Mid-Atlantic Champions

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Now in its fourth decade, the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival has been the melting pot of top-notch a cappella talent from around the nation (and some from overseas!). The groups that have held the title of "Harmony Sweepstakes Champion" are diverse in their musical styles, backgrounds and rosters, and, more often than not, continue their legacies today with fruitful careers in the entertainment business. The following is a list of our esteemed champions.

2017

Lustre

Lustre is thrilled to return to the Mid-Atlantic Regional to represent the Barbershop style. In 11 years together, they’ve sung everywhere! From street corners to penthouse suites, corporate events to Camden Yards, they’ve been there. But the Birchmere is always a favorite venue. In fact, this is their fourth appearance at the Harmony Sweepstakes Festival, and their first since placing second in the 2013 National Finals. Lustre is proud to be the Sweet Adelines International 2017 3rd Place International Quartet. If you see them out and about, ask for a song! Their motto is “Have pitch pipe, will travel!”

Members: Kate Morrical, Lori Crouter, Lori Dreyer, Jenny Harris

2016

West Side 5

West Side 5, an award-winning vocal jazz ensemble based in New York City, is known for its refined sound and sophisticated approach to jazz. Inspired by greats like Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, and The Real Group, WS5 has crafted its own unique sound, characterized by highly original arrangements, complex harmonies, and outstanding musicianship.

The group formed in the summer of 2009, bringing together five old college friends on the west side of Manhattan. They immediately garnered acclaim, winning the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes while being voted Audience Favorite and winning Best Arrangement for "Pure Imagination". They went on to be featured artists at the SingStrong A Cappella Festival, and have performed alongside groups including Blue Jupiter, Streetcorner Symphony, and The Bobs, as well as for Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion in New York.

Members: Eric Hughes, John Mcmahon, Kelly Green, Artemisz Polonyi, Dylan Pramuk

2015

Stiletta

This NYC-based, all female sextet is known for combining pop leads, rich harmonies, and hip-hop dance moves. Stiletta members boast multiple off-broadway and voice-over credits, and everything from WAMMY and CARA awards, to original cast recordings for "Memphis" and "Dora the Explorer". Beatboxer, MC Beats made a show-stopping entry into the beatbox community in 2012 when she was ranked 3rd best female beatboxer in the world at the Beatbox Battle World Championship in Germany. Stiletta's director, Judy Minkoff, also directs both the DC and Chicago Single Singers at the SingStrong a cappella music festival. Stiletta is dynamic, high-energy, and these ladies will show you they have the moves, the grooves and even the shoes.

Members: Judy Minkoff, Haley Clair, Meg Lanzarone, Jaymee Frankel, Olivia Harding, Meghan Costa

2014

Catatonic

Catatonic is a vibrant new group erupting onto the a cappella scene. With members hailing from from three different collegiate groups in the Atlanta area, this up-and-coming ensemble fuses youthful energy with musical virtuosity to create a unique electronic a cappella sound. The group's innovative arrangements showcase its members' vocal prowess while pushing the limits of the genre. Having already performed with the likes of Musae, Catatonic is sure to deliver audiences a thrilling concert experience as they share their love for a cappella. And kittens.

Members: Steve Ryan, John Robinson, Andrew Leonard, Tammy Parkinson, Tye Tavaras, Carrie Leonard

2013

Lustre

Lustre is a lovely award winning quartet out of the Baltimore area. Lustre's musical adventures began in 2005, and what a journey it has been! Kate, Lori, Lori, and Jenny met through Harbor City Music Company Show Chorus, and have been ringing chords together ever since. They have wowed their audiences at performances and contests around the country, from shows in Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania to international competitions in Houston and Denver. You may even have seen them singing at a Baltimore Orioles game or two! Lustre is proud to be the 2013 Sweet Adeline's International 7th Place Quartet Finalist.

Members: Lori Crouter, Lori Dreyer, Jenny Harris, Kate Morrical

2012

GQ

This group began in the summer of 2011, bringing together different musical backgrounds: jazz, pop, barbershop and musical theater. Things seemed to click so easily, they all knew that they could do great things. GQ brings some new repertoire to the a cappella scene, featuring material by some of their favorite artists you may not have heard, and exploring other possibilities outside of the norm. But most of all they have become really good friends who have a passion and drive for singing and who try to create something special each time they perform.

