28th Annual

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

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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.

2012 Chicago Champions

Rooftop Rhythm

Rooftop Rhythm began in Spring of 2010 when Jacob, Nate, and Ashley began looking for a bass singer to complete the group. After a short search, Steve was brought into the fold and things took off. The quartet honed their style through practice, recreation, and a rough two weekends roofing a garage. Sure, Steve nailed Jake’s jeans to the roof, but the quartet survived and became close friends and hard workers. In July, their hard work paid off when they finished 49th in the world at the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention. Rooftop Rhythm has sung in many venues, including contests, barbershop shows, corporate meetings, sporting events, and private functions. It’s rare for these four gentlemen to turn down the opportunity to show folks how great a cappella music can be. With a varied repertoire that includes barbershop, jazz, opera, Americana, and gospel, you’re sure to find something you like

2012 Results
1st
Rooftop Rhythm
2nd
Breath Of Soul
3rd
Sunday Afternoon
Audience Favorite
Breath Of Soul
Best Original Arrangement
"Steady As She Goes" Arr. Blair Baldwin
Best Original Song
"My Last Season" - Jesse Upah


2012 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: David Kempton, Jesse Upah, Jake Black, Tony Marx
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Hi-Fi
Hi-Fi Since last spring of 2011 when they formed with the goal of creating "high quality sound", Hi-Fi has been building up a following in their home base of the Chicago metro area. All four members are veterans of the womens barbershop quartet style. Maureen and Debra have known each other since high school. They sang together for many years in "Melo-Edge" quartet which won the Sweet Adelines International Quartet Championship in 1983. The group travelled extensively, produced many recordings and made appearances on TV including the "Phil Donahue Show". Helen sang in the very first couple of Chicago Harmony Sweeps Regionals with a quartet named "The Tonight Show". More recently she and Dawn made it to the Top 10 International Quartet finals with "Jukebox" quartet. Helen and Debra are music directors of the Spring Valley (Schaumburg) and Edge O' Town (northside Chicago) choruses, respectively. All four members of Hi-Fi have won chorus international gold medals with the Northbrook-based Melodeers. They also coach other quartets and choruses and serve as clinicians for teaching others about the performance of barbershop music.

Members: Helen Giallombardo, Maureen Brzinski, Debra Peters, Dawn Peters
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Phonic Uproar
In the popular style of Take 6, Naturally 7, and the hit television show "The Sing-Off", Phonic Uproar is the newest group on the a cappella scene, combining the a cappella sound with a showtime experience! Phonic Uproar is the latest gem of an act from the Dayton, Ohio area - the same area that gave the entertainment world The Ohio Players, John Legend, Heatwave, Lakeside, Roger Troutman, Dave Chappelle, Slave, Shirley Murdock, and Zapp. Phonic Uproar is one of the newest and more exciting vocal groups to come along. Vocally trained at the University of Dayton, each member ranges in age from 18 to 30 years with over 25 years of experience between them.

Members: Joey Saliba, Jelani Connally, Josh Forman, Trevor Rosenbaum, Andy Kurzhals, Michael Cullum, Jelani Connally Stokes, Justin Padmore
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Rooftop Rhythm
Rooftop Rhythm began in Spring of 2010 when Jacob, Nate, and Ashley began looking for a bass singer to complete the group. After a short search, Steve was brought into the fold and things took off. The quartet honed their style through practice, recreation, and a rough two weekends roofing a garage. Sure, Steve nailed Jake’s jeans to the roof, but the quartet survived and became close friends and hard workers. In July, their hard work paid off when they finished 49th in the world at the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention. Rooftop Rhythm has sung in many venues, including contests, barbershop shows, corporate meetings, sporting events, and private functions. It’s rare for these four gentlemen to turn down the opportunity to show folks how great a cappella music can be. With a varied repertoire that includes barbershop, jazz, opera, Americana, and gospel, you’re sure to find something you like

Members: Ashley York, Jacob Oxley, Nathan Oxley, Steve Schoultz
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Sunday Afternoon
Based in Cedar Rapids Iowa, Sunday Afternoon's (SA) distinguished sound comes from the diversity of each member of the band. We strive to perform high energy, family friendly shows and we pride ourselves in our ability to incorporate a wide variety of music genres into all performances, including but not limited to: pop, R&B, rock, techno and even a little country. SA has performed for hundreds of people at various state fairs, ball games, wine tastings, and concerts in Iowa as well as Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia. We aim for everyone to leave our performances satisfied.

