26th Annual

National Finals | 2010 Schedule | Recordings | Previous winners | Rules | How to enter | About Us

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

The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, 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.

2010 New York Champions


bVocal has been working for the last twelve years in a surprising and innovative style: with just the use of their voices. - these five Aragonese musicians can recreate the soundscape of any musical piece (drums, guitars, brass, rhythm, etc.). With their entertaining shows, they have managed to popularize a cappella as a musical style in Spain through a perfect combination of voice and humour and a repertory of high quality music from both national and international sources. With a career of more than twelve years behind them, and thanks to their quality and originality, b vocal has become one of the main reference points for a capella music in Spain.

2010 Results

One Guy Upstate
Audience Favorite
Best Original Arrangement
"Sweet Dreams" Arr. Rainbow 5
Best Original Song
"Victory Road" - Erik Levitt - Vocal Heights
Best Male Solo
Angel Reynoso - "Closer" - One Guy Upstate
Best Female Solo
Candice Helfand - "Seperate Ways" - REDux
Best Vocal Percussionist
Nicholas Fox -s RUB

Set List - Reviews of this show

2010 Participating Groups

b vocal - has been working for the last twelve years in a surprising and innovative style: with just the use of their voices. - these five Aragonese musicians can recreate the soundscape of any musical piece (drums, guitars, brass, rhythm, etc.). With their entertaining shows, they have managed to popularize a cappella as a musical style in Spain through a perfect combination of voice and humour and a repertory of high quality music from both national and international sources. With a career of more than twelve years behind them, and thanks to their quality and originality, b vocal has become one of the main reference points for a capella music in Spain.

Members: Fermin, Juan Luis, Alberto, Augusto, Carlos

Choice - THE CHOICE CONCEPT...Choice emerged out of the Greenville section of Jersey City, NJ as a hobby for five young men looking for a fun way to occupy their spare time. After attracting much local attention and interest, they began performing professionally. With their extensive rehearsal and research schedule, Choice has earned their reputation as one of the hardest working groups on the acappella circuit, and has performed at such venues as Nassau Coliseum, Continental Airlines Arena and Radio City Music Hall. Among Choice’s most notable achievements is their 2007 appearance on ABC News’ Speak Freely, recording with our good friend, Dennis Gruenling, and his band, Jump Time, and participation in two Japanese film documentaries on the history of acappella and rock & roll which have aired on the Fuji television Network in Japan, and a commercial for Diet Pepsi.
As self-proclaimed eternal students of Vocal Group Musical History, Choice relishes their rich musical R&B and gospel heritage and believes that aside from the enjoyment of performing, their call is to foster wider recognition for an aspect of musical history that deserves greater respect and notoriety.  Choice is excited about performing for the Harmony Sweepstakes audience.

Members: E-Z, Ira, Sha-Dee, Malik, Rahim

Frenemy of the State - is a rock-focused, high energy mixed a cappella group from right here in NYC. As the shorter, larger, better half to the NYC based Red States, they have a brand of angsty rock music all their own. And with their diversity of life experiences from school teacher to music exec to American Idol to lingerie exec, the Frenemies are a true motley crew of fun. But as they were quoted in a recent Time Out New York best of NYC a cappella article, you'll never catch them wearing glittery vests.

Members: Janifer Cheng, Brian Chambers, Kyron Rodgers, Jack Bender, Nicole Scavone, Brad Akin, Asami Kondo

One Guy Upstate is what happens when collegiate, frat-style a cappella guys grow up -- or, perhaps, refuse to. Individually, the members of this all-male vocal band have performed hundreds of shows, but first met back in the day at Binghamton University, where they made multiple visits to the ICCA Finals as members of the Crosbys. Still great friends and reunited a few years later for the sheer love of making great music together, they hope to acheive similar success on the professional stage at the Harmony Sweepstakes.

Members: Jesse Afriyie, Mike Boxer, Brian Frankel, Al Orbinati, Angel Reynoso, John Soto, Di Zhang

Penthouse H - Formed in 2008 based on the philosophy that college students shouldn't be allowed to have all the fun, Penthouse H is a group of New York City based young professional who share a passion for the human voice (as well as a strong distaste for musical accompaniment). Their members previously hail from collegiate a cappella groups, including The Colgate Resolutions, The Princeton Nassoons, The Princeton Tigerlilies and The Yale Whiffenpoofs, and are proud to be a part of the strong tradition of a cappella in this country. Taking advantage of the unique opportunities of New York City at their fingertips, the group has performed at professional sporting events, art openings and private clubs; they also enjoy giving back to the community, by bringing their special brand of jazz, contemporary and pop music to hospitals, nursing homes, and other community services

Members: Dane Hoyt, Mark Huerta, Molly Cyphers, Jake Saper, Kristin Kelly, Ayn-Monique Klehre, Dunham Townend, Astrid Werner

Rainbow 5 is an a cappella musical combo comprised of 5 singers/musicians from Quebec. The great passion these 5 graduates of Quebec’s prestigious Laval University share for the vocal music was the architect for the merger of their talents. Each member adds to the mix his or her own spice to create most flavorful compositions of Jazz, Pop, barbershop, blues, & éléctronique music of all kinds ...Tout y est!

