2011 Participating Groups
| Breath of Soul|
Cutting-edge arrangements, tight vocal percussion and spirited harmonies are just some of the phrases used to describe Nashville based vocal group Breath of Soul. Since 2006, the group has brought their unique a cappella tunes to festival, concert, and church audiences throughout the United States and abroad.
Before their relocation from the midwest to Nashville, TN, Breath of Soul was formerly titled 5one - so named for the familiar music cadence, V-I. The group originated at Millikin University in Decatur, IL and three of the five founding members of 5one still perform with the group today.
Members: Jake Black, Tony Marx, Jesse Upah, David Kempton
| Six Appeal|
Is Six Appeal a comedy group, a vocal ensemble, or a rock band? Audiences have been trying to answer that question for years. Swearing off instruments, Six Appeal uses a cappella singing to span decades of classic oldies, current chart toppers, and catchy original tunes. Featuring vocal dexterity and adventurous song selection, the group explores all genres with a far-reaching repertoire that will surprise and captivate audiences regardless of the setting.
Despite their cheeky group name, the antics of these six young gentlemen provide a good natured atmosphere for their electrifying performance. A Six Appeal show will split your sides, feed your musical sweet tooth, and leave you wondering how in the world they pulled it off just with voices.
With members formally instructed in singing and musical composition, and over 70 combined years of musical training and experience, Six Appeal utilizes a diverse arsenal of style and entertainment. In addition, Six Appeal has a passion for spreading their a cappella music to every audience, and an essential aspect of their mission is to empower young singers in their educational outreach program. What makes these Six stand out from the crowd? Their Appeal.
Members: Jordan Roll, Michael Brookens, Sean Steiner, Andrew Bettenhausen, Reuben Hushagen, Andrew Berkowitz
| 3 Men & A Melody|
Start with two music educators, add one preacher, stir in a financial planner, and you could have the basic ingredients for any barbershop quartet. But 3 Men & A Melody is not your basic quartet. Tenor, Rob Mathieu, 2nd generation barbershopper, is a Kansas City based children's musician/performer. Not only does he teach preschool music, he performs interactive musical kids shows under the alias, Rockin Rob, geared for children 2-10 years old. Eric Derks leads the foursome musically but admits that telling jokes is not his forte. Brian Bellof is a second generation barbershop bass with a natural ability for showmanship. Baritone, Brad Stephens is the out-of-control comic of the four who keeps 3 Men & A Melody's audiences laughing.
3 Men & A Melody love what they do and have a high respect for the barbershop style. Their talent, energy, and enthusiasm are truly exciting for everyone to watch. 3 Men & A Melody's love of performing continues to escalate every day in hopes that they will be known throughout the Barbershop Harmony Society and the United States for their fun-filled entertainment and singing excellence.
Members: Rob Mathieu, Eric Derks, Brad Stephens, Brian Bellof
| Listen Up!|
Listen Up! has delivered harmony, humor and vocal pyrotechnics for 22 years as the "house band" (sans instruments) of the Greater Chicago Jewish Folk Arts Festival. The quartet brings warmth and sheer vocal power with a confident, easy manner that wins hearts (and ears) of audiences of all ages. "Our music creates a special connection", says musical director, Steve Singer. "We are building that relationship from the first note... to energize and inspire. By the end of the show, we're family." With wit, humor and diverse Jewish musical traditions, Listen Up! leaves no audience unaffected by their performance.
Members: Steve Singer, Michael Mann, A.Y. Karsh, Kevin Kirshenbaum, Noah Mishkin
| Brotherhood Singers|
The Brotherhood Singers (from Covington, KY and Cincinnati, OH) are among the very few remaining quartet style groups that still perform in the old-school acappella fashion. The Singers specialize in the intricate and emotional four-part harmony "jubilee" style pioneered by such legendary groups as the Dixie Hummingbirds. the Golden Gate Quartet, the Soul Stirrers and The Harptones of Cincinnati.
The Brotherhood Singers started singing at the 9th Street Baptist Church in Covington, KY in 1986 and has performed in churches, secular music venues and television spots throughout the U.S., Canada and in Spain (which they have toured 17 times).
Members: Eric Riley, Ric Jennings, Greg Page, Stace Darden, Demetrius Davenport
| Route 66|
Route 66 made its spectacular debut in 1994 in The Netherlands under the direction of Leslie Gray and proved to be a success in a wide variety of venues all over Europe, performing to a 'standing room only' audience in the 9,000 seat AHOY amphitheatre in Rotterdam, as well as intimate dinner parties, trade shows and corporate events. Leslie returned to the United States in 1996 and recreated this successful group here in Chicago.
ROUTE 66 sings popular hits from nostalgic Swing to contemporary Rock 'n Roll, and everything in between. Enjoy the best of the Beatles, Queen, Tina Turner, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, and many more, all in fabulous four-part a cappella harmony! Audiences nation-wide enjoy traveling on America's musical highway with these four talented ladies!
