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



Johns Hopkins University
Saturday, February 18th, 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.


DaCadence is an elite all-gender a cappella group from the University of Maryland. Founded in 2010, DaCadence has created a precedent of singing tunes with darker tones and meaning and they are excited to continue this tradition into this year's ICCA. They hope to make music that incites emotion and excitement and aim to leave audiences with a tune stuck in their heads. From belting to intense swells and dynamics, DaCadence loves pushing the limit and finding a creative way to tell a story. DaCadence is not only a group that loves performing together, but also DaFam. Participating in the ICCA has helped the group bond and come closer through collaboration and artistic insight. They are thrilled to be in a competition of this magnitude and look forward to future performances! Make sure to check out their latest album, Sanctum, on all streaming platforms. Now, join them as they enter the Red Dessert.

Faux Paz is University of Maryland's oldest all-gender a cappella group. Faux Paz has performed around the country and has been reported on by publications such as the Washington Post. In 2021, the group won the ICCA, making them the only Champions from the Mid-Atlantic region. Individual members also received awards for Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Choreography that same year. Recently, they released their 10th studio album, Afterparty, which earned five Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations, including one win. Faux Paz has members from all different majors and multiple countries, representing University of Maryland's diverse disciplines and international population. Individual members are also musicians in their own right, with multiple solo recording artists. Faux Paz performs music across a wide variety of genres and eras, but tends to bring a pop and R&B-infused sound to whatever they do.

Ketzev is Johns Hopkins University’s premier Jewish a cappella group. Contrary to what one may think, the members of the group are actually almost entirely non-Jewish. All that their title means is that in addition to their regular setlist, they sing two or three Hebrew or Israeli pop songs each semester. One of the oldest groups on the JHU campus, Ketzev is an eclectic mix of under and upperclassmen from a variety of majors, ranging from environmental science, to pre-medicine, to writing seminars. They arrange and sing music from all different genres, including pop, rock, and R&B. They are extremely excited to share their group with the ICCA and look forward to performing tonight! 

Off Track is a co-ed a cappella group from Towson University. Founded in the fall of 2021, Off Track was formed with the goal of being a “for fun” group with competition as an added bonus, only to place 1st at Quarterfinals and 2nd at Semifinals in their ICCA debut. While they plan to continue competing each year, they also hope to stay true to their origins in keeping their love of music and having fun as their primary focus. 

Purrrfect Pitch is a co-ed a cappella group from Towson University. They were previously deemed a non-competitive group on campus, but are ready to step outside of their comfort zones and have an awesome experience performing on the competitive stage. They are the oldest a cappella group on campus and have been running for about 15 years. All of their music is arranged by past or current group members. When they were in online school, they did not even want to continue virtually and wondered if it was worth keeping the group alive. There were only six members left when they came back in person, but ended up being the only group on campus to hold fall and spring concerts and are now up to 12. Since then, they have established a solid identity and renewed their group chemistry. This is a huge step for them and they are ready to show the judges what they’ve got. 

Formed in 2003 in the basement of a freshman dorm, The Mama's Boys is UMBC's premier men's a cappella group! The club has been a source of community, passion, and artistic expression for over 100 members in the past 20 years. They value authenticity and independence and 100% of their arrangements and choreography are created by current members. Accordingly, the group’s vision is influenced by the members at any given time and spans all genres. Over the past few years, The Mama’s Boys have performed the national anthem at an Orioles game, sang Christmas music on local television, and even performed on national television when one of their members competed in “American Ninja Warrior.” The Mama’s Boys recorded their first-ever EP, Karma, at the beginning of 2019, composed of their ICCA set from that year. Through the pandemic, they sought to keep the music going, recording a quarantined performance of “Baby I’m Yours” by Barbara Lewis and hosting numerous Facebook charity streams. They’ve performed at multiple ICCA competitions, notably winning 3rd place and Outstanding Choreography at their 2019 Quarterfinal. The Mama’s Boys are excited to come back to ICCA and bring fun, creativity, and musical prowess to audiences once again. 

Founded in 1989, The Octopodes is Johns Hopkins University’s premier all-gender a cappella group. For over 30 years, The Octopodes have found success both on-stage and in the studio, with multiple appearances in ICCA Semifinals, critically acclaimed studio albums out on major streaming services, as well as numerous virtual performances released on social media. Along with competing and recording, The Octopodes take time to perform concerts on the JHU campus, collaborate with nearby groups, attend a cappella festivals, and excite outside audiences at off-campus gigs and performances. 

The Vocal Chords is Johns Hopkins University’s all-gender a cappella group known for their family dynamic and outstanding musicianship. Recognized around campus as the “friendly neighborhood a cappella group,” they perform throughout the DMV region from student-centered events in Baltimore, Md. to the Carnegie Library and the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Committed to only singing bangers, The Vocal Chords enjoy bringing the vibes to Hopkins though their energy-filled concerts, Halloween medleys, and serenades in the winter months. They are thrilled to be returning to the ICCA and cannot wait to sing alongside and hear the other incredible groups! 