Members: Geneviève Paré, Julie Vandal, Héra Ménard, Marc-André Bean, Jean-François Aubin

REDux - is a subset of the award winning, CARA (Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards) nominated and charter member of the CASA A cappella League, the Red States. Like the flip side of a Frosted Mini-Wheat, REDux brings a sweeter take to life. They focus on relaxed, understated contemporary pop charts as well crowd-pleasing dance tunes. Jim's arrangement and Sarah's lead on the Red States' cover of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" was not only included on the CASA compilation, Sing VI, as one of the best tracks of the year but led to a 2010 CARA nomination.

Members: Jared Sampson, Meg Tirrell, Candice Helfand, Mardie Cohen, Sarah Bills, Jim Diego, Jason Gong

RUB - It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that...RUB! In the jazz corner, weighing in at 6 members, RUB packs a mean punch, & sounds like...well, imagine if Lalo Schifrin had a modern acappella group. As last year's 'Sweeps', RUB's 'Best Original Song' goes, "We're RUB...cuz we rub!"

Members: Gweneviere Mann, Melissa Munn, John McMahon, Craig Eckhardt, Randy White, Nicholas Fox

Vocal Heights - Founded in 2002 by Erik Levitt and Jessica Sher, Vocal Heights is a co-ed a cappella group with a fun, eclectic style and a wide range of music. Their repertoire includes contemporary rock and pop , specialty pieces (Weird Al's"Frank's 2000 Inch TV"), doo-wop, gospel, and jazz standards , with the occasional 16th-century madrigal thrown in. They also perform original songs, including "Victory Road," and "Optimism," which won Best Original Song in the 2007 Harmony Sweeps! Based in New York's East Village, the group consists of eight singers with a wide range of experience and musical backgrounds. Having performed in a variety of venues, including R-Bar, Bar East, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, and the Madison Square Garden Theater, their mission is to put on a good show for their audience!

Members: Andrea Au Levitt, Elizabeth Boskey, Mindy Gordon, James Greenspan, Cara Joyce, Erik Levitt, Jim Longo, Melina Marini

Your Emcee

Jeff Lagraca is a writer, director, actor and improviser residing in New York City. He has studied and worked with Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, Adam McKay, and several other entertainment notables while honing his theatre, comedic and musical skills. He is a writer/creator of “Minimum Wage,” a musical which made it’s Off Broadway debut in New York City at the Bleecker Street theater at 45 Bleecker in 2007. Minimum Wage was also presented at the 2002 & 2006 FringeNYC festals where it received the Producer’s Award and “Outstanding Musical Comedy " by BackStage magazine.

He wrote a contemporary re-telling of Prokofiev’s (The Trial of) Peter and the (Were) Wolf for the Astoria Symphony and was also commissioned by them to adapt his children’s story, The Gargoyle Garden into a children’s opera, in collaboration with composer, BA Schulz which premiered in the fall of 2006. He is writing a series of children’s books, Roger and Eugene Both Gave Me Thumbs Down, Milton’s Grabbers, The Pesky French Fry, The Gargoyle Garden and the recently published Hideously Heinous. (Wide Awake Press) He teaches privately and at Broadway Classroom , Gotham City Improv and Queens Theater in the Park.

