The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival is the premier American showcase for vocal harmony music. The annual national competition draws from hundreds of vocal groups from around the country with regional competitions in eight cities. The winning group from each festival is flown to perform in front of celebrity judges and a sold out house of enthusiastic a cappella fans at the National Finals.
2001 National Champions
Sixth Wave is an a cappella
jazz/pop/rock group that performs unaccompanied originals and novel arrangements
of familiar tunes. The six singers in the "band" are all accomplished studio
and concert singers who can be heard in venues ranging from local concert
halls to opera stages, from rock and jazz clubs to movie theatres. Their wide
experience allows them to sing a variety of styles, showcasing them as individual
soloists as well as a tight jazz/pop/rock ensemble. Because all of the arrangements
are created by members of the group, Sixth Wave's sound is fresh and original.
Best Original Song
"Slinky Variations" Voice Trek
The David Lichtman Award
"Vincent" Sixth Wave
Freestyle(Bay Area) Current Champions of the Far Western District, barbershop quartet Freestyle are known for not only their great singing but also their zany antics, characterized as "a few fries short of a Happy Meal." Recently named Entertainment Champions at the prestigious Buckeye Invitational, their memorable show is sure to please, and members of the group have appeared on countless stages and milk cartons throughout the land. Tenor Todd Kidder recently gave up his dream of being the first 5 ft. 9 in. center of the NBA, while bass Bruce Morgan is the (Volvo) owner of a (Volvo) dealership in (Volvo) Santa Rosa, but does not use this venue (Volvo) for his own personal (Volvo) gain. Baritone Andy Wallace is an unassuming financial mastermind, collecting paperclips in his spare time. Lead Rich Brunner is the best-looking member of the quartet and his mother really loves him. It s Freestyle entertainment tonight!
Members: Todd Kidder, Bruce Morgan, Rich Brunner, Andy Wallace
T Minus 5 (Denver)
is the result of two different a cappella
groups that hit the stage during the 90s. After these two groups went
their separate ways, a couple of the members from each group wanted to continue
to perform. They collaborated with each other and agreed they would combine
efforts in establishing a new and improved "vocal band". You couldnt
ask for five better individuals in a group. Each individual brings a specialty
that is complemented by another members talent, creating a show that is
both dynamic and charismatic. This quality is what gives T Minus 5 such a dynamic
stage presence and overall personality. Visit them at www.tminus5.net.
Voice Trek (Chicago)
- is described by critics as "world class," and is known for superb
blend, complex harmonies, and creative musical arrangements. Voice Trek is a
well-respected ingredient on the Minnesota music scene, and is a two-time winner
of the Minnesota Music Award's "Best swing and mainstream jazz vocal group".
This vocal quintet was formed in 1987 and continues into its fourteenth year
with all the original members. Voice Trek consists of three sisters, Shelley
(Soprano), Vicki (Second Soprano), and Rae Plaster (Alto), Denis Allaire, (Music
Director/Tenor) (a brother-in-law), and Kevin Smith (Bass), (a brother by association!).
This "family" of singers has an eclectic repertoire, including jazz,
classical, sacred, folk, parodies, and children's favorites. They have toured
nationally and internationally, (including Montreal & Montreux) presenting
concerts and conducting jazz residencies. Until last year, the group worked
with a five piece instrumental backup band. This past year Voice Trek ventured
into the exciting, fulfilling world of a cappella singing.
Vox Bop (New York) - is a mixed a cappella quartet with ultra-smooth voices reminiscent of The Manhattan Transfer and a wry baby-boomer sensibility. Founded in 1995 by David Deschamps, who also does the arranging, Vox Bop was interviewed and featured in a 12-minute piece on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" on Christmas Eve 1999. They can be currently heard in a national Amazon.com TV ad and were featured as the house band on NBC-TV "The Ainsley Harriott Show." Vox Bop's first CD, THE VOX BOP CHRISTMAS VARIETY HOUR, has been much acclaimed: it was nominated for a 1998 CARA award, with one of the cuts ("Mission of The Three Kings") winning Best Arrangement at the 1999 NYC Harmony Sweepstakes. In the summer of 2000 Vox Bop performed at The Alandia Jazz festival in Finland and has also made a name for itself performing for a variety of clients throughout the Northeast, including Bloomberg Financial, Bloomingdales, Borders Books, The Brooklyn Museum, Filene ŸÙs, The New Press, Starbucks, and many others. The group finished in the top five at the NYC regionals of the 1998 and 1999 Harmony Sweepstakes and is currently at work on their new CD, "Affluenza."
