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



Buffalo Grove High School
Sunday, February 6th, 2022



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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.



Acafellas is Loyola Academy's all-male a cappella group. These men specialize in singing pop music, but dabble in rock, barbershop, and R&B. Their favorite thing is cheering on and collaborating with Nothin' But Treble, Loyola's all-female a cappella group. 

Gold Nation is an extracurricular a cappella ensemble from Harold L. Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Ill. This is their third year as an ensemble and they are excited to welcome many new members after a one-and-a-half-year break due to Covid! Members consist of freshman through senior students who audition to be in the group in the fall. Gold Nation rehearses once a week in the evening throughout the school year. They are so excited to be back singing together and look forward to performing and listening to all the other groups. They hope you enjoy their performance. 

Gold Standard is in its fifth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017. Gold Standard has 12 tenors and basses, freshman through seniors. Gold Standard is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again. 

Hawkappella is the only a cappella group at Bartlett High School! They meet after school once per week and are a fun-loving family of weirdos! They perform a variety of genres and enjoy trying new styles of music. They really just love singing, and hope you enjoy their performance! 

Minor Renovation is in its fifth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017.  Minor Renovation has 19 members, freshman through seniors. Minor Renovation is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again. 

Mod21 is the completely student-run, audition-only a cappella group of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). They aim to spread appreciation of the art of a cappella performance on campus and in our own communities. IMSA is dedicated to excellence in math and science, but are filled with talented and passionate members in music and performance. IMSA is also a boarding school, giving them many opportunities to perform. Each year, they perform a diverse selection of songs in different languages at the various culture shows, including Diwali from the Indian Student Association, Lunar from Asian Students In America, Harambee from the Black Student Union, and Casa de Alma from Alma Latina. They also sing at other campus events, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly, Senior Banquet, and their own concerts. They are so excited for this school year and all the a cappella opportunities that await them! 

Modern Melodies is in its fifth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017.  Modern Melodies has 17 sopranos and altos, ranging from freshmen through seniors. Modern Melodies is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again.



Born in Spain, Alejandro Alumbreros has performed as both a piano soloist and accompanist for singers and instrumentalists in Europe, the United States, and South America. He received his master’s degree in piano with an emphasis in vocal and chamber music from Carnegie Mellon University. He has collaborated with many companies as accompanist, vocal coach, or conductor. These include Bilbao Opera Company, Biotz Alai Choir (both in Spain), Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Savoyards, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Ballet, Skylight Opera Theatre, and Choral Arts Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to playing for UW-Parkside and being the organist and choir director at First Presbyterian Church, Racine, he is also the choral director at Highland Park High School, Ill. 

Rachel Manchur is an elementary music teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, where she teaches comprehensive music for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and leads a sixth grade choir. She studied music education with a concentration in voice at Lake Forest College, where she participated in both all-women and mixed choirs. She will be finishing her full Orff-Schulwerk certification this summer at Vandercook College of Music and plans to begin graduate school shortly thereafter. 

Adam McNeil has been singing contemporary a cappella since he was in 5th grade and hasn't ever stopped being involved. He matriculated at Northern Illinois University, where he majored in business and studied music. At NIU, he was a founding member, arranger, president, and choreographer for the The Huskie Hunks, leading them to Midwest Semifinals his senior year. After graduating, Adam spent a summer at Rowan University advising the school’s all-male a cappella group, PROFecey, as arranger and vocal coach. Adam currently works in student affairs at Utah Valley University. Adam's love for a cappella continues and he is very excited to be judging for Varsity Vocals this season. 

Colleen Sye has been singing in choirs and chamber groups for many years, and began performing a cappella music in champion show choir The Expressions. Her love of music continued into her time at Monmouth College, where she studied music education and started the school's first all-female a cappella group, The Sassy Lassies. Colleen taught for seven years at Algonquin Middle School, where she directed three choirs, an a cappella group, and the annual spring musical. Currently, Colleen is enjoying the role of proud mom to her daughter Clara.



Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Debora Utley and the Buffalo Grove Choral Guild, especially president Emily Morrison, and the Buffalo Grove High School and District 214 administration; our guest performers, ACute A Cappella and The Illinois State University Clef Hangers; our student hosts and Ethan Goldspiel for your talents; our incredible sound engineers at Audio Max, our event staff Jordan Smart, Michael, Severino, and Mercurius Armanious; Robin and Tim Hackl, Rebecca Hackl, and Rob Hackl-Blumstein; 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 Jenson
 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 two finishing groups will advance to the 2022 Great Lakes 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!