28th 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.

2012 Mid-Atlantic Champions

GQ

This group began in the summer of 2011, bringing together different musical backgrounds: jazz, pop, barbershop and musical theater. Things seemed to click so easily, they all knew that they could do great things. GQ brings some new repertoire to the a cappella scene, featuring material by some of their favorite artists you may not have heard, and exploring other possibilities outside of the norm. But most of all they have become really good friends who have a passion and drive for singing and who try to create something special each time they perform.

2012 Results
1st
GQ
2nd
Epic
3rd
Loose Interpretations
Best Original Arrangement
Katie Macdonald and Katie Gillis - "Timshel"
Best Original Song
"Awake"


2012 Participating Groups

Epic
Epic formed when two barbershop a cappella harmony singers, a jazz singer and an opera singer found they discovered a common love of ringing chords, fun rehearsals and fantastic shoes. The foursome hails from Virginia and Maryland and is proudly affiliated with the Harmony, Inc., a premier international organization of women barbershop harmony singers. Epic is a vibrant quartet filled with an impressive blend musical and life experiences.

Members: Christina Lewellen, Anne Albright, Shana Oshiro, Kristina Adams
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Faithful Singers
We are Faithful, a group of singers meeting the challenge of working together in spite of living in two different parts of the country. We come from both Richmond, VA and the Washington, DC metropolitan areas. We are members of diverse churches and spiritual persuasions. In our number are several composers, arrangers, lyricists and instrumentalists, and we sing gospel music with a jazz influence, endeavoring to minister to the hearts and minds of all kinds of people. It is our desire to exhibit a level of excellence in leadership which will serve as an example to young aspiring singers in our churches and communities, and as a part of our legacy we hope to release a CD in the near future.

Members: Gri Wright, Gwendonlen Jenifer , Larry Fields, Andra lLong, Gwen Ward, Freddie Fields
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Glorious
Glorious has been together since 1997. During this time we have become a group of tight knit, polished and professional performers. Our unique A Cappella style leaves very little room for imperfections in our sound. Drawing from our individual spiritual backgrounds, and combining tried and true spirituals with an upbeat tempo. We create a unique listening experience. Worship, Punctuality and Professionalism are the cornerstones to our organization.

Members: Eugene Glato, Barry Fleming, John Elliott, Wilson Cleary, Michael Lemon
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GQ
This group began in the summer of 2011, bringing together different musical backgrounds: jazz, pop, barbershop and musical theater. Things seemed to click so easily, they all knew that they could do great things. GQ brings some new repertoire to the a cappella scene, featuring material by some of their favorite artists you may not have heard, and exploring other possibilities outside of the norm. But most of all they have become really good friends who have a passion and drive for singing and who try to create something special each time they perform.

Members: Katie Gillis, Katie Macdonald, Amanda McNutt, Ali Hauger
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Keystone
A brand new group of a cappella veterans, KeyStone strives to present innovative, original arrangements of pop and rock tunes both familiar and obscure. Based in southeastern Pennsylvania, the group is comprised of current and former members of The A Cappella Project Philadelphia. KeyStone has recently begun recording their first album.

Members: Joe Gooch, Amy Howe, Tom West, Jennifer Steinberg, Josh Schrager, Jamie Howe
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Loose Interpretations
Loose Interpretations is an all female contemporary a cappella group, who proudly call New York City home. The group was originally formed by several recent college grads who craved the fun and excitement of college a cappella, and Loose Interpretations was born. They pride ourselves on how they've grown over the years from performing in parks wherever they could find an audience, to selling out amazing venues like Arlene's Grocery, Cafe Wha?, Don't Tell Mama, Crash Mansion, and even performing at the Metropolitan Opera House. Loose Interpretations performs everything from 80's pop, to the Beatles, country, and rock, and have several members who keep their repertoire constantly growing with amazing original arrangements (winning best original arrangement last year at the Birchmere!). They keep it simple by recording their tracks live, keeping the focus on the voices, with no extras...just the way they like it.

Members: Jen Kipley, Erin Byram, Stacia Woodcock, Willa Cochran, Heather Glotzer, Reynetta Sampson, Laura Campbell, Jenn Wexler
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TBD
TBD is the contemporary a cappella subgroup of the Alexandria Harmonizers Barbershop Chorus. Formed by alums of many collegiate a cappella groups to sing more popular music as part of the Harmonizers, TBD also is also involved with the Harmonizers Youth Harmony Outreach Program getting younger generations excited about singing a cappella music in their school and community.

