Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 28th 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 650 groups and over 10,000 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 28 years ago and we can’t wait to see how our 2024 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 Athenaeum
Saturday, February 10th, 2024


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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 27th.

The high school tournament is now in its 19th 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 26th.

 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.


Counterpoint A Cappella is Loyola University Chicago's only competitive all-gender a cappella group. The group is composed of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. They meet twice a week and arrange all of their music themselves! Along with competing, Counterpoint puts on a concert each semester and occasionally sings at other events like basketball games. They mainly sing pop music but have been having fun with themed performances, such as a R&B themed concert. Counterpoint has been competing in the ICCA for years and is always thrilled to share the stage with such talented people. 

Formed in the desolate cornfields of DeKalb, Ill. in the fall of 2011, The NIU Huskie Hunks developed into a nationally recognized group when they took ICCA by storm for the eighth time in 2023. The Hunks is the exclusive tenor-bass a cappella group from Northern Illinois University. Their members range from freshmen to super seniors and represent various majors, but share a common goal to rock their audiences’ pants off with electric harmonies and robotically precise choreography. The Hunks pride themselves in displaying their vocal capabilities by performing creative and fresh covers of all your favorite hits, as well as providing captivating shows for audiences of all ages. 

Sonata Problem A Cappella is a dynamic and harmonious ensemble of talented voices hailing from North Central College. The group was founded on the principles of musical excellence, unity, and a deep love for a cappella music. Since the group’s inception in 2012, they have been captivating audiences on campus and beyond with their performances. This will be Sonata Problem’s fourth time appearing in the ICCA and they are ecstatic to showcase what they have been working on this year. Beyond the stage, they are a tight-knit family of musicians, each bringing their own unique style and background. They come together to create harmonious magic that resonates with audiences of all ages. Sonata Problem’s performances are not just about the music, but also about connecting with their listeners on an emotional level. 

The Undertones is a competitive co-ed a cappella group that was founded in 2001 at Northwestern University. They love to sing, laugh, and bust a move, and have toured both nationally and internationally to places like Barcelona, San Francisco, and Fort Lauderdale. In 2016, they performed at The White House! Affectionately called The Tones, they have loved competing in the ICCA throughout almost their entire history. In 2022, The Undertones won their ICCA Quarterfinal and took home Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, and Outstanding Choreography. As one alumna put it best, “The Undertones take their music very seriously, and themselves not seriously at all.” 

The Harmelodics is Northern Illinois University’s student-run all-treble a cappella group. This year’s group ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a wide variety of majors. Harmelodics is an open and inclusive group with shared goals of making music and lifetime friendships. They strive to change the a cappella world with their intricate harmonies and catchy melodies, one song at a time. 

The Ransom Notes is an all-gender a cappella group from the University of Chicago. They have been a vocal presence for the past 24 years, competing in the ICCA since at least 2001. In the past few years, The Ransom Notes has been ICCA Finalists and Semifinalists, winning awards for Outstanding Arrangement, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Soloist, and Outstanding Vocal Percussion. Outside of competition season, they can be found performing at venues around Chicago and across the country where they visit other colleges and cities, performing with other a cappella groups during their Spring Tour. They recently released a series of music videos and singles in anticipation for their upcoming album, available on YouTube and streaming platforms respectively. Beyond their musical exploits, The Ransom Notes is a fun-loving group of musicians that love one another as much as they love to sing. Their members enjoy performing in informal arch sings, teaching music workshops to high school students, frequenting their local Panera Bread for late-night study sessions, and ordering way too much dim sum in Chicago Chinatown. As their friends will tell you readily, “you never see just one Ransom Note.” 

Founded in 1989 under the name Unaccompanied Women, Cadenza is the oldest a cappella group at the University of Chicago. This close-knit group includes students who study everything from art history to molecular engineering, all brought together by a shared love of singing. As a high-voice group, they pride themselves on telling stories through their music and spreading ‘Denza love every chance they get. All of their songs are arranged by present and past group members. They compete in the ICCA every other year and record music as often as possible. They released two full-length albums, I tried to love you in 2023 and Ampersand in 2017, as well as an EP, Let Me, in 2019. They perform at various events, including Bar Mitzvahs and proposals, and they serenade their campus with singing valentines every February. Cadenza’s music has been featured in the BOCA, Voices Only, and Women’s A Cappella Association (WACA) compilations. In 2020, they were awarded Outstanding Arrangement at their ICCA Great Lakes Quarterfinal and received two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations for their rendition of “Kamikazee,” winning Best Female Collegiate Song and Runner-Up for Best Female Collegiate Arrangement.

