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



Lincoln High School
Saturday, March 4th, 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.


Back in 2002, UNL students, Scott Wilson and Aaron Hurlbut, gathered a group of their most talented buddies to sing together. Since then, the group has developed into the a cappella group known as The Bathtub Dogs. While they’re most commonly recognized by their signature "jeans-and-necktie" apparel and zany persona, their main goal as a performing ensemble is simply to entertain. 

Boots & Cats, the premier all-treble a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was founded in 2011 and features 17 undergraduate students. Entirely student-led and directed, the members of Boots & Cats are involved in a variety of majors and activities across campus. B&C enjoys performing in the Lincoln community and recording music. They have released two albums, three singles, and most recently an EP featuring their 2022 ICCA set. Boots & Cats is grateful for every opportunity to share their friendship and love of music! 

Pitch Please is the premier co-ed a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They are in their 10th year on campus and are continuing to grow their presence within the a cappella community. Just like the array of musical genres that they perform, the members come from a variety of majors, including but not limited to elementary education, business, human development, architecture, and forensic sciences. 

Shockappella is a co-ed, competitive a cappella group on campus. They compete in the ICCA, recently earning a 3rd place title, and perform in the Kansas area. The purpose of Shockappella is to share the tradition of a cappella music with the community and provide an open-minded environment for creative expression. Students from any major with a love for singing and competing are welcome to audition each fall semester. The group members develop long-lasting relationships with the people in the group. Alternates may also be selected and granted membership. 

Take Note is a treble a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They are focused on empowerment through dress, choreography, and music. They strive to empower each group member to feel confident performing onstage and feel safe to be vulnerable offstage. This organization gives members a voice to express themselves through song and their pop/rock style. 

The Creightones is an all-male a cappella ensemble from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Founded in the fall of 2009, The Creightones’ mission is to recreate their favorite music for the enjoyment of the Creighton community and surrounding Omaha area. The group is made up of students who share a love for entertaining and they hope to share that love with others. They do not typically stick to one genre or musical style, simply selecting songs they enjoy listening to and think would sound well when performed together. From a leadership perspective, they aim to perform their best musically and laugh together along the way. The everyday wear-and-tear of school can be stressful and tiring and The Creightones offers a place where members can unwind and have fun expressing themselves through music. 

The Red Keys is a competitive all-gender a cappella group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Established in 2017 by founder Toni Pino, the group has experimented with music of all types, from jazz to punk rock. They love performing for all of their supporters and fostering a passion for the arts in their community. Some of their accomplishments include competing in previous ICCA competitions and professionally recording music. They love sharing their talents throughout the Lincoln community and are so excited to share their set with you!


Emily Melton is a Springfield, Mo.-based singer, songwriter, and arranger. She is passionate about all forms of music-making and sharing, but has a special love for vocal music, particularly choral and contemporary a cappella. Emily graduated from Missouri State University in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in music. During her time at MSU, she spent several years with the Missouri State Chorale and Multicultural Ensemble and music-directed The Hibernotes, MSU’s all-gender a cappella group. She currently spends her free time performing with the Queen City Chorale and working on personal artistic endeavors. 

Kat Sodawasser is a seasoned musician, educator, and clinician. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in music education and a Master of Education and Leadership from Midland University. After attaining her master’s degree, she was the Assistant Director of Vocal Music at Midland. While at Midland, she worked closely with Deke Sharon to develop Midland’s first A Cappella Festival, which welcomed high school ensembles from Nebraska to perform for and learn from Deke himself! Kat also was a member of The Young Americans performing arts organization and taught and performed in Japan, Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, Canada, Korea, Austria, and all over the United States. Currently, Kat sings and plays drums professionally in Omaha’s number one wedding variety band, Pink Kadillac, and teaches privately at Sing Omaha Studios. She will always have a passion for contemporary a cappella and is excited to be here today! 

Alex Smith graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in music. During his undergrad, Alex performed and toured nationally and internationally with the Missouri State University Chorale. He also sang in the men's chorus, choral union, and multicultural ensemble. Alex was a member of The Missouri State University Hibernotes from 2017-2020. He performed in four ICCA seasons throughout those years, winning a Midwest Quarterfinal in 2018. Alex currently works at Missouri State University as an administrative assistant in the music department. Along with this position, Alex works with Cut Off Studios as the Director of Client Retention and is a clinician and arranger for the studio. He currently sings with the Queen City Chorale, Springfield Chamber Chorus, and is a choral scholar at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Mo.

Weston Thomas 
is a graduate of Missouri State University (MSU) and is currently based in Kansas City, Mo. During his time at MSU, he was a member of The Hibernotes with whom he competed in ICCA for three years. In recent years, Weston has become assistant director of Kansas City A Cappella: SoundProof (2022 ICHSA Champions). Overall, Weston has been involved with Varsity Vocals competitions in some capacity for approximately 10 years and doesn't plan to stop anytime soon. Outside of the a cappella world, Weston is a seasoned performer and across a variety of professional theatres, community theatres, and entertainment production companies throughout the Kansas City metropolitan and Springfield, Mo. areas. Thank you for supporting Varsity Vocals and the competitors today! 


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 two placing groups at this event will advance to the 2023 ICCA Southwest 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!