2217 W. Cullom Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60618
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Amanda Newman has been on the Varsity Vocals team since 2002. She spent a year serving as ICCA Midwest Producer before becoming Executive Director of the company. Amanda came to Varsity Vocals after serving as business manager and choreographer for the University of Illinois a cappella group, No Strings Attached, and was awarded for Best Choreography at the ICCA Midwest Semifinals. Amanda holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. She plays piano and cello and has sung with the University of Illinois Concert Choir, the Augustana Choir and the Handel Oratorio Society. Amanda has served as Publicity Manager for the Apollo Chorus of Chicago and Operations Coordinator for Ravinia Festival's Steans Institute for Young Artists.
David Rabizadeh has played an active role in Varsity Vocals programming since 2008, spending his first two years as a producer for the ICCA before assuming his present role as ICCA Director. David graduated from Rutgers University in 2007 with bachelor's degrees in business economics and information technology. During his matriculation, he began his a cappella career with the co-ed OrphanSporks. He also founded the university's first male a cappella group, Casual Harmony. Under David's leadership, Casual Harmony competed and hosted in several successful ICCA events. David is also accomplished in the a cappella recording world, having served both as a nominator and judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards. He produced two full-length albums for Casual Harmony during his tenure, earning critical acclaim including five CARA nominations and selection for the BOCA: Best Of College A Cappella albums as well as other major compilations.
Andrea Poole is an alumna of Michigan State University's Capital Green, having served as president for two of her four years in the group. During her time in the group, Capital Green hosted and competed in the ICCA each year and advanced to the Midwest Semifinals in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Before singing with Capital Green, she was part of Pine Creek (Colo.) High School's female a cappella group, Nuance, and was actively involved in the choral program. Andrea also served as ICHSA Midwest Producer from 2007 to 2009 and has produced numerous ICHSA and ICCA shows around the Midwest. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in English in 2007 and a master's degree in public relations in 2009.
Valerie has been in charge of the programs for the ICCA and ICHSA since 2010. She also works as editorial director for a financial publishing company in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds master's degrees in journalism and law from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in theater from St. Mary's College of Maryland. Her favorite singing role was a lascivious "Madam" Marcus Lycus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Today she performs with Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and Fells Point Corner Theatre.
Virginia began her a cappella career singing lead in her high school's first female barbershop quartet with her three best friends. She then attended Florida State University where she spent two years in All Night Yahtzee followed by two years in the AcaBelles. She served as Public Relations Chair for one year in Yahtzee and arranged music for both groups, even after graduating. Virginia is the Program Manager for Volunteers on the CASA board of directors and served as Collegiate Competition Coordinator for SoJam 2011. She has produced and judged ICCA/ICHSA events and has previously served as Volunteer Coordinator. Virginia lives in beautiful Asheville, NC where she has just recently started up a (currently) all female a cappella group and works on a recovery farm for adults with mental illness.
Shane began arranging music at an early age and ventured into arranging a cappella music at the age of 16. She started her contemporary a cappella career at Georgia Tech as a performer, arranger, and eventual president of the all female group, Nothin' but Treble. While still in college, she also began singing in a rock/gospel semi-professional group, Breakdown, in Atlanta. Shane continues to arrange and coach groups as well as judge for the ICCAs. She also helps to maintain acaspot.com, an online a cappella group management tool that stemmed out of Georgia Tech. She is currently the Infrastructure Program Manager for CASA.
Sara Yood has been a producer with Varsity Vocals since 2003 and has been singing a cappella since her high school years. An alum of The Washington University Amateurs, Sara served as both Concert Coordinator and Group Coordinator and led the Amateurs to their first appearance in Varsity Vocals competition. After moving to New York in 2004, Sara sang with Treble, New York's a all-female a cappella group. In her spare time, Sara is a third-year law student focusing on Intellectual Property Law at Fordham University, where of course she directs law school's co-ed a cappella group The Tortfeasors. Sara has previously served as Midwest Producer, Northeast/New England Producer, and as an Associate Producer.
Lucy Jackson began singing a cappella in high school, when she performed with a Sweet Adelines double quartet and co-directed the quartet Bel Canto. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, singing with the University Singers Chamber Choir, Opera Scenes, Opera Productions, and the co-ed a cappella group, Naked Voices. She transferred to the University of Southern California, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communication with a minor in music studies. She was a member of the USC Concert Choir and Opera Productions, and she served as director of music for Alpha Phi sorority. As a member of the USC SoCal VoCals, Lucy held the position of business manager, album producer, and president, and she performed with the group when they were named International Champion at the 2008 ICCA Finals in New York City. Most recently, Lucy appeared in the first-ever season of NBC's The Sing-Off as a member of The Socals.
