31st Annual

National Finals | Schedule | Recordings | National Champions | Rules | How to enter | About us

Events | Groups | Judges | Directors | 2015 National Finals Publicity Photos

Boston | Chicago | Rocky Mountain | Los Angeles | New York | Pacific North West | San Francisco | Mid Atlantic (DC)

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.

2015 National Finals Champions

Straighter Road

Singing is one of the purest art forms. Nothing man made between the artist and the audience. Straighter Road was formed as a Gospel vocal group first, with a band back-up, and recently has ventured down the Acapella Road. The challenge of acapella sing is without edges and joined with the charge of spreading the Good News of the Gospel, keeps Straighter Road striving for excellence.

2015 Results

1st
Straighter Road
2nd
Timepiece
3rd
The Bluesettes Quintet
Audience Favorite
Timepiece
Best Original Arrangement
“God Has A Way” - Kevin Kunz - Straighter Road

2015 Participating Groups

Bay Area

Business Casual

Business Casual is a five-person powerhouse performing a wide range of genres including funk, folk, pop, soul, and R&B. Their diverse musical backgrounds each lend something unique to the group. Fueled by a highly combustible mixture of hunger, talent, and passion for music, Business Casual brings the formal and the funk, the heart and the smart. Their recently released EP, "Eyes on Me" is available on Loudr, iTunes, and Spotify, and through their website: www.BCvocals.com.

Members: Jacob Chamoun, Emily Ross, Ryan Cook, Danny Cavero, Cassie Greene

Boston

Timepiece

Timepiece was formed on December 16, 2013—a chilly winter night—on a stairwell in Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences. In their first year alone, Timepiece has captured numerous accolades, including the 2014 Northeastern District Quartet Championship, as well as the privilege of representing the Northeastern District (NED) at the 2015 Barbershop Harmony Society International Open Quartet Contest in Pittsburgh, PA. Timepiece identifies as a "KIB-ber" (Keep-It-Barbershop) quartet, and, as such, primarily sings barbershop arrangements from the 20th century—they pay homage to the quartets and the chord-ringing from barbershop antiquity. On top of cherishing their own bright, brassy, ringing sound, the quartet loves getting lost within the power of the music they sing—a trait inspired in them by the last NED gold medalist quartet: Boston Common.

Members: Francesco Logozzo, Kadin-Seth Binkley, Travis Roy, Rodrigo Alvarez

Chicago

Remedy

Remedy comes from different ends of Ohio to form the University of Dayton's first a cappella group. When they are not captivating their audience, Remedy enjoys spending time together as a group. From many walks of life and representing a vast number of majors, the group discovered camaraderie and harmony instantly. Remedy hopes to entertain and captivate the audience with their memorable performances.

Members: Hannah Snow, Holly Gyenes, Shelby Searcy, Caitlin Pearn, Kerry Speed, Trevor Rosenbaum, Matt Radford, Jon Besecker

Los Angeles

The Bluesettes Quintet

All jazz musicians, The Bluesettes Quintet breathes new life into current popular tunes utilizing a modern jazz sound, featuring a vocal trio as well as a vocal rhythm section. The five members work together to create new, innovative arrangements with a retro feel, striving to preserve the classic jazz style of the 1930s and 1940s.

Members: Ian Brekke, tenor/vocal percussion, Katrina Kochevar, soprano, Miko Shudo, alto, Rachel St. Marseille, soprano II, Riley Wilson, bass

Mid-Atlantic

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

New York

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

Pacific Northwest

Straighter Road

Singing is one of the purest art forms. Nothing man made between the artist and the audience. Straighter Road was formed as a Gospel vocal group first, with a band back-up, and recently has ventured down the Acapella Road. The challenge of acapella sing is without edges and joined with the charge of spreading the Good News of the Gospel, keeps Straighter Road striving for excellence.

