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 Rialto Theater
Saturday, February 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.


The Big Bing Theory, or BBT, was established in 1999 and is Gonzaga's only a cappella group on campus. Completely student-run, BBT performs throughout the school year for Den After Dark, Fall Family Weekend, GEL Weekend, and more. This year, they have 14 enthusiastic singers from all over campus who are excited to make music together and continue growing the program! Every fall, new students anticipate the announcement of BBT auditions and look forward to their first concert. The group tours through its members’ hometowns during summer and holds an alumni gathering around graduation time. Inspired by Gonzaga alum Bing Crosby, BBT performs a variety of musical styles, ranging from the latest pop songs to classic oldies! Once a member is part of the BBT family, it's hard to forget it. BBT Alumni remind the newcomers how lucky they are to be a part of something so great at Gonzaga and to keep sharing the BBT love! 

Eh? Cappella is part of the University of British Columbia's a cappella club and is one of two competitive groups that represent UBC in the ICCA. They are a very diverse team, with members hailing from places such as Cameroon, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, and the United States of America. This diverse array of members is also reflected in their sound, which could be described as powerful, uplifting, and intentional. They have competed in ICCA for many years and hope to bring their competitiveness to the stage! 

Furmata A Cappella is University of Washington's premier co-ed a cappella ensemble. They love to busk at the local farmers market and around campus and sing at various other events by request. These high-energy, enthusiastic performers are always quick to jump at more opportunities to perform! 

Gold Rush A Cappella represents the beginning of a shift towards gender-inclusive a cappella on Pacific Lutheran University's campus. Founded in 2021 by former members of PLU's treble-only HERmonic a cappella, Gold Rush is a tight-knit group of singers. The group includes all voice types, identities, and academic majors, and they enjoy singing just about anything, from Taylor Swift to Fiona Apple. As a fully student-run group, members are involved in all steps of the creative process, from arranging to rehearsal to choreography. Gold Rush is thrilled to be performing in their very first ICCA and hope this is just the first of many more to come! 

Pacific Note West is Western Washington University's competitive a cappella ensemble. PNW prides itself on creating excellent music and fantastic performances in a variety of genres, all while fostering a positive and supportive community. Outside of competing, Pacific Note West focuses on community outreach through K-12 schools and other community service projects. 

PLUtonic A Cappella hails from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. A completely student-run group, they emphasize stage presence and energy in every performance. Along with their fall and spring concerts, they perform at other campus events, such as orientation and in musical theatre shows. They also enjoy engaging with the wider Tacoma community, performing for local schools, at community church events, and more! PLUtonic also makes an effort to provide performance opportunities for other members of the PLU community, including an open invitation for students to sing in organized jazz ensembles during their spring concert. PLUtonic encourages all singers to perform and is largely composed of people without a background in music. They sing pop, R&B, and jazz music, and especially love showcasing their dynamite energy and joyful performance style in late 2000’s pop and R&B hits. They pride themselves on having a repertoire that is completely arranged by current and former group members and that even includes original pieces. PLUtonic hopes to bring so much fun to the stage that you have no choice but to dance your heart out! 

The Northwest Collective is one of the premier competitive a cappella teams representing the University of British Columbia (Vancouver campus). They have competed in ICCA Quarterfinals each year since their inception in 2018, winning Outstanding Vocal Percussionist last year and placing 3rd for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. After just barely missing out on a Semifinals spot for the past two years, they are hungry to finally reach that milestone, especially with the competition format returning to live performance (knock on wood!). Their non-ICCA repertoire is quite varied, but for competition, they generally sing pop songs, with a special emphasis on music from LGBTQ artists, including their final song of this year’s set, “XS” by Rina Sawayama. Check out their Spotify page for highlights that include covers of “Love Riot” and “What’s Really Good”  by Brayton Bowman. Additionally, you can check out last year’s ICCA set on their Youtube channel, featuring “Bang” (Lizzy McAlpine) and a mashup of “Physical” (Dua Lipa) and “Blinding Lights” (The Weeknd). They believe this year’s performance will be their best yet and they can’t wait to sing their hearts out! 

The Trebled Acaholics is an established, premier a cappella group from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and part of the UBCO Beats. As the first established competitive a cappella team at their university, this group provides a safe space that nurtures social vulnerability, curbs performance anxiety, and fosters musical creativity. The Trebled Acaholics began their ICCA legacy in 2013 and notably achieved 3rd place and won Outstanding Choreography at their 2018 ICCA Quarterfinal. The group is composed of students across different years and programs in the university. Each member varies in their musical experience, as well as their interests in various musical genres such as pop, jazz, rock, and more. The Trebled Acaholics seek opportunities to perform in local and international opportunities, collaborating with other a cappella groups and competing on the ICCA stage. Over time, they help develop each member’s talents in vocal ability, choreography, and theatricality. Every time they gather, they focus not only on learning new songs and improving their skills, but also on strengthening their bond as a family. As a group, they offer performance experience, musical growth, and making memories as part of The Trebled Acaholics. 

