25th 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.

2009 Bay Area Champions

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.

2009 Results
1st
Love Notes
2nd
Plumbers of Rome
3rd
House Blend
Audience Favorite
Plumbers of Rome
Best Original Arrangement
"Bohemian Rhapsody" Arr. Stephen Saxon
Best Original Song
"Identity"


2009 Participating Groups

After Five
What do soul, pop, rock, jazz, and hip hop have in common with yodeling? Yes, you guessed it my friends,ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

Members: Kale "Kingpin" Coppin, Cory "J-shot" Coppin, Kevin "Kinky-pants" Valenzuela, Natalie Gosmeyer, Josh "The Jackalackin" Embury, Ron "Tha Raptor" Hart
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AkaBella
AkaBella is a world fusion vocal group dedicated to learning, sharing and performing traditional songs from around the world. Their original arrangements of ancient melodies borrow from Reggae, Hip Hop, R&B and Jazz. When combined with traditional rhythms and five-part harmony, the effect is pure inspiration. AkaBella moves people with their voices and audiences emerge dancing, clapping and singing along.

Members: Melody Walker, Verena Reece, Lauren Smith, Nola Pierce, Lorenza Simmons
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High Seas
High Seas is an 8 member women's jazz group, performs a wide range of jazz at private clubs, parties and benefits around the Bay Area. We also sing on boats!

Members: Nancy Svendsen, Kim Zimmerman, Christina Perozzi, Jamie Collette, Kay Fealock, Janet Mancine, Jackie Pettus
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His Juliet
Over 16 years ago, the Norwood (Alisa's maiden name) and Wilber families crossed paths. Growing up in the Church, they were all trained to sing. In 2000, the group cut a CD of Christian devotional songs. Two years later, they stepped it up and cut a second album of songs composed themselves. After that, due to their busy lives, the girls took a seven year break, going in all directions. Knowing a gift from God so great could not be given for nothing, they never stopped dreaming. It was just a matter of time. Summer 2008, the girls sang for a wedding of a very close friend, and by God's grace and perfect timing, His Juliet was officially established. We thank everyone so much for their support in this incredibly exciting journey!

Members: Cara Wilbur, Alisa McVicker, Kelsia Wilbur
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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: Jim McGuire, Bill DeGarmo, Kent Parr, Doug Emigh
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The Irrationals
Intimate, witty and intelligent songsters, the award-winning Irrationals, are an a cappella ensemble acclaimed for their rich, complex vocal style. The delicious blending of their voices has been described as "cafe mocha for the ears." Singing together for almost twelve years, this six-member, Berkeley-based group is praised for its harmonic excellence and diverse repertoire. The Irrationals often perform songs about the unpredictable. They are dazzled by the irrationality of love, awed by the intuitive nature of life and intrigued by things that don't make sense.

The Irrationals' sound has an African American foundation that is used to explore pop, R&B, jazz, folk and rock. A core blend of three soulful women enhanced by bass, tenor and percussive vocal elements creates an exquisitely layered melodic mix. Whether it's Stevie Wonder with a rap twist, Annie Lennox, Talking Heads, the Neville Brothers or a romantic folk song, the Irrationals are playful, distinctive and sometimes irreverent.

Members: Gwen McElwee, Renee Hayes, Sam Rogers, Tim Lukaszewski, Jeff Pettit
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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
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Musaic
Musaic is an auditioned all-volunteer men's a cappella vocal ensemble based in San Francisco, CA. Our mission is to share beautiful men's a cappella singing with our Bay Area community. Our music is rooted in classical choral traditions, and performed through a variety of genres. The members of Musaic are passionate about men's ensemble singing, enjoy the artistic balance and musical fellowship it brings to our lives

Musaic began in 2000 as a few friends gathering to sing for their own pleasure. We soon grew to eight members, performed our first concert, and took the name Musaic to represent a mosaic of song and voice. Today Musaic is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. In 2015, we completed our 80th Bay Area concert and released our 5th recording titled "Oh, What a Kick!": a collection of classic songs of the American and English songbooks and Rock and Roll era.

