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



Exeter Northcott Theatre
Sunday, February 5th, 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.


"Academy? Who are they?" you ask. Loved by the masses, heroes to all, Academy is Bristol University's all-male and nonbinary a cappella group. Known for their poppy energetic vibes, they’ve competed at ICCA many times and they also perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their sister group Pitch Fight! "Well obviously you do ICCA, I'm not a fool!" you cry. "And all the cool kids are doing Fringe shows these days. What makes you guys so special?" They’re so glad you asked, dear reader. In recent years they’ve helped raise thousands for charity (in the Better Together mental health fundraiser concert amongst other things)! They also released their international award-winning debut album, Exhibit A, and recently recorded a new EP. You should check them out on any of the major music streaming platfo-- "Hang on, are you just using this program as free ad-space to promote your albums and stuff?" 

Aquapella from the University of Bath, U.K. recently celebrated their 10th year as a group filled with team spirit, innovation, and integrity. Music is at the heart of what they do and when they aren’t busy explaining that no, they do not sing underwater, they write all their own arrangements! Known for their eclectic repertoire of pop, rock, and indie, each Aquapella piece aims to deliver something fresh and unique to their sound. They strive to connect to their audiences and love to surprise them with fresh ideas, choreography, and the odd “Pop Punk Medley.” Their performances have taken them from busking on the streets of Bath, selling out their show run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and competing in national competitions all over the South-West. They love being involved in the a cappella community and taking part in events across the country! They have fond memories of competing in ICCA as the 2017 and 2019 United Kingdom Champions and cannot wait to take the stage again! 

Illuminations A Cappella is Exeter University’s premier a cappella group. This contemporary mixed group is made up of 13 fabulous singers and boppers. Dazzlingly dressed in orange, Illuminations hopes to wow the judges and audience once again with an astonishing set. This is their 12th year as a group and this baker's dozen plans to wow you with some sweet harmonies and choreography. Illuminations is back stronger than ever with a funky force of freshers making their ICCA debut. Illuminations has not slowed down in expanding their diverse repertoire, even after their Edinburgh Fringe show “The 11th Hour” won the award for Best A Cappella Show. Their music spans all genres; similar to a box of chocolates, you never know what you will be getting from them. As a mixed group, they are proud to have found the perfect blend, both musically and personally, making  Illuminations (as cheesy as it sounds) a group of best friends who love singing together. They may be friends, but if you rile them up with unresolved chords and poor dressing room etiquette, they will be your enemy! 

Pitch Fight is University of Bristol's auditioned female and nonbinary a cappella group, performing collegiate a cappella versions of anything from Nina Simone to Macklemore! Pitch Fight thrives on female empowerment performances and accompanying their arrangements with outstanding choreography! They released an EP, Purple Reign, performed at International Women's Day Celebrations within Bristol, and performed at their third Edinburgh Fringe this past summer! They were the supporting act for Clicendales (University of Bristol's medic charity strip show) and performed for concerts held by the university's society, including Christmas and spring concerts and their very own Best of the South West showcase. With a year post-Covid under their belts, they are excited to finally be back in their groove! They are excited to try and reclaim their Outstanding Choreography award and hopefully progress further in ICCA than they ever have before! 

Semi-Toned is the University of Exeter's all-male a cappella group which rose to a cappella success after winning vocal competitions, TV shows, and Bobby Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe. Known for their striking velvet blazers, the boys in burgundy always bring the energy to the stage with tight harmonies and even tighter trousers! 

Sweet Nothings is the University of Exeter’s first all-female contemporary a cappella group. This is their 18th year as a group and over the last three years, they have won ICCA Quarterfinals and placed 4th in the U.K Semifinals, released an EP, and successfully sold out a run of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Although starting the year with only three original members, this new generation of Sweets is ready to take the ICCA by storm. 

The Bluebelles is a female and nonbinary a cappella group from the University of Exeter. They enjoy singing a range of genres and are committed to accessibility and inclusion within a cappella and encouraging their members’ diverse musical backgrounds. They consider themselves a friendly and energetic group who enjoys sharing their love of music together. They love having the chance to meet and sing with other groups and to share the aca-love in everything they do. 

The Bristol Suspensions is the University of Bristol’s 14-piece mixed collegiate a cappella group. After only nine years of existence, the group is renowned for their electric performances, slick choreography, and stunning vocals. Their four-time Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning album, Red Hot, demonstrates the group’s range in classic hits such as “Faith” and “Hallucinate.” They also performed a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022, where they performed chart-topping hits such as “Blame it on the Boogie” and “Love Sweet Love.” The group recently released a music video of “It’s Gonna be Me” as part of their end of year showcase. The video has been popular on the group’s Instagram, which also features other small projects, such as Halloween “Fast Tracks,” in which smaller sub-groups of The Suspensions create, perform, and edit their own arrangements. Along with rehearsals, the group busks regularly, bringing energy and joy to the streets of Bristol. As ICCA runners up in 2018 and 2019 and U.K. Champions in 2021, they are excited to bring their signature strength, sensitivity, and sass. More than anything, the group brings passion and energy to their music and they can’t wait to show that on the ICCA stage.


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. 

David Green has been performing a cappella for over 16 years, with over 200 performances under his belt. He began first as a singer and arranger for Naked Voices, touring all over the U.K. for eight years. Naked Voices was an early arrival on the U.K. a cappella scene, establishing a cappella music at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 2000s, winning the festival's Sell Out Show award for three visits in a row, and featuring on the BBC's "Best of the Fringe" show. In 2009, David formed Original Sing from former Naked Voices members, who went on to win the 2013 Voice Festival Community Championship and the open category of the Bristol Choir of the Year contest. 

Blessed with fiery red hair and a 6’5″ frame, Jonny Stewart is a bass, producer, live engineer, and arranger. While studying music at King’s College London, he directed three-time ICCA Finalists All the King's Men and performed with them in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, and the U.S. His combined experience as a choral singer, jazz saxophonist, and indie-folk keyboard player have influenced his distinctive vocal bass sound. In 2017, Jonny and fellow AtKM alumnus Gus Nicholson launched NoVI, a six-piece group based in London. With original songwriting and innovative vocal arrangements at the heart of their ethos, NoVI seeks to make both great music and great art. First-year highlights include singing to a sold-out audience at the iconic Carnegie Hall, making their London debut at the Bedford, performing as guest artists at Exeter's Northcott Theatre, and releasing their debut music videos. A proud Scotsman, sports nut, and "Star Wars" fan, Jonny's work as a producer and live sound engineer with the Vocal Company has received multiple album placements (SING, BOHSA) and award nominations, including CARAs and A Cappella Video Awards  (AVAs). 


Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank the Exeter Northcott Theatre staff, our MC, Dan Mailer, and our guest act, Sound Hypothesis; 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!