Members: Leslie Gray Robbins, Caitlin Simone Buffa, Carrie Marcotte, Nancy Jane Nelson
Shout was formed in 1998 and consisted of Art Sarkkinen, Dan Drouillard, Dave Drouillard and Willy Scott. In 2010 Marv Stump was added to fill out the group. With well over 80 years of vocal experience between them, their influences include barbershop, doo-wop, gospel, pop and rock.
Dan, Willy and Dave were in a barbershop quartet, doo-wop group, and a rock band all during their high school years. Although they went their separate ways, they found success in many areas! Dave was a member of the Ivy League, a barbershop quartet that qualified for international competitions four years in a row. Dan continued in barbershop as well as rock bands singing in the U.S., Canada and Germany. Willy has toured the U.S. as well as Europe with different groups as well as playing the club circuits. Marv spent many of his “younger years” in a gospel quartet and has led worship at his church for many years. Art was a natural selection for "lead" when the original three reunited having performed in various bands and churches throughout his career.
Members: Art Sarkkinen, Willy Scott, Dan Drouillard, Dave Drouillard, Marv Stump
| Up ‘Til 2|
Established in 2005 and named after late-night rehearsals, Up 'til 2 rocks out with unique style. This hard-hitting group of vocalists is indeed a "band." Minimally equipped with their voices and microphones, they cover low to high, and dazzle audiences of all ages. With backgrounds in classical voice, a cappella, rock, musical theater and jazz, each Up 'til 2 member adds a unique element to the band. Their blend of live music and theater will have you laughing to the sounds of current and classic radio hits, Motown, jazz, and funk.
Members: Barry Patrick, Donovan Germain, Eric Buegler, Brandon Sommers, Jason Price, Ben Foster
||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.
Helen Giallombardo has been singing harmony since the age of 9 in children's church choir. She has a lifelong love of musical theater, having done just about every job from producing shows to building sets to playing piano in the pit orchestra to being "leading lady". Helen has sung high harmony (tenor) in many Sweet Adelines quartets, including "The Tonight Show" which competed in the 1997 and 1998 Chicago Sweeps. She also sings middle harmony (baritone) with the Melodeers, the 5-time gold medalist Sweet Adelines Chorus based in Northbrook, and serves as the musical director for the Schaumburg Spring Valley Chorus. Helen has judged the Music Category for Youth in Harmony contests in the Chicago area, and works with her husband Jay in their music publishing company GSB Medal Music, Inc that focuses on custom arrangements for barbershop/a cappella groups around the world.
||Paul Iams |
Paul Iams is the leader of two Chicago singing groups with long lives. He is the first tenor and red guy in Ac•Rock and also co-founder of The Caroling Party. Paul’s singing career started early as a soloist with the Dayton Rotary Boys Choir. In his high school years, he worked on the air at WING in Dayton, where he fell in love with sound and commercial music production. Upon graduating from Northwestern University, he started Imagineers, the legendary 70‘s Chicago jingle company whose clients included Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, United Airlines, Wrigley’s and hundreds of other national brands. In the early 80’s, Paul jumped over to “the other side of the glass”, trading production duties for a career as a studio singer, announcer, and even on-camera talent, a sample of which can still be seen on YouTube (look up McDonald’s McLean Deluxe). In the late 80’s, Paul co-founded The Caroling Party, a company of professional Christmas carolers. Each year, more than sixty singers from all areas of Chicago’s singing community perform (as quartets and double quartets) at more than a hundred events. Later, with some of the guys from The Caroling Party, Paul started Ac•Rock: a male quartet singing classic a cappella rock ‘n roll - great songs from the fifties through the eighties. Ac•Rock performs at corporate events, conventions, industrial shows, fairs and festivals all over the United States. They have seven CDs and a new one on the way this April.
A native New Yorker, Becca moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University’s renowned theatre program. Beginning her career as one of the most sought-after jingle writers/session vocalists in Chicago, Becca quickly expanded her talents to producing musical showcases and albums, providing commercial voice overs, and becoming a wedding expert featured on TV and radio—including her own radio show “I Do, I Do” on 105.9fm, WCKG. Becca has been leading her own society band, BK), for the past ten years. A little over four years ago, Becca launched her own company, BeatMix Music, bringing on a roster of talent including dance bands, string quartets, jazz trios and more, hoping to match every client with an unparalleled music experience. Becca has appeared on stage with performers such as Lily Tomlin, Brooke Shields, Phoebe Snow, Tony Roberts, and Ellen Burstyn and several summers ago was a featured performer in the Broadway Chicago Concert in Millennium Park singing for over 19,000 people. Becca was cast in the role of a comedic cabaret singer for Scrooge & Marley, a feature film released in late 2012. And, should you wonder where her hometown loyalties reside—she has sung the National Anthem for both the world-champion Chicago Bulls and her forever-losing New York Knicks. She is the proud wife of acclaimed chef, Peter Schonman, and by far her best productions are their three kids, Gabe, Brooke and Trevor.
||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.
Complete list of 2011 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
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