22nd 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.

2006 Chicago Champions

elmoTHUMM

ElmoTHUMM In the summer of 2000, elmoTHUMM began performing for a few local events to rave reviews. Today, elmoTHUMM’s hard rockin’, high energy, fun filled show is featured entertainment at many of the Midwest’s top fairs, festivals & events. Their arrangements of such classics as “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Come Go with Me”, “Ain’t that Peculiar” & “America the Beautiful”, using only their voices & percussion, will leave you shocked, amazed & applauding for more.

2006 Results
1st
elmoTHUMM
2nd
Moosebutter
3rd
An Octave Above
Audience Favorite
Moosebutter
Best Original Arrangement
"Last Train To Clarksville" Arr. Greg Vaden and Adam Westmoreland
Best Original Song
"Bring It, Life" - Mariama Torruella


2006 Participating Groups

An Octave Above
Four years ago, An Octave Above quickly established themselves as one of the hottest a cappella vocal groups in Chicago. Last year they were named 1st runner up at the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival Chicago Regional. They’ve been featured performers with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for their annual “Holiday Spectacular” concert for 3 consecutive years. They’ve performed for Chorus America’s annual conference, opened for award winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival, sang the National Anthem for the Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field and the Chicago White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field and at the United Center for the Chicago Bulls game. The Chicago Symphony Chorus claims four of the members and the St. Charles Singers claims two; they've earned degrees in music and vocal performance from Elmhurst College, Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, Bradley University, and the State University of New York (SUNY). Inspired by The Real Group, The Swingle Singers, Manhattan Transfer and The New York Voices. An Octave Above is versatile, eclectic and always wonderful. Listen once and you’ll be transposed… An Octave Above!!

Members: Jennifer Gingrich, Meredith Morris, Melinda Voss, Debra Wilder, Nick Falco, Andrew Dahan, Kris Monn
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The Carpenter's Tools
The Carpenter's Tools are from First Baptist Church of Crawfordsville Indiana, under the direction of Joyce Fry, is adult small ensemble with a year-round traveling outreach of testimony and song. The current members are, Dale Thompson, David Kline, Jamie Menard, Kathy Tobias, Linda Wilson, Bronna Utterback, and Julia Fry. The Tool's have been singing for over 20 years, performing at Churches, sporting events, and festivals. The group has performed at State and National conferences for the American Baptist Churches. For Booking information Contact: Joyce Fry : Minister of Music,First Baptist Church of Crawfordsville Indiana 1-765-362-6504

Members: Linda Wilson, Dave Kline, Kathy Tobias, Dale Thompson, Bronna Utterback, Jamie Menard, Julia Fry
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elmoTHUMM
ElmoTHUMM In the summer of 2000, elmoTHUMM began performing for a few local events to rave reviews. Today, elmoTHUMM’s hard rockin’, high energy, fun filled show is featured entertainment at many of the Midwest’s top fairs, festivals & events. Their arrangements of such classics as “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Come Go with Me”, “Ain’t that Peculiar” & “America the Beautiful”, using only their voices & percussion, will leave you shocked, amazed & applauding for more.

Listen to: Last Train To Clarksville | Listen to: Shooting Star

Members: Ed Pendleton, Jason Miller, Paul Ellinger, Greg Vaden, Adam Westmoreland
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Heart To Heart
is a mixed A cappella quartet. Their eclectic mix is often compared to that of The Manhattan Transfer but what sets them apart is their unique personality and presentation, as the group comprises two married couples. It seems as though this group of people was destined to sing together. Kirk and Brad met in high school and shortly thereafter sang together in their first quartet...just the beginning of a long friendship. Kirk and Barb met while singing a duet on a community show. They married in 1986 and have been harmonizing together ever since. Nancy has sung in several vocal combinations and met Brad when introduced by a mutual friend. They married in 2001. All four have sung in vocal combinations that have achieved many accolades over the years. It made sense when the opportunity arose in 2003 that they would get together to sing.....Heart to Heart.

Members: Kirk Hyder, Barb Hyder, Nancy Charles, Brad Charles
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Home Free
A cappella. It's technically what we do. But we're not your bow-tie barbershop quartet. We're a vocal band. Which means we do more than sing - we perform - engaging audiences in a rich blend of harmonies while entertaining them.

Home Free has performed for a diverse and extensive clientele, ranging from the Minnesota Vikings, to Fortune 500 companies, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Lines, Allied Concert touring services, the Dutton Family from America's Got Talent and many, many more. It also devotes its time to educating and encouraging music in the public schools through innovative workshops and concert fundraising. To date, its programs have already raised tens of thousands of dollars for schools in Minnesota.

