24th 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.

2008 Chicago Champions


5one is an up-and-coming pop/rock a cappella group consisting of five male Millikin University music students. Established in April, 2006, 5one accepted an offer to entertain tourists at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL that following summer. Since then, 5one has astounded audiences and encouraged musicians in the Chicagoland metropolitan area. Currently based in Decatur, IL, 5one has released their first album, "Get It" through their own student-run record label at Millikin, First Step Records.  5one is very excited and honored to be a part of this fine competition and are anxious to perform for you!

2008 Results

An Octave Above
Audience Favorite
Best Original Arrangement
"Tico Tico" Arr. Nick Falco - An Octave Above
Best Original Song
"Lovely" - MAUF

2008 Participating Groups

5one is an up-and-coming pop/rock a cappella group consisting of five male Millikin University music students. Established in April, 2006, 5one accepted an offer to entertain tourists at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL that following summer. Since then, 5one has astounded audiences and encouraged musicians in the Chicagoland metropolitan area. Currently based in Decatur, IL, 5one has released their first album, "Get It" through their own student-run record label at Millikin, First Step Records.  5one is very excited and honored to be a part of this fine competition and are anxious to perform for you!

Members: Shane Irvin, David Kempton, Brian Parrish, Jesse Upah, Tony Marx

Fiveplay, Chicago’s 2005 Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes Champions, is not your typical vocal group. In a world where musical trends change on a weekly basis, Fiveplay’s style is timeless and enduring. With fresh interpretations of the standards of yesterday, classic arrangements of the hits of today and their own critically-acclaimed original compositions, Fiveplay demonstrates stunning versatility and razor-sharp precision with every song. Their diverse repertoire is virtually a 20th century songbook, covering everything from Sinatra to The Temptations to The Beatles and U2. More than simply a musical showcase, Fiveplay’s refined choreography and unique brand of humor will entertain audiences of all ages.

Members: Aaron Siedband, Brian Siedband, Dave Wagner, David Reeder, Cody Whitlock, Kyle Smith

In Vox began in November of 2004 singing in a basement and calling themselves Underground Sound. Over the next three years, the group would see itself grow into being one of Chicago's premier a cappella forces. With hip arrangements of songs in every genre and a growing original repertoire, InVox has been seen at small venues like house/block parties or holiday caroling at local nursing homes, as well as large venues such as Six Flags: Great America and Navy Pier! From February to May of 2007, and still under the name "Underground Sound," the group recorded their debut demo CD at MasterWerkz Studios. In the next few months, the group decided to re-vamp their sound and change the name to InVox. InVox can be described as a tall, traditional a cappella latte with a shot of Jazzy choral flavor and a big side of hotness! Get ready to be Invoxicated! .

Members: Holly Bowen, Lindsay Liden, Lisa Akey, Emily Smith, Ben Fergeson, Alex Juarez, John Magana, Sean P. Gorecki

Last Minute is a successful Sweet Adelines a cappella quartet and has been singing and competing together for 3 1/2 years. They have sung in many different venues including the Acuff Theater at Opryland and numerous college campuses across the nation. Last Minute is currently the 2nd place international Young Women in Harmony winners and regionally placed 5th overall, and plans on only going up from there. Not only do they enjoy competition, but they are mostly passionate about entertaining any audience. Last Minute shares a zeal for barbershop as well as gospel, jazz, and competemporary music, and love to sing whenever they get a chance. They love to sing together, even though most of their practice time is laughing at each others silliness. They are the best of friends and they couldn't ask for anything better.

Members: Deidra Ekins - Lead, Rebecca Box - Baritone, Sherida Rowsell - Bass, Erica Kawano - Tenor

MAUF - An audience always expects from a music show an extraordinary mixture of several kinds of uniqueness. MAUF provides that in fascination, joy and music. MAUF captivates mostly through their live music using solely three microphones. Each of these microphones are used differently. The three elements are singing, beatboxing and creating sounds. This leads to an direct, authentic, lively mix of pop music, Techno, RnB, HipHop and World Music – not to forget fun and delight. MAUF have their qualities and have been recognizied all over the world. They have been very successful within the last 12 months and won 9 contests in Switzerland, Germany and Austria like the Austrian Band Contest 2006.

Members: Verena, Fii, Christal

An Octave Above - For a vocal group that has only been together for six years, An Octave Above has quickly established themselves as one of Chicago’s hottest a cappella vocal groups. They have sung the National Anthem at Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field and they have sung at the United Center. In 2003, 2004, and 2005, they were the featured guest artists for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's annual "Holiday Spectacular" concert. In 2003, they opened for award-winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. In addition, they have been featured at performance venues including FitzGerald's in Berwyn, the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts, St. Charles’ own Townhouse Books Café, and have also held private performances at Molly Malone's Irish Pub and Skelly & Skelly's in Forest Park, The Galleria Marchetti in Chicago, and Orchestra Hall. They are proud to announce that they have just completed their Christmas album, “Come On & Take A Sleigh Ride.” Come visit us in the lobby and celebrate Christmas in March!

Members: Jennifer Gingrich, Meredith McGuire, Melinda Voss, Debra Wilder, Chris Moan, Nick Falco, Lamont Lambert, Kris Monn

Spirit's Harmony is a Christian quartet from North Avenue, 100 miles west of Chicago, in Oregon IL. They bring a new twist to Gospel music. Their common thread is they all attended the same school (in different generations). Ranging from mid 30’s to mid 50’s, Jamey, Patrick, Bill and Greg sing about 40 times a year. Engagements take them to both large and small churches throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and even other countries like Iowa. Their sound brings the word of the Lord in an upbeat fashion. You’ve heard of Southern Gospel-- they’re not it. Crossing many styles, you may hear traditional, Jamaican, Doo-Wop, Celtic, Gospel and Contemporary all in one performance. Spirit’s Harmony’s goal is to sing praises to the Lord and bring joy to people’s hearts.