Members: Diane Trandum, Lynn Knight, Jerry Leith, Chris Nelson, Aliya Kunz, Mary Kunz, Kevin Kunz

Your Emcee for the Evening

Angie Doctor

Angie Doctor, a studio singer and live performer who began her career in Chicago doing commercials, voice-overs and recording projects, and has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area vocal music community since 1995. She is currently teaching vocal jazz classes as an Artist-in-Residence at the Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts high school, the Jazz School in Berkeley, California, and in Fall 2015, will be the Vocal Jazz Ensemble instructor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley.

Angie is a song-writer and arranger, vocal coach and clinician for school music ensembles and solo singers, background singer for groups such as The Manhattans, Heatwave, Gene Chandler, Barbara Lewis, Billy Paul, and many others, studio singer and voice-over talent, is the soprano in the jazz vocal quartet Clockwork and is currently in the wackiest of all a cappella groups, The Bobs. In addition, she has been singer and soloist for music projects with Bobby McFerrin, Sufjan Stevens, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Zorn, Meredith Monk, performing at venues that include Zellerbach in Berkeley, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Philharmonie Berlin. Her vocal work can be heard on many recording projects, including as a featured soloist on the Grammy-nominated recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” (Harmonia Mundi),

Angie is also a founding member of the Grammy-nominated PM Singers and has brought her extensive experience in solo and small group harmony singing to workshops and festivals as a judge and clinician over the past eighteen years.

2015 Judges

Aaron Director   

Aaron Director has been involved in a cappella music since the late 1980s and for the past two years has been fully immersed as founder and executive director of Acaville Radio, a nonprofit streaming radio station that plays contemporary a cappella around the clock. That role has enabled him to sit down with groups from The Persuasions to The Bobs, from the University of Oregon Divisi to the current international collegiate a cappella champion runners-up, the University of Chicago Voices In Your Head. As a singer, he has performed with opera companies and jazz combos, and lots in between. When his headphones aren't on, he spends time with his family just outside of Portland, Oregon.

Jesse Hamlin   

Jesse Hamlin is an award-winning music writer and a respected veteran reporter of the the San Francisco entertainment scene. Hamlin has a regular column in the San Francisco Chronicle where he has worked as senior jazz critic and arts reporter for many years. He also contributes regularly to SF Arts magazine and to San Francisco Classical Voice, where he writes about jazz, Latin and classical music. His work has appeared in the New York Times, California magazine and in many other print and online publications.

Shiloh Hobel   

Shiloh Hobel’s musical background as a singer, songwriter and musician inspired her to pursue a career in both the business production management and artistic sides of the industry and dedicated her passions to arts and education.

For over two decades Shiloh has earned a reputation as a respected music industry studio production manager and singer, earning numerous gold and multi-platinum awards for her business and vocal work with world-class recording studios and multi Grammy award winning record producer, Narada Michael Walden and the famed Record Plant Recording Studios. Selected clientele list includes: Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Lisa Fischer, Patti LaBelle, Barbra Streisand, Howard Hewett, Tevin Campbell, Shanice Wilson, George Benson, Journey, Heart, Starship, Rick James, Santana and Huey Lewis and the News and many others.

In 2013, Shiloh Road Productions was founded, as a full spectrum music, event production management and consulting company. Services include: Songwriting, recording, performance, production management, education, public speaking, moderating, panelist, lecturer, motivational coach and community leader. Her current original music-recording project highlights her unique vocal and songwriting style and musicianship, as well as, collaborations with highly recognized artists, producers and engineers world wide. Shiloh takes great pride in serving music, audio, visual, entertainment and educational communities in elected leadership and mentoring roles including over a decade of service as Vice President and Board of Governors for the SF Grammy Chapter. It is extremely fulfilling to Shiloh to make a meaningful difference in the growth of our creative community through music, education, inspiration, creativity and self-expression.

