33rd 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.

Saturday March 18th - 7.30

NORTHSHORE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077

Box Office: 847-673-6300

2017 Chicago Champions

The Sound Exchange

From soulful ballads, to blistering rock anthems, from jazz standards to chart-topping singles, The Sound Exchange does it all. Based out of the Twin Cities, this group brings dazzling harmonies and wisecracking audience interaction to every show and do it with it with joy and humor. Get ready for the hijinks and harmony of...The Sound Exchange.

2017 Results
1st
The Sound Exchange
2nd
The Northsiders
3rd
Listen Up! A Cappella
Audience Favorite
The Sound Exchange
Best Original Arrangement
“Only Have Eyes For You” - arr. Andres Enriquez - No Big Deal
Best Soloist
Paul Donnelly - Sound Exchange


2017 Participating Groups

Crimson Cadence
Crimson Cadence is a group which fights to continue the close-harmony tradition of vocal jazz and crossover a cappella artists. They enjoy Applebee's and a good C13b9 chord any day of the week, and seek to provide a performance outlet for a variety of majors at Indiana University.

Members: Jeremy Gussin, Jacob Seo, Noah Nordman, Milan Babic, Melissa Krueger, Sarah Rauch, Ella Clary, Chelsea Bonhotal
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Listen Up! A Cappella
Listen Up! connects audiences to the joy and pride of being Jewish and having a special connection to Israel. Chicago’s uniquely compelling Jewish vocal band has twice won Best Original Arrangement in the Harmony Sweepstakes and is a Best Religious Album nominee of the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards. Their music videos have garnered more than a half-million views on YouTube and their “Hebrew Happy” cover of Pharrell Williams’ hit led the world-music charts on iTunes. Recent projects include a music video to raise funds for victims of terror attacks and an Avenue Jew-worthy musical collaboration with Chicago’s Puppet Mechanics. Listen Up! calls Chicago home as the house band (sans instruments) of the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival for the past 25 years.

Members: Shayna Elliott, Freddie Feldman, Steve Singer, Eli Taylor
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LUC Counterpoint
Counterpoint is Loyola University Chicago’s premier competitive co-ed acapella group! They personally arrange and energetically perform a diverse range of music to feature at concerts, competitions, and on albums!

Members: Rosie Bross, Malcolm Charles, Erinn Olszewski, Joesph Kramer, Isabel Dovale, Kathryn Habecker, Chloe Antrobus, Sophia Manternach
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No Big Deal
No Big Deal is a contemporary quartet that brings a refreshing change of pace to the idea of quartet singing. with roots in classic doo wop, we combine the old with the new, bringing an exciting and unique sound to both classic and contemporary music. Coming from Chicago's incredible theater community, every member can be seen acting around the city, and have performed with such companies as Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Hypocrites, Pride Films and Plays, MINT, The Apollo, and Porchlight Music Theater. Their expertise on stage in all forms makes them one of Chicago’s most entertaining a cappella experiences.

Members: Nick Druzbanski, Andres Enriquez, Sam Button-Harrison, Jake Meyer
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The Northsiders
The reigning Illinois District silver medalists of the Barbershop Harmony Society, The Northsiders are a dynamic quartet delighting all audiences with old and new classics alike in the barbershop style and beyond. Their name reflects the fact that they are based in Chicago's North Side. They are equally comfortable at a formal service and a keg party. They are highly sought after for birthday celebrations, weddings, corporate events, and by the FBI.

Members: Noah Miller, Oliver Merrill, Loren Shevitz, Steve Schoultz
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The Sound Exchange
From soulful ballads, to blistering rock anthems, from jazz standards to chart-topping singles, The Sound Exchange does it all. Based out of the Twin Cities, this group brings dazzling harmonies and wisecracking audience interaction to every show and do it with it with joy and humor. Get ready for the hijinks and harmony of...The Sound Exchange.

Members: Alicia Renée, Nick Bailey, Eric Buegler, Caleb Lee, Paul Donnelly
More Details

The Uptones
The Uptones (originally Uptown Sound) was formed by young professionals in Chicago who wanted to start an adventure in the world of contemporary a cappella. Our members come from many walks of musical life, including musical theatre, choirs, and college a cappella groups. With humble roots in caroling around the city during the 2009 holiday season, the group got its first big break performing at a small cafeé called Lincoln Perk in the summer of 2010 to a capacity crowd. The group continues to host bi-annual concerts and is currently recording their very first album.

Members: Steve Boblak, Ian Mateo, Taryn Pryor, Ethan McMahon, Aaron Taylor Mays, Vi Chaundry, Hannah Kelly, Thor Rudebeck
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Your Emcee for the Evening

David Wilner

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.

2017 Judges

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.

Becca Kaufman   

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.

Brian Lynch   

Brian Lynch has been acting professionally for over 30 years and has been called “one of American theater’s most impressive talents”(Phoenix Gazette). He spent seven years touring nationally and internationally with various Broadway musicals including Aspects of Love, Cats, and Les Miserables. In Les Miserables, Lynch performed the starring role of Jean Valjean for more than two years. The Los Angeles Times said, “Lynch is absolutely superb as Valjean. He teems with passion and vitality … communicating the heroism of his character with a deft slight of hand.” He was also nominated for south Florida’s Carbonella award for best actor in a national touring production for his portrayal of Jean Valjean. His work as choreographer earned him Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for outstanding choreography for Bye Bye Birdie, Zorba, Follies, and Grease for which he received the 1984 award. Brian has been a member of the North Central College faculty since 1995 and is currently the Fine Arts Director for North Central College. His North Central College productions of The Pirates of Penzance and Thoroughly Modern Millie were selected for performance at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival region three competition. His production of A Little Night Music was an alternate for the festival. Brian is a member of The Caroling Party Chicago’s premiere professional a cappella caroling group.

Carrie Marcotte   

Carrie Marcotte is the Director of the West Towns (Men’s) Barbershop Chorus, and has led them to the District Barbershop Contest’s “Most Improved Chorus” award (2016), “Most Entertaining Chorus” award (2015), and District Championship (2014). In addition to directing, Carrie sings in a Sweet Adelines women’s quartet, Cantina Vocal Project. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Carrie sang for two years in the award winning vocal jazz group, Gold Company, under the direction of the late Dr. Steve Zegree, and had the opportunity to share the stage with guest artists such as Don Shelton, Darmon Meader, and Bonnie Herman. Carrie sang for 10 years with (the now retired) Route 66, Chicago’s favorite female a cappella quartet and has performed on the Spirit of Chicago and at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Carrie is Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Scholastica Parish in Woodridge and serves as an accompanist at North Central College in Naperville, as well as for singers and instrumentalists in the Chicagoland area.

Randy Stine   

After graduating from Indiana University in 2000 and a career working in information technology, Randy was called back to the world of music in 2008 when he posted a video to YouTube. The video, shot in 1998, was of he and his college friends in Straight No Chaser singing the “12 Days of Christmas.” It became the most viral video of 2007, which led the CEO of Atlantic Records to call Randy and reunite the group. Nine years later, the group has performed thousands of concerts across 49 states and 18 countries, performed on television shows such as TODAY and Jimmy Fallon, sold over one million albums, and has over 75 million YouTube views. Randy and his wife, Lindsey, reside in Chicago.

Complete list of 2017 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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