Members: John Bischoff, David Deschamps, Johanna Grussner
and Maura May
So Rare (Boston)
is an award-winning women's a cappella quartet singing smooth sounds and intricate
harmonies. No vocal percussion here, just perfectly blended chords in a varied
repertoire including swing, jazz, modern and contemporary. Brought together
by their love of close harmony, these talented ladies have been entertaining
audiences for six years. SoRare! has been 1st runner up in the Boston Area Harmony
Sweepstakes Competition for 1998, 1999, and 2000 before becoming this year's
winners. They are a five-time medalist quartet in the North Atlantic Regional
Quartet Competition of Sweet Adelines International. They have performed extensively
throughout New England including, Worcester's 1st Night Celebrations, Bridgewater s
4th of July featured entertainers and performer of the National Anthem, Stellar
A Cappella, A Cappella Gold, opening night for the Boston Celtics where they
performed for Bill Russell, several area shows, clubs and private parties. They
have recently released their 1st CD entitled, SoRare! Well Done!
is an a cappella jazz/pop/rock group that performs unaccompanied originals and
novel arrangements of familiar tunes. The six singers in the "band" are all
accomplished studio and concert singers who can be heard in venues ranging from
local concert halls to opera stages, from rock and jazz clubs to movie theatres.
Their wide experience allows them to sing a variety of styles, showcasing them
as individual soloists as well as a tight jazz/pop/rock ensemble. Because all
of the arrangements are created by members of the group, Sixth Wave's sound
is fresh and original.
Eclipse , (Pacific
NW) - is an ensemble of six who met while attending Utah State University
in northern Utah. They have performed extensively with the USU Department of
Programs and Entertainment, which was instrumental in helping them gain exposure
when they were getting started. In January 2000, they toured Thailand with Colors
and the USU Sunburst Singers. Last year they were featured on a Christmas CD
produced for the USU Aggie Carolers. Eclipse is currently recording their own
debut album, due out in March 2001. Their repertoire consists of an eclectic
mix of vocal jazz, pop, R&B, and even big band tunes.
4:2: Five (Mid-Atlantic)
4:2:Five is not your parents' a cappella. What
used to be street-corner barbershop and doo-wop, has now evolved into a fresh
new sound and 4:2:Five is right at the breakpoint. With driving vocal bass,
slamming vocal percussion, and tight harmonies, these five young men create
a sound that is all their own using nothing more than their highly trained mouths.
4:2:Five has performed at the 2000 Orlando International Fringe Festival, on
several radio stations, and won Ed McMahons internet based talent search www.Nextbigstar.com.
The guys have been seen at NBC's Today Show, every news station in the Orlando
area, and you might even catch 4:2:Five on a television commercial or doing
a jingle on the radio. 4:2:Five's unique sound is derived from the diverse backgrounds
of it s members, the individual talents possessed by each, and the belief that
the music always has and always will come first.
||Grazin' In The Grass - Sixth Wave
Old To Macdonnald - Voice Trek
Paper Doll - Freestyle
All My Lovin' - Toxic Audio
Slinky Variations - Vox Bop
Ain't Misbehavin' - So Rare
Lion Sleeps Tonight - T Minus 5
Still The One - 4:2:5
All My Life - Eclipse
Mambo - Sixth Wave
We Three - Freestyle
Moon River - Voice Bop
Blue World - So Rare
William Tell Overture - Voice Trek
Red Neck Advenger - T Minus 5
Zoot Suit Roit - Eclipse
Look At Me - 4:2:5
Listen To Me - Toxic Audio
If you were there in San Rafael on May 5th, 2001, you know what an incredible show this was. Eight of the best groups in the world, Sixth Wave, Voice Trek, Freestyle, Vox Bop, So Rare, T Minus 5, 4:2:5 and Eclipse, on stage for 12 incredible minutes each, the show hilariously hosted by last year's winner, Toxic Audio. The sellout (always) audience was blown away by one amazing performance after another, ranging from the ridiculous, T Minus 5's side-splitting "Red Neck Avenger" and Freestyle's very funny "Paper Doll," to the unbelievable, Vox Bop's genre-hopping commentary on all things a cappella, "Slinky Variations," and Voice Trek's tour-de-force "William Tell Overture;" to the sublime, So Rare's "Ain't Misbehavin' and 4:2:5's "Still The One." In the end, the judges had a difficult choice, and went with Los Angeles' Sixth Wave, whose "Grazin' in the Grass" and "Mambo" are representative of their wonderful vocal jazz set. Add two songs by Toxic Audio, which makes 18, and you have a barn-burner CD of one of the best a cappella shows of all time. Wow!
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