Vice President - West Coast Songwriters, Voting Member (formerly Vice President, Governor, Education & Membership Committee Co-chair) - San Francisco Grammy Chapter, Advisory Board - Vallejo Community Arts Foundation, Audio Engineering Society - Member, Visual Effects Society - Member

Craig Knudsen   Knudsen Productions

In 1999, Craig Knudsen founded the talent agency, Knudsen Productions, LLC. With a focus on exceptional vocal talent, Craig quickly established Knudsen Productions as one of the most highly regarded US agencies representing a cappella groups, both national and international, working with top presenters in the performing arts market with regular bookings and tours at prestigious venues throughout the US and Canada. His agency’s current and past representation of vocal ensembles includes the 2015 GRAMMY winning choir, Conspirare; the multi Grammy Award winning British a cappella legends, the Swingle Singers; the multi Grammy nominated British early music vocal ensemble, Stile Antico; the Bay Area’s favorite women’s vocal ensemble, KITKA; the legendary BOBS! (also Grammy nominated); the 2012 Harmony Sweeps National Champions, Six Appeal; Decca recording artist, VOCES8; and, most recently, the 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions, Women of the World. Before embarking on his career as an agent, Craig served as the music director of the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Project, and, additionally, spent 18 years as a singer / Composer / arranger with the EDLOS a cappella quartet (the 1989 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions).

A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (vocal performance), Craig's performance credits span a wide variety of musical styles and performance mediums. As an opera and classical singer, he has performed leading roles with Pocket Opera, Mendocino Music Festival Opera, West Bay Opera, Berkeley Opera, Las Vegas Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera and the Austin Opera in Austin, TX. Craig originally came to the SF Bay Area in 1982 to join the San Francisco Mime Troupe as a sax player/music director/composer/actor, and toured extensively with the Troupe in the U.S. and Canada. Before joining the Mime Troupe, Craig was the sax player with the R&B Hall of Fame artist, the Marcia Ball Band (Austin, TX).

Scott Mathews   TikiTown Studio

Music Producer, Composer, Arranger, Song Doctor, Multi–instrumentalist & Tiki God. PRODUCED, RECORDED and/or PERFORMED WITH:- The Beach Boys * The Blind Boys of Alabama * David Bowie * Zac Brown * Jimmy Buffett * Johnny Cash * Rosanne Cash * Glen Campbell * Eric Clapton * Elvis Costello * Ry Cooder * Robert Cray * Dick Dale * Dave Edmunds * Roky Erickson * Jefferson Starship * Jerry Garcia * Billy Gibbons * Sammy Hagar * Herbie Hancock * John Hiatt * John Lee Hooker * Etta James * Mick Jagger * Booker T. Jones * Patti Labelle * Huey Lewis * Nick Lowe * Taj Mahal * The Mamas & Papas * Steve Miller * Eddie Money * Van Morrison * Aaron Neville * Roy Orbison * Van Dyke Parks * Steve Perry * The Pointer Sisters * Bonnie Raitt * Joey Ramone * Keith Richards * Todd Rundgren * Carlos Santana * Joe Satriani * Boz Scaggs * Ringo Starr * Barbra Streisand * Allen Toussaint * Trip Shakespeare (Semisonic) * The Tubes * Joe Walsh * Robin Williams * Carl Wilson * Brian Wilson * Bobby Womack * Stevie Ray Vaughn * Dwight Yoakam * Neil Young....



Complete list of 2015 participants




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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


Our Hall of Fame - The Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions

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

Previous Year's Results - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002
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Marin Veterans Auditorium

The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin County Civic Center is a national-and state-designated historic landmark. Wright's 770th commission, the Civic Center is the last and one of the most important works by this internationally acclaimed architect who has been described as "one of the most creative architectural geniuses of all time" and "the most original architect the United States has ever produced." The Marin Center is an outstanding venue for entertainment, meetings, and special events. The 55-acre campus includes a park and a 14-acre lagoon.Directions -Yelp reviews -Photos


Boston - Chicago - Los Angeles - New York - Pacific North West - San Francisco - Washington DC
2015 NATIONAL FINALS

Saturday May 16th, 2015 - 8pm

MARIN VETERANS AUDITORIUM

10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, CA 94901

Box Office: 415-473-6800



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