29th Annual

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

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

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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.

2013 Bay Area Champions

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.

2013 Results
1st
Ro Sham Bo
2nd
T Sisters
3rd
Prime Time
Audience Favorite
38th Ave
Best Original Arrangement
"Cry Me A River" Arr. Rachel Frank
Best Original Song
"Bones" - Chloe Tietjen


2013 Participating Groups

Prime Time
The members of Prime Time met through singing with other groups. They recognized they had kindred voices, natural blend, and the same desire to sing challenging, tightly harmonized charts - and also the inclination to laugh a LOT while working hard. Their backgrounds range from vocal jazz to collegiate-style a cappella pop to barbershop, with those influences all audible simultaneously in most of their performances. A literal garage band, Prime Time rehearses in Sunnyvale, CA, and performs all over the Bay Area.

Members: Jennifer Ayre, Caia Brookes, Dan McQuigg, Wil Mathews, John Rae-Grant
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T Sisters
The T Sisters are an authentic family band based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Rachel, Chloe and Erika Tietjen are all songwriters and switch off on lead vocals. While their voices blend seamlessly, each has a distinct singing and writing style. The combination results in an eclectic repertoire unified by a landscape of close harmonies. The group's subtle throwback aesthetic calls to mind classic trios past, from the Andrews Sisters and 1960s girl-groups to the sirens from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Anchored by influences spanning folk, country, gospel, klezmer and early-90's R&B, each sister brings a unique vocal and lyrical style to a sound that is at once modern and timeless. Though the T Sisters sing and perform often with instruments, they are known to silence a crowd with their soulful and enchanting a cappella numbers.

Members: Chloe Tietjen, Rachel Tietjen, Erika Tietjen
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Mighty Men of Faith
Our music is a blend of traditional and contemporary gospel music. We are committed to producing gospel music of praise and worship that will evoke spiritual fervor, change lives, and have lasting spiritual effects. Be Blessed.

Members: Wendell Basey, Rev. Ed. Harris, Richard Hayes II, Vincente Mozell, Nicholas Baylis, Buffalo
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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, Lilan Kane, Seth Herring, Ben Fendel, Ryan Tomko
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Richter Scales
The Richter Scales are a bevy of gentlemen songsters, all residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. They perform selections from a wide variety of genres, including American standards, Broadway, Motown, and contemporary music..

Formed originally as a band of semi-organized scavengers in the wreckage of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the "Richter Scabs" (as they were then known) didn't actually "sing a cappella" until the Fall of 2000. The intervening period, known as "The Lost Years" by current group members, was filled with raucous enterprises involving menial labor and incarceration. Most of those "tall tales" are, unfortunately, wholly inappropriate for these pages..

Members: Dan McQuigg, Eric Borchers, Mark Casey, Sanjay Kairam, Brian Rosen, Vince Kim, Ephraim Swanson-Dusenbury, Jeff Hirschmann
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38th Ave
Take a left, then turn right, here they are: it's 38th Ave! 38th Ave is a local a cappella group that started on the beautiful beaches of Santa Cruz. This group of friends, with a love for anything a cappella, sings a wide variety of music from top 40 hits to standard jazz to smooth indie. You might find them in Santa Cruz on the streets downtown, in coffee shops, or even at your local bar. After being together for a year, they are excited and ready to sing!

Members: Devon Magana, Danny Cavero, Adam Fixler, Jefferson Lam, Amanda Ross
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California Golden Overtones
The California Golden Overtones are a completely student-run musical group on campus. We are a lively group of girls who, with our music, love to spread joy and Cal Spirit. We can be seen performing at Cal football games, at University functions, as well as all over the Bay Area for private events and parties. We have been performing for our favorite fans -- Cal students -- every Friday at 1 PM in front of Sather Gate for more than 20 years!

Members: Sheila Rajagopalan, Sachi Holla, Jess Evaristo, Rachael Frank, Audrey Baker, Souma Kundu, Lyndsay Park
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ELI
Eli is comprised of choir members from Lafayette-Orinda-Presbyterian Church in Lafayette. They were formed 4 years ago to sing for Sunday services, concerts and special church events. They are comfortable singing a variety of genres including jazz, classical, country, and funk.

