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 National Finals Champions

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.

2008 Results
1st
Vocaldente
2nd
Where’s Gesualdo
3rd
Legacy
Audience Favorite
Vocaldente


2008 Participating Groups

Syncopation
The Boston Globe calls Syncopation "the 21st Century Manhattan Transfer or Lambert, Hendricks and Ross" and it is easy to see why. Like those legendary vocal groups, Syncopation performs jazz and pop music in four-part harmony with a style that is both timeless and up-to-the-minute. As an added treat each of the singers also plays an instrument or two like trumpet, trombone piano and percussion providing the excitement of a band much larger in size.

You may have seen Syncopation on WBZ-TV singing with the Boston Pops on their 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (2009). The group often performs with instrumental accompaniment of piano, bass and drums, but they are equally renowned for their a cappella singing, which has earned them regional and national awards from Harmony Sweepstakes.

Members: Aubrey Logan, Christine Fawson, David Thorne Scott, Tsunenori “Lee” Abe
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5one
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. Winners of the 2008 Chicago Rgional of the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. Currently based in Decatur, IL, 5one has released their first album, "Get It" through their own student-run record label at Millikin.

Members: Shane Irvin, David Kempton, Brian Parrish, Jesse Upah, Tony Marx
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Legacy
Legacy is a nationally known Christian vocal group that is based out of Lubbock, TX. Their sound has been compared to many world renowned groups such as Take 6, Acappella, Gaither Vocal Band and Rockapella. The group consists of John Paul Sheppard, Clint Dickerson, Josh Wheeler and Jake Lierman.

Legacy originally got their start in the fall of 2002 while in college together, but the group only lasted for about a year. After a summer tour in 2003 and recording a CD together, the guys felt that God was calling them to do other things with their lives and they decided to put the group on hold for a while.

Members: Jake Lierman, John Paul Sheppard, Clint Dickerson, Josh Wheeler, Nick Gaultney
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The Baudboys
Back around 1990, a couple of the founding members of the coed Microtones decided that they wanted to form a men's a cappella group at Microsoft so that they could sing the charts from their college groups. The original quartet consisted John Rae-Grant, bass and musical director, Bill Pope, baritone, Bob Gunderson, 2nd tenor, and David Olsen, 1st tenor. True to their profession, the group's chosen name, The Baudboys, referred to the method by which modem speeds were rated. The group performed only a few times in its first years of existence, doing lunch time gigs on the Microsoft campus.

As members left Microsoft over the years, they would also leave the Baudboys, prompting natural turnover in the membership. During the 1990's, the group expanded it's membership, aiming to have two full quartets within the group. Since that time, the group has remained at 7-9 members, but the expanded membership has allowed the group to sing more complex arrangements than the 4-part charts that the founders envisioned.

Members: Jon Schwartz, Ric Lewis, Graham Sheldon, Owen Braun, Elliot Lewis, Mark Adolph, Dave McEwen , Paul Eng
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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
More Details

SoundStage
SoundStage constantly impresses audiences both at home and abroad with their tight, unexpected harmonies and passionate delivery. Founded in 2006, their 2008 win of the LA Regional Harmony sweepstakes has catapulted them to appear on ABC's "The View" as well as a touring headline performance for the 2009 International Contemporary A Cappella Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. Their consistent jazz sensibility (with an infusion of funk) has taken them from shopping malls, to professional sporting events, to international conferences, to high school auditoriums, to county fairs, and local churches, where they have been described as "the white, suburban step-child of Take 6 and Earth, Wind, and Fire."

Members: Jammie Hann (Soprano), Kim Reed (Alto), Bradley Hampton (Tenor I), Andy Cummins (Tenor II), Kyle Bowen (VP/Baritone), Johnny Davis Figueroa (Bass)
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Where’s Gesualdo
Where’s Gesualdo is an a cappella quartet based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its members have performed and / or recorded Andy Williams, Bobby McFerrin, Chanticleer, Dave Gruisin, David Grisman, Don Shelton, John Williams, Jose Feliciano, Mark Murphy, Michael Tilson Thomas, Phil Mattson, Richie Cole, Stanley Jordan, and Frank Zappa, among others. They've also sung on video games such as Guitar Hero, Karaoke Revolution, Dance Dance Revolution, and Garage Band.

