2016 Participating Groups
| Curious Blend|
Curious Blend is two guys and two gals who refuse to be limited to one musical orientation. If we like it, we sing it! A Curious Blend performance is like tapas - tasty bites of different musical flavors. Our repertoire spans 12th to 21st centuries, with songs in seven languages. We are known for our tight harmonies, varied musical stylings, smooth blend, and spot-on humor. From Manhattan Transfer to medieval Iceland, from Claude Debussy to Gene Puerling, from an Irish lament to a rollicking parody - it's all part of an evening with Curious Blend!
Members: Mike Pogue, Craig Rosen, Elizabeth Danu, Sara Nebeling
| Side Note|
Hip. Imaginative. Fun. Fresh. Funky Fresh. Side Note is a group of seven twentysomethings, from wildly different musical backgrounds, who draw draw their diversity to create an all-new sound. It's contemporary a cappella - pushed to the limits of pop, R&B, funk, rock, musical theater and jazz. Get ready for some buzzin' beats, rockin' riffs and hot harmonies as Side Note delivers a show unlike nearly anything else in vocal music!
Members: Richman Neumann, Gayelan Tietje-Ulrich, Meredith Johnston, Rebecca Holtz, Juan-Carlos Martinez, Philip Daniel Santos, Duncan Boehle
Aca-word consists mainly of high schoolers from Clayton Valley Charter High School. As a group, we focus on producing beautiful music because of our love of singing. We have performed for many school events as well as our local community. We mainly cover pop songs, always adding on new ideas to the original arrangement and we love expanding our creativity and musicality with new arrangements. As young performers, we provide a fresh, unique outlook on our pieces that we hope to bring to this competition. Although we may be “Aca-word” teenagers, we do not sound “Aca-word” when we sing!
Members: Daniel Jones, Arthur Jones, Diego Lopez, Nate Baumbach, Andrew Knauer, Sarah Brumfield, Ashley Franich, Madison Simbirdi
Founded in 1996, Solstice is a female vocal ensemble specializing in music written by women or for women's voices. Our music spans many different genres with an emphasis on world, classical, pop, and jazz. We are also committed to performing new works for women's voices and regularly compose, commission, and arrange new songs.
Solstice has performed in many Bay Area venues including Freight and Salvage, La Pena, the San Francisco Community Music Center, Music on the Hill, the Berkeley Arts Center, Trinity Chamber Music series, and Villa Montalvo. Solstice has also performed on KALW's Folk Music and Beyond On-Air Folk Festival. Solstice was a featured performer at the 2001 West Coast A Cappella Summit along with nationally known groups such as the Bobs and M-pact. At the 2007 San Francisco Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, Solstice was awarded 1st Place and Becca Burrington's arrangement of Joni Mitchell's "Blue" won Best Original Arrangement. Solstice ranked 3rd at the 2007 Harmony Sweepstakes National Competition.
Members: Becca Burrington, Kim Warsaw, Emily Bender, Sara Webb-Schmitz, Lark Coryell, Krista Enos
| Halfway to Midnight|
Halfway to Midnight is a co-ed band of musical misfits who, having missed the thrill of the a cappella world and desiring an outlet to strengthen our individual instruments, serendipitously found each other in the midst of the great big beautiful Bay Area and begun gathering weekly to share in the blend of our voices together. Our life stories are as varied as our voices yet we find common ground in our love of instrument-free music-making and we truly hope you like what you hear.
Members: Alicia Florr, Michael Barrientos, Gonzalo Alonso, Scott Adler, Shanna Bengtson, Vivek Saraswat, Elana Zizmor
| La Di Da|
La Di Da, formed about 5 years ago, seeks to bridge the gap between traditional barbershop and modern a cappella singing through a range of standards, jazz, doo wop and contemporary music. Our aim is to appeal to the widest possible audience with the recognizable and the new, presented in close harmony to the highest musical standards.
Members: Diane Copp, Rose Jensen, Mary Martin, Lucy Williams
The Newyorkettes are the all female a Cappella Beauty-Shop Quartet, singing songs from the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. They have been paying tribute to The Andrews Sisters, The Shangri-las, and The Ronnettes since the group was formed in 2005. They have performed all over NYC, including Times Square Studios for Disney, the U.S. Ironman Championship, Susan G Komen cancer walk, the ING New York City Marathon, and for the The New York Mets on the field at Shea Stadium.
Members: Anita Reyes, Karina Salcedo, Clarissa Salcedo, Ayesha Rosena Anna McGowen
| Six in the City|
With varied backgrounds in folk, classical, musical theater, and more, it was the discovery of barbershop and Sweet Adelines International that brought them together. These barbershop chorus and quartet medal-winning singers are branching out into the "greater than 4-part harmony" a cappella world and the result is a fresh sound with that infamous blend that comes from being a group of experienced barbershoppers!