The Judges

Roopak Ahuja  is an influential leader, educator, and performer in contemporary vocal music. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Roopak’s expertise as a teacher and clinician has led him to present at the ACDA national conference, the NACA national conference, and major vocal festivals across the country. He has conducted vocal performance workshops for high school and college ensembles and has coached post-collegiate groups from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. ICCA champions and CARA award winning groups have been performing his innovative arrangements since 1998. With appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Gewandhaus, and The Vienna Rathaus among other U.S. and international venues, Roopak is a seasoned, consummate performer. He continues to tour, educate, and record both on his own and with the San Francisco-based vocal band, The House Jacks. Most recently, in late 2009, Roopak synthesized his talents in his work composing, arranging, and performing original soundtrack music for the primetime NBC show, The Sing-Off .
Debbi Burdett As a director, performing artist, and professional consultant through her company, DB Creative Consulting, Debbi has had the pleasure of working with many talented performers over the years.  Her directorial credits include - The Dysfunctional Pianist , Three Guys, Three Girls and A Diva, Take Five, Take Five More and numerous cabaret and nightclub acts.  She has been the director of The WestSide Youth Choir, who were heard in the feature film Household Saints.  She has been featured in countless musicals and plays, most notably as Cleo in The Most Happt Fella, the Soprano in Terrance McNally's Preludes and Ruth in The Pirates Of Penzance. Additionally, Debbi is very proud to have coached NY Harmony Sweeps competitors, Dobosonfly, and Stay Tuned.  
Gerard Brown III is a screenwriter and former writer in residence with the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has written a number of screenplays and teleplays for the likes of Paramount Pictures and HBO among others. However, his most gratifying artistic accomplishment was PBS's Spike & Co: Do it A Cappella which he conceived, wrote, and co-executive produced and shot at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Gerard Brown III is a screenwriter and former writer in residence with the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has written a number of screenplays and teleplays for the likes of Paramount Pictures and HBO among others.
Judy Douglas was introduced to womens’ Barbershop Music almost 30 years ago and has been in love with the art form ever since. Her involvement is through Sweet Adelines, a worldwide organization of female singers dedicated to advancing the art form of Barbershop harmony through education and performance. Earning the status of Certified Director, Judy has sung baritone and lead for three NY area choruses, directed Golden Apple Chorus in Westchester and is now the front line director of Metro Rhythm Chorus in Cranford, NJ. She is also a member of the faculty in Region 15.. Her expertise is in vocal production, expression and showmanship. She has coached choruses in Japan and Australia. “ Music is a wonderful expression of the soul."
Jonathan Minkoff has directed various a cappella groups since 1984. Six of those years were spent as the Founder and Artistic Director of the full-time a cappella rock group, Blind Man's Bluff. Five years were spent performing with Blue Jupiter. He has received numerous musical awards including the National Harmony Sweepstakes' Best Original Song and Best Original Composition, Chicago's Sweeps Champion, and Audience Favorite. He is a frequent judge at a cappella competitions including the New York and Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes, NCHSA and ICCA. Minkoff has performed, coached and conducted seminars at over 20 a cappella festivals. He produced the East Coast A cappella Summit from 2003-8 and served three terms as the President of The Contemporary A Cappella Society. Minkoff arranged for and musically directed for The Jane Pauley Show.  Minkoff is Executive Producer of SingStrong, a weekend-long a cappella festival with 4 concerts, 2 competitions, 20 masterclasses, 1000 attendees and over 200 performers from around the world.
Mark Paul is an accomplished a cappella singer, vocal coach and lifelong musician. Mark is a 30-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. As the bass of a top-20 international-level quartet, he regularly entertained audiences across the United States and internationally. He holds a championship in quartet competition in the six-state Mid-Atlantic District. He served for seventeen years as the bass section leader for two internationally competitive choruses. Mark has been a vocal coach for 25 years, working with individuals, quartets and choruses. He applies an exceptional sensitivity and passion to guide others to reach higher levels of musical awareness and achievement. He has served as faculty on several a cappella music education programs.
William Zukof  is a founding member of The Western Wind. A New York City native, he was born in Manhattan and received his BA degree from The City University of New York. He has appeared as a soloist with the Roger Wagner Chorale, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Musica Sacra of New York, and the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. Mr. Zukof performed the Bach Magnificat under the direction of Leonard Bernstein at the Vatican in Rome. His operatic appearances include roles with the Washington Opera, the Eastern Opera Company, the Eastman School, and the University of California at Berkeley.

After Party! - Please join us after the show at Haakon's Hall for great food, cocktails and maybe some spontaneous singing. Located on the edge of Columbia University at 1187 Amsterdam Avenue New York City, NY. Google Map

Complete list of 2010 national 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

Please send tapes and photos to the regional director:-

Colette Thompson has directed or performed in over eleven vocal ensembles, with her group, Stay Tuned, placing 3rd in the 1998 New York Regional of the Harmony Sweepstakes; Colette has performed/recorded with Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein, Jesse Norman, Peter, Paul & Mary, and James Levine A billboard-ranked singer/songwriter, she has also managed several events, including, Christmas at NYU, Complex at the Duplex, and An Evening with The Real Group at NYC's Symphony Space. With performances televised via major news programs including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, and NY1, she is a promoter, producer, adjudicator and an ambassador of vocal music worldwide.

Thompson Consulting
128 Fort Greene Place, Suite 1B
Brooklyn, NY 11217


The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival
PO Box D
San Anselmo, CA 94979
(415) 455-8602


Regional winners win roundtrip airfare plus two nights accommodation in the San Francisco Bay Area to compete in the Harmony Sweepstakes National A Cappella Festival

A selection of compact discs from the Primarily A Cappella catalog

A $250 coupon from Discmakers

Previous New York results - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998

Miller Theater at Columbia University

Miller Theatre at Columbia University is a performing arts producer dedicated to developing and presenting new work from world-class artists. Acclaimed for its innovative programming, Miller Theatre provides an intimate exploration of the creative process and a look into the personalities and emerging trends in contemporary classical music, opera, dance, and film. Its adventuresome performances and elevation of advanced ideas have established Miller Theatre as a nationally recognized cultural center for artistic discovery.

Established in 1988 with funding from the Kathryn Bache Miller Fund, Brooke Astor, and John Goelet, Miller Theatre is located on the Columbia University campus in New York City.
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