10th 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.

1994 National Finals Champions

The Coats

The Coats vocal band started on the street corners of Seattle, Washington's famous Pike Place Market. Singing for tourists, locals, fish vendors, and fellow buskers, their humble ambitions of earning a few clams to fight off the tuition bills quickly evolved into a full-time international performance career. They've since won national vocal competitions, sang for the President of the United States, and have been fortunate enough to share the stage with such talented fellow entertainers as Ronnie Milsap, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, The Beach Boys, Tanya Tucker, Billy Dean, Crystal Gayle, and Colin Ray, just to name a few, all while continuing their tradition of outreach performances and workshops supporting music in schools throughout the northwest.

1994 Results
1st
The Coats
2nd
Vox One
3rd
A Perfect Blend
Audience Favorite
The Coats
Best Original Arrangement
“Amazing Grace” - Blind Man’s Bluff
Best Original Song
"Dream Weaver" - Blind Man’s Bluff


1994 Participating Groups

Banned
Mona, Martin, Mel and Vern, veterans of Corner Market, 1993 Bay Area Regional Second Place winners, are joined by Elisa Smith, to create the rockin' hot sounds of The Banned. With five of the best solo vocalists/composers/arrangers/recording artists from the South Bay and beyond, this sensational new a cappella machine will fire you up and melt you down with its incendiary, percussive arrangements of pop-rock originals and cover tunes.

Listen to: Rules

Members: Mona Dena, Martin Puryear, Mel McMurrin, Vern Smith, Elisa Smith
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Vox One
Vox One is an award-winning a cappella jazz quintet that combines elements of blues, funk, gospel, and folk into their own brand of vocal music, which is "most adventurous and distinctive." - San Francisco Examiner. The group, formed in 1988, has since developed a unique style considered to be the cutting edge of a cappella. "This jazz quintet puts all kinds of throat sounds to such funky good use that listeners break into applause and - better - feel like dancing." - Boston Magazine.

Vox One has performed internationally, and has opened for Ray Charles, Chicago, the Persuasions, the Bobs, the Woody Herman Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. The group earns wide acclaim for their performances and CDs. Their awards include "Best A cappella Group, Jazz" - Boston Magazine. Vox One's eponymous debut CD was named "Best Album" and awarded "Best Song" by the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA): "Creative arrangements and soulful spark... fabulous lead vocalists, and exquisite blend, a great vocal percussion sound, and lots of class." Their second US release "Out There," won "Album of the Year," "Best Jazz Song," and "Best R&B song" by CASA. "...as defining an album for vocal jazz as Singers Unlimited "A Capella" and Take 6's debut album...it's that good." - Primarily A Cappella. With their 1998 album "Chameleon," Vox One was named "Artist of the Year," and once again it earned "Best Jazz Album" and "Best Jazz Song."

Listen to: Missing You | Listen to: Edelweiss

Members: Tom Baskett, Jodi Jenkins, Yumiko Matsuoka, Paul Pampinella, Paul Stiller
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Blind Man’s Bluff
Bluff rock is vocal rock - more than vocal. more than rock. aggressive. dirty. human. texture that tingles. both familiar and surprisingly unique. gritty but not grating. edgy but not hard edged. a sound you've never heard before. unquestionably modern. undeniably rock. rich. dark. driving. enticingly organic. depth without pretention. no holds barred and widely appealing. what you're waiting for - believe your ears.

Listen to: Dreamweaver | Listen to: Amazing Grace

Members: Bryan Chadima, Marc Lionetti, Jonathan Minkoff, Nik Volgenau
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Beachfront Property
"Beachfront" is not a piece of real estate along the ocean, but it is a hot property nonetheless. Described as sounding like "Manhattan Transfer" meets "Take 6," their smooth singing style combines the rich sounds of jazz with the fun and energy of pop music. They have shared the stage with Mel Torme, "The Four Freshman," "The Hi-los," Kenny Rankin, Crystal Lewis, "The Brothers Four" and "Emerson, Lake & Palmer." The success of Beachfront Property is found not only in a successful blending of harmonies, but in a blending of personalities.