The Cleftomaniacs is UMBC's premier co-ed a cappella group. The group was founded in 2006 by Jeeves Murphy. After a semester of organizing and finding the perfect a cappella-worthy pun, The Cleftomaniacs were born. Their current repertoire includes pop hits, old favorites, and lesser-known gems. They are talented vocalists with a passion for performing, making quality a cappella music, writing cool arrangements, and of course, having a great time! In 2018, The Cleftomaniacs made history as the first UMBC group to place in an ICCA Quarterfinal, while also receiving the award for Outstanding Choreography. In 2019, they continued to rock the stage by receiving 1st place in the Glee College A Cappella competition and took the title of the 2019 M&T Bank Glee: College A Cappella Champions. The Cleftomaniacs are renowned for their annual performances and competitions. They have even released an album, Last Kiss, in 2016, which highlights many of the songs that have made them award-winners. 

Coming from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, The Stilettos is UMBC's only SSAA a cappella group! The Stilettos currently includes 19 members of varying years, majors, and musical backgrounds, all with a common love of singing. The Stilettos always have a blast performing at ICCA!


The Allnighters, Hopkins' premier male-identifying a cappella group, is now entering its 30th year of being the most handsome devils on campus. Check out their recently released album on Spotify, Moonshot, and come to their 30th anniversary concert on April 22 for night of fun, self-deification, and to spot former AN members turned celebrities.


Aaron Bayne is an alumnus of Towson University and Berklee Online with degrees in economics and music business. He is the award-winning beatboxer of two-time ICCA Finalists turned professional group, The Trills (@thetrills). Over the last few years, The Trills exploded on social media, accumulating over 3.6 million followers across platforms. The group’s social media presence has led to partnerships with several global brands, millions of YouTube views, radio appearances on KIISFM and “Your Morning Show,” a feature on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” an opening slot for Straight No Chaser, a halftime performance at a Baltimore Ravens home game, a performance slot at VidCon 2022, and collaborations with acts like Drew Scott, Jon Cozart, Bryce Xavier, Quinn XCII and Tim McGraw. Aaron is excited to return as a Varsity Vocals judge this season and wishes luck to all the competing groups. 

Evan Belcher served for three years as president, music director, and arranger for the award-winning group Mason Some Noise from George Mason University. He helped lead the group from its debut ICCA performance in 2018 to consistent competitive success and personally earned awards for Outstanding Arrangement in 2018 and 2020, as well as Outstanding Vocal Percussion in 2019. Since his graduation in 2020, Evan has stayed involved in the a cappella community, co-founding All Ears Arranging, an a cappella arranging and masterclass company, and NOVEM, a new professional group. 

Bree Hunter Cox is a seasoned performer and music educator who enjoys all types of music, especially opera and a cappella. Bree earned her bachelor's degree in music education and vocal performance from the University of Dayton and her master's degree in opera performance from University of Minnesota. Bree has been teaching since 2007 as a choir director, music teacher, and private voice instructor. Bree has directed and choreographed student musicals and enjoys arranging music for a cappella ensembles of all levels. As a professional soloist and soprano, Bree has appeared with the Dayton Opera, the Rochester Symphony Orchestra (Minnesota), and the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Kentucky. She currently teaches for Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Md.

Ashley Hartman is a Maryland native currently living in Ellicott City with her husband and three cats. She has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Salisbury University and a master's degree in liberal arts from right here at Johns Hopkins University. After starting her HR career at Hopkins, Ashley is now the recruitment Manager for Music & Arts. She is very excited to be at the ICCA judges table here at JHU after having been both onstage and in the audience at past shows with SU's Squawkappella!

Henry Hubbard is a versatile tenor with experience in opera, art song, and contemporary music, including a cappella. His a cappella experience began in 9th grade as a member of Priority Male at James River High School in Richmond, Va. After moving to St. Louis, Mo., he founded West A Cappella and instructed a group of mostly instrumentalists and non-singers, teaching fundamentals of singing along with choral techniques. This sparked a love of vocal music that led him to attend James Madison University, in no small part due to the strong a cappella community. He joined The JMU Overtones in 2013, served as music director from 2014-2016, and oversaw the recording and production of the album, Synesthesia, which featured his arrangements of “Uptown Funk,” “Chandelier,” and “I Wouldn’t Be A Man.” As an arranger, Henry strives to reimagine songs with a balance of solo and background to highlight the unique qualities of vocal music. Henry holds a bachelor's degree in vocal performance from JMU, as well as Master of Music degrees in vocal performance, vocal pedagogy, and musicology from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.


Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Jody Hagler, The Trills, and The Allnighters; 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 two placing groups at this event will advance to the 2023 ICCA Mid-Atlantic 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!