27th Annual

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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.

2011 Bay Area Champions

Brass Farthing

Brass Farthing is a group of stalwart lads brought together to sing songs, raise good cheer, and otherwise make merry in the company of friends both old and new. They take their inspiration from many periods and enjoy performing historical, traditional, and contemporary compositions in traditional styles

2011 Results

Brass Farthing
PDQ Quartet
Audience Favorite
Brass Farthing
Best Original Arrangement
"Symphony No. 5" Arr. Harold Zable - Smorgaschord
Best Original Song
"I Love You More Than Beer" - Brass Farthing

2011 Participating Groups

Brass Farthing is a group of stalwart lads brought together to sing songs, raise good cheer, and otherwise make merry in the company of friends both old and new. They take their inspiration from many periods and enjoy performing historical, traditional, and contemporary compositions in traditional styles.

Rory Alden, Chris Callahan, George Chlentzos, Mark Donnelly, Jim Partridge, Tazz Richards, Bill Roper, Ben Wilson

The Clef Divers put a fresh, hip spin on contemporary a cappella. Based in San Francisco, our members are an eclectic mix of classically-trained divas, soulful jazz crooners, rock gods, musical theatre nerds, bluegrass fiends, prodigious songwriters, and karaoke queens. We sing everything from popular rock, pop, jazz, and country hits to original songs that showcase our unique talents.

Jason Hunter, Emily Bergen, Maura Geiszler, Eric Huang, Earl Rivard, Steve Medina, David Ojala, Sara Faith Alterman

Curious Blend - For the past four years, the a cappella quartet Curious Blend has been delighting audiences with its eclectic mix of original compositions, pop songs, world music, show tunes, and jazz. What’s the recipe for our success? Take four talented singers: Randi, Jen, Craig, and Mike. Stir in rich harmonies from a wide range of musical styles. Blend and blend until the sound is silky and smooth. Beat in syncopated rhythms and off-beat comedy. Whip until lively and fun. The result: a blendiferous combination of harmony and humor. Serve hot all over the Bay Area.

Members: Jennifer Gill, Mike Pogue, Craig Rosen, Randi Zuckerberg

Honeybee Trio - Prior to the Honeybee Trio, its three young singers - Karli, Natalie, and Sarahóhad heard each other sing at various school talent shows. In October, 2008, the three were asked to work together as a trio for a special performance at a local retirement community. Though there were originally no plans beyond that one performance, it was clear that their combined talents produced something very special. Through serendipity, the Honeybee Trio was born. Two years later, they are going strong and thrilling audiences wherever they go. The girls have had many wonderful opportunities to perform and are looking forward to exploring how far they can go with their singing.

Members: Natalie Angst, Karli Bosler, Torrance Airhart, Sarah McElwain

Na Leo Nahenahe (Sweet Voices) is a primarily a cappella group with the purpose to promote and preserve Hawaiian language, culture and song through choral music. Founded in 1999, Na Leo Nahenahe has been under the direction of Leolani Grace Renaud since 2008. The singers performing for the Harmony Sweepstakes Festival are a selection from the larger chorus, whose members span many generations, ethnicities, and choral experience levels. The music covers a broad spectrum, mostly in Hawaiian, from classic standards of the Lili'uokalani era to more contemporary works.

Members: Grace Renaud, Dale Hopkins, Saralie Pennington, Tama Blough, Tom Herz, Eddie Mendiola, Greg Suzukawa

 PDQ s a 4-part a cappella group that enjoys singing in the barbershop style. In 2010, PDQ was thrilled to become Sweet Adelines' Region 12 Quartet champions.
We sing jazz, pop, Americana, comedy, traditional barbershop, gospel and swing. We perform all over the Bay Area at events large and small.

Members: Karrie Colette, Leah Brooks, Kathy Hebert, Laura Conners

Smorgaschord smorgaschord \'smOr-gas-kord\ n. 1: a variety of tones and rhythms spread out on a buffet table; 2: a group of entertaining singers of a-cappella music who enjoy a wide range of styles and can often be found near a buffet table.