Members: Matt Atwood, Chris Rupp, Joe Kent, Joe Fine, Adam Rupp
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Moosebutter
Moosebutter is a four-man comedy a cappella group. They have won awards from the Contemporary A Cappella Society(Best Comedy Song, 2004), The Harmony Sweepstakes (2003 International Finals runners-up), had their music included on compilation albums (Doctor Demento Basement Tapes 2005, Sing II 2005) and played live shows in front of audiences around the United States. Their tight harmony and eclectic humor have charmed audiences through two albums and countless live performances.

To handle all the performance requests they receive, moosebutter has several casts of performers. They perform with three, four, or five singers, depending on the show, and have done just about every kind of show you can imagine (Punk rock show? Check. National television? Check. Wedding reception? Check.).

Members: Tim Y. Jones, Glen Sawyer, Chris Harris, Ron Gilgamesh, Weston Wride
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Stripped
Stripped is a vocal band that continues to stretch ideas about what a cappella music can be. Their concerts are highly focused on improvisation, audience participation, and making music that moves the spirit. The voices gathered here have blend and unity, but frequently remind the listener that individual expression can flourish within the context of a group sound, like a single flower enhances the garden with its own particular bouquet and color.

Stripped has performed throughout Chicago, singing original vocal jazz music at the Green Mill, HotHouse, Fitzgerald's, Lyon's Den, Uncommon Ground, Beat Kitchen, and 4th Presbyterian Church. Stripped received awards at the Chicago Cultural Center Cx2 competition and the 2004 Harmony Sweepstakes Regional competition. Stripped opened for jazz and R&B legend Patti Austin in summer 2004. Keep your eyes open for performances coming your way, then open your ears and prepare to be Stripped!

Members: Mariama Torruella, Amanda Crumley, Leslie Beukelman, Sean Archer, Tim Reid
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Vocal Chaos
Vocal Chaos is an award-winning a cappella group from right here in Chicago! They have been making incredible music all over the Windy City since 1996, from Soldier Field and Cellular Field to Chicago Public Radio. They can also be heard singing a cappella in the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie "The Break Up". To foster collaboration and promote the art form of a cappella, they founded ACappellaFest, which in its eighth year has grown into the Midwest's largest a cappella festival. Vocal Chaos is thrilled to be back at the Harmony Sweepstakes. Look for their new EP to drop later this year!

Members: Anthony Roberts, Jeff Swearingen, Karl Solis, Paul R. Peterson, Tim Gallagher, Jordan Stoner, Sean Gorecki, Johnathan Hawkins
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2006 Judges

Timm Adams   

Timm Adams is enjoying his fifteenth year as Associate Professor of Music at Rockford University where he teaches a variety of voice and musical theater-related courses, conducts three choirs and musical directs the Performing Arts Department’s main stage musicals. For 15 years, he was the proud Artistic Director of the Chicago Chamber Choir, presenting more than 40 concert series and producing 4 CDs. He stepped down from that position in 2014 in order to devote more time to the growing Performing Arts Department at RU.

In the fall of 2015, Adams was awarded a sabbatical from the university, during which he directed and performed in Pump Boys and Dinettes in his home town of Kansas City. He also furthered his research in vocal pedagogy for contemporary singing styles (rock and musical theater, primarily) by shadowing six prominent musical theater and rock voice teachers in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Chada   

Jennifer Chada’s musical style would best be described as eclectic. She’s been singing everything from jingles and jazz to pop and cabaret over the last 15 years. In addition to major roles in Chicago area musicals, she has sung alongside Patti Austin and jazz legend Jack Sheldon in Cy Coleman and Alan & Marilyn Bergman’s premiere collaboration, “Like Jazz” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She is an award winning cabaret artist with two critically acclaimed shows under her belt and she has recorded two albums with "TONIC", Chicago’s premiere Vintage Jazz Vocal Quartet.

