23rd Annual

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The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, 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.

2007 Boston Champions

Men in Black

Men in Black is a young quartet bringing a fresh youthful sound and personality to barbershops classic standards and drawing appeal to its ever evolving sound in today's world. Their passion for the barbershop style was rewarded in July of 2005 when they were awarded he 2005 gold medal as the MBNA International Collegiate Quartet Champions. Once winning at this level, they immediately began to take on "the big boys" and in October of 2005 they were crowned the best in the Northeast.

2007 Results

Men In Black
Audience Favorite
Men In Black


5-Alone is an award-winning jazz a cappella group from the
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South
Hadley, MA. 5-Alone made history in 2004 as the first high school group
ever invited to compete in the Harmony Sweepstakes, and they are thrilled to
be back again this year!.

Members: Emily Yaffe, Daniel Plimpton, Olivia Littell, Isaac Richardson, Rose Whitcomb-Detmold, Andrew Lederman

Downtown Crossing is an established Boston vocal band specializing in original songs and innovative, high-energy covers of alternative, modern rock, and R&B tunes. Past performance venues include the Somerville Theater, Ryles Jazz Club, Cantab Lounge, New Song Arts Center, Wellesley College, Tufts University, and WERS Radio (live and recorded). Four years strong, DTX is proud to be considered a mainstay of the dynamic Boston a cappella scene.

Members: Reena Freedman, Ariel Glassman, Edwin Johnson, Bradford McKeown , Kiel Mitchell, Jonathan Spring

Essence In the early 1990s, a group of talented women saw a void in the Tufts vocal scene. As Black women, they felt that they, and the music they enjoyed singing, was absent. So, in an attempt to remedy this, and because of their general love of song, they came together to form a group called Spice. Spice sang together for a few years before becoming Essence in 1994. Over the years, the character of Essence has changed many times. Not only has Essence been through a musical make-over, some also see a shift in the purpose of the group. When it was first founded, Essence was intended, or perceived to be, only for women of color. But now we are proud to be one of the most diverse incarnations of Essence ever. The thing that will always link together every member of Essence, past and present, is our love of the music of the African Diaspora. We will
always keep this meaning in our hearts out of respect for the founders of Essence.

Members: Angela Anderson, Faith Cummings, Melodie Eastmond, Kimberly Mitchell, Ursula Randolph, Mariel Montuori, Sharon Taylor, Rachel Engelberg, and Kate Beal.

Firedrill! stepped back, got a big running start and LEAPED...  And made a big splash at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps by winning the Boston regional.  When the finals came around, though, the group bellyflopped.  Two years later Firedrill! is back with bright-red bellies (see for yourself!) and the same disregard for what contemporary a cappella is supposed to be.  Since its last appearance the group has stepped up its repertoire and performance schedule, appearing at SoJam in North Carolina and agreeing to host the ICCA Finals at Lincoln Center this April. Firedrill! even released its first EP, Rock Paper Scissors. Thanks for having Firedrill! at the Boston Harmony Sweepstakes!

Members: Wrobz, Fozz, Judd, Mark, (Mailman), Vic, Mikey B, Nate

Men in Black is a young quartet bringing a fresh youthful sound and personality to barbershops classic standards and drawing appeal to its ever evolving sound in today's world. Their passion for the barbershop style was rewarded in July of 2005 when they were awarded he 2005 gold medal as the MBNA International Collegiate Quartet Champions. Once winning at this level, they immediately began to take on "the big boys" and in October of 2005 they were crowned the best in the Northeast.

Members: Ray Johnson, Karl Hudson, Tony Nasto and Oliver Merrill,

Sentinel started out as an in-house church quartet which a few years ago decided to go public. Members are now from three churches in the Syracuse area who sing for the love of music and as a type of ministry. We mostly do church concerts, services, benefits for charitable organizations, and visits to senior homes. You'll find some traces of barbershop harmony in our arrangements as we sing hymns, spirituals, gospel songs, and an occasional classical piece.

Members: Steve Arnold and Archie McEvers; back: George Carruth and Joe Browne

Second Verse Founded in Pittsburgh, PA in 2005, Second Verse is proud to be the second Pittsburgh vocal group ever to compete in the Harmony Sweepstakes, and are excited to make their first appearance in the Sweeps here in the home of the world's best a cappella scene -- Boston. They blend contemporary a cappella with the popular Pittsburgh area traditions of doo-wop and barbershop with the mission of creating performances that are as fun for audiences as they are for the singers. Second Verse has enjoyed performances in such venues as Pittsburgh's Benedum Center, KDKA Television, and PNC Park. The core of the group (Michael, Mike, and Eric) went on a year later to found contemporary sextet DoubleShot!, but still love to sing together in smaller groups -- and thanks to the addition of their newest fourth man, are able to come together for a unique reunion of sorts here at the Harmony Sweepstakes. Second Verse would like to thank their family and friends (especially the ones who are housing them here in Boston!) and the staff of the Harmony Sweeps for another great year of a cappella