Members: Beverly Jane Peatross, Lindsay Ford, Julie Ford, Anne Whitelock
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Quintessence
Formed in the fall of 2012, Quintessence is a group of young, passionate singers with a soulful sound and innovative arrangements. Covering every genre from K-Pop to funk, these five performers are struggling to fill out the 50-word requirement of this form. Quoth Wikipedia: "In physics, quintessence is a hypothetical form of dark energy postulated as an explanation of observations of an accelerating universe. It has been proposed by some physicists to be a fifth fundamental force. It is suggested that quintessence can be either attractive or repulsive depending on the ratio of kinetic to potential energy in the universe. Specifically, it is thought that quintessence became repulsive about 10 billion years ago (the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old).

Members: Bakari Holmes, Danny Olefsky, Cassie Greene, Tina Query, Ryan Cook
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2013 Judges

Bill Craig   

Recording Artist, Studio Singer, Jingle writer and voice over talent, Bill Craig has been a part of Northern California's music scene since 1989. Bill is a founding member of award winning Bay Area Vocal Group Boyz Nite Out. Bill has studied music theory and vocal performance at California State University Northridge.

Kevin Fox   Pacific Boychoir Academy

Kevin Fox is the Founding Artistic Director of the Pacific Boychoir Academy. He has conducted the Pacific Boychoir in thousands of concerts on six continents in appearances that range from orchestral collaborations to Americaís Got Talent. With the San Francisco Symphony, the Pacific Boychoir sings on the Grammy-award winning recordings of Mahlerís Third Symphony (2003), and Mahlerís Eighth Symphony (2009). In 2013, Fox was the Chorus Director for the Ojai Music Festival, and in 2015 he prepared the chorus for Beethovenís Ninth at the Greek Theatre with Gustavo Dudamel. Fox sings locally with American Bach Soloists. He holds degrees in Music with Honors and Economics from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, and has studied music at Oxford University, England and Westminster Choir College.

Bryan Matheson   

Bryan Matheson is the owner of Skyline Studios , one of the Bay Area's longest continuously operated recording studios. During the past 20 years, Bryan has had extensive experience on both sides of the glass, as a recording engineer/producer and as a session singer, and has won numerous awards for his film TV, and radio work. A Cappella groups he's worked with include The Edlos, Solstice, Clockwork, and The Bobs. As a vocalist, Bryan has a long list of radio and TV and CD credits, as well as a 2006 Grammy nomination for his work with The Pacific Mozart Ensemble on the Leonard Bernstein Mass, performed and recorded with Kent Nagano at The Berlin Philharmonic. Bryan is also the founder and CEO of iMusicast , which from 1999 to 2005 produced live webcasts from its concert venue in Oakland. Through six years of concerts, iMusicast became the epicenter of a vital East Bay music scene, enjoying enormous support and goodwill from fans, local bands and national touring acts. Bryan is also a member of the faculty at San Francisco State University, teaching recording classes in the Music Recording Industry program.

Ellen Robinson   

Ellen has been teaching singing and directing vocal groups for over 30 years and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. A gifted educator who teaches at the Jazzschool in Berkeley and Community Music Center in San Francisco, she also directs several vocal programs and ensembles, including a musical theater workshop at Stagebridge, and the Anything Goes Chorus, a community chorus that gives public performances and free concerts at retirement homes, homeless shelters, prisons, and halfway houses since the early 1980s. Her tireless efforts as an educator were recognized in 2011 with a prestigious Jefferson Award. As a vocal coach, she works with semi professional and intermediate jazz & pop vocalists. Ellen has been a Vocal Instructor for adults at U.C. Berkeley Extension, a Choral Director for teenagers in the Oakland Youth Chorus, and a Music Instructor for children at Walden Center School in Berkeley and Beacon School in Oakland.

Angela Suraci   

Angela joined Sweet Adelines International in 1998, and quickly took on the role of Assistant Director and Lead Section Leader in her chorus. Anglela has been award the Master Director status by Sweet Adelines International for her years of excellence directing the award-winning Mission Valley Chorus. Her barbershop history started years before as her mother has been an active member since 1965 and is currently a member of a sister chorus in the area. She has always been active in music Ė singing in high school, college and professional choirs as well as pursuing a career in opera. Angela received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy and a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She is also a private voice instructor and coaches quartets and choruses in the area. Angela was born in Castro Valley, CA, where her parents still reside. She has lived in San Francisco for 22 years


Complete list of 2013 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 Nealís 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 nationís 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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