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



Southwest Christian High School
Saturday, March 11th, 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.


Encore was founded in 2005. They are a mixed group of singers who love blankets, musicals, hot chocolate, Super Smash Bros and donut Fridays. This is their fifth year competing in ICHSA and they are excited to be here!

Harmonix is a female-identifying ensemble of singers from Jordan High School in Jordan, Minn. Ranging from freshmen through seniors, Harmonix passionately believes that it is essential for women to lift up other women. They know the power and value of every person but want to inspire and encourage women to love themselves and be who they are with no regrets or apologies. Harmonix strives to send this message through their music performance, but also in their everyday lives. 

The MidKnights is a new a cappella group on campus this year! This group was started to provide more a cappella opportunities for treble singers and they are excited to make a name for their group and to represent their school in the a cappella world. 

Out of the Blue is a 17-member a capella group from Galesville, Wis., joining their Galesville sister group, Vocal Point. This will be their fifth time performing at the ICHSA and they are excited to show what they’ve got onstage. They enjoy being able to portray their emotions onstage in performance. 

The Red Knotes is an a cappella group whose name comes from a pun from their school’s mascot, The Red Knights. The Red Knotes is composed of 93% theatre and band kids. Director Ryan Werdon is easy to spot in a crowd, but hard to fit in a car. Although the sopranos contain some of the smallest group members, they have some of the biggest opinions. The altos are constantly trying to overtake the sopranos with their harmonies. The tenor section consistently pushes their voices to the absolute limit. The baritones have a secret handshake but are still very lonely. As for the basses, they have mastered the syllable “dum-ba” but not necessarily the associated pitches. The Red Knotes have trouble focusing, but always have fun together, both onstage and off. They hope you enjoy their music! 

The Accidentals is an auditioned group of sophomores, juniors and seniors who love to sing and are dedicated to excellence! These students make a yearlong commitment to meet as an additional vocal music class and are committed to making the best a cappella music they can! 

The AHS Accidentals comes from a small rural town in western Wisconsin. They are located in between La Crosse, Wis. and Eau Claire, Wis. and are only 30 minutes from Winona, Minn. Arcadia, Wis. is proud to have a very diverse population and is home to The Ashley Furniture Headquarters and Pilgrim's Pride Chicken Headquarters (formerly Gold N Plump). Ashley for the Arts also takes place in their very own Memorial Park, which is a worldclass family summer festival with art, music, and entertainment. They are called The AHS Accidentals because they always look SHARP, their personalities are never FLAT, and they have NATURAL talent. 

The Chords is a five-member group based out of Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District in Ontario, Wis. With only 650 kids in a K-12 school, it's really easy to get to know everyone. They started this group at the beginning of the school year and are super excited to participate in their first ICHSA. They sing rock, pop, and doowop pieces, but are eager to learn anything that sounds good in their ears! These singers hope to make The Chords a featured group in their community and the greater a cappella scene and hope you will help them get there! 

Tonal Recall is a 16-member mixed a cappella group from Shell Lake, Wis. Founded in 2015, Tonal Recall prides themselves on their soulful sound, which is influenced by jazz, blues, and gospel music. 

Vocal Point is a 14-member, auditioned, a cappella vocal band based out of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School, in Galesville, Wis. Previously dubbed Vocal Jazz, they took a new name in preparation for Interkultur's 2012 "World Choir Games" in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2015, they were invited to take part in the first-ever a cappella festival at Carnegie Hall hosted by “Pitch Perfect” musical producer Deke Sharon. Over the years, Vocal Point has performed all over the Midwest, opening for nationally touring a cappella groups such as Six Appeal, Street Corner Symphony, Revoiced, Cantus, Vocalosity, DCappella, and The Exchange, They have performed in some of the biggest venues in the country, such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Beacon Theatre, and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and The Chicago Theatre. They also opened for Gavin Degraw and Andy Grammar, performing for a crowd of over 50,000 people.


Drew Baker has been a singer their whole life. They got their start in a cappella while attending University of Minnesota with Basses Wild Men’s A Cappella. In their time with Basses Wild, Drew became the music director, choreographer, and principal arranger of the group, leading them to ICCA Semifinals and winning awards for both Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Arrangement. Drew has continued a cappella arranging and teleconsulting on a freelance basis since graduating. They are thrilled to be back with Varsity Vocals as a judge this year! 

Barry Bakunowicz has been an active member of the a cappella community throughout his musical career, performing with groups including The UW MadHatters and UW-Eau Claire's Fifth Element. In addition to singing and arranging for his a cappella groups, he studied music in college and has been involved in a variety of musical opportunities. He was a singer/dancer in the touring troupe, Kids From Wisconsin, and a cast member in many musical and operatic productions. Currently, Barry is a member of Minneapolis-based a cappella group, Due North, winners of the 2018 Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes. 

Michael Brookens has a degree in music education and has toured as a professional a cappella performer for the past 12 years. He founded Six Appeal Vocal Band in 2006 and serves as music director, primary arranger, and educational clinician. Six Appeal performs on stages all over the world, and is the only two-time winner of the world’s largest a cappella competition in Moscow, Russia. Six Appeal appears annually at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in Los Angeles. Check out their YouTube channel or Instagram to see their latest projects! 

Katie Hagaman is originally from DeKalb, Ill. She competed at ICHSA with her high school a cappella group, Enharmonic Fusion, progressing all the way to Finals three times and earning 2nd place in 2017. After graduating high school, she went to further her education at St. Olaf College. There, she took a break from the a cappella scene but performed with the St. Olaf Choir for three years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in vocal music education and then went directly on to teaching. She currently teaches elementary music at World Learner School in Chaska, Minn. and is loving her chosen career path. She is excited to return to the a cappella world and see these amazing groups perform! 

Kane Harris fell in love with the a cappella scene in Eau Claire during his four-year stint as a member of The Innocent Men. Kane served as music director and then business manager and helped the group earn two consecutive Audience Favorite awards at the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes. He also assisted in the group’s return from a five-year hiatus of studio recording with contributions on the group's most recent album, Identity. Upon graduation, Kane remained in the a cappella scene, briefly joining the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) team as an album reviewer and founded Due North, a professional group in the Twin Cities area. The group was crowned 2018 Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes Champions and brought home the Audience Favorite award as well. Currently, Kane works fulltime with an entertainment agency, working on videography projects and occasionally subbing for groups. 


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!