|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.|
CONNECT is an award-winning professional a cappella group located in the Greater Hartford area of Connecticut. They are a mixed group of singers who wanted to continue sharing their love of music after attending school together at Central Connecticut State University. They combine lush harmonies, pure emotion, and clean riffs with a distinctly modern edge to bring you the sound of CONNECT. person group and will be rotating on stage.
Members: Michael Brown, Kimberly Duncan, Brian Jacobs, Marcella Jalbert, Kaylah Smith, Lucian Varela, Matt Weisher, Giselle Ziegler
Stiletta is a NYC-based, all-female sextet combining pop leads, dance beats and hip-hop choreography. In 2016, the ladies of Stiletta were crowned National Champions at the 32nd Annual National Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, winning in every possible award category: First Place, Audience Favorite, Best Arrangement, and Best Original Song. This enormous accomplishment came on the tail end of having won First Place and Audience Favorite at the 2015 Mid-Atlantic and 2016 New York Harmony Sweepstakes competitions, as well as Best Vocal Percussion and Best Arrangement. Stiletta members boast multiple Off-Broadway and voice-over credits, WAMMY and CARA awards, original cast recordings for “Memphis” and “Dora the Explorer,” a top rank at the Beatbox World Championships and a half-decade directing the Single Singers at SingStrong A Cappella Festival. These ladies have the moves, the grooves and even the shoes. So get pumped!
Members: Judy Minkoff, Haley Clair, Stevi Incremona, Jaymee Frankel, Olivia Harding, Meghan “MC Beats” Costa
|2015|| Low Key
Whether its classic doo-wop or current pop hits, Low Key loves to sing anywhere and everywhere, bringing that barrel aged, high hopped blend that gets people out of their comfort zones and into a new sonic experience. Since beginning in 2011, Low Key has grown in scope and artistry, winning third place in 2013s NY Harmony Sweepstakes and performing in a stream of private gigs and public performances across the NY Metro area. From Rockwood Music Hall to private celebrations to the Mulberry Street sidewalk, the Low Key Effect takes ahold of friends and strangers alike.
Members: Sam Orleans, Will Moller, Josh Springer, Mike Ogurick, Cheiku Camara, Ben Piper, Adam Zamora
|2014||The Quintessential Five
The Quintessential Five was founded in autumn of 2012, in the Republic of Georgia. The idea of creating such an amazing ensemble of young singers who perform outrageously complicated arrangements with surprising ease belongs to Buka Kartozia (artistic director and arranger, and a National Finalist of "Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival 2002".<
The repertoire of the group mainly consists of ancient Georgian folklore and classical music with jazz. Each and every piece stands out with rhythmical difficulty and harmonic complexity. The level of stage presence and performance of the group reaches the highest levels of professionalism and leaves audiences astonished.
The Quintessential Five were winners at the Leipzig A Cappella Festival (Germany) in June 2013, And took the Second place at Internationat ACappella Competition Graz (Austria) in July 2013. They have also been invited to participate in London International A Cappella Festival, Bonn International A Cappella Festival, and Taiwan International A Cappella Festival and Voicemania,The Vienna International A Cappella Festival. The Quintessential Five are excited to make their U.S.debut on the Harmony Sweepstakes Stage.
Members: Anna Doiashvili, Salome Dolidze, Elene Dolidze, Giorgi Toradze, Papuna Sharikadze
The Rainbows is a group from Quebec City started in 2007, comprised of six professional signers. The six voices brought together forms en explosive sound full of rich harmonies. They take their inspiration from Jazz, Pop music and always surprise their public with original arrangements that come to life after several jam sessions. Why are they called ''The Rainbows''? We'll let you figure it out.
Members: Julie Vandal, Genevieve Paré, Hera Menard, Alexandre Hudon, David Latulippe, Nicolas Grynzspan
Audiofeels is a group of friends, whose eight individual musical tastes unite in one fascination for the unique capacity of human voice. They represent Vocal Play, a style that uses human voice for making music in a way that transforms an a cappella performance into a rich vocal orchestra. Using only their vocal chords to replicate instruments, Audiofeels in fact become instruments to create an impression of an entire orchestra on stage. Their adventure began in the Adam Mickiewicz University Choir in Poznan, Poland where they met and where after years of singing together they decided to pursue their dreams in a different "direction".