Fun, energetic, and intensely passionate, Fundamentally Sound is considered one of the leading groups in collegiate a cappella today. This suspender-clad group from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has carved out a niche in contemporary a cappella for their lively personalities, genre-bending arrangements, and engaging performances. With a unique blend of charm and musicality, Fundamentally Sound is poised to captivate audiences for years to come. 

Founded in 2013, Urban Sound is a student-run, gender-inclusive a cappella ensemble at the University of Minnesota. The group provides singers an opportunity to combine their love of singing with meaningful outreach. Urban Sound entertains audiences from both the U of M and greater Twin Cities area with concerts, events, and benefits. Urban Sound strives to be a part of the community through service and awareness of local issues. Each year, the group collectively selects a charity they all strongly support and a portion of the season's showcase proceeds go towards this respected foundation. They pride themselves in their shared love for music and are happy to consider their fellow members as family! 

Downtown Voices from the University of Illinois Chicago is an 18-member group with a shared love for singing. They sing various musical genres, from soulful classics to contemporary pop hits. Their vocal synergy and impeccable arrangements have earned them a devoted following and they love showcasing their talents at local events all around the Chicago area. With each note, Downtown Voices paints a sonic masterpiece that resonates deep within the soul, leaving an indelible mark on listeners. They are so excited for the chance to return to ICCA and give it their all!


Danny Cavero has been performing a cappella music for over 10 years. His passion for a cappella music started in college at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he joined Acquire A Cappella. He competed during and post-college and won multiple awards, including Outstanding Vocal Percussion at ICCA and Harmony Sweepstakes. In 2014, Danny joined a group called SanFran6 that was featured on NBC’s "The Sing-Off." The group continued professionally performing at Bay Area athletic events for The San Francisco 49ers, Giants, and Golden State Warriors. Danny is still heavily involved in the Bay Area a cappella scene. 

Samantha Rich began her a cappella journey in a mixed ensemble from Georgia Institute of Technology and never looked back. Since her days arranging, competing (yes, in the ICCA!), and serenading Atlanta audiences with her smoky voice, she spent the last decade performing and recording with various semi-professional groups. After moving from the sunny South to the Midwest, Sam is super excited to judge the ICCA in the Chicago area and can't wait to hear this season's competitors! 

Antonio Rodriguez graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang with The Amateurs for four years. He also served as arranger and music director of the group. He spent the next five years performing as a stage actor in St. Louis before gaining his union card and moving to Chicago in 2014. Favorite past musical credits include “The Who’s Tommy” (Tommy Walker), “Urinetown” (Bobby Strong), and “Altar Boyz” (Matthew). He was a member of the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award-winning ensemble of the a cappella musical “All is Calm” for three years, and is a four-time nominee and two-time Theatre Circle Award winner for his individual acting work in both musicals and straight plays. In addition to performing in full-length stage works, he has conceived and performed two solo cabarets in both St. Louis and Chicago. Antonio is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. 

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 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 Genevieve Swanson, Matt Schufreider, Teresa Hull, Andrew Nagoda, Therrin Eber, and all the Staff of the Athenaeum Theatre; Joseph Aquino, Lili Fujiu, and Bryan Pennington; our judges, hosts, competitors, volunteers, partners, and producers; and you, the audience, for supporting Varsity Vocals programming.

Amanda Newman
 Executive Director

Elise Hackl-Blumstein
ICHSA Director

PA/MA Program Coordinator

Dave Rabizadeh
 ICCA Director

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Lucy Jacobs
 ICCA West Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Gemma Davies
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Emily Benjamin
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Danielle Sutherland
 ICHSA Midwest Producer

Adam McNeil
ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Cameron Clemens
 ICHSA West Producer

Jody Hagler
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Bryce McCracken
 Associate Producer

Bri Decerio
 Associate Producer

Courtney Jensen
 Associate Producer

Emcee Extraordinaire

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Emily Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Andrew Poole
 Director of Digital Media

Charlotte Taylor
& Social Strategy

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Bronwyn Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Christopher Witham
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 Senior Producer

Christopher Hoffman
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

Ben Garza
 ICHSA Southwest Producer

Luke Thomas
 ICHSA South Producer

Alaina Wegner
 Associate Producer

Jake Yoakum
 Associate Producer

Rebecca Williamson
 Associate Producer

Andrea Poole

ICHSA Director Emeritus


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 2024 ICCA 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!