30th Annual

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

Events | Groups | Judges | Directors | National Finals Publicity Photos

Boston | Chicago | Los Angeles | New York | Pacific North West | San Francisco | Mid Atlantic (DC)

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.

2014 National Finals Champions

Women of the World

Women of the World was formed to bring women musicians from across the globe onto a common platform to collaborate and create, not only through the sharing of music, but also to explore and celebrate the differences in ideologies, and cultural tenets that exist in the daily lives of women all over the world.

Honoring global folk traditions, their repertoire spans music in 29 languages. In many ways, the ensemble is a microcosm of the world, with members working closely together, not just to create and perform music, but also learning about each other's countries, cultures, languages, beliefs and practices.

2014 Harmony Sweepstakes champions, nominees for the 2013 Boston Music Awards and 2014 Independent Music Awards, Women of the World has toured North America and Asia, having collaborated with many industry legends including Grammy-award winning vocalist, Bobby McFerrin and African vocal icon, Angelique Kidjo. Women of the World continues to serve as cultural ambassadors of peace and unity through music and has delighted audiences at venues like Carnegie Hall, Blue Note Jazz Club, Boston Symphony Hall, as well as through collaborations with the United Nations, amongst others. Creating the Harmonious Human Orchestra of Life, Women of the World has brought over 200 women from all over the world together to collaborate musically.

2014 Results
1st
Women of the World
2nd
The Quintessential Five
3rd
SeaNote
Audience Favorite
Women of the World
Best Original Arrangement
“Heaven” - Grayson Villanueva - #FOURTY4B
Best Original Song
"Tales of War" - Buka Kartosia - Quintessential Five


2014 Participating Groups

Prime Time
The members of Prime Time met through singing with other groups. They recognized they had kindred voices, natural blend, and the same desire to sing challenging, tightly harmonized charts - and also the inclination to laugh a LOT while working hard. Their backgrounds range from vocal jazz to collegiate-style a cappella pop to barbershop, with those influences all audible simultaneously in most of their performances. A literal garage band, Prime Time rehearses in Sunnyvale, CA, and performs all over the Bay Area.

Members: Jennifer Ayre, Caia Brookes, Dan McQuigg, Wil Mathews, John Rae-Grant
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Women of the World
Women of the World was formed to bring women musicians from across the globe onto a common platform to collaborate and create, not only through the sharing of music, but also to explore and celebrate the differences in ideologies, and cultural tenets that exist in the daily lives of women all over the world.

Honoring global folk traditions, their repertoire spans music in 29 languages. In many ways, the ensemble is a microcosm of the world, with members working closely together, not just to create and perform music, but also learning about each other's countries, cultures, languages, beliefs and practices.

2014 Harmony Sweepstakes champions, nominees for the 2013 Boston Music Awards and 2014 Independent Music Awards, Women of the World has toured North America and Asia, having collaborated with many industry legends including Grammy-award winning vocalist, Bobby McFerrin and African vocal icon, Angelique Kidjo. Women of the World continues to serve as cultural ambassadors of peace and unity through music and has delighted audiences at venues like Carnegie Hall, Blue Note Jazz Club, Boston Symphony Hall, as well as through collaborations with the United Nations, amongst others. Creating the Harmonious Human Orchestra of Life, Women of the World has brought over 200 women from all over the world together to collaborate musically.

Members: Ayumi Ueda , Annette Philip, Giorgia Renosto, Deborah Pierre
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3AM
3AM Movement or Three Angels' Message is a new and exciting group of musician song stylists committed to expressing the good news of God's desire to establish an intimate relationship with all of His children. These talented and innovative musicians are creating music that expresses their commitment to God, family, and community, while sharing God's message of love and forgiveness. Based in Florida, these servants of the Lord bring forth their joyous message through their unique musical style that incorporates traditional gospel, A cappella, R&B, Jazz, Neo-Soul and Contemporary Christian music. They strive to exemplify Christian living in the light of the Lord and seek to share that light, though their music, with all those who cross their paths on their journey to everlasting life! They are humbled by their Lord's call to minister to the world by sharing their personal journeys through life's challenges, while staying true to their Savior's words of love, brotherhood, fidelity, and compassion.

Members: Mark Jenkins, Roger Mike, Christopher McGill, Jeffrey Henderson, Micheal Medina, Kelvin Mitchell
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#FOURTY4B
We sing smooth, soulful, & feel-good a cappella. It all started in the living room of a little apartment, wanting to sing. Combining our different music backgrounds and styles, we formed an a cappella group named after our apartment number. We laugh, we dance, & we play because expression is our shared passion. We are #FOURTY4B."

Members: Monica Mandapat, Jeanette Mangilit , Cara Blaxton, Jin Puertollan, Grayson Villanueva, Amer Quilala, James Moore
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Catatonic
Catatonic is a vibrant new group erupting onto the a cappella scene. With members hailing from from three different collegiate groups in the Atlanta area, this up-and-coming ensemble fuses youthful energy with musical virtuosity to create a unique electronic a cappella sound. The group's innovative arrangements showcase its members' vocal prowess while pushing the limits of the genre. Having already performed with the likes of Musae, Catatonic is sure to deliver audiences a thrilling concert experience as they share their love for a cappella. And kittens.