"Not everyone can sing in a group like this," says Tom Dustman, Beachfront's artistic director and bass vocalist. "It takes a special person to give, and give, and give." The object is to entertain while also preserving some of America's most beloved classics, he says. "No one person is the star." Achieving this feat takes a great deal of effort and a lot of self-control, as the key is to blend the voices. Beachfront's four-part blend is spun out in seemingly effortless fashion creating mellow and exciting, woven-together-like-cloth chords that treat the listener to arrangements of familiar songs with a whole new sound.

Listen to: Straighten Up And Fly Right | Listen to: Shoofly Pie

Members: Michelle Caroll, Stan Castongia, Jennifer Dustman, Tom Dustman, Bill Mumaw, Jill Mumaw, Alyce Ohl
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Things To Come
This group is comprised of four men who grew up together and have been singing together for over 20 years. Three of the members began harmonizing in the high school cafeteria--never for a moment visualizing anything more than just "doo-woppin", they have weathered many a storm and embarked on wonderful journey of music, friendship and life. In 1974, the fourth member joined the fold and they began performing at clubs such as Copacabana and at Brooklyn Academy of Music. They have recorded at Mediasound, Fist-o-Funk, Bolognese and other studios. Their first love, a cappella, is their forte. Without instrumental distraction, friendship and warmth permeate their performances-- infecting their audiences with rich harmonies, humor and a love song. To hear them is to love them!

Listen to: The Cat Is High

Members: Alfred Crowd, Daryl Miller, Gene Minor, Ronald Simmons
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A Perfect Blend
Gibson Trowery formed APB in 1990 after singing with his wife Katrina for 7 years in another group. This group has been featured on Harvy Holiday's Street Corner Sunday on WOGL and Music Fair, on Saturday Tribune (KYW-TV) and Electric Factory Concerts A Cappella Festival. Philadelphia Magazine voted APB Best Soul Group in the 1993 Best of Philly Awards.

Listen to: Who’s Lovin You Now | Listen to: Two People In The World

Members: Stephen Clement, Van Fields, Gibson Trowery, Katrina Trowery, Gary Williams
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The Coats
The Coats vocal band started on the street corners of Seattle, Washington's famous Pike Place Market. Singing for tourists, locals, fish vendors, and fellow buskers, their humble ambitions of earning a few clams to fight off the tuition bills quickly evolved into a full-time international performance career. They've since won national vocal competitions, sang for the President of the United States, and have been fortunate enough to share the stage with such talented fellow entertainers as Ronnie Milsap, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, The Beach Boys, Tanya Tucker, Billy Dean, Crystal Gayle, and Colin Ray, just to name a few, all while continuing their tradition of outreach performances and workshops supporting music in schools throughout the northwest. | Listen to: Whip It Workin In A Coal Mine

Members: Kerry Dahlen, Jamie Dieveney, Joe Mele, Doug Wisness
More Details

The Diners
Formed five and a half years ago, The Diners have become one of the busiest groups in Denver and the region, playing at a variety of local nightclubs, private and corporate functions. In recent years they were featured on CBS This Morning, opened for Ray Charles, represented Denver at the 1991 Harmony Sweepstakes Finals and released their CD-- Open All Night. After this year's competition, The Diners will return to the studio for release #2.

Listen to: Never Tell An Angel | Listen to: Wicked Game

Members: Doug Wisness, Paul Collier, Jeff King, Tom Price, Chris Rhodes
More Details

1994 Judges

Gerard Brown III   

Gerard Brown III is a screenwriter and former writer in residence with the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has written a number of screenplays and teleplays for the likes of Paramount Pictures and HBO among others. However, his most gratifying artistic accomplishment was PBS's Spike & Co: Do it A Cappella which he conceived, wrote, and co-executive produced and shot at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Phil Elwood   

Philip Elwood is a well respected vetran music critic fo the SF Examiner. Mr Elwood has taught American history and has produced a jazz and blues weekly radio program on KPFA since the 1950's.