Members: Jaroslaw Weidner, Marek Lewandowski,, Marcin Illukiewicz, Bartosz Michalak, Michal Szajkowski, Bartosz Lehmann, Michal Stec
In a world where anything is possible—except female groups lasting more than three years—Traces is an all-female quintet that has managed to survive for FIVE years and counting. Yay!!! With their expansive vocal range, vocal dynamics, tight harmonies, “female bass” and hard hitting percussion, this NY based group offers a variety of musical styles and continually push the envelope of female vocals. Their wide range of musical influences—Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Spirituals, Caribbean and African, just to name a few—has lead them to create a unique style all their own. Over the years, the group has had some amazing experience including performing in churches, colleges, prisons, festivals and the Harmony Sweepstakes competition. Traces looks forward to continuing our journey and seeing you in March.
Members: Cindy Valerus, Keesha Gumbs, Sherene Campbell, Gbianka Kotee, Tamika Gumbs
|2010|| B Vocal
The group b vocal has been working for the last fifteen years in a surprising and innovative style: using just their voices, these five Aragonese musicians are able to recreate the soundscape of any musical piece (drums, guitars, brass, rhythm, etc.). With their entertaining shows, they have managed to popularize a cappella as a musical style in Spain through a perfect combination of songs and humour and a repertory of high quality music from both national and international sources
Over the course of their career, they have often appeared on Spanish television: "The season's nationwide programme presentation gala" (Antena 3 Television), "Gala for the draw of the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) for the ACB (basketball)", El Conciertazo, La 2 News (TVE 2 and International Channel), "This is my story" (TVE 1 and International Channel), "Nighttime with Fuentes & co" (Tele 5), "Channel 4 Christmas Eve Gala" (Channel Cuatro), Programme Presentation Gala (Popular TV), Madrid Live and Madrid News (Telemadrid), Aragon Autonomous TV End of Year Gala, Aragon Decoded (Aragon TV), etc.
Members: Fermin, Juan Luis, Alberto, Augusto, Carlos
|2009|| 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, Michael Henrickson, Malcolm Lee, Darcy Romano
|2008|| Red No. 5
Red No. 5 has been causing a sensation in Connecticut's local music scene. Moving audiences with skillfully tight a cappella harmonies and dynamic performances, the four young women of Red No. 5 have lent their voices to reinvigorate and diversify their home state's musical community. While each woman in the quartet resonates as an individual, the four voices fuse together to create breathtaking harmonies and produce a truly original sound. Red No. 5's self-arranged four-part interpretations are rooted in their creative and unconventional understanding of music. Their eclectic repertoire spans all genres, from folk to soul, reflecting a particular enthusiasm for contemporary a cappella compositions. Red No. 5 looks forward to sharing their music with wider audiences, and is enthusiastic to participate in this year's harmony Sweepstakes.
Members: Brie Johnston, Sumitra Ratneshwar, Mary Kate Sitarz, Kristin Yates
|2007||The Fault Line
Infectious energy sweeps the stage as five powerful voices prepare themselves for their first note. And by that first note, audiences will know that they are in the presence of vocal rock's latest superstars.; Launching their own bid for national stardom, The Fault Line takes the leap into mainstream rock without the use of instruments. With their heavy hitting, vocal percussion driven music, spectacular harmonies, stunning arrangements, ranging from the likes of The Used to Bill Haley & His Comets to Fall Out Boy, as well as a variety of originals, their music is garnering fan reaction to rival some of the most popular musical groups of all time... ...while introducing those fans to the instrumental and vocal power of the human voice.
Members: Justin Adams, Jeff Bratz, Adam Decker, Matt Olmstead, Josh Logan
|2006|| 'Round Midnight
'Round Midnight is an award-winning "a cappella" quartet of music educators from the Long Island/Manhattan area of New York. While they sing primarily in the barbershop style, their eclectic influences range from jazz to classical and everything in between. The group is a two-time Semi-Finalist in the Barbershop Harmony Society's (BHS) International Barbershop Quartet Contest and they are also the BHS 2010 Mid-Atlantic District Quartet Champions. In addition, the foursome won the New York City Harmony Sweepstakes Championship and was bestowed with the coveted "Audience Favorite" award by overwhelming crowd vote. The quartet has received praise for their self-titled debut recording too, receiving a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nomination in the category of "Best Barbershop Song" for their rendition of "Try A Little Tenderness". 'Round Midnight has been featured in an array of showcases, contests, and educational workshops spanning the United States from New York to California.
