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



DeKalb 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 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.

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.

 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.


Acafellas is Loyola Academy's tenor/bass a cappella group. They enjoy singing everything from pop, rock, jazz, and even some barbershop. This student-led group is excited to participate in ICHSA because they love performing onstage and sharing their passion for music. In their spare time, they like to sing with Nothin' But Treble, Loyola's treble a cappella group. 

Business Casual is a cocurricular singing group at Stagg High School that began in 2009. These singers represent the strongest musicians at Stagg, including Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra members, ILMEA District and All State Musicians, and champions in their theatre program, including a cast member of the Illinois All State Musical. This is the current group’s first singing competition, as Business Casual’s last a cappella run was in 2019. They hope you enjoy their set and wish good luck to the other groups today! 

From the small town of Clinton in south central Wisconsin comes a very large and unique sound. Founded over eight years ago, CYC Out members must audition, work over the summer, and learn to get along vocally and as a team. Members range from seniors to their lone freshman vocal percussionist. Students learn to harmonize, vocalize, and move to each song in their repertoire. Though they may not have a modern stage, their sound is definitely beyond modern. 

Echo Effect is an all-male ensemble that considers themselves more of a rock band than an a cappella group. Mixing a variety of genres and styles into their performance package, they wow and inspire audiences with clean harmonies and longing melodies. After winning two consecutive ICHSA Quarterfinals, they are excited for this upcoming performance and competition season. 

Enharmonic Fusion is a mixed a cappella ensemble from DeKalb High School in DeKalb, Ill. Established in 2010, they advanced to the ICHSA Finals that first year and again in 2012, 2015 and 2016. In 2017 they were named ICHSA Midwest Champions at Semifinals and placed 2nd overall at the ICHSA Finals. When not rehearsing or performing, they enjoy spending free time getting ice cream and listening to a cappella jams. They also enjoy hearing Mr. Erikson gently remind them to clean up their water bottles and music binders. They would like to send a huge thanks to all who have supported them in the DeKalb community, as well as their friends and family. 

Hawkappella is the a cappella group at Bartlett high school. They love to sing and have a great time together. They work hard and think of themselves as a little family! They’re so excited to perform a bunch of fun music this year and can’t wait to show people what they can do! 

Through friendship, passion, and dedication, the sisters of High Fidelity work hard to show stories of love, heartbreak and realization in their music. This group of best friends loves to empower their audiences as much as they empower one another. 

Noteworthy originated as the Memorial Madrigals, a group of high school choir singers from Eau Claire Memorial High School that has been spreading holiday cheer throughout the Chippewa Valley for over 50 years. While the Memorial Madrigals are still in high demand to carol during the holiday season, they now perform as Noteworthy for the rest of the year, focusing on the art of performing contemporary a cappella music. This is the group’s fifth year under the direction of Aurora Krajnikconde. The group is composed of 14 members who are accepted into the group after a rigorous audition process. 

Secondary Dominance is excited for their Inaugural year as Hinsdale South High School's first, exclusive all-treble a cappella group. 

The Overtones are in their second year of performance at Barrington High School. This incredible group of young singers brings passion, commitment and talent to the stage in their high octane performances! These 17 members represent some of the strongest a cappella singers in a vocal music program of nearly 200 students. They enjoy performing in a variety of settings in and around the Barrington community for all types of audiences.


Cory Ellis got his a cappella start at Northern Illinois University, where he was a founding member of the all-tenor/bass a cappella group, The NIU Huskie Hunks. Cory received his bachelor's degrees in music from Northern Illinois University and Western Illinois University, where he studied instrumental music education. Cory currently serves as the director of choral music at Rochelle Township High School, where he leads two curricular choirs and Midnight Voices, the school's vocal jazz ensemble. He is also a member of the Kishwaukee Concert Band. Cory has been judging with Varsity Vocals for seven years.

Samantha Rich found a cappella in the same way as many of tonight’s performers: as part of a college group. She played multiple roles in Georgia Tech’s Infinite Harmony, from arranger to eventual president, and was able to be a part of several recordings that the group later released as EPs. She has since moved on to perform with Best to Burn, a post-collegiate group in Atlanta. They perform all around the city and in surrounding areas, bringing their own funky twist to top 40s, plus a fair number of original songs. In this time, she's also worked on SoJam planning committees in North Carolina and Georgia. Currently, Sam can be found working on solo performances in venues around Atlanta when she isn't jamming with Best to Burn. 

A native of upstate New York, Erin (Shults) Smith developed her passion for contemporary a cappella as a member of Premium Blend, Ithaca College’s Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA)-winning treble a cappella group. Erin quickly discovered a love for arranging and vocal percussion in college. She received her B.A. in music from Ithaca College in 2010 and went on to obtain her M.A. in arts management at the Florida State University College of Music. Erin served nonprofit organizations and universities in Texas as a fundraising professional for nearly a decade. In 2022, she moved to the Chicagoland region, joining the leadership team of the Northern Illinois University Foundation. As Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, she helps NIU faculty and staff connect their transformative research projects and impactful programmatic initiatives with philanthropic support and external engagement opportunities. Outside of work, Erin continues to arrange and has volunteered as a Varsity Vocals adjudicator since 2018. She also previously served as a master clinician, workshop presenter and panelist at SoJam and briefly supported the fundraising efforts of the A Cappella Academy. She remains a dedicated advocate for the contemporary a cappella discipline and for the performing arts. 


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 ICHSA Great Lakes 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!