Lindsay Howerton-Hastings has been on the Varsity Vocals team since 2008. She has served as South Producer and ICCA director, and now directs our judging program while producing the South ICCA shows each spring. Lindsay graduated from Elon University in 2008 with degrees in Psychology and International Studies and a minor in Asian Studies. While at Elon, Lindsay sang with the all-female a cappella group Sweet Signatures, serving as their treasurer for two eyars. Lindsay currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where she is Development Manager for Public Education Partners, a nonprofit that raises money for public schools. She is working on her masters in Clinical Mental Health at Clemson University. She also owns a catering company and writes a food blog about her kitchen disasters. She is active in her church music ministry as a lead singer for the contemporary band.
Leah Gastman is thrilled to serve as Midwest Producer. She started singing a cappella in high school where she founded and directed Bella Voce-Parkway South High. An alumna of Missouri State University's A Cub Bella, Leah served as Music Director, Business Manager, Publicity Director, Tours Chair, and helped lead the group to many ICCA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. After graduating from MSU in 2011 with a Vocal Music Education Degree, she now lives in St. Louis, Missouri and teaches in the Ladue School District. Leah is a member of MMEA, ACDA, and the MSTA. She loves the community of Midwest A Cappella and can't wait to hear what you all have in store for this coming year!
An alumna of James Madison University's School of Theatre and Dance, Holli Matze was a member of the BluesTones for five years, serving as music director and president. Through her position, Holli coordinated numerous major a cappella events on campus and led the BluesTones to compete in the ICCA as well as several other competitive events. Currently, Holli resides in Brooklyn, where she works for the educational company The Broadway Workshop and acts as assistant music director for the NYC-based group, Empire.
Emily Flanders has been with Varsity Vocals since 2008, but has been singing a cappella since middle school. An alumna of The Washington University Amateurs, Emily served as both Concert Coordinator and Group Coordinator for two of her three years in the group. After graduating, she occasionally sang with a band in St. Louis and served as the Midwest Producer for ICCA. Now based in Boston, she is the Competition and Professional Showcase producer for CASA's BOSS festival and is excited to be producing ICCA and ICHSA shows in the Northeast. By day, she is a Volunteer Coordinator for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Mark Chen has been producing for and working with Varsity Vocals since 2003, but has been singing long before then. After years of school choirs, he founded, music directed, and business managed the ScatterTones during his undergraduate years at UCLA, leading them to their first ICCA appearance in 2004. He then took on the role of ICHSA West producer in 2005 and 2006. During graduate school in Atlanta, Mark was as an ICCA judge for ICCA South, and sang with and later music directed The Graduates, a casual gathering of other a cappella alumni in Atlanta. He also served as the ICHSA South producer in 2007 and 2008. After moving to San Francisco in 2008, he has served as an associate producer along the west coast, helping with both ICCA and ICHSA productions, and is excited to return to the role of ICHSA West/Northwest Producer. He also participates in the nomination and judging of each year's Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). When he's not thinking of a cappella, he serves in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps as an Environmental Health Officer.
Courtney Jensen, most recently seen on The Sing-Off Season 2 with The Backbeats, is a singer, beatboxer, and performer. She attended Brigham Young University where she majored in Theater with an Emphasis in Directing.
Lo Barreiro is a former ICCA competitor from her days of singing and directing AcaBelles at Florida State University. Since then she has become a sought after a cappella arranger, clinician, and adjudicator and began working with The Vocal Company as a producer and consultant. Lo currently sings with the professional female sextet Musae and finishing her degree in Music at FSU.
Jillian Kimberlin is thrilled to be a part of the Varsity Vocals team! She's been singing ever since she can remember, but started her a cappella career her freshman year at Rutgers University in 2007 with its only award winning, all-female group, ShockWave. Jillian jumped on the board as Treasurer her second semester and then became Business Manager/President for the next 3 years, when she also served as Executive Producer for their second and third CD's, Breakthrough and IMPACT, which received a numerous amount of CARA nominations, awards, and recognition. Though she is no longer a part of the a cappella world vocally, she's so pleased to be back in the world she loves so much, outside of her banking life!