Members: Stephen Banks, Alicia Strong, Matt Bryant, Sheila Wagner, Aaron Jackson
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THUMMp
Once upon a time, one of the greatest acappella groups in the Midwest was a buzz in the ears of Milford, MI. From 1998 - 2010, elmoTHUMM wowed audiences with their aggressive sound, rich arrangements, and boundless energy. They won countless contests, accepted awards, played for Presidents and royalty, filled TV screens, and worked their way into the hearts of kids and parents throughout the country. Now THUMMp, they look forward to bringing Chicago more great music as only THUMMp can.

Members: Greg Vaden, Adam Westmoreland, Jason Miller, Ed Pendleton, Tom Hamilton
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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: Zachary Watts, Dave Nadolski, Blair Baldwin, Eric Fenton, Steve Moore, Eric Spiegel
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2012 Judges

Steve Biossat   

Steve Biossat - Owner of ChicagoLiveMusic.com, Steve got his start as a professional entertainer in the Teen Chorus of the touring Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie, starring Tommy Tune. Studying at Western Michigan University helped Steve hone his skills in harmony singing, as a tenor in one of the most esteemed jazz choirs in the country. After college, he refined his jazz vocals by moving back to his family’s native home of New Orleans, and found himself singing in some of the city’s jazz clubs, learning from some of the best in the world. Then off to Carnival Cruises, and finally Chicago, to tour with the a cappella group, Blind Man’s Bluff in the early 1990’s. Chicago has brought Steve many opportunities, including recording soundtracks for Universal Pictures, co-hosting New Year’s Eve with Joe Piscopo, producing “America Can Sing” and sharing the stage with many legends. Steve now spends the majority of his time running ChicagoLiveMusic.com and leading his band, Sway Chicago.

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.

Alice Lane   

Alice Lane was an active member of the North Shore Harmonizers Women’s Barbershop Chorus for four years before becoming the director in 1991. She has a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and voice from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, with continued independent study in viola, organ and harp. She has been the Music Director/Organist for the Lake Street Church of Evanston since 1991. In addition she has created and directed a yearly concert series which has included among others, Mendelssohns Elijah, Haydn’s Creation , Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah. She sings baritone with the "4 On A Chord" barbershop quartet and maintains an active piano studio in her home. Alice and her husband, Paul, make their home in Evanston, and have three sons and six grandchildren.

Patti Lupo   

Patti Lupo - Upon her graduation from Northwestern University, Patti began performing in theater and joined Actors Equity when she was cast in the original production of “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” Not long after that, she formed her first vocal quartet with Megan Mullally called Colossal Nerve and has enjoyed performing close harmony music ever since. Patti has her own band and musical services company, Patti Lupo Music, and is the co-founder of Chicago’s busiest Christmas caroling group, The Caroling Party.

Darren Stephens   

Darren Stephens has been performing in harmony groups his whole life. For five years in the late 80’s, he made his living as a member of The Four Guys Standing Around Singing, an a cappella music and comedy act. When they weren’t performing in Chicago, The Four Guys appeared at hundreds of colleges and universities around the country, and were chosen as the National Association of College Activities Performer Of The Year. They also starred in national television and radio commercials for McDonald’s, regional ads for Pepsi and the Sun-Times, and did tons of corporate shows and state fairs. In the Four Guys’ heyday, the comedy club boom was at its height, and the group was a featured act at every Catch A Rising Star club in the country including New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, opening for comedians such as Janeane Garofalo and Jerry Seinfeld. Darren is currently performing comedy in bluegrass three-part harmony with an ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’-style act called The Famous Brothers . Alongside his singing group activity, Darren has performed around Chicago as a theater actor and improv comedian, and has made his living as a voiceover actor for hundreds of radio and television commercials.

Complete list of 2012 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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