25th Annual

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

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

Boston | Chicago | 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.

2009 National Finals Champions

MAXX Factor

MAXX Factor, a Baltimore based quartet singing in the barbershop style, was formed in 2005. They are the 2011 Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champions. Other MAXX milestones include being named the 2009 Mid-Atlantic and 2009 National Harmony Sweepstakes Champions as well as being selected as contestants on the very first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off." Over the past ten years, MAXX Factor has been busy competing, performing and teaching barbershop style singing across the United States and internationally. They were invited to perform locally on the 2014 "The Sing-Off Live Tour." In 2015 they were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and at The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, MD.

2009 Results
1st
MAXX Factor
2nd
Love Notes
3rd
Rezonate
Audience Favorite
Love Notes
Best Original Arrangement
"Book of Love" - Jason Caffarella, Rezonate
Best Original Song
"The Future Part 2" - Richard Steighner, Mouth Beats


2009 Participating Groups

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.

Listen to: Only You | Listen to: Bless the Broken Road

Members: Kieran Daly, Kevin Dixon, Ben Feeney, Michael Henrickson, Malcolm Lee, Darcy Romano
More Details

Our Town
Comprised of four men with championship ranking in both the Barbershop Harmony Society and a cappella circles, OUR TOWN won both the prestigious Harmony Sweepstakes (the oldest a cappella competition in America) and Barbershop Harmony Society Northeastern Districts in 2009.

Known for their "big sound" and pure style of harmony, the quartet recently appeared at the iconic New York City nightclub, Birdland. Intent on singing familiar songs for the enjoyment of varying audiences - college students to traditional song buffs - OUR TOWN boasts a repertoire reflective of musical tastes ranging from contemporary up-tunes to nostalgic ballads.

Members: Jamie Carbone, Scott Brannon, Terry Clarke, Larry Tully
More Details

Rezonate
Rezonate The premiere a cappella group from Eugene, Oregon, the gentlemen of Rezonate sing R&B, Gospel, Pop, Soul, Jazz, Funk, and even some Hard Rock, including deftly arranged covers and original songs. The group started singing together as Rezonate in December 2004, and have sung at many venues since. At the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals in May of 2009, Rezonate won both Third Place and the coveted award for Best Original Arrangement. With thick, lush, true six and seven part harmonies and a difficulty level second to none, Rezonate can evoke the smooth sounds of the Four Freshman, the rockin' edge of the Goo Goo Dolls, or the pop excitement of acts like Bruno Mars and Owl City.

Listen to: Ghost Train | Listen to: Book of Love

Members: Aaron Matthew, Chris Dobson, David Fertal, Jason Caffarella, Tyson Biggerstaff, Justin Diller
More Details

3 Men & A Melody
Start with two music teachers, add one preacher, stir in a financial planner, and you could have the basic ingredients for any great quartet, but 3 Men & A Melody is not your basic quartet. 3M&M first formed in the stairwells of the women's dorm at Northwest Missouri State University. (Can you find better acoustics or a better audience?) These four guys have been around for 15 years competing mostly in the Barbershop Harmony Society. Since their first visit to the international stage in 2001, they have consistently placed in the top twenty, and once in the top ten. These guys are highly sought after clinicians for Young Men in Harmony and Harmony Explosions across the country, bringing their passion for a cappella harmony to young people and educators alike. In-house Tenor, Chris Droegemeuller arranges much of 3 Men & A Melody’s music to give them the unique sound that best highlights their voices. Get your ears ready for a stage full of a harmonic variety of a cappella jazz, doo-wop and barbershop.

Listen to: What I Like | Listen to: Route 66

Members: Chris Droegemeuller, Eric Derks, Brian Bellof, Brad Stephens
More Details

MAXX Factor
MAXX Factor, a Baltimore based quartet singing in the barbershop style, was formed in 2005. They are the 2011 Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champions. Other MAXX milestones include being named the 2009 Mid-Atlantic and 2009 National Harmony Sweepstakes Champions as well as being selected as contestants on the very first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off." Over the past ten years, MAXX Factor has been busy competing, performing and teaching barbershop style singing across the United States and internationally. They were invited to perform locally on the 2014 "The Sing-Off Live Tour." In 2015 they were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and at The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, MD.

Listen to: Brand New Day | Listen to: Don’t Break the Heart

Members: Molly Plummer, Leslie Wodday, Valerie Hadfield-Rasnake, Kim Hudson
More Details

Love Notes
Love Notes - (the artists formerly known as UnderAge) are a group of four young ladies (ages 18-21) singing a cappella 4-part harmony, mostly in the barbershop style. They have been working, competing, and performing together for six years. They have had performing opportunities beyond their years. As UnderAge they became the 2005 International quartet champions for the Young Women in Harmony division of the Sweet Adelines organization. As champions, they have been guest performers all over the country from Oregon to Detroit to Rhode Island. They have shared the stage with the Kingston Trio, sung the National Anthem for numerous professional sporting teams, participated in America's Got Talent in both Los Angelas and Las Vegas, and were guest performers in Germany this last Spring for BING (Barbershop in Germany) festival. LoveNotes also performs for numerous local events throughout the year. As of 2008 they have matured into young ladies over 18 hence the name change to LoveNotes which expresses their love of music. They are exploring numerous a cappella styles which they very much enjoy. They are very commited to excellence in their craft and hope you enjoy them.