Members: Larry Hamel, Harold Zable, Mia Whitfield, Patti Schank, Valerie Rose, Bill Anderson

TonicEffect is a group of five talented musicians and truly gifted drinkers who transcend traditional a cappella roles to deliver an unexpected, exciting performance. Our modern, edgy music - including original mash-up arrangements, shared lead vocals, and rotating vocal percussion - brings a new energy to the Bay Area a cappella scene.

Members: Brian Arao, Colm Davis, Jennifer Exley, Syreeta Mussante, Andy Matuschak

Vocal Minors - These boys love to sing! Vocal Minors is an all-male treble ensemble composed of middle school boys. The genesis of the group came from the boy's own inspiration after they attended the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals last year. With the support of their families, the boys hired a musical director, selected songs, created arrangements, and rehearsed after school in the evenings and on weekends. As students of the Pacific Boychoir Academy in Oakland, California, they have a wealth of singing experience. Their youthful energy, dynamic personalities, and vocal talents create a unique a cappella sound!

Members: Sam Siegel, Zachary Salsburg-Frank, Julian Nesbitt, Louis Polcin, Conner Choi, Nathan Savant

Your Emcee for the Evening

Amy Engelhardt is the sole female member of Grammy-nominated vocal band without instruments, The Bobs. Since joining the eccentric quartet in 1998, she has won numerous ASCAP songwriting and ACA vocal performance awards. Her writing, arrangements and vocals are featured on The Bobs' CDs Coaster (2000), The Best of The Bobs (2003), Rhapsody In Bob (2005), Get Your Monkey Off My Dog (2007), their concert DVDs Live at the 20th Century (1998), The Bobs Sing! (2001) and Coldfoot Films' recent documentary about The Bobs, Sign My Snarling Movie (2007). Amy's brainchild, "Rhapsody In Bob" (Gershwin's concerto arranged for piano - and The Bobs as a vocal orchestra), premiered at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts in Spring 2005. Amy's solo CD, Not Gonna Be Pretty, released in March 2008 was recently nominated for two 2009 Just Plain Folks Music Awards ("The Grammys of independent music" - LA Times) - Best Female Singer/Songwriter Album and Best Modern Rock Song ("Like Me.").

The Judges

Peter Albin - As a principal member of the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company, Peter achieved rock icon status. Not only the group's bassist, he also played guitar and sang lead vocals on the band's first record (with Janis Joplin), and wrote several of their songs. Subsequent to that auspicious success he played with Country Joe and the Fish, and well as Bay Area supergroup the Dinosaurs. In recent years, while Big Brother continue to tour and perform, Peter began working behind the scenes in the music business. Currently he works for City Hall Records and active in the San Francisco Chapter of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences).

Katie Koeplin - Katie holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from San Jose State with an emphasis on improvised music including jazz, gospel, pop/rock music styles, Afro-Latin and other world music traditions. Prior to that, she obtained a degree from vocal jazz guru Phil Mattson's School for Music Vocations in Iowa, and has recently completed her M.A. in Drama at San Francisco State University. Katie is currently the Artistic Director of the Oakland Jazz Choir, Director of Music at Lake Merritt United Methodist Church in Oakland, and teaches voice and piano privately at Studio G in Napa. She has worked as director/conductor, accompanist, and arranger, as well as performer with various choral, jazz, and theatrical groups. Katie has also sung and recorded with multiple jazz, R&B/funk/soul, gospel, and Afro-Latin groups, and also works as an actor in various theatre and film productions in the Bay Area. 