Members: Pat Huston, Jamey Young, Greg Tremble, Bill Suneson

Vocal Chaos an award-winning vocal band from Chicago, creates an exciting musical experience for their listeners using only one set of instruments – their voices. Starting in 1996 as a group of business school students singing for fun, Vocal Chaos has developed into a diverse collection of consultants, actors, students, teachers, computer geeks, a playwright and a cartographer. Vocal Chaos has performed at Soldier Field for the Chicago Fire, entertained thousands at SeptemberFest in Schaumburg, sung the National Anthem for the World Champion Chicago White Sox and has been featured on Chicago Public Radio's "Eight Forty-Eight." If you look quickly, you can see some of them in the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie, "The Break Up." As hosts co-producers of the Midwest's newest a cappella experience, AcappellaFest, Vocal Chaos strives to collaborate with other like-minded bands to perform and promote the art form of a cappella. Vocal Chaos packs a powerful pinch of pop and healthy splash of rock into an cappella recipe like you've never tasted before.

Members: Anthony Roberts, Tim Gallagher, Jeff Swearingen, Jordan Stoner, Karl Solis, Mike Svacha, Zachary Watts, Don Callahan and Sean P. Gorecki

2008 Judges

Timm Adams is enjoying his sixth year as Assistant Professor of Music at Rockford College where he teaches private voice, music theory and musical theater workshop, conducts three choirs (including the a cappella scholarship group, “The Vocal Collective”) and musical directs the Performing Arts Department’s mainstage musicals.  Prior to his move to Rockford, Timm enjoyed an extensive career in theater, both as an actor and a musical director, performing throughout the Southeast and Midwest in such shows as Hello, Dolly! (Cornelius), Joseph and the…Dreamcoat (Joseph), Singin' in the Rain (Cosmo), Pump Boys and Dinettes (L.M.), Buddy…The Buddy Holly Story (Norman Petty), and Return to the Forbidden Planet (Ariel, the rollerblading robot). He recently performed the role of Gianni Schicchi in Puccini’s comic one-act opera of the same name. Timm is also the proud Artistic Director of the Chicago Chamber Choir, which he has conducted since 2000.  Their spring concert series, “Let Us Move: The Voice of Early America”, opens tomorrow (March 25) and explores the spirited voices of our ancestors through shape-note hymns, camp-meeting tunes, spirituals and folk songs. Timm holds a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from Baylor University and is thrilled to be judging this exciting competition once again!

William Chin is the founder and director of The Oriana Singers, a six-voice a cappella ensemble that has presented concerts in the Midwest, Europe, and Central America since 1979. He is assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, a position he has held since 1999. He is also music director of the Oak Park and River Forest Children's Chorus, and director of the Symphony Chorus for the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Bill is active as a professional singer in the Chicago area and performs with the Cathedral Singers and Schola Antiqua. He has been involved in numerous recording sessions both as a singer and conductor. He has been on the adjunct faculty for both DePaul and Roosevelt Universities, and is the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Citation

George Gipp is a Chicago native born and raised on the northwest side.  His musical roots run deep, stretching back to the mid 1970’s honing his craft as a bass guitarist, arranger and rhythm section leader for several popular blues bands playing the “Lincoln Avenue Circuit”. He then broadened his musical horizons into the world of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS).  He is an International Champion – 2001 Gold Medalist member of The Northbrook New Tradition Chorus and a three-time International Bronze Medalist Quartet Baritone with The Chicago Chord of Trade and The Cincinnati Kids Quartets.  George has recorded with all three groups and performed around the world including Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a “Certified Presentation Judge” in the BHS, George has judged numerous District and International Preliminary Contests throughout the United States and Canada and at the international level in Jacksonville, Florida (2005) and again in Indianapolis, Indiana (2006) to crown the BHS Collegiate Champion.  He has a full spring schedule including British Columbia and Upstate New York. George is a sought after presentation coach and motivator- “World Wide”!
Becca Kaufman is a sought-after jingle writer/session singer. Her character voices can be heard on many games and toys, from manufacturers such as Konami, Hallmark and the smash CD-ROM series “You Don't Know Jack”. Live performances have ranged from her critically acclaimed cabaret show “The Show Biz Kids” to “School House Rock Live!” to sharing the stage with performers such as Lily Tomlin, Brooke Shields, Phoebe Snow and Ellen Burstyn. Becca is the founder and executive producer of Singer Spotlight Productions, offering vocalists of all experience levels monthly showcase opportunities and educational experiences. Becca was the Executive Producer of “Music for the Heart”, a collection of original children’s songs benefiting The Children’s Heart Foundation. The album made it to the final round of Grammy considerations for Best Children’s Album. Becca has been in high demand as a vocalist for many society bands and now leads The Becca Kaufman Orchestra

John Milne is originally from Redwood City, California, but has lived in Chicago for the last 16 years. His musical career includes many years with The Toons, a California vocal group whose recording of his song “Video Games” was featured in heavy rotation in the early days of MTV. The group won two Gold Cabaret Awards and was, in its day, the top college-touring act in the country. John currently sings with three-time Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes champions Chicago Voice Exchange, and is also the leader of an alt-country harmony group, The Long Gone Lonesome Boys, whose latest release, “Lonesome Time”, was named one of the Top 10 Local Releases for 2007 by Illinois Entertainer magazine.

Complete List of Chicago Champions

Complete list of 2008 national participants

Regional Champions: Boston | Chicago | Denver | Los Angeles | Mid-Atlantic | New York | Pacific NW | SF Bay Area

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