Members: Thomas Kraus, Noah Van Gilder, Scipio Garling, Chris Clark, Terry Reynolds, Jeremy Richardson, Josh Roots, Ken Rub
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2012 Judges

Ted Donat   

The Mid-Atlantic Sweeps welcomes Ted Donat as judge again this year. Ted produced the Mid-Atlantic Regional from 2002 to 2011, and is responsible for moving the venue to his favorite place in the world to enjoy music - The Birchmere Music Hall. Ted has been singing, writing, arranging, directing and producing music for over thirty years. His a cappella experience began with the Amherst College Zumbyes (that is if you don't count High School madrigals choir) and continued post-college in New York City where he would join Downtown Vocals and ultimately go on to direct the group. After relocating to the DC area in 1999, Ted would join dcVocals in 2000 and ultimately go on to direct. Since 2004, Ted has continued to sing in bands, most recently with A Beautiful Noise.. It is always an honor for Ted to be invited to participate in the Harmony Sweepstakes.

Claire Gardiner   

Claire Gardiner joined the Fairfax based Vienna-Falls Chorus of Sweet Adelines International in 1984, began directing the chorus in 1993, and has led Vienna-Falls to six Regional Championships. She has sung in many Quartets, one of which won the Regional Championship in 1989. She is currently singing in a new quartet which will compete in 2 weeks at their Regional Competition in NC. Claire is a faculty member within her Sweet Adeline Region, where she teaches arranging classes, gives voice lessons and coaches many choruses and quartets. In her 'day job', she is a Supervisory Registration Specialist in the Performing Arts Division of the U.S. Copyright Office here in D.C. This is one of only a few jobs in the Federal Government, which requires a music degree. Claire has judged the competition several times in the past.

Jonathan Minkoff   

Jonathan Minkoff is the Founder and Executive Producer for the Public Charity, SingStrong (SingStrong.org) and its International A cappella Festivals in NY, DC and Chicago. He performs world-wide and on TV with the award-winning a cappella quartet, Blue Jupiter. Minkoff holds a Bachelors in Music Ed. from Northwestern U., a certificate in voice study from the Boston U. Tanglewood Institute, and a JD from Boston U. School of Law. Minkoff won the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes 1st place and audience favorite and the Chicago & National Sweeps' "Best Original Composition" and "Best Arrangement Awards", shared a "WAMMY" nomination for "Best Album", a CARA nomination for "Best Jazz Album" and a WAMMY win for "Best A cappella Album". Most recently, Minkoff coached Stiletta, the current National Harmony Sweeps champions, and the only group to ever win every possible award at nationals. He has over 300 published a cappella reviews at RARB.org and his articles at ACAPPELLA101.com have thousands of views monthly. After teaching, performing, emceeing and judging at over 40 a cappella festivals worldwide, Minkoff now coaches, composes, records and produces for various a cappella groups in his New York City recording studio.

Mike Yanchak   

Mike Yanchak has served as the rhythm section of Pittsburgh's All-Vocal Band, DoubleShot!, since founding that act in 2006. In that time he has competed in Sweeps in four cities and garnered nine honors from the Harmony Sweepstakes including a sweep of the Mid-Atlantic honors in 2007 and appearance at the National Finals as well as a second place finish in Pittsburgh's "SING! 2011" bands competition as the only a cappella act in a field comprised entirely of instrumental bands. In his capacities as a producer for the International Championship for Collegiate A Cappella, an ambassador for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America, and an adjudicator for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, he is a torchbearer for a cappella music locally and nationally. Mike debuted his one man all vocal live looping act, "Mike Why: One Man Band Without the Band", in August 2010 and is excited to make his first ever OFFSTAGE appearance in the Harmony Sweepstakes.

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 :

Sara Rasmussen (Mid-Atlantic) Sara has been a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional production team for several years and a supporter of the Sweeps long before that. This year, she is stepping into the producer role. Sara enjoys many styles of music and was drawn to the Sweeps because it includes such a diversity of genres. Sara has been a member of Sweet Adelines for over a decade, has competed in numerous competitions both as a member of the Potomac Harmony Chorus and as a "baritone" in various quartets. In recent years she has been performing in the Washington, DC area with the Capitol Swing Quartet. In addition to helping out with production of various Sweet Adeline events, Sara has also been involved in the programing and production for several large DC area music festivals.


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The Birchmere

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