Members: Alisa Peters, Kelly Sopher, Molly Sopher, Michelle McGinnis, Aliza Gutman, Dana Manochi
Your Emcee for the Evening
|Originally from Maui, Hawaii, Juliet Green is a singer, songwriter and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. Juliet has performed in various vocal jazz ensembles, winning the SF Regional Harmony Sweepstakes competition in 1998 and 2000 (+4db), 2005 (Moodswing) and 2012 (Sing Theory). Another ensemble, Clockwork, was selected to perform at the 2011 JEN Conference in New Orleans after the released of their acclaimed album Every Voice Counts. Juliet currently sings alto in the award-winning jazz a cappella sextet Ro Sham Bo. As a soloist, she sings with the big band A Touch of Brass under the direction of trumpeter Ed Morrison, and performed with many theater groups in the area. Juliet's other passion is working as an educator, clinician, and director. She has taught at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, Jazz Camp West, Stanford Jazz Workshop, and directs the six-time Downbeat award-winning Panache vocal jazz ensembles at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley.
||Whitney Nichole |
Whitney is incredibly passionate about sharing her love of songwriting, singing, and sharing the magic of expressing and creating music with others. That’s why she and her now husband Niall David opened Songbird Studios. in 2008. What began as a small, two-person operation has grown into a community of vocal coaches, singers, songwriters, and artists all supporting one another.
Singing and performing her entire life, Whitney has played live shows throughout New York City, Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest, and San Francisco. Prior to that, she attended Yale University, where she was a member of two premier a cappella groups, releasing three albums between them. While at Yale, Whitney toured extensively, performing in England, Spain, Ireland, Japan and throughout the United States. In 2011, she debuted her first full length album 100 Strong, which features distinguished piano melodies, clever hooks, powerful chord progressions, moving lyrics, and belted vocals.
At her core, Whitney’s musical and teaching style is truly an extension of her warm, approachable personality. She encourages all her students to tell stories with their music, to evoke raw emotions that people of all different ages, backgrounds, and situations can experience with them. Whitney has won songwriting competitions in San Francisco as well as an honorable mention for her song “Hard Enough” in the West Coast Songwriters International Song Competition. Her songs have also been placed in television, including a recent Hallmark Channel movie.
In addition to being the Owner and CEO of Songbird Studios, Whitney is also the Chairperson of Vocology in Practice (ViP) a global network of the world’s leading voice professionals, including singing teachers, vocal coaches, songwriters, producers, music industry professionals, speech and language practitioners, ENT’s and laryngologists, which is on the forefront of vocal health, science and pedagogy.
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.
||Jan Pederson Schiff |
Jan Pedersen Schiff, is a master vocal teacher and choral conductor with Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Music Education, Choral Conducting with Vocal Pedagogy emphasis. She founded Singers Marin, a nonprofit performing arts organization some 30 years ago, that now supports 7 choral ensembles for youth and adults. The teen chorus, les etoiles, has traveled extensively and won 1st and 2nd place, bronze, silver, and gold awards at numerous international festivals.
Guest conducting opportunities have included the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Her awards include the Susan B. Anthony Award for Cultural Achievement in Hollywood, the Marin Women's Commission Certificate of Commendation, and a Milley Award for her contributions to the creative life of Mill Valley. She’s been inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, and most recently received recognition from Mark Levine of the California State Legislature for 30 years of service to the community of Marin. Ms. Schiff will be returning as a Guest Artist to Carnegie Hall next month on April 28th, as part of MidAmerica’s 35th Anniversary Concert Season, conducting “Frostiana” by Randall Thompson with a 150 voice choir and orchestra.
|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 America’s Got Talent. With the San Francisco Symphony, the Pacific Boychoir sings on the Grammy-award winning recordings of Mahler’s Third Symphony (2003), and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony (2009). In 2013, Fox was the Chorus Director for the Ojai Music Festival, and in 2015 he prepared the chorus for Beethoven’s 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.
||Angie Doctor |
Angie Doctor, a studio singer and live performer who began her career in Chicago doing commercials, voice-overs and recording projects, and has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area vocal music community since 1995. She is currently teaching vocal jazz classes as an Artist-in-Residence at the Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts high school, the Jazz School in Berkeley, California, and in Fall 2015, will be the Vocal Jazz Ensemble instructor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley.
Angie is a song-writer and arranger, vocal coach and clinician for school music ensembles and solo singers, background singer for groups such as The Manhattans, Heatwave, Gene Chandler, Barbara Lewis, Billy Paul, and many others, studio singer and voice-over talent, is the soprano in the jazz vocal quartet Clockwork and is currently in the wackiest of all a cappella groups, The Bobs. In addition, she has been singer and soloist for music projects with Bobby McFerrin, Sufjan Stevens, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Zorn, Meredith Monk, performing at venues that include Zellerbach in Berkeley, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Philharmonie Berlin. Her vocal work can be heard on many recording projects, including as a featured soloist on the Grammy-nominated recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” (Harmonia Mundi),
Angie is also a founding member of the Grammy-nominated PM Singers and has brought her extensive experience in solo and small group harmony singing to workshops and festivals as a judge and clinician over the past eighteen years.
Complete list of 2016 participants
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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 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