for his individual acting work in both musicals and straight plays. In addition to performing in full-length stage works, he has conceived and performed two solo cabarets in both St. Louis and Chicago. Antonio is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. 



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Joe Kvoriak, Bryan Pennington, Rob Hackl-Blumstein, Taylor Tracy, Adam McNeil, Ryan Vig, The Michigan GMen, and all the ICCA Great Lakes groups that made this incredible season possible; 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

Elise Hackl-Blumstein
ICHSA Director
ICHSA Great Lakes Producer
PA/MA Program Coordinator

Andrea Poole
 ICHSA Co-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

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

Emily Benjamin
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Danielle Sutherland
 ICHSA Midwest Producer

Jake McVey
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

Donald Paradis
 ICHSA South Producer

Cameron Clemens
 ICHSA West Producer

Courtney Jensen
 Associate Producer


Ben Garza
 ICHSA Southwest Producer

Katherine Mosher
 ICHSA South Day-Of Producer

Bri Decerio
 ICHSA West Day-Of Producer

Jake Yoakum
 ICHSA West Day-Of 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 placing group will advance to the 2022 ICCA Finals.



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!