Members: Katie Gillis, Katie Macdonald, Amanda McNutt, Ali Hauger

2011

Da Capo

Da Capo is an a cappella group hailing from the Washington, D.C. area composed of music professionals from all walks of life. We believe strongly in promoting a cappella music and educating youth about the Barbershop style. Ryan, Tony, Wayne, and Joe have officially been singing together since October of 2009, when our lead singer Tony assembled us to sing his marriage proposal to his wife-to-be. We have also been members of the Barbershop Harmony Society for a combined total of 54 years!

Members: Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Wayne Adams, Joe Sawyer

2010

West Side 5

West Side 5, an award-winning vocal jazz ensemble based in New York City, is known for its refined sound and sophisticated approach to jazz. Inspired by greats like Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, and The Real Group, WS5 has crafted its own unique sound, characterized by highly original arrangements, complex harmonies, and outstanding musicianship.

The group formed in the summer of 2009, bringing together five old college friends on the west side of Manhattan. They immediately garnered acclaim, winning the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes while being voted Audience Favorite and winning Best Arrangement for "Pure Imagination". They went on to be featured artists at the SingStrong A Cappella Festival, and have performed alongside groups including Blue Jupiter, Streetcorner Symphony, and The Bobs, as well as for Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion in New York.

Members: Lara Hirner, Sara Wajnberg, John Shumway, Eric Hughes, Will Fithian

2009

MAXX Factor

MAXX Factor, a Baltimore based quartet singing in the barbershop style, was formed in 2005. They are the 2011 Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champions. Other MAXX milestones include being named the 2009 Mid-Atlantic and 2009 National Harmony Sweepstakes Champions as well as being selected as contestants on the very first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off." Over the past ten years, MAXX Factor has been busy competing, performing and teaching barbershop style singing across the United States and internationally. They were invited to perform locally on the 2014 "The Sing-Off Live Tour." In 2015 they were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and at The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, MD.

Members: Molly Plummer, Leslie Wodday, Valerie Hadfield-Rasnake, Kim Hudson

2008

Vocaldente

The press is unanimous: vocaldente's "singing technique is professional", their "verve is phenomenal", and they're "sparkling with imagination". Critics say they offer a "high level in singing performance", with their "funny spoken interludes" and "imaginative, passionate choreography" - and that they're known for the "professionalism in their performance": Onstage they're "fitting and harmonic", "witty and fresh", "charming and professional" ...simply "harmonic, funny and good with a refreshing naturalness."

But vocaldente have also impressed on the international stage, convincing jurors from all areas of vocal and a cappella music, from classical style to voice pop, such as John Potter (former The Hilliard Ensemble member), Ward Swingle (founder of The Swingle Singers) and Anders Jalkeus (The Real Group). The quintet have prevailed at the biggest and most significant national and international vocal and a cappella competitions in Asia, Europe and the United States.

Members: Tobias Kiel, Ansgar Pfeiffer, Niklas Turmann, Johannes Gruber, Tobias Wunschik

2007

DoubleShot!

Since 2006, the guys have blended traditional and contemporary all- vocal music with energy and humor to create six decades of hits live on stage at every show. Every sound - vocals, bass, effects, even the drums - is created using only the voice. They have performed all over their native Pittsburgh, and nationwide from Washington, D.C. to the San Francisco Bay, as well as features on local news, television, and radio. In the Harmony Sweepstakes, they were Mid-Atlantic Champions and Audience Favorite in 2007 and have received two awards for Best Arrangement.

Members: Mike Yanchak, Eric Manalo, Luke Clavey, Nate Wildfire, Dave Wilson, Michael Bodnar

2006

Regency

Regency is a five man a cappella vocal group from Baltimore Maryland. They are often called the Temptation of the twenty first century. Their musical magic has fascinated fans throughout the United States. They sing everything from 40's Swing, Elvis, Motown and Classics and Pop Tunes in their own special a cappella style that is not quite doo wop, not quite R&B, but altogether wonderful. They have won Entertainer of The Year on the college market many times, have done national commercials and have opened for many of today's leading musicians. They have NEVER performed without receiving a standing ovation. Their biggest fans are musicians who marvel at their vocal ability. Regency won the New York Regionals several years back and have not competed in several years.

Members: Dewayne McNeill, Milton Ames, Aubrey Brown Jr., John Tiller, Isaiah Simmons

2005

Cartoon Johnny

Cartoon Johnny is an energetic vocal band that pushes the limits of traditional a cappella. Drawing on influences from classic soul to modern alternative, they've crafted an exciting sound that is often mistaken for an instrumental band - but it's all vocal.

Based in the Washington DC area, Cartoon Johnny performs a variety of sure-fire audience favorites and their own original music, bringing audiences to their feet show after show. They are two-time National Harmony Sweepstakes finalsists, winning the title for the Mid-Atlantic Region in 2005, and in New York in 2009.