Members: Matthew Schermerhorn, Michael Kyle, Emilio Mercado, Andy Rice, Stefan Schermerhorn, Erick Larson
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Plumbers of Rome
While serving as court musicians/crepe chefs at the court of Charles VII in the 13th century (they were not allowed to serve as the Royal Plumbers, since plumbing was at that time considered to be a form of witchcraft) the Plumbers of Rome invented a device to hurl food and concert T-shirts into the starving peasant section of the King's Concert Hall. Adapted for military use, and named the Trebuchet, this modest invention lead the French army to many victories, as well as adding to the festive atmosphere of French wedding receptions and modern day Renaissance Festivals. While history has all but forgotten the inventors of the Trebuchet, the Plumbers are commemorated in the traditional French carol ballade de l'arme romaine aimÈe de plombier.

Members: Randy Jackson, Ron Gilgamesh, Ernie Stuckowitz
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Tonic Effect
TonicEffect is a group of five talented musicians and truly gifted drinkers who transcend traditional a cappella roles to deliver an unexpected, exciting performance. Our modern, edgy music - including original mash-up arrangements, rotating vocal percussion and the occasional f-bomb drop - brings a new energy to the a cappella scene. Why the name TonicEffect? In addition to being a musical reference and a nod to our favorite vodka mixer, if you look up tonic in the dictionary youíll find: ì(toníik), adj. Lifting the spirits, boosting energy and generally creating a feeling of well-being.î Not a bad goal. Plus, "TonicEffect" has a slightly better ring to it than ì3 Gays, 2 Asians and a Black Chick," which is, of course, also accurate.,

Members: Brian Arao, Colm Davis, Jennifer Exley, Syreeta Mussante, Glenn Shope
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2009 Judges

Caitlin Tabancay Austin   

Caitlin Tabancay Austin began her musical career in the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and has since enjoyed numerous opportunities to conduct at the SFGC’s annual summer camp. She holds a B.A. in Music History from UCLA, where she sang with various choral ensembles, including the Bulgarian Women’s Choir “Superdevoiche.” While living in L.A., Caitlin taught music at Kenter Canyon Elementary and performed with Vox Femina and Trio Folkestra. She is currently a member of Kitka and resides in Berkeley.

Boyd Jarrell   

Singer/conductor Boyd Jarrell is familiar to California audiences through his appearances with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Oakland Symphony, and the Santa Cruz Symphony. Mr. Jarrell served San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral as Cantor and Associate Choirmaster for over twenty-five years, where he trained the renowned boychoir. As a baroque specialist, Mr. Jarrell has performed with the American Bach Soloists, the California Bach Society, the Baroque Choral Guild, and the San Francisco Bach Choir. He toured with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in Handel’s Acis and Galitea, and performs frequently with the Magnificat baroque ensemble. He toured and recorded with the acclaimed conductor Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices. He has recorded on the Angel/EMI, Harmonia Mundi, Gothic, and Koch International labels. He appeared onstage with the San Francisco Ballet, singing the music of Brahms in the George Balanchine production Liebeslieder Walzer. Mr. Jarrell is currently music director of Marin Oratorio and Director of Choral Activities at the College of Marin.

Maria Lyons   

Marie Lyons has been listening to and collecting music crossing many genres for over 50 years. Currently she is co-host of the Human Voice show on KKUP as well as a fill-in DJ in the Eclectic Department at radio station KKUP.

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."

Eric Morris   

Eric Morris is a founding member of the renowned male a cappella quartet, the EDLOS,, and has sung first tenor with them for 20 years; in their first year of existence the EDLOS won first place and audience favorite and Mr. Morris also won that same year for best original arrangement at the Harmony Sweepstakes. Eric has been a tenor soloist with such diverse groups as the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, Pocket Opera, Marin Opera, Canada Opera Piccola, the Lamplighters, and many others. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Eric was the tenor soloist for the first annual Sing-it-Yourself Messiah at the SF Opera House. A decade ago Eric became a faculty member at Notre Dame de Namur University, teaching private voice lessons, vocal performance, opera workshop, computer music applications and music skills lab. He has won awards for his compositions as well, and is an avid bicyclist, accordionist, tennis player, banjo player, horticulturist and touch guitarist.

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 :

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
415-455-8602
festival (at) harmony-sweepstakes.com


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The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts was built as part of The Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915, an event dedicated to progress, the celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal, and the rebirth of San Francisco following the disastrous 1906 earthquake. The only remaining building from the Exposition the Palace slowly crumbled from the ravages of the weather and ill-use. Finally, after World War 2, the structure had to be fenced off as it was a public hazard. Then, in the late 1950's, a group of dedicated citizens, led by philanthropist Walter S. Johnson, initiated a drive to rescue the Palace from planned demolition and restored it to its former glory. Directions - Yelp reviews - Photos


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