Members: Michael Bodnar, Luke Clavey, Eric Manalo, Mike Yanchak


Jamshed Bharucha was named Provost and Senior Vice President in 2002. He formerly served as Dean of Faculty and Deputy Provost at Dartmouth College, where he was the John Wentworth Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. At Dartmouth, he received the Huntington Teaching Award and the Undergraduate Teaching Initiative Special Award, and held appointments in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science, and the Program in Electro-Acoustic Music. He was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 1993-94 and a visiting scholar at Cornell and Carnegie Mellon Universities. Dr. Bharucha‚s research is on the perception of music, using computational neural net modeling and brain imaging techniques. He has received numerous research grants, has served on the National Science Foundation‚s advisory panel in Perception and Cognition, and was Editor of the interdisciplinary journal Music Perception. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, US News & World Report, Discover magazine, and the New York Times. He has co-developed two successful software products for teaching. A 1978 graduate of Vassar College, he received a master‚s degree in philosophy from Yale in 1979 and a Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard in 1983. He served as a Trustee of Vassar College for eight years, where he chaired the Budget and Finance Committee. He is a Trustee of the International Foundation for Music Research.

Mezzo-soprano Penelope Bitzas has performed in the United States and abroad in opera, oratorio and contemporary music and Greek music. She has sung as a soloist under notable conductors including Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Luciano Berio, George Tsontakis and others. She has performed as a soloist in the New England area with Back Bay Chorale, MIT Chorus and Orchestra, Boston University Chorus and Orchestra, ALEA III, Just in Time Players and the Bangor Symphony. Her students are successfully singing in major summer opera apprenticeships and in opera houses throughout the United States. Ms Bitzas has been on the faculties of Gustavus Adolphus College, Ithaca College, Wagner College and is currently an Associate Professor of Music in Voice at the School of Music at Boston University.

Joey Blake is one of the founding and current members of Voicestra, the A Cappella ensemble created by Bobby McFerrin in 1989. He currently performs with the ensemble SoVoSo, a six member A Cappella ensemble that spun from Voicestra. Joey has recorded & produced five albums for this group, (Precious - a European release, Bridges and Seasonings for the US, as well as Crack the Nut and Then and Now). He also holds numerous arranging credits to his name, including his work with SoVoSo. His discography includes recordings with McFerrin (Medicine Music, CircleSongs), Kenny Loggins, and Mickey Hart, to name a few. His latest solo release is entitled Through My Eyes.  Joey is also a renowned teacher in the Bay area. His desire to teach is motivated by his need to give back to the music that fills his life with so much joy. Joey has taught at the Oakland College Prep School as the contemporary vocal Instructor, and has served as Director of music at The Golden Gate Academy in Oakland, California. He was commissioned by the Oakland Youth Chorus to write and arrange for its professional touring ensemble, Vocal Motion.  Joey was on the faculty of the Berkeley Jazz School for four years, as Conductor of the Berkeley Jazz School A Cappella Ensemble, a course which he designed himself. He teaches and holds a Board position for Young Performers International, a non-profit organization where he continues his work with children. Joey also teaches alongside Bobby McFerrin during his summer residencies at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY, called "Spontaneous Inventions".

Amy Malkoff is a founding member of the award-winning pop-funk vocal band All About Buford and has appeared on stage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonatha Brooke, The Persuasions, Vance Gilbert, (Broadway darlings / pop band) GrooveLily, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University, and graduate-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy was the launching editor-in-chief of the Contemporary A Cappella Society's website, and designed the art for the '06 and '07 BOCA (Best Of College A Cappella) CDs.

Sue Wellington was born and raised in Wales. She has lived in the Boston area for the better part of the last twenty five years. Sue comes from a musical family and had a solid grounding in piano and string bass, but didn‚t start singing seriously until she realized she needed to balance her work life with a return to music. Since that time she has performed with many different choral groups and a cappella groups in the U.S. and the U.K. She has also studied and performed as a soloist in jazz and cabaret settings, and has performed in musical theater, most notably in a small scale production of "Chicago" in the U.K. where her godchildren (and their fathers) got to see "Auntie Sue" in fishnet stockings and garters! Classical highlights include concerts with the Berkshire Choral Festival in the U.S. and U.K., several seasons with the Harvard Radcliffe Chorus, and an Italian tour in the Venice area in 1998 with the West London Vocal Ensemble, a U.K. chamber choir. Sue started singing close harmony a cappella music with New England Close Harmony Ensemble (now Boston Jazz Voices) more than fifteen years ago. She still sings with BJV as well as with Fretless, a mixed a cappella quintet that took third place in the Eastern Regional Harmony Sweeps back in 2004. Fretless has had some personnel changes over the past couple of years, but hopes to be back in competition in 2008!

Complete List of Boston Champions

Complete list of 2007 national participants

Previous complete Boston results:- 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998

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