George Gipp   

George Gipp is a Chicago native born and raised on the northwest side. His musical roots run deep, stretching back to the mid 1970’s honing his craft as a bass guitarist, arranger and rhythm section leader for several popular blues bands playing the “Lincoln Avenue Circuit”. He then broadened his musical horizons into the world of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). He is an International Champion – 2001 Gold Medalist member of The Northbrook New Tradition Chorus and a three-time International Bronze Medalist Quartet Baritone with The Chicago Chord of Trade and The Cincinnati Kids Quartets. George has recorded with all three groups and performed around the world including Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a “Certified Presentation Judge” in the BHS, George has judged numerous District and International Preliminary Contests throughout the United States and Canada and at the international level in Jacksonville, Florida (2005) and again in Indianapolis, Indiana (2006) to crown the BHS Collegiate Champion. He has a full spring schedule including British Columbia and Upstate New York. George is a sought after presentation coach and motivator- “World Wide”!

Daniel Gregerman   

Daniel Gregerman, Choral Director at Niles North High School in Skokie, IL has spent 23 years building an award winning choral program. Applying his deep passion for music and education, Gregerman started and built the NNHS vocal program. He was recently named, the 2014 John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year by the Jazz Education Network and the Berklee School of Music. His groups have earned national recognition, performing at regional and national conferences, winning multiple Down Beat awards, and performing at festivals both nationally and internationally. Gregerman’s ensembles have shared the stage with such names as Diane Schuur, The New York Voices, The Real Group, Take Six, and Janis Segal of The Manhattan Transfer. Known composers such as Jennifer Barnes, Michele Weir, Kirby Shaw, Greg Jaspers, and Gary Fry continue to create musical arrangements and compositions for his ensembles. Gregerman has served in a variety of leadership roles within the community of education. He is a founding member of the Jazz Education Network, (JEN), where he has volunteered in many different roles including his role as the Conference Office Co0rdinator for the Annual JEN Conference. Gregerman has held positions as State and District Chairman of Vocal Jazz for ILMEA, and has been Guest Director for several ILMEA District Jazz Festivals as well as acting as a clinician for vocal groups both locally and around the Midwest. Gregerman earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and a Master of Music Degree with an emphasis in Choral Conducting and Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.

Judy Storey   

Judy Storey has been a professional vocalist in the Chicago area for over forty years, singing with jazz trios, big bands, pop/rock groups, orchestras, and the vocal trio, “Sweetening”. Live performance credits include singing background vocals for Celine Dion at McCormick Place and Carole King at the Lyric Opera House. Judy was a four-year member of the Lakeside Singers, a professional Evanston-based choir with a classical and pop repertoire. In 2010 she was part of the 100-voice choir that performed the soundtrack to “The Lord of the Rings” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. During years of studio singing, Judy’s commercial credits include McDonald’s, United Airlines, Budweiser, Pizza Hut, and many more. One of her original compositions, “Shipwreck”, appeared in Don Johnson’s film, “Cease Fire”, and she sang in background vocal recordings for the film, “My Best Friend’s Wedding”. Judy currently resides in the Chicago suburbs where she continues to sing and has a private vocal instruction practice.

Complete list of 2006 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 :

David Wilner (Chicago) David Wilner is a singer, songwriter, pianist and DJ who has been performing in the Chicago area for over two decades. David's a cappella career began with the University of Illinois Xtension Chords where he won a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for vocal arranging. David went on to sing professionally with the popular Chicago-based vocal rock band Blind Man's Bluff where he toured nationally for six years and recorded five albums. David competed in the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes with both Blind Man's Bluff and Fiveplay, winning First Place, Audience Favorite, and Best Original Song with each group. David twice took Third Place at the National Finals, once winning the award for Best Original Song. Today, David is on stage as often as possible: performing as a solo artist, leading events as a DJ, singing in the classic rock quartet Ac·Rock, spreading holiday cheer in The Caroling Party,, and releasing his inner "Jersey Boy" in the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute band The Four C Notes. Outside of music, David enjoys chasing after his two kids, coaching soccer, and cheering for his beloved Chicago Cubs.

P.O. Box 4502, Naperville, IL 60567
847-226-3366
david@davidwilner.com


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Northshore Center For The Performing Arts

The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (NSCPAS) is a dynamic, two-theater complex located in one of the most vibrant communities in the country. The NSCPAS is home to three distinct resident companies: presenting organization Centre East, Inc, producing theater company Northlight Theatre, and the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra. The facility is also the performance home to the acclaimed Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra and hosts numerous other cultural organizations and special events each year. The NSCPAS is located just off of I-94 (Edens Expressway) about 30-minutes north of Downtown Chicago. In addition to a diverse programming schedule, its proximity to Old Orchard Shopping Center, a wide range of excellent restaurants and plenty of free parking, make the North Shore Center a convenient and popular destination for entertainment. Directions - Yelp reviews -


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