Listen to: Bill Bailey Medley | Listen to: Bye Bye Norman

Members: Brittany Gilmore, Mia Dessenberger, Caitlin Smith, Stephanie Lawson
More Details

Evolution
Evolution is an all male Vocal Rock Band, based on the Westside in LA. Together, these gentlemen use lyrical, tight harmonies, and a powerful synergy that creates great music and an entertaining good time. EVOLUTION plans to "Heal the World Through Harmony" using original arrangements ranging from the 50's to today's pop hits, as well as creative, ground-breaking originals that help their audiences think outside the box. Ladies and gentlemen, "Let EVOLUTION sing"!

Listen to: Angel | Listen to: Book of Love

Members: Adam Croce, Ken White, Michael Maury, Jim Campbell, Rolland Lopez, Rono, Jamie Paisley
More Details

MouthBeats
No words, just rhythms, sound effects, and vocal percussion. MouthBeats explores the sonic barriers between vocal and instrumental music. Fusing pop, rock, jazz, world, and military styles, MouthBeats is on a never ending hunt for new beats, new sounds, new grooves.

Listen to: Tron | Listen to: The Future Pt. 2

Members: Tim Jones, Matt Murphy, Chris Schenk, Richard Steighner
More Details

2009 Judges

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).

Claytoven Richardson   

Claytoven has worked on hundreds of projects throughout his 30-year career. Constantly in demand as one of the top session vocalists, his voice can be found on albums featuring GRAMMY winning artists such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Kenny G, Mariah Carey, as well as, on popular video games like Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore (Versions 1 & 2). His work on the number 1 song for Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On" (also the title track for the Titanic soundtrack) won him Grammy recognition in 1999. As a songwriter, Claytoven has also written for and produced artists such as Patti Austin, Young Jeezy, Al Jarreau, Lisa Fischer, Charlie Wilson, and many others.

But as busy as he is, Claytoven always makes time for educating others. “I feel it is my responsibility to pass on my knowledge to young musicians just as it was passed on to me.” And with that as his mission, Claytoven has stepped into the role of author by taking his years of experience and sharing them in a book entitled, “The Professional Studio Vocalist”. Currently, Claytoven also teaches this subject and other professional music courses at San Francisco State University, in their Music Recording Industry Department. He also teaches and is the Program Director for an incredible new facility-program, The Digital Arts and Culinary Academy (DACA) in Oakland, California.

Michelle Weir   

Michelle Weir is one of the leading figures in vocal jazz today. She has earned international recognition through a diverse set of talents as arranger, teacher, singer and pianist.

Michele's vocal arrangements are performed by The Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, M-Pact, Beachfront Property, Chanticleer, Voice Trek and her orchestral works played by the Boston Pops, the Buffalo, Cincinnati and Pacific Symphonies, and others. Michele's educational arrangements are distributed by various publishers, including her own online publishing company, MichMusic. She was Vocal Producer for the Manhattan Transfer.

Currently serving on the faculty of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Michele taught previously at USC, CSU Long Beach, and the Phil Mattson School. Highly respected as a teacher and clinician, her work has taken her to more than 22 countries around the globe.

In her role as Music Supervisor for the DreamWorks film, Prince of Egypt, she journeyed through Europe and Asia overseeing music production for the film's foreign language dubs. Her solo CD with jazz guitarist Bruce Forman is titled, "The Sound of Music." Michele is a member of S.A.G., A.F.T.R.A., A.S.C.A.P. and N.A.R.A.S.

Robin Cohn   

President of City Hall Records. City Hall began in Robin's San Francisco garage in 1973, expanding steadily to become the leading national independent wholesale distributor of hundreds of specialty labels, both domestic and international. From blues, jazz, urban, nostalgia, world, and yes, a cappella - including artists such as the Swingle Singers, the Bobs and SoVoSo - City Hall has built its success and reputation through supporting independent music.

Complete list of 2009 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 :


National Champions

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

Other Year's Results - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004
2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998 - 1997 - 1996 - 1995 - 1994 - 1993 - 1992 - 1991 - 1990



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


Search The Harmony Sweepstakes Web Site


Read the latest reviews, articles, features and more - A CAPPELLA NEWS

For More of The Primarily A Cappella On-Line Catalog

Browse

Browse By


Music Category
Arrangement
Gender
Instructional
Format
Christmas

Thanks to our Sponsors