Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 27th 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 610 groups and over 9,100 singers at 85 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 cinematic 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.  

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 27 years ago, and we can’t wait to see how our 2023 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



University of Buffalo
Saturday, March 25th, 2023


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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 29th.

The high school tournament is now in its 18th 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 28th.

 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.


On That Note is Toronto Metropolitan University's award-winning a cappella group for women and queer performers! Founded in 2020, On That Note boasts a unique sound, an outside-the-box artistic vision, and a repertoire of songs originally performed by women and queer artists. This vibrant group shares a love for singing and each other, as well as an intense passion to create unique sets that deliver powerful messages. Thrust into the pandemic just a few months after having been formed, On That Note adapted to the creative challenges of making music remotely while providing a safe space for women and queer performers. 

Surround Sound is the co-ed a cappella team from the University of Toronto. Originally founded by members of the Faculty of Music, the group has expanded to include a wide variety of students across the university and is proud to host a diverse spread of majors. Drawing on a variety of styles within pop and R&B, this tight-knit group performs hidden gems and original music that leave listeners wanting more! Surround Sound has competed in the ICCA every year since its formation, including the Covid year of music videos. Last year, they competed in their fourth ICCA season, ultimately placing 2nd at the ICCA Central Semifinals. Each year, the group works hard to improve their musicianship and raise the bar for high-quality, captivating a cappella experiences. In addition to competing, they continue to grow as a team by performing for events within their university community and throughout the city of Toronto. Surround Sound is excited to see where the group goes this year and is eager to showcase their progress in this year’s ICCA. 

Binghamton University‘s co-ed a cappella group, Rhythm Method, sings the songs you grew up with. Established in 1993, Rhythm Method will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! They perform on and off-campus, including at Binghamton’s “Dollar Show,” their semester show, charity events, and at their annual winter tour. They were recently posted on Christina Aguilera’s Instagram for their cover of “Lady Marmalade.” The members of Rhythm Method consider themselves to be more than a group of friends that sing together, but also a family. Be sure to check out their latest EP, The Night Before, which features songs from their last ICCA set and look out for their upcoming album! 

The Coda Conduct is an all-gender a cappella group hailing from Penn State University! Founded in 2012 by Ricky Jabarin and Trevor Johnson, the group has competed in international competitions including ICCA (winning their Quarterfinal in 2015 and 2017) and the 2018 Boston Sings (BOSS) national collegiate a cappella competition. In 2017, Coda released their first EP, followed that up in 2018 with their first full-length album titled Spectrum, and they’re currently anticipating the release of their latest EP, Hung Up. The group values diversity and acceptance and loves to challenge themselves inside and outside the world of a cappella!

Dynamic Intonation represents the State University at Fredonia! The group members include state-of-the-art music, music education, and music performance majors, as well as music therapy, musical and non-musical theatre, dance, and even animation majors at the university. Although they are a diverse array of individuals, they value coming together each school year to form a bond and sing a cappella renditions of pop, R&B, and even jazz pieces of music. They make an effort to get to know each member by holding group picnics and other activity nights each semester. They also enjoy opportunities to connect with their community through events like their Karaoke Nights and Aca-Carnival, in which they invite other musical groups to perform, play games, and hold carnival-style activities like face painting! Dynamic Intonation is proud to highlight the many talents of its members and advertise them on their social media platforms! 

The Treblemakers is an award-winning co-ed a cappella group at Carnegie Mellon. Founded in 2010, they have quickly grown into a musical force to be reckoned with. They host CMU’s Almost Midnight A Cappella Concert every spring and regularly compete in the ICCA. They pride themselves on being one of the most fun-loving groups on campus and push themselves to be their best. At heart, they’re a close-knit group of friends who love to share their passion for music with their community. The Treblemakers is a group for all kinds of singers and musical styles and they are excited to bring their visions to life in performance. 

The Songburghs is one of University of Pittsburgh's premier all-gender a capella groups. Established in 2015, they perform an expansive and authentic repertoire that covers a wide variety of styles. They are entirely student-run and work to put together performances for various events throughout the city of Pittsburgh. The Songburghs have also competed at the ICCA, earning 1st place in the 2019 and 2020 Quarterfinals and most recently 3rd place in the 2022 Quarterfinals. Outside of rehearsal, they can be found performing the latest Tik Tok dances, studying together in Hillman Library, or getting entirely too competitive playing card games. Previously, The Songburghs have released two EPs on Spotify and continue to release sets via social media. With bonds forged from the intense flames of "Never Have I Ever" and "Hot Seat," one could describe The Songburghs as a family as much as they are an a cappella group. 

The Midnight Ramblers is a TTBB a cappella group founded at the University of Rochester in 1998. They are known for their high-energy performances, innovative arrangements, and baseball-style uniforms. They try to push musical boundaries and put on shows that anyone can enjoy! 