Dawn Holiday   

Dawn Holiday is a respected veteran of the northern California music business, having made her mark in many aspects of live music promotion and production. She has been a force since the beginning in shaping the musical character of San Francisco's now famous "South of Market" club district, and currently serves as general manager and talent buyer for Slim's, the prestigious SF showcase nightclub.

Raz Kennedy   

Raz Kennedy has been performing and recording as a vocalist, vocal coach and producer in the Bay Area since 1980. His performance credits include six years as a founding member of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra, His recording and live credits include backup, ensemble or lead vocals for or with hit song producer Narada Michael Walden, Al Jarreau, Todd Rundgren, Whitney Houston, Bobby McFerrin, The Bobs, Mickey Hart, Kenny Loggins, Rhiannon, Sting, Earl Klugh and many others. He has also sung on projects for film, video, television and radio. As a vocal coach and vocal producer, Raz has multiple Gold and Platinum records to his credit. Clients include: Adam Duritz and members of Counting Crows, Grammy Award-winning artists Los Tigres Del Norte, Rancid, Dreamworks recording artist Davey Havoc of AFI, Aaron Carter, Chantelle Paige of Flipsyde, Caroline Vreeland, A-Teens, Lavay Smith, Hilary Duff, members of Metallica, Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Jerry Harrison (founding member of Talking Heads), and many more. Raz presently produces, writes and arranges vocals for live and studio projects. Also on the faculty at The Jazzschool in Berkeley and Blue Bear School of American Music in San Francisco. Raz has studied Latin Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian music in Cuba and New York and has toured internationally in Europe, Asia and South America.

Scott Mathews   TikiTown Studio

Music Producer, Composer, Arranger, Song Doctor, Multi–instrumentalist & Tiki God. PRODUCED, RECORDED and/or PERFORMED WITH:- The Beach Boys * The Blind Boys of Alabama * David Bowie * Zac Brown * Jimmy Buffett * Johnny Cash * Rosanne Cash * Glen Campbell * Eric Clapton * Elvis Costello * Ry Cooder * Robert Cray * Dick Dale * Dave Edmunds * Roky Erickson * Jefferson Starship * Jerry Garcia * Billy Gibbons * Sammy Hagar * Herbie Hancock * John Hiatt * John Lee Hooker * Etta James * Mick Jagger * Booker T. Jones * Patti Labelle * Huey Lewis * Nick Lowe * Taj Mahal * The Mamas & Papas * Steve Miller * Eddie Money * Van Morrison * Aaron Neville * Roy Orbison * Van Dyke Parks * Steve Perry * The Pointer Sisters * Bonnie Raitt * Joey Ramone * Keith Richards * Todd Rundgren * Carlos Santana * Joe Satriani * Boz Scaggs * Ringo Starr * Barbra Streisand * Allen Toussaint * Trip Shakespeare (Semisonic) * The Tubes * Joe Walsh * Robin Williams * Carl Wilson * Brian Wilson * Bobby Womack * Stevie Ray Vaughn * Dwight Yoakam * Neil Young....

Gene Puerling   

Gene Puerling is known throughout the world of music for his hghlt distinctive choral arranging. He was the guiding light in two premier jazz vocal groups; The Hi-Lo's and the Singers Unlimited. During his career, he has written arrangements for Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney, Michael Jackson, Manhatten Transfer, The Ritz, The Vocal Majority and Chanticleer to name a few. Mr. P os also active as a clinician/ejudicator in the educational music field. Many of his arrangements are published by Shawnee Press, Columbia Pictures and Hal Leonard. Among his many commendations are a Grammy Award for his vocal arrangements of "A Nightengale Sang in Berkeley Square" as recorded by the Manhattan Transfer, and 14 Grammy nominations.

Todd Rundgren   

Todd Rundgren is an internationally respected producer/performer and recording artist, producing hit albums varied artists as Meatloaf, Grand Funk Railroad, and Lords of the New Church. His songs have been covered by everyone from England Dan & John Ford Coley to The Isley Bros. His album, A Cappella, was a landmark in one-man vocal recording and his current project, TR#, puts him firmly in the vanguard of multi-media pioneers in pop music.

Complete list of 1994 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 :


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