2006 Participating Groups
We're The Blanks, a quartet of friends who sing a cappella music and perform sketch comedy. We love to sing, entertain and make people laugh, so our shows include skits, antics, choreography (the kind a 5-year old could memorize), talking toys as lead singers (!), and mildly effective costume changes. We appeared on eight seasons of the TV show Scrubs as "Ted's Band" or "The Worthless Peons" - yup, we're those same four guys. Our unique live show appeals to fans of Scrubs but just as equally to fans of the TV show Glee, the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, and Monty Python.
Members: George Miserlis, Samuel Lloyd, Paul F. Perry, Philip McNiven, Toluca Lake
Clockwork is a vocal quartet who sing mostly close-harmony jazz but also our own twists on pop and rock tunes.
Clockwork, an award-winning San Francisco based vocal ensemble with a signature sound and style, performs a banquet of music from funk to gospel and R&B to standards. Rooted in the tradition of great vocal jazz groups such as the Hi-Lo's and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, the Clockwork "sound" draws inspiration from all styles. As the great Duke Ellington said, "If it sounds good, it is good."
Experienced in both accompanied and a cappella performing, the group has arrangements for duos, trios and an 18-piece big band. Members of Clockwork have performed live with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, The Hi-Lo's , Meredith Monk, Don Shelton, Gene Puerling, Barbara Lewis, Sufjan Stevens, John Zorn, Barbara Morrison, Kent Nagano with the Deutches Symphonie Orchester and the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, The PM Singers, Heatwave, GQ, Barbara Lynn, Richie Cole, M-Pact!, the House Jacks, Boyz Nite Out, InFusion, Vocal Flight, and on Ward Swingle's Instructional video "Swingle Singing."
Listen to: My Baby Just Cares For Me | Listen to: Creep
Members: John Paddock, Angie Doctor, Jim Hale, Stephen Saxon, Eric Freeman
| House Blend|
HouseBlend is an a cappella male quartet performing its own pop, jazz, seasonal, folk, country, gospel and other assorted musical genres.
The members of the group met through the music ministry at Concord United Methodist Church. As they sang together, they realized something special was developing. In 1998, HouseBlend was born. Almost immediately, they were in demand to sing at various occasions in the area. Their repertoire expanded with each performance, their style emerged and their sleek presentation unfolded.
Members: Doug Emigh, Jim McGuire, Bill DeGarmo, Kent Parr
| Dis Moi|
'Dis Moi' is a powerfully soulful A Cappella trio of women (Samantha Keller, Tamar Fogel and Heather Houston), who enchant their audiences with songs sung straight from the heart! Their musical repertoire incorporates a wide range of styles from around the globe, as well as inspired originals, with themes of love, hope, healing and unity. 'Dis Moi' means 'tell me' in French, and reflects the members' belief and hope that their music will open people to expressing themselves as they feel called. As a visionary trio, they feel that their calling is to be an integral part of the healing movement of the planet. Their radiance is intoxicating, as they shine their deep love for one another, for their music, and for humanity as a whole; inspiring the crowd to open their hearts to the healing harmonies. Their thought provoking lyrics, and grounded words of wisdom, uplift spirits, stir souls, and inspire movement in consciousness. This is not your typical A Cappella music. Let the harmonies of these lovely women take you on a journey of heart, mind and soul as they weave their voices in a unique tapestry of spirited song.
Members: Samantha Keller, Tamar Fogel, Heather Houston
| Ro Sham Bo|
Ro Sham Bo is named after a popular hand game often used as a selection method in a similar way to coin flipping or drawing straws to select a person for some purpose. When Ro Sham Bo tours in Japan or Brazil, we're called Jan-Ken-Pon, but Philippinos call us Jack-n-Poy because they're cool. In England we're called Scissors-Paper-Stone because there's no Rockhenge, silly. In South Africa, the mildly offensive Ching-Chong-Cha. In Latvia we're called Akmens, skeres, papirits because of the catchy rhyme, "Akmens, skeres, papirits, viens, divi, tris." Caligula called us Saxum-Charta-Forfex, but in those days forfex beat everything because of the excitement over the newly invented scissors. Biologist Barry Sinervo from UC Santa Cruz discovered the Ro Sham Bo evolutionary strategy in the mating behavior of the side-blotched-lizard species Uta stansburiana. When we're not drinking during rehearsal, mating or playing Ro Sham Bo, we sing nicely.
Members: Bonnie Doyle, Audrey Kauffman, Moorea Ragab, Ben Fendel, Fadel Shukry
Aristically based on the sound harmonic principles of Psychoacoustics and Cymatics, “Life” is the intricate weaving of delicate harmonies balanced with interpretive nuances of each individual xperience woven together as one voice. “Life” spans an acoustice spectrum from Classical to Gregorian, rhythmic World Beats to New Age etherial, Gospel to Jazz, providing a unique interactive listening experience. Their fluid, non-static and in the moment improvisational style reflects a dance of haunting intricate harmnies that engages the audience at a deep level. This unique inspiration comes from the interaction with heart, surroundings, sounds and feelings of each member and the climate of the audience they are embracing. Their focus is to express a spontaneous vocalization, capturing the life experience of the moment with their wide range of tones, rhythms and harmonic vocal effects. They also combine their musicality with visual images kaleidescopically projected matching their vocals to spontaneous imagery of color and light.
Members: Theo Olson, Reta Phillips, Steve LaBue
| One of Each|
One of Each ..what??? Hairstyle? Political attachment? Favorite soft drink?