Established in 1996, Soundbytes is Carnegie Mellon University's first co-ed secular a cappella group. They strive to bring the smooth and sultry to every performance, whether with friends or on the big stage. They perform at fundraisers for fellow a cappella groups, as guest performers at neighboring campuses, andhost Almost Midnight A Cappella, which takes place on the night before the first reading day of finals week. Over the years, Soundbytes has developed a large repertoire that varies based on current group membership but tends to favor R&B. They also love to revisit older arrangements by our past members (whom they dearly refer to as "oldbytes"). Some songs that they currently love to perform include “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West and “Get You” by Daniel Ceasar. At the end of the day, Soundbytes is a group of close friends who are greatly invested in their music and team of singers. They’re so excited for another opportunity to perform at ICCA and partake in the ever-flourishing a cappella community!


Brandon Burgess attended SUNY Potsdam, where he received his bachelor's degree in music education, with clarinet as his primary instrument. As a freshman, Brandon auditioned for and was accepted into The Potsdam Pitches, the premier co-ed a cappella group on Potsdam's campus. During his time in the group, he arranged music and served as music director, assistant music director, alumni secretary, webmaster, and president. Brandon held a part-time instrumental music teaching position before returning to SUNY Potsdam to pursue his master's degree in music performance, with clarinet as his primary medium. During this period, he also returned to The Potsdam Pitches, helping them place at ICCA Semifinals and and progress on to ICCA Finals as Central Region Champions. Brandon is currently teaching in New York State. 

James Harrington has worn many hats in almost 25 years in the collegiate and professional a cappella worlds. A former ICCA producer in the now defunct New England and Northeast/Central Canada regions, he has also competed (The Berklee Method) and has been a judge for over 20 years in the Northeast, South, Midwest, and Central regions. James was a four-year member of Hyannis Sound, and a member of 2002 Harmony Sweeps Finalist Groove, and “The Sing-Off” Season 1 alternate Mutual X, in addition to subbing for professional outfits Ball in the House and Home Free. As an operatic bass, he has performed with the major companies in Santa Fe, Portland, Nashville, and Boston, among others. He is an alumnus of Berklee College of Music, Florida State University, and the University of Wisconsin, and is the director of Buffalo Rock Voices, a community choir focused on rock and pop repertoire. 

Philip Jarosz has appeared on various stages throughout Western New York, including Studio Arena, Artpark, and Lancaster Opera House. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and in Opera Sacra productions. Philip is a founding member of the The Lake Effect all-male a cappella ensemble, Vocalis, and the Harmonia Chamber Singers. Philip teaches in the Kenmore-Tonawanda school district where he has directed productions of "The Laramie Project," "Six Degrees of Separation," "Sweeney Todd," "Les Miserables," and "The Drowsy Chaperone," to name a few. In 2018, Philip was named Buffalo Theatre Person of the Year. 

Melissa Rashford is a proud alumna of The Mandarins, Syracuse University’s oldest all-female a cappella group. Under her direction, The Mandarins competed and performed throughout the eastern United States, earning multiple awards and national recognition by advancing to the ICCA Finals. Melissa is in her 11th season working with Varsity Vocals.  Melissa teaches musical theatre at Rome Free Academy in Rome, N.Y., performs with the Syracuse University Oratorio Society, and is a former adjudicator for the Syracuse High School Theatre Awards.  She holds degrees in music industry and business administration from SU and works in the university's Division of Marketing. 

BK Riha is a music professor, producer, vocalist, live looper and arranger with a special interest in building pop a cappella repertoire for treble ensembles. BK has published over 200 arrangements that have been performed in over 27 countries, with notable appearances including the 2018 World Choir Games in South Africa, the 2021 World Choir Games in Belgium and the National A Cappella Convention (NACC). They also regularly judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) and have led workshops at festivals like SoJam and the Nordonia A Cappella Festival. BK currently teaches commercial voice and musicianship at Tiffin University, one of the only schools in the country to offer scholarships for a cappella, beatboxing and live looping. BK is also the founder, director, and producer of Zero to Sixty, Ohio's summer a cappella group. BK holds a Master of Music in choral conducting and a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and continues to study the link between psychology, cognition, and vocal music. Best of luck to all the competing groups! 


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

Elise Hackl-Blumstein
ICHSA Director

PA/MA Program Coordinator

Lucy Jacobs
The Open Director
 ICCA West Producer

Emily Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Andrew Poole
 Director of Digital Media

Erica Tackett
 Director of Marketing

& Social Strategy

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central 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

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Danielle Sutherland
 ICHSA Midwest Producer

Jake McVey
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

Cameron Clemens
 ICHSA West Producer

Ben Garza
 ICHSA Southwest Producer

Luke Thomas
 ICHSA South Producer

Adam McNeil
ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Nicole Kholweiss
 ICCA Central Day-Of Producer

Courtney Jenson
 Associate Producer

Emcee Extraordinaire


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 at this event will advance to the 2023 ICCA Final.


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!