Members: Larry Bomback, T.J. Carollo, Wayne Grimmer, Jeff Glemboski
For the short time these five young church ladies been together it has been nothing but constant success. A quintet of powerful singers in their own right to come together and sing in harmony. A mixture of styles that range from the simplicity of a gospel choral arrangement with three parts to the complexity and intricacy of Manhattan Transfer. Lead vocals blaring and strong as Aretha Franklin and times the sweet tones and movements of an Ella Fitzgerald. Take time to come into the TRACES world and you wont be disappointed.
Members: Tia Fields, Keesha Gumbs, Kimberly Robinson, Bianka Kotee, Tameeka Gumbs
|2004|| Vox Bop
Vox Bop is a mixed a cappella quartet that performs a wide variety of musical styles, from the lyrical beauty of the Renaissance to the lush harmonies of the Jazz Era to eclectic arrangements of pop classics. Vox Bop won the best award for Best Original Song at the 2001 National Harmony Sweepstakes after winning many awards at the New York City Regionals in 2001. The group was interviewed and featured in a 12-minute piece on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" in December 1999. They also appeared as the house band on a Christmas taping of NBC-TV's "The Ainsley Harriott Show" and in a national television ad for Amazon.com. During the summer of 2000, Vox Bop was a featured performer at the Alandia Jazz Festival in Finland.
Members: David Deschamps, Peter Fisher, Maura May, Melissa Munn
Four men. Four microphones. No instruments. This is the formula for Canada's celebrated vocal band, Cadence.
Combining the lyricism of Stan Getz, the sophisticated harmonies of the Count Basie Big Band and the devil-may-care attitude of Louis Prima, this fabulous foursome has been entertaining audiences worldwide for over a decade with their innovative jazz arrangements, genre-hopping covers and eclectic originals. With an infectious energy and a good measure of wild stage antics, this cool cat rat pack of musical misfits is guaranteed to leave you shouting out for more.
>Wherever they are performing, incredulous audiences are left raving about Cadence's instrumental imitations, vocal acrobatics, and charismatic stage presence.
Members: Dylan Bell, Carl Berger, Keven Fox, Ross Lynde
The vocal ensemble Sixation first formed in Tbilisi ,Georgia in 1996. At first their program contained only jazz standards but later included folk and contemporary jazz. In 1997 the ensemble won the nomination "Best Vocal Group of the Year" on the Hit-Parade of National Radio in Georgia. In 1999 Sixation became the prize winner of the International Festival in Tampere, Finland and got invitations to Vienna, Moscow, Kaunas and Kiev. The same year the group won the grant of George Soros Foundation in the nomination "Modern Opinion of Folklore". In 2000, Chevron Corporation became the sponsor of the group and the first demo album was released. The same year Sixation was invited to Holland to collaborate with the famous artist Andre Rieu in recording his new album. In 2001 the group participated the Boston Regional Harmony Sweepstakes. The same year the sextet was reorganized into quartet and took the name "2+2".
Members: Tamta Urushadze, Nana Korakhashvili, David Kiknadze, Buka Kartozia
|2001|| Vox Bop
Vox Bop 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, 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, Maura May
Formed in 1993, the seven-member vocal band started their humble journey in small NYC music clubs and worked their way up to win the Audience Favorite Award at the 2000 Harmony Sweepstakes national finals in San Francisco. Along the way, they appeared on VH1, Nickelodeon, TNN, NBC's Today Show as well as several appearances on The Howard Stern Show. They performed regularly at NYC rock club Mercury Lounge and their classic rock roots even earned them opening act slots with the likes of The Marshall Tucker Band and The Edgar Winter Group.
Their debut CD, A Cappella's Dead (1999) was called the "classic rock album a cappella has been waiting for" (Recorded A Cappella Review Board). The album features inventive covers of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Yes, and Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight". Their follow-up CD Karaoke Bar Brawl (2002) gained even more praise. Produced by Rockapella vocal percussionist Jeff Thacher, the album was nominated for two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Association (CARA) awards: Best Album and Best Cover Song ("25 or 6 to 4") and was one of RARB's "Picks of 2003" for favorite albums of the year. Karaoke Bar Brawl (named after a true event involving several band members) features loud & raw covers of The Who, Alice In Chains, Queen as well as two original songs.
Members: Brian Reichelt, David Curry, David Kern, Ari Pickart, Jeremy Lipkin, Jeff Leibert, Xerxes Ecclips
|1999|| Naturally 7
The origins of the group date back to New York City in 1999 when Roger Thomas started the group with his brother, Warren, and five other talented singers they had come to know over the years from singing around the city. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups over the years, Roger developed an affinity for a cappella sounds and a unique ability to create distinct harmony arrangements. When invited to sing at a major a cappella competition in New York, they won the competition, moved onto the nationals and took away two more wins.
Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 were going to be an a cappella group or a traditional band, Roger had a novel idea: they could be both.
Members: Roger Thomas, Warren Thomas, Dwight Stewart, Garfield Buckley, Roderick Elderidge, Marcus Davis, David Laroche
|1998|| City Lights
City Lights offers a musical experience to remember. Their wide-ranging repertoire includes sons from traditional barbershop harmony, jazz, Broadway show tunes as well as popular classics.
In 1992 City Lights captured the title of Sweet Adeline International Quartet Champions in Baltimore, MD. Since that time they have traveled to Vezprem, Hungry where they were invited to teach and perform at the Hungarian Choral Festival. They recently toured the United Kingdom from Aberdeen, Scotland to Portsmouth, England teaching the barbershop craft as well as coaching and performing. The group has performed throughout the USA and Canada and have numerous TV and Radio credits. In 1998 City Lights won the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Regional Championship in NYC and competed in the 14th Annual National Finals in San Francisco, CA where they placed third.
Members: Nancy Cloeter, Jo Lund, Sharon Vitkovsky, Jeannie Froelich
|1997|| Five O'Clock Shadow
Five O'Clock Shadow, the all-vocal rock band from Boston, is living proof that a band without instruments can still rock! Using the same tech wizardry that guitarists have been using since the dawn of rock, Dan, Oren, Paul, and Caleb morph their voices into shredding guitar riffs and soaring solos right before your very ears. Meanwhile, their one-man vocal rhythm section, Stack, lays down his "beatbass": mouth beats and vocal bass thundering forth from his face, both at the same time! Yet when you take away all the speakers, amps, and microphones, these guys are still singers right down to the soul!
Also known as "FOCS", Five O'Clock Shadow has vocally rocked audiences of all ages throughout the US and Japan, and in every kind of venue. Through their educational program FOCS has presented workshops and concerts to thousands of music students from coast to coast.
Members: , , , ,
|1996|| All So Jimmy
All So Jimmy is a rock band without the band, founded by former Tufts University a cappella heads. All So Jimmy finds a large following in both the Boston area and New York City. Its members bring to the group a wealth of musical experience including a combined 17 years of a cappella singing, arranging and directing. They have performed at New York City's The Bitter End, guest starred on WERS, Boston, and opened for the House Jacks. Their first full-length CD will be released in early summer.
Members: , , , , , ,
A unique mixed voice octet, The Accidentals are known for their sophisticated harmonies, off-beat sense of humor, and an eclectic repertoire of original songs and distinctive arrangements. Their many awards include MAC and Back Stage Bistro Awards for Best Vocal Group. They were also the 1995 National Champions of the Harmony Sweepstakes. The Accidentals' CDs have won several Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, and their songs have been included in feature films and on television.
Members: Emily Bindiger, Dennis Deal, Kevin DiSimone, Margaret Dorn, Bill Mitchell, Marcia Pelletiere, Rosie Vallese, Jim Vincent
|1994|| A Perfect Blend
Gibson Trowery formed APB in 1990 after singing with his wife Katrina for 7 years in another group. This group has been featured on Harvy Holiday's Street Corner Sunday on WOGL and Music Fair, on Saturday Tribune (KYW-TV) and Electric Factory Concerts A Cappella Festival. Philadelphia Magazine voted APB Best Soul Group in the 1993 Best of Philly Awards.
Members: Stephen Clement, Van Fields, Gibson Trowery, Katrina Trowery, Gary Williams
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: Milton Ames, Duane Early, Anthony Griffin, Wayne McNeil, Dwayne McNeil
Since their public debut in 1991, the intricate harmonies and fun-loving spirit of Doo-Wop-Zoo have been enjoying rave reviews wherever they go. In one show you may experience anything from a provocative love song to Rhythm& blues with a hint of gospel, or a buoyant arrangement Deep Purple's "Hush." Their repertoire is also spiced with original compositions that range from country blues to haunting up-tempo dance number. The group has appeared on "The Doo Wop Shop" with Don K. Reed on CBS in NYC, and they continue to support the efforts of the United in Group Harmony Association.
Members: Debbi Hollie, Lorelle Holway, Andrea Leigh, Gregory Paulnack, Michael Werkhizer