Nothing so deep. 'One of Each' represents our individual tastes in
underwear: boxers, briefs, panties or commando. We believe that variety in
intimate apparel can be the cornerstone of an a cappella group. We've
performed in various Bay Area venues, ranging from the Herbst Theater to
Espresso Gardern to the Gaslighter Theater to Lisa's living room. Most
recently One of Each could be heard on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento
show with our instrument wielding friends of Pledge Drive. In short - One of
Each is an a cappella band with an unhealthy love for our audiences. Hold
Members: Scott Adler, David Bender, Lisa Gallien, David Taylor
UnderAge is a group of four young ladies (ages 15-18) singing A Cappella 4-part harmony, mostly in the barbershop style. They have been working and performing together for three years. Each girl is an accomplished vocalist in her own right, thus makign their sound strong, full and mature. They not only sing with maturity and poise, but are also seasoned performers capturing their audiences with wit, humor and charm.
Members: Brittany Gilmore, Mia Dessenberger, Caitlin Smith, Mary Segura
||Bud Anderson |
Bud Anderson "Good Afternoon, Prince/SF Productions -- A Cappella Central. How can I help you?" "A nine-piece band for your wedding?" "How about an a cappella group instead? There’s a quartet named Hookslide that you might be interested in…" Anderson owns and co-operates Prince/SF Productions -- A Cappella Central, a booking and management company that has featured artists on David Letterman, NPR and Good Morning America. In 2005 he was featured in Entrepreneur magazine for InHouseBooking.com, a service he created to assist musicians in developing promotional tools and gaining work in the music industry. As a performer he has toured extensively with the vocal groups Hookslide and Boyz Nite Out and has appeared on stage with Kool and the Gang, Rockapella and Tower of Power. As a songwriter, he has written a number of tunes that have been recorded by professional groups in the a cappella world, one of which won him best original song at the Rocky Mountain Harmony Sweepstakes. And he never gets tired of saying: "No, no they don’t need instruments at all. They do it with their mouths!"
Sanford Dole - Bay Area native and life-long singer, was a founding member for Chanticleer and 23-year veteran of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Having earned degrees in composition and conducting from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he is currently Artistic Director of Cantabile Chorale, a community choir based in Palo Alto and Berkeley, as well as Music Director at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. He continues his career as a professional tenor singing with the esteemedPhilharmonia Baroque Orchestra Chorale, as well as composing anthems and theatrical works for his choirs. His arrangements of jazz standards have been commissioned and performed by Chanticleer as well as the setting of a Walt Whitman poem, "I Am with You."
||Juliana Graffagna Kitka |
Juliana Graffagna is the Musical Director of KITKA, the acclaimed Bay Area a cappella women's ensemble specializing in traditional and contemporary vocal music from Eastern Europe. Juliana has a B.A. in Russian Studies, and has been singing and performing a cappella music and musical theatre her entire life. Her worlds merged when she discovered KITKA, and she has since had the honor of training with renowned vocalists from Eastern Europe, including Tzvetanka Varimezova, Kremena Stancheva, Merita Halili, Christos Govetas and Mariana Sadovska. KITKA performs extensively throughout the United States and Eastern Europe and has appeared on several major motion picture soundtracks including Jacob’s Ladder, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Braveheart, and Queen of the Damned. KITKA received a Drama Critic’s Circle Award nomination for their role as the Greek Chorus in ACT’s critically-acclaimed production of Hecuba, starring Olympia Dukakis, and the group has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and NPR’s Performance Today and Cross Roads. Juliana leads numerous Balkan and Slavic singing workshops for children and adults, and teaches private voice lessons.
|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).
||Barbara Vander Putten |
Barbara Vander Putten, a Bay Area native, has been singing since elementary school, when Sister Louise moved her to the front of the class – so she could get the correct notes (turns out later she was just doing good ol’ fashioned harmony!). She began her vocal music career in earnest after joining the West Valley Masterworks, with whom she sang diverse repertoire including Mozart & Verdi's Requiem (with a performance at Carnegie Hall), Bach B minor Mass, Rutter's Gloria, etc, as well as a variety of folk music, madrigals, show tunes and spirituals. For the last 11 yrs years she has been the Assistant Director of the award-winning Mission Valley Chorus (Sweet Adelines Intl), most recently stepping in as Interim Director and taking the chorus to a critically successful show last November. She is a member of the SAI Region 12 coaching faculty and perhaps best known as The Duchess in the off-the-wall comedy quartet, The Aquanettas. In addition to singing, for the last 9 years Barbara has used her speaking voice as one of the three enthusiastic hosts of The Human Voice Show, featuring a cappella harmony, on People’s Radio KKUP- Cupertino 91.5fm.
Complete list of 2006 participants
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We are always seeking groups who would like to participate
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Groups of any style are welcome, but you must have between
3 and 12 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
How to enter
Please send music and photos to the
regional director :
John Neal (Bay Area)
Beginning as a local event the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, under Neal’s guidance, has grown to become the most significant live showcase for a cappella music in the nation and attracts hundreds of groups and thousands of audience members every year. The Harmony Sweepstakes was the original inspiration for the NBC prime time series The Sing-Off and Neal was hired as a consultant to the series. Neal is president of Primarily A Cappella - (www.singers.com) which is the nation’s leading vendor of a cappella music including recordings, arrangements, DVDs, songbooks and instructional material for singers. Neal writes the informative blog at www.acappellanews.com which has a large and loyal readership.
PO Box D, San Anselmo, CA 94979
festival (at) harmony-sweepstakes.com