Cartoon Johnny has shared the stage with some of the best in a cappella and beyond. Highlights include headlining ACappellaFest Detroit in 2010, and performing with Marvin Hamlisch in his Christmas special at the Kennedy Center in 2008. Hamlisch invited the group to join him for his July 4th concerts in San Diego in 2009.

Members: Kieran Daly, Kevin Dixon, Ben Feeney, Mike Henrickson, Darcy Romano, Mike Webb

2004

Mosaic

Mosaic is a six-man a cappella group with an off-the wall style, intricate harmony, and a "get up out yo' seat" beat. They cover a wide range of popular music in new and exciting ways. Mosaic is a collaboration of minds and talents that form a truly unique show you don't want to miss.

Members: Corwyn, Josh, Sean, John, Troy, Andrew

2003

Idea of North

The Idea of North defies categorisation. As a quartet of musicians, their voices are their instruments: soprano, alto, tenor and bass, with a bit of vocal percussion thrown in. Their sound and style is distinct, yet they cross many musical genres: jazz, pop, folk, gospel, even comedy.

Their arrangements are extraordinary. They take songs you know and songs you don't and create songs you'll love. But it's not just about the music:

"A pitch-perfect ensemble negotiating complex modulations with ease, constant seamless transition between lead and accompaniment parts, and the whole thing strung together by low-key, humorous conversational patter..." The Courier-Mail

Members: Trish Delaney-Brown, Naomi Crellin, Nick Begbie, Andrew Piper

2002

Tone Rangers

This award-winning Washington D.C.-based vocal group is celebrating their 25th anniversary delighting audiences from coast to coast with its dynamic blend of tight harmonies, inventive arrangements and keen wit. In a few choreographed minutes, the Tone Rangers propel through 900 years of Western music--from Gregorian chant to classic rock to TV theme songs--in a fresh approach to contemporary a cappella music and comedy.

Nominated for seven Wammies by the Washington Area Music Association in the past four years, the Tone Rangers were voted the Best A Cappella Group four consecutive years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and even won Best A Cappella Recording in 2007! They were also national finalists in the 2002 Harmony Sweepstakes (the Superbowl of a cappella), and three-time winners of Mid-Atlantic "Audience Favorite" and "Best Arrangement" awards. To listen, go our MySpace page.

Members: Joel Malina, Jamey McNamara, Gil Keteltas, Kenyon Erickson, Mike Beresik, John Bader, Gene Stomecki

2001

4:2:Five

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 its members, the individual talents possessed by each, and the belief that the music always has and always will come first.

Members: Earl Elkins Jr, James May, Layne Stein, Geoff Castellucci, Scott Porter

2000

Toxic Audio

In 1998, Toxic Audio launched its quirky show in an abandoned storefront at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. To their amazement, people began cramming into that storefront to see them. The show caught the attention of Disney executives who hired them as featured performers at the Disney/MGM Studios. Soon after, the group was crowned champion at the National Harmony Sweepstakes in California.

In the year 2003, Toxic Audio's album, Chemistry was named "Album of the Year" by the Contemporary Acappella Society of America. The group has made national TV appearances with Ed McMahon and Wayne Brady, and even got to sing a reggae-style weather report on ESPN2's morning show "Cold Pizza". Toxic Audio won the 2004 Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience" for their Off-Broadway Show in New York's John Houseman Theatre where they continue to electrify audiences by exploring the boundaries of the human voice.

Members: Rene Ruiz, Jeremy James, Shalisa Sloan, Michelle Mailhot, Paul Sperrazza

1999

Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage is a group that can only be described as inventive, insane and delightful! Picture the Marx Brothers, Forever Plaid and the Flying Karamozov Brothers rolled into one. Por example, one might witness a lecture on Spatula techniques that goes hilariously awry. Or a capricious, musical history lesson about the "'Histoire du le Burger." Or even a rap number with wildly eclectic choreography. They won a Bistro award for Outstanding Musical Comedy Act by BackStage Magazine and in 1999 they were chosen as the Mid Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes Champions and went on to win "Audience Favorite" in the National Finals. They can be seen pseudo- regularly on the Food Network's, Doorknock Dinners and other TV appearances include The Fox Network, Comedy Central, Good Day New York, The Veronica Network and America's Funniest People(Grand Prize Winners).

