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



The Studio at the Festival Theatre
Saturday, January 28th, 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.


Aberpella is the University of Aberdeen’s oldest mixed competitive a cappella group. Like the many colours in their logo, Aberpella is a glorious mix of colourful singers and personalities and they do their best to help one another shine. Their set was inspired by the ever-growing list of terrible things happening in the world and the effects on their mental health. Even so, music has always been a source of healing and empowerment, where they can escape from reality and have fun. Aberpella invites you to come along as they exorcise their demons while having a great time, featuring music that spans the decades (maybe even centuries)! 

Angels of the North is a female and femme-presenting group from Newcastle University. Though originally started in 2018, Angels has unfortunately been on hiatus for the past several years due to Covid, until the summer of 2022 when musical director Cara Britton decided to bring it back to life! The Angels run within the Newcastle University A Cappella society, which consists of four groups in total, all of which perform together in concert throughout the year. Members of all three auditioned groups work together in the Newcastle Upon Tones “big group,” which allows the society to connect as one family. Their arrangements are written by Cara Britton, a second-year music student who is a sucker for harmony, so running Angels has truly been a dream! With a group of hard-working and talented people, Angels is thrilled to return to creating and performing beautiful music and they hope you enjoy! 

Cloud IX is the University of Edinburgh's only all-male and nonbinary group. As the newest group in Edinburgh, they have been working hard to establish themselves alongside the best groups in the country. With great vibes and even greater vocals, Cloud IX has been growing from strength to strength, which has seen them classed in the top three groups in Scotland for the past two years! They have no plans to slow down and are now aiming for a win. Self-described as the sour cream and onion Pringles of the a cappella world, Cloud IX is popular and reliable, but unafraid to introduce you to some new music and sounds. Although they are competing with their smallest lineup yet this season, their tight blend should not be underestimated. Cloud IX looks forward to taking the stage!

Established in 2013, The Killer Quines is the only all-female competitive group at Aberdeen University. Despite their very Scottish name, The Quines hail from all over the world and each and every one brings a unique quality to the group. They perform a variety of genres and styles, including pop, musical theatre, and Disney, and they love to incorporate music from all over the world. Their hobbies include group movie nights, preferably musicals (the cheesier the better!), post-rehearsal trips to their beloved local pub The Bobbin, and boozy karaoke nights. This year’s set is based on loss and self-acceptance, celebrating the talent of some incredible female artists from all over the world. After a challenging couple of years, they are so excited to be settling back into live performances and cannot wait to sing in their lovely little group! 

Northern Lights is Durham University’s top a cappella group, entering its tenth year of existence. Northern Lights is a mixed group of talented and passionate performers who seek to entertain all kinds of audiences solely through their voices and unique arrangements. They strive for excellence in every aspect of performing and rehearsing that they do, but are a family above all else and pride themselves on the ethos “one entity, one voice.” Having taken on four new members this year, the future is looking bigger and brighter. This ICCA season is especially exciting as Northern Lights enters this commemorative year and works to become Durham’s biggest performing export. 

Representing the University of St. Andrews, The Alleycats delight audiences with their award-winning arrangements and silky tones! Combining a range of musical influences, this feisty and fabulous group does not shy away from any genre of music, whether it's funk or folk, pop or indie, and frequent mash-ups! The Alleycats enjoy performing classic tunes (from The Beatles, ABBA, and Stevie Wonder) and brand-new ones (from Adele, Coldplay, and Harry Styles), with arrangements written by four of the group's members. The 14 vocalists provide award-winning contemporary a cappella, combining a full range of male and female voices amid a velvety blend. The Alleycats was set up by a group of friends in 2001 who shared their love of singing over a pint in the pub and were delighted to discover the enjoyment that their music could evoke. This tradition of going to the pub after rehearsals continues to this day! In 2015, the group embarked upon their first U.S. tour, visiting prestigious universities such as Yale, Princeton, and MIT. In March 2017, they were crowned the Scottish A Cappella Championship (SACC) winners. The group performs at events across the U.K., all whilst maintaining a busy competition schedule. 

The Songsmiths is the University of Leeds a cappella group. They perform all over the North, sharing their music and love of a cappella. They believe in spreading joy into every community and sing an eclectic range of music. Although they have diverse musical talents, they have come together with the common goal to sing. They carry the legacy of Songsmiths and are celebrating their 15th year as a group. Last year, they lost many group members who finished their university degrees. However, they now have a brand-new, young and excited group and a fresh sound to go with it. Despite their recent introductions, they have rallied together and made amazing connections which comes across in their music. 

Tone Up is Edinburgh University’s premier mixed a cappella group! The group was formed in 2016 and is made up of members from across both the University and the globe. Tone Up was SACC Champion in 2020 and 2021, and qualified for the ICCA U.K. Semifinals in 2019, 2020 and 2021, picking up awards for Outstanding Arrangements, Soloists, and Vocal Percussion along the way. The group performs at many events on campus and throughout the wider Edinburgh community, priding themselves on high-level musicality and a strong group bond. After taking a brief hiatus from competition last year, Tone Up is extremely excited to be back onstage with a fresh look and sound. 

Tune Army is Newcastle University’s premier competition a cappella group, made up of 16 fab voices and cracking personalities from the friendliest city in the North. Fresh off their successful 2022 ICCA showing where they made history as the first-ever Newcastle group to reach U.K. Semifinals, the newest generation of Tune Army is ready to bring the tunes and the toon this season. Coinciding with the release of their latest album, 11:59, the Tune Army family is excited to celebrate its seventh year and represent Newcastle at the 2023 ICCA.


Conductor and bass-baritone Dusty Francis enjoys an active career as a performer, clinician, and music educator across both the United Kingdom and the United States. He currently serves as middle and high school choral director at the American School in London. Recent seasons have included appearances at esteemed venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Milton Court Concert Hall at the Barbican. Dusty has directed and arranged for high school, university, and adult ensembles. Dusty holds a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Music Education from Xavier University. A native of Ohio, he currently resides in London. 

Rosalind Johnson is an experienced a cappella singer, arranger and coach based in Edinburgh. Whilst her musical journey began as a pianist and trumpeter and she kept busy with various instrumental ensembles throughout her school and university careers, her expertise lies in barbershop and she has accumulated a wealth of experience in the field over the past 10 years. Rosalind is the musical director of Scotland’s premier male barbershop ensemble, The Rolling Hills Chorus, and she wrote, produced, and directed two successful Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows with them in 2017 and 2019. She is also the assistant musical director of the award-winning Forth Valley Chorus, who achieved 10th place in the world in 2019, and musical director of the National Mixed Barbershop Youth Chorus. Rosalind creates custom arrangements for various a cappella groups and coaches both individual singers and groups. She has previously judged the 2018 ICCA U.K. Quarterfinal in Edinburgh and the 2019 SACC. Rosalind also performs with and arranges for her own a cappella trio, Black Velvet. She is very excited to see what the ICCA has in store this year. 

Ida Pajunen graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in violin performance. During that time, she also got her first taste of a cappella, performing with Tangled Up In Blue. She now splits her time directing and arranging for two high school a cappella groups and performing and recording as "Ida Jo." She has three full-length records to her name and has appeared at festivals such as South By Southwest and Summerfest. For more information: 


Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank our guest act, the Edinburgh University Jazz Orchestra; 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 United Kingdom 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!