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



Highland Park High School
Saturday, February 25th, 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.


Chi-Cappella is the premier a cappella group at the Chicago High School for the Arts, ChiArts. They approach their music with a contemporary feel, blending urban and R&B stylings with a touch of jazz. Individual members have been recording and performing locally and the group recently performed as openers for Michelle Obama. Their unique blend showcases the melting pot of cultures that make up Chicago and their goal is to spread that sound throughout the world. For this competition, they’ll be performing a mix of hip hop and retro R&B, featuring the work of artists such Lauryn Hill, Bobby Caldwell, and Common.

Gold Nation is from Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Ill. No need for piano, they're just 19 kids on a journey with a cappella. Members consist of students, ranging from freshman through seniors, who audition in the fall and rehearse twice a week. Gold Nation took 2nd place at the ICHSA Quarterfinals at Buffalo Grove, Ill. last year and advanced to the ICHSA Great Lakes Semifinals in Milwaukee. Gold Nation is excited for the upcoming season and performance opportunities. 

IMPACT is the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago’s contemporary a cappella group.  YCT is a Chicago-based nonprofit with a 40+ year tradition of bringing choral music to students in grades pre-K-12 in Chicago’s north and northwest communities. YCT is dedicated to helping children find their voices and making a difference in the world. They are excited to hear all the other amazing groups perform and to share their music with you tonight. 

Major Detour is in its fifth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2018. Major Detour has seven members, ranging from sophomores through seniors. Major Detour is very excited to be competing with ICHSA once again, after finishing as Quarterfinal Champions in 2019.

Mod21 is IMSA’s one and only exclusively student-run a cappella group! The group includes 12-18 members, ranging from sophomores to seniors. Although they come from a math and science academy, these talented students are passionate about music and relish the opportunity to sing throughout the year. This year’s group of dedicated performers rehearses under the supervision of their advisor, Maria Barnhill, the school’s choir teacher, but is primarily student-run. They perform for IMSA’s cultural shows, Diwali, Lunar, Casa, and Harambee, as well as other IMSA events. Additionally, Mod21 performs for almost all the school-run choir concerts and for extracurricular and holiday performances. At the end of the year, Mod21 holds a final performance, showcasing their full repertoire from the academic year. As a student-run group, the board members of the group fully arrange and teach the songs and music to the other members. Their selections range from Broadway and R&B to pop, often incorporating choreography, especially for ICHSA. Mod21 aims to spread a cappella appreciation on the IMSA campus and the wider singing community. They look forward to incorporating more partnerships outside the IMSA community. 

Noteworthy is entering their sophomore season with new ambitions and excitement for the 2022-2023 season. 

Nothin' But Treble is Loyola Academy's treble 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 The Acafellas, Loyola's tenor/bass a cappella group. 

Tonal Eclipse is a mixed group consisting of fun, loving, and creative members. Their musical selections showcase a variety of music, tones, and styles that capture the group’s identity as a whole. Feeding off their audiences’ energy and positive vibes, they are always guaranteed to rock the stage! 

Treble Threat is in its fourth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2019. Treble Threat has 15 members, freshman through seniors. Treble Threat is very excited to be competing with ICHSA again. 

Vocal Point is a treble group from Lockport Township High School composed of freshmen through seniors in its third year of competition. In 2022, LTHS Vocal Point took 3rd place at the ICHSA Great Lakes Semifinal and went on to compete in the ICHSA Wildcard round. 


Carolyn Boudreau is the Fine Arts Department Chair and Secondary General Music teacher at Lindblom Math & Science Academy in the Chicago Public School system. She teaches a variety of popular music courses dealing specifically with integrating vocal and instrumental techniques, including Lindblom Rock Society, Experiences in Music, Creative Arts Therapeutic Methods, Stagecraft and Technical Theatre, Advanced Music Theory, and Composition I and II. Carolyn is a former voice and piano teacher at the School of Rock Chicago and professional member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. She is on the two-time Grammy award-winning CSO Resound recording of Verdi's “Messa da Requiem.” She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.M.E., and completed her graduate studies in music education with a focus in music technology at Northwestern University. Carolyn is a former member of UIUC's No Strings Attached. 

Destinee Feliciano began her a cappella journey in DeKalb High School's mixed a cappella group Enharmonic Fusion, with whom she had the privilege of competing in ICHSA all four years, advancing to Finals in 2015, 2016, and 2017. After high school, she joined UIUC's No Comment and served as co-music director, arranging 12 songs for the group. Her music was included in their appearances at ICCA, taking the group to 1st place finishes and Semifinal appearances each time they competed. Destinee has a degree in music education from the University of Illinois and now is a music educator at Garden Hills Academy in Central Illinois. 

Erin Forrest has been a choral music educator and voice teacher for over 10 years, working with students in kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Erin currently teaches general music and chorus at Glen Grove School in Glenview, Ill. She earned her master’s degree in music education from VanderCook College of Music and her bachelor’s degree in choral music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the University of Illinois, Erin was a member and music director of the group No Comment A Cappella. She has many years of experience directing and arranging for high school a cappella ensembles and continues to arrange music for groups at both the high school and collegiate levels. 

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!