Members: Jeff Lagreca, Brad Barton, Charlie Lagreca, Sean Harris

1998

Acapelicans

The Acapelicans are a three part ensemble from Melbourne, Australia that formed out of a love and mutual respect between Carl Pannuzzo, Sarah Liversidge, and Simon Nugent. Their combined voice pays a unique homage to the wondrous mystery of music through the dynamic possibilities of harmony in a repertoire of songs that is both sensitive and challenging. The Harmony Sweepstakes Finals is the last stop n their North American debut tour where they have quickly developed a strong following with their reverent performances of poignant originals and uniquely arranged classics.

Members: Carl Pannuzzo, Sarah Liversidge,

1997

Da Vinci’s Notebook

Da Vinci's Notebook, Washington, D.C.'s award-winning a cappella quartet, takes four part harmony and stands it on its ear. Described as "Bobby McFerrin and 'Weird Al' Yankovic colliding on stage," their tight vocal blend, infectious humor, and madcap antics have made them a favorite on stages and at festivals throughout the country. Since the group's founding in 1993, their eclectic blend of a cappella harmony - a fusion of doo-wop, jazz, bluegrass, calypso, opera, and rock - has evolved into a unique show that the Washington Post called "exuberance...crashing off the walls!"

The quartet has appeared at music clubs and fine arts series throughout the East Coast, including the Bitter End, the Birchmere, the Barns of Wolf Trap, and the Kennedy Center. Equally at home in front of large crowds, they have also performed at Birmingham's City Stages, the Taste of D.C., the Fairfax Fair, and dozens of other festivals. Internationally, they have toured France and the Caribbean. Winners of the 1997 Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes Festival, Da Vinci's Notebook has been featured on NBC's Today Show, on Comedy Central, in the Washington Post and Washington City Paper, and are frequent guests on local radio stations.

Members: Paul Sabourin, Richard Hsu, Greg "Storm" DiCostanzo, Bernie Muller-Thym

1996

Return To Zero

Based out of Orlando, FL, Return To Zero has been in existence not quite two years, but has already sung for thousands. This a cappella group performs full-time at a well-known theme park in the area. They've also been kept busy over the past year with outside gigs and convention dates. These four men sing songs from the 40's through the 90's adding their own dynamic arrangements to ageless songs. In April 95, they took a second place honors, and the best arrangement award at the regional a cappella contest held in Philadelphia. All four men have had extensive experience in a cappella singing throughout Orlando, and, in fact, met while singing.

Members: , , ,

1995

The Metronomes

The Metronomes is a Washington DC based a cappella singing group. Formed in 1991 by former collegiate a cappella singers, The Metronomes perform an array of popular music dating from the forties to the present. The group’s unique harmonies and vast repertoire appeal to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. In addition to entertaining people on the streets of Georgetown, The Metronomes have performed at the White House for President Clinton, The US Supreme Court, The House of representatives, The Senate and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Members: John Cattaneo, Richard Oren, Kevin Page, Brad Saffer, Garth Ross, Andreas Smith

1994

Things To Come

This group is comprised of four men who grew up together and have been singing together for over 20 years. Three of the members began harmonizing in the high school cafeteria--never for a moment visualizing anything more than just "doo-woppin", they have weathered many a storm and embarked on wonderful journey of music, friendship and life. In 1974, the fourth member joined the fold and they began performing at clubs such as Copacabana and at Brooklyn Academy of Music. They have recorded at Mediasound, Fist-o-Funk, Bolognese and other studios. Their first love, a cappella, is their forte. Without instrumental distraction, friendship and warmth permeate their performances-- infecting their audiences with rich harmonies, humor and a love song. To hear them is to love them!

Members: Alfred Crowd, Daryl Miller, Gene Minor, Ronald Simmons

1993

Brock and The Rockets

Founded in 1985, B&R grew out of the Hexagon Club, directed by Brock Holmes. Their recently completed recording, Out To Launch, is available on cassette and CD, and features a range of tunes from Doo Wop to new wave to TV pop. They have been featured on the Diane Rehm show on WAMU in Washington and have appeared at the National Theater and the Kennedy Center.

Members: Brock Holmes, Carol Nicotera, Becky Carroll, Jane Harrelson, Greg McGruder, Doug Smith, David Whitman

1992

Rick And The Masters

Formed in the early 1960's by a group of young men from the South Philadelphia area. During the first few years of their existence they made numerous recordings of previously recorded material, as well as some of their own arrangements. During the mid-1960's the group broke up for various reasons including Military and family obligation. Then in 1988 they reformed.

Members: Chuck Holloway, Dennis Gillen, Bill Diamond, Frank Condo, Tom Di Pietro

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