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



Oak Creek High School
Saturday, February 4th, 2023


We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!




Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and join the conversation using #ICHSA.


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.


Focus is an extracurricular group at Port Washington High School. Now in its eighth year of existence, the group is committed to creating a musical foundation for its members to learn and grow. They are directed by Stephen Lanza. 

Gold Standard is in its sixth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017. Gold Standard has eight singers, ranging from freshman through seniors. Gold Standard is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again, after finishing in 3rd place in their 2022 Quarterfinal. 

Incognito from Mayville High School is in its eighth year of competitive a cappella and its ninth in existence. The first group was a secret project of the director that met at an exclusive time and location, which inspired the group's name. The group is selected by audition and is composed of students in grades 10 through 12. As a big musical and show choir school, Incognito specializes in being theatrical. 

Knight Club is Oak Creek High School’s gender-inclusive a cappella group. Currently composed of 18 members, they have been competing for the past nine years. This fun-loving group is always striving to find joy in the small things and the devotion to take on the world. Between their powerful vocals and sharp choreo, Knight Club is always ready to slay! 

Minor Renovation is in its sixth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017. Minor Renovation has 16 members, ranging from sophomores through seniors. Minor Renovation is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again, after winning their first Quarterfinal in 2022. 

Modern Melodies is in its sixth year at Buffalo Grove High School, founded in the fall of 2017. Modern Melodies has 10 singers, ranging from freshman through seniors. Modern Melodies is very excited to compete with ICHSA once again. 

The Spartan Singers is St. Francis High School's senior a cappella group.  They specialize in a cappella pop and jazz, but also sing classical choral music for school events. Most of these musicians have been in multiple choirs and have won awards at the IHSA Solo and Ensemble Contest, including the championship in 2020, 2021, and 2022. These students also partake in other activities, including sports, other instruments, National Honor Society, and much more. Many of them hope to continue in a cappella choirs in college! 

The Treblesome Teens was founded seven years ago by a group of friends who just loved to sing together. That friendship has grown and the connections made from class to class have inspired this group to continue the original group's mission to create an amazing musical group. Completely student-run, The Trebelsome Teens create their own arrangements and choreography. 

The St. Francis High School Chamber Choir has performed for various community and school events. Composed of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, this elite group has achieved many local awards including the IHSA Solo and Ensemble State Championship in 2020, 2021, and 2022.  Members of the Chamber Choir are also involved in many other activities at St. Francis including sports, religious groups, and academic clubs. 

Unaccompanied Minors is Brookfield East High School’s premier, co-ed, entirely student-led a cappella group! Formed in 2017, this is a group of exceptionally talented musicians with a strong passion for a cappella and music in general. They could not be more excited to be competing in ICHSA again after advancing to the Great Lakes Semifinal last year. Outside of rehearsal, the group loves to partake in seasonal activities, hold karaoke nights, and make memories together. Many have met their best friends in this group, which reflects in their onstage chemistry in every performance. The musical highlights of their a cappella season include their annual family barbeque show, winter show, local concerts and charity events, and of course ICHSA! Tonight, all 18 of their group members have their left pinky fingers painted baby blue for the performance. These high schoolers have spent countless hours and pulled one-too-many all nighters arranging tonight’s ICHSA set. They can’t wait to share their hard work with you tonight!


Charlie Arthur began performing at a very young age, participating in as many musical ensembles, theatrical productions, short films, and middle school dance battles as he could seek out. He discovered his love for contemporary vocal music when he joined Forte, the award-winning a cappella group at Centerville High School. In Forte, Charlie received national recognition as a vocal percussionist and he began arranging, recording, producing, and teaching vocal music full-time. Over the last eight years, these experiences have taken him across the U.S., Canada, Russia, and the Caribbean, working and performing with vocal groups such as m-pact, The Cat’s Pajamas, and Vocalight. Charlie currently lives in Eugene, Ore., where he works full time as an engineer and production assistant for Peter Hollens. 

Chlo Baumbach has been performing for many years. In addition to musicals and choir, they competed with Madison area group Midnight Voices from 2015-2018 while in high school. After high school, Chlo attended University of Wisconsin-Madison where they joined Pitches & Notes, the school’s competitive gender-inclusive treble a cappella group. As music director in 2020, they managed and worked on the mixing for Pitches & Notes online 2021 ICCA video. Chlo debuted their vocal percussion in Pitches & Notes’ 2020 ICCA set, and carried on as the group’s main vocal percussionist until they graduated. In 2022, Chlo had the immense pleasure of experiencing New York and ICCA Finals with their best friends and group mates, culminating in Pitches & Notes’ historic victory, a first-time win for a University of Wisconsin-Madison group and for the Great Lakes region. Since graduating, they have been working with a friend on mixing an EP and continue to write new music. They are very excited to be back at ICHSA, the competition that led to their love of a cappella and involvement in college. 

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. 

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since. 


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!