The Trill Seekers is composed of the most talented singers from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and focus on being the best that a cappella in the Okanagan has to offer. Group members represent all faculties at the University, including nursing, arts, sciences, business, and more. They are a subgroup of the UBCO Beats, a 50+ person a cappella club at their University. The Beats was established in 2013 to create a safe space on campus for musicians of all ethnicities to collaborate and share their passion for music. As the years have passed, the Beats have transcended this goal and continues to celebrate the capabilities of the human voice. While upholding their core values, The Trill Seekers has grown from strength to strength and has been proud to represent the University of British Columbia Okanagan on the international stage since 2018. They have worked hard to reach the competitive level, incorporating choreography and theatrics in their performances. Their goal is to craft amazing a cappella singers and performers and they hope that shines through in their set! Keep it Trill everyone!


Ian Adams-Dirks was born and raised in Portland, Ore. and began his musical journey at age four playing classical piano. Vocal performance came into the picture when he was at Grant High School and sang in choir, performing around the world at sites such as the Salzburg Dome, Notre Dame, and Mt. Saint Chapelle. Ian's put together his first a cappella arrangement at age 15 as the first student arrangement recorded for Grant High School. A cappella became a fixture in his life when he performed with Cloud 9 in the 2007 ICHSA and he went on to compete multiple times in the ICCA with OSU's Outspoken and PSU's The Green Note, winning three Outstanding Vocal Percussion awards and one Outstanding Arrangement award. With his experience as music director of Outspoken and founder/music director of The Green Note, Ian went into the semi-professional world of a cappella with his group, The Portland Timbre. Throughout his a cappella career, Ian has been fortunate to work with producers and arrangers such as Peter Hollens, Tom Anderson, Russell Kamp, Ed Boyer, and Bill Hare on a full spectrum of recording projects. Ian can be found singing the national anthem for The Portland Trailblazers throughout the season and judging at a cappella competitions and conferences in the Pacific Northwest. 

Sean Braxton has been on the a cappella scene for nearly 20 years, arranging for numerous groups. He currently performs with and is the primary arranger for Restless Vocal band, an award-winning seven-part vocal band in Seattle. Sean also performs lead vocals, keys, and percussion for top-40 party band, The Nines, and has opened for the likes of Jay Leno and Joel McHale. He is currently signed to Verbal Inc, a hip hop and R&B songwriting collective. 

Dr. John Guarente is Professor of Choral Ensembles and Music Theory at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash. He leads the SPSCC Choirs and teaches courses in music theory, popular music, and music appreciation. John previously served on the faculty at Lakeland University in Wisconsin and the College of Central Florida. He has held teaching and conducting positions with schools and organizations including the University of Miami, Miami Choral Academy, Marion Civic Chorale, the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, and Highland Park Community Chorus. John received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Miami, and holds a Master of Music in choral conducting and a Bachelor of Arts in music from Rutgers University. As an undergraduate at Rutgers, John was the director of Rutgers Deep Treble for three years, during which time they advanced all the way to ICCA Finals in their first year of competition 

Katherine Shuckerow is a graduate of George Fox University with a master’s degree in teaching. She has been teaching choral music at Sherwood High school for 15 years. Kathy started the school’s a cappella group, The Mixolydians, in 2012 and has brought her group to compete in the ICHSA for the past 10 years. Most recently, The Mixolydians placed 1st in their 2020 ICHSA Quarterfinal, also earning Outstanding Vocal Percussion and Outstanding Soloist. In 2022, her a cappella ensemble placed 3rd and advanced to Semifinals. In addition to ICHSA, The Mixolydians regularly participate in the Bend Acappella Festival each year and a highlight has been working with Deke Sharon. In 2022, The Mixolyidnas placed 1st in the Rose City Sing Off. Kathy enjoys teaching all of her ensembles at SHS and competes with her large ensemble at the OSAA state championships. 

During his junior and senior years at the University of Minnesota, Avery Wong was a baritone and arranger for both 7days A Cappella and Basses Wild Men’s A Cappella. He has continued to arrange for those groups since 2015, along with the female group, The Enchantments. Avery has musical hobbies in addition to a cappella, including being an accompanist for classical vocal performers and picnic operettas. 


Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank tonight's emcee, Jake Yoakum; photographer, Jake Young (; sound engineers, Pete and Trina from Yoakum Light and Sound; all the staff at the Rialto Theater, and Tacoma Arts Live for co-presenting this event with us, especially Chris Tubig and Akida Dancer; 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 West 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!