Members: Moorea Dickason, Kathleen Hollingsworth, Paul Kim, Stephen Saxon
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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
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2008 Judges

Daniel Hughes   

Daniel Hughes is in constant demand as a conductor, accompanist, coach and choral clinician. He serves as the Artistic Director & Conductor of The Choral Project. Celebrating 12 years of musical excellence, the ensemble has been hailed by the San José Mercury News as “a Bay Area jewel," and "...there is nothing subtle about why this is one of the best choirs you will ever hear." The Choral Project has released six albums on the Clarion label. Additionally, Hughes serves as the Artistic Director of the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, an acclaimed organization committed to inspiring our diverse community through musical excellence and collective pride. He has extensive training in piano and voice, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Conducting from San José State University.

Awards include: 4th place in the 35th International Choral Competition in Gorizia, Italy; the second place award in the ACDA National Student Conducting Competition; the Christina Cadena Memorial Accompanying Scholarship; and the California Arts Scholar Awards for piano and composition. Collaborations include work with Costa Rica’s Café Chorale, the San José Chamber Orchestra and creative work with award-winning Broadway composer & lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Hughes recently served three terms as the Repertoire & Standards Chair for Community Choirs for the Western Division of the ACDA, and is currently serving as Bay Area Representative for the California ACDA Board. He is an accomplished composer & arranger, and has his own choral series through Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Mr. Hughes’s biography is featured in the 62nd edition of "Who’s Who in America."

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).

Ken Malucelli   

Ken Malucelli, native San Franciscan and charter member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, is also an 18-yr. veteran of San Francisco Opera and 8-yr. veteran of the Lamplighters GS company. Having worn a variety of hats in the music industry, he is CEO of A Cappella Central (div. Prince/SF Productions) and has coordinated bookings for most of the international celebrity artists on that roster: Take 6; The Nylons; The Swingle Singers; Real Group; Rajaton; The Persuasions; Rockapella, plus many of its fine national artists: Blind Man1s Bluff; Five O1Clock Shadow; The Knudsen Brothers; BNO, to name only a few. He also is or has been manager or exclusive agent for The EDLOS, The House Jacks, m-pact, Graffiti Tribe, Talk of da Town/Mighty Prince Singers and The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers (the world1s largest costumed caroling company); has executive produced CD1s for Kai, m-pact, The House Jacks, Mighty Prince Singers, Gospel Girls and The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers; and has had works commissioned and/or performed and recorded by San Francisco Opera Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses and Chanticleer, including the latter1s internationally acclaimed theme song, "King Chanticleer."

Linda Tillery   

Linda Tillery is a veteran vocalist, percussionist, producer and cultural historian whose career has spanned 34 years. Since the 1960's, Tillery has been regarded as one of the San Francisco Bay Area's most versatile singers. Her powerful, shimmering alto voice has been showcased in such groups as the Loading Zone, Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra, the Solid Sender's and Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra. A native San Franciscan, Linda has Texas soul, rooted in her mother's stories and food, and her uncle Tom Anderson's deft blues whistle. These Texas expatriates anchored her earliest memories in an older musical tradition when the contemporary sound pronounced it old-fashioned. The sound of artists such as Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Bill Doggett, Dinah Washington, Clyde McPhatter, Faye Adams and Ruth Brown were all a part of Linda's early music education. An articulate and provocative speaker, Linda is in demand both as vocal coach and lecturer. She has conducted workshops for St. Mary's College (Moraga, Ca.) , the Center for Christian Studies (Toronto), The Muse Choir of Cincinnati, The Oakland Symphony Chorus, The Universal Gospel Choir of Vancouver, Mutama , Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus, The Oakland Youth Chorus, Copper Wimmin', and the MIT Concert Choir.

Complete list of 2008 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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