Kerry Marsh is a composer and arranger specializing in contemporary music for vocal jazz ensembles. In high demand as a commissioned arranger for many of the nation's top educational vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles, Marsh has a large and varied catalog of music performed regularly around the world. Kerry has published arrangements through UNC Jazz Press and Sound Music Publications. Since 2003, Kerry has directed the vocal jazz ensembles at Sacramento State, and in that time, his ensembles and individual students have earned ten Down Beat Magazine Student Music Awards, distinguishing it as one of the premiere programs in the country. The Sac State vocal jazz ensembles were invited twice to perform at conferences of the International Association for Jazz Education, and were one of fourteen winners of a national search to have a song appear on the Epic Records release: "Ben Folds - College A Cappella". Marsh then worked for Folds as a vocal arranger and background singers director on a twelve-city tour in performances with major symphony orchestras, including the Boston Pops and the Washington National Symphony.

Eric Morris is a founding member of the renowned male a cappella quartet, the EDLOS, and has sung first tenor with them for 20 years; in their first year of existence the EDLOS won first place and audience favorite and Mr. Morris also won that same year for best original arrangement at the Harmony Sweepstakes. Eric has been a tenor soloist with such diverse groups as the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, Pocket Opera, Marin Opera, Canada Opera Piccola, the Lamplighters, and many others. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Eric was the tenor soloist for the first annual Sing-it-Yourself Messiah at the SF Opera House. A decade ago Eric became a faculty member at Notre Dame de Namur University, teaching private voice lessons, vocal performance, opera workshop, computer music applications and music skills lab. He has won awards for his compositions as well, and is an avid bicyclist, accordionist, tennis player, banjo player, horticulturist and touch guitarist.

Dr. Lynne Morrow currently serves as the Music Director of two renowned choruses in the San Francisco/East Bay area. Under her direction, she and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble received Grammy nominations in 2005 for their recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with Kent Nagano in Berlin. In 2010, their long-time collaboration with Dave Brubeck (including many world premieres) led to the release of “Dave Brubeck: Songs of Praise” with Dorian Recordings. Dr. Morrow’s guidance of the Oakland Symphony Chorus has expanded their scope to include contemporary, international and neglected works along with traditional classical repertoire. Dr. Morrow also heads the Opera and Music Theatre programs at Sonoma State University, whose new Green Music Center concert hall has been heralded as “Tanglewood West.” She’s a familiar figure in the Bay Area where she hosts the Stern Grove Music Festival each summer. Dr. Morrow’s board memberships include Stern Grove, NARAS (the Grammy nominating committee) and a recent term as Chair of the Arts Commission in Rohnert Park, CA (home of Sonoma State). For Dr. Morrow, it’s all about creating a visceral connection to music—presenting works from every corner of the musical arts in fresh ways to reach the widest possible audiences...

Complete list of 2011 national participants

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National Finals Recordings

Interested in Competing?

We are always seeking groups who would like to compete in our events.

Groups of any style are welcome, but you must have between 3 and 8 members. We have a rule book which explains many of the details of the event, which you can see by clicking here. All groups must audition in order to compete. Generally this is done by sending a current tape and photo, although live auditions are sometimes arranged. The purpose of the audition is to make sure the group is appropriate for the Festival and to help the Director determine the performance order. If a group has competed previously, the audition process may be waived.

How to enter

The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival
PO Box D
San Anselmo, CA 94979
(415) 455-8602
festival (at) harmony-sweepstakes.com

Complete List of Bay Area Champions

Previous Year's Results - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998 - 1997

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts was built as part of The Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915, an event dedicated to progress, the celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal, and the rebirth of San Francisco following the disastrous 1906 earthquake. The only remaining building from the Exposition the Palace slowly crumbled from the ravages of the weather and ill-use. Finally, after World War 2, the structure had to be fenced off as it was a public hazard. Then, in the late 1950's, a group of dedicated citizens, led by philanthropist Walter S. Johnson, initiated a drive to rescue the Palace from planned demolition and restored it to its former glory.

The Palace of Fine Arts Theater is located at 3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco and is next to the Exploratorium. There is plenty of free parking. Yahoo map - Google map

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