2nd 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.

1986 National Finals Champions

The Flips

In the pantheon of a cappella, The Flips are considered amongst the vanguard of groups that emerged during a cappella’s “new wave” in the mid-1980’s, paving the way for a cappella’s current popularity. Founded by Kevin Carter, Patti Lesser, Kirk Livingston and Shanna Strassberg in 1984, while studying musical theater at San Francisco State University, the group honed their vocal talents singing at keg parties, in stairwells, back alleys… pretty much anywhere anyone would listen. Their unique alchemy of demented humor and gorgeous harmonies quickly turned them into the darlings of the San Francisco/Bay Area and Los Angeles comedy and cabaret scenes.

Billed as “Off-the-Wall A Cappella,” The Flips refused to be categorized. Their theatrical stage shows incorporated skits, monologues, satire and sight gags, sets, props, lighting and sound effects, all woven around their signature four-part harmonies in wide range of musical tastes - from do-wop to new wave, jazz to country, gospel to pop, and even rap. In 1986, The Flips won the coveted Harmony Sweepstakes and then went on to win back-to-back San Francisco Cabaret Gold Awards for Best Musical Group in 1986 & 1987. Featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment (Pink) section, and named “Comedy Pick of the Week” by the LA Weekly, the band’s popularity sky-rocketed. As frequent guests on the TV and radio talk show circuits in both Northern and Southern California, some highlights include performing live on NPR’s West Coast Weekend, and as regular guests on Live 105 with Alex Bennett and Lori Thomson..

Although The Flips officially disbanded in 1989, its members continue to sing together in various configurations for special projects… or when begged... or when free cocktails are involved… or, well, pretty much any time they're all together in the same room..

Their album, What's In The Bright Pink Box, was recently reissued and can now be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and many other online music websites.

1986 Results
1st
The Flips


1986 Participating Groups

The Flips
In the pantheon of a cappella, The Flips are considered amongst the vanguard of groups that emerged during a cappella’s “new wave” in the mid-1980’s, paving the way for a cappella’s current popularity. Founded by Kevin Carter, Patti Lesser, Kirk Livingston and Shanna Strassberg in 1984, while studying musical theater at San Francisco State University, the group honed their vocal talents singing at keg parties, in stairwells, back alleys… pretty much anywhere anyone would listen. Their unique alchemy of demented humor and gorgeous harmonies quickly turned them into the darlings of the San Francisco/Bay Area and Los Angeles comedy and cabaret scenes.

Billed as “Off-the-Wall A Cappella,” The Flips refused to be categorized. Their theatrical stage shows incorporated skits, monologues, satire and sight gags, sets, props, lighting and sound effects, all woven around their signature four-part harmonies in wide range of musical tastes - from do-wop to new wave, jazz to country, gospel to pop, and even rap. In 1986, The Flips won the coveted Harmony Sweepstakes and then went on to win back-to-back San Francisco Cabaret Gold Awards for Best Musical Group in 1986 & 1987. Featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment (Pink) section, and named “Comedy Pick of the Week” by the LA Weekly, the band’s popularity sky-rocketed. As frequent guests on the TV and radio talk show circuits in both Northern and Southern California, some highlights include performing live on NPR’s West Coast Weekend, and as regular guests on Live 105 with Alex Bennett and Lori Thomson..

Although The Flips officially disbanded in 1989, its members continue to sing together in various configurations for special projects… or when begged... or when free cocktails are involved… or, well, pretty much any time they're all together in the same room..

Their album, What's In The Bright Pink Box, was recently reissued and can now be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and many other online music websites.

Members: Kirk Livingston, Patti Lesser, Shanna Strassberg, Kevin Carter
More Details

Complete list of 1986 participants




Interested in Performing?

We are always seeking groups who would like to participate 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

Please send music and photos to the regional director :


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