Members: Steve Ryan, John Robinson, Andrew Leonard, Tammy Parkinson, Tye Tavaras, Carrie Leonard
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The Quintessential Five
The Quintessential Five was founded in autumn of 2012, in the Republic of Georgia. The idea of creating such an amazing ensemble of young singers who perform outrageously complicated arrangements with surprising ease belongs to Buka Kartozia (artistic director and arranger, and a National Finalist of "Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival 2002".<

The repertoire of the group mainly consists of ancient Georgian folklore and classical music with jazz. Each and every piece stands out with rhythmical difficulty and harmonic complexity. The level of stage presence and performance of the group reaches the highest levels of professionalism and leaves audiences astonished.

The Quintessential Five were winners at the Leipzig A Cappella Festival (Germany) in June 2013, And took the Second place at Internationat ACappella Competition Graz (Austria) in July 2013. They have also been invited to participate in London International A Cappella Festival, Bonn International A Cappella Festival, and Taiwan International A Cappella Festival and Voicemania,The Vienna International A Cappella Festival. The Quintessential Five are excited to make their U.S.debut on the Harmony Sweepstakes Stage.

Members: Anna Doiashvili, Salome Dolidze, Elene Dolidze, Giorgi Toradze, Papuna Sharikadze
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SeaNote
SeaNote is an a cappella band that came together in mid-2013 from two different college a cappella groups at the University of Washington in Seattle (Furmata & Awaaz). The quintet strives to put a fresh and unique spin on new and old Top 40 hits through incorporating each members musical niche, whether it be classical, jazz, hip hop, rap, pop, alt-rock, or soul. SeaNote loves making great music, having an awesome time, and hopes to entertain a cappella enthusiasts everywhere! You can catch SeaNote year round performing at local gigs, UW functions and charity events all over the Greater Seattle Area.

Members: Amanda Tran, Isaiah Lin, Shaheer Aftab, Michael Kibbe, Lucy Liu
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Your Emcee for the Evening

Angie Doctor

Angie Doctor, a studio singer and live performer who began her career in Chicago doing commercials, voice-overs and recording projects, and has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area vocal music community since 1995. She is currently teaching vocal jazz classes as an Artist-in-Residence at the Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts high school, the Jazz School in Berkeley, California, and in Fall 2015, will be the Vocal Jazz Ensemble instructor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley.

Angie is a song-writer and arranger, vocal coach and clinician for school music ensembles and solo singers, background singer for groups such as The Manhattans, Heatwave, Gene Chandler, Barbara Lewis, Billy Paul, and many others, studio singer and voice-over talent, is the soprano in the jazz vocal quartet Clockwork and is currently in the wackiest of all a cappella groups, The Bobs. In addition, she has been singer and soloist for music projects with Bobby McFerrin, Sufjan Stevens, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Zorn, Meredith Monk, performing at venues that include Zellerbach in Berkeley, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Philharmonie Berlin. Her vocal work can be heard on many recording projects, including as a featured soloist on the Grammy-nominated recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” (Harmonia Mundi),

Angie is also a founding member of the Grammy-nominated PM Singers and has brought her extensive experience in solo and small group harmony singing to workshops and festivals as a judge and clinician over the past eighteen years.

2014 Judges

Bill Hare   

Bill Hare has been a full-time recording engineer/producer for over 30 years, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella. Over the decades, Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known Contemporary A Cappella groups around the globe - from The Swingle Singers to The King’s Singers in the UK, Basix to Vocal Line in Denmark, Italy's Cluster, The Ghost Files, Alti & Bassi and Maybe6ix, German supergroups Wise Guys, Amarcord and Maybebop to name a few, as well as groups from dozens of other countries from Australia to Zambia. Of course, at the same time he also covered the American market from his home base in Northern California, working with top American acts including The House Jacks, m-pact, Pentatonix, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, The Backbeats, and many more.

Bill is the world’s most awarded individual Contemporary A Cappella producer, including more than 70 appearances on BOCA, well over 100 CARA nominations, 30+ albums in the RARB "Picks of the Year" lists, and 11 "DeeBee" awards since 1987 in the Vocal Jazz category from Downbeat Magazine. Gold to Multi-Platinum record sales on various projects around the world.

Bill received a personal Grammy Award statue for his work on Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns” (the original version of "Baba Yetu"!), as well as multiple Grammy recognitions for various projects worldwide.

Raz Kennedy   

In the realms of vocal performance and singing instruction, Raz Kennedy has created a legacy for over 40 years that rivals the music industry’s finest. Acknowledged as “the premiere vocal coach in the Bay Area” by Narada Michael Walden (multi-platinum Grammy and Emmy winning producer and musician)his eclectic performance credits include serving as a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra and performing as a background vocalist on recordings for many legendary artists, including Whitney Houston and Al Jarreau, as well as on stage for Sting, Santana, and Mickey Hart.

His depth of knowledge and expertise has positioned Raz to instruct a diverse roster of musical luminaries, from members of Metallica, to Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, Hilary Duff, Davey Havok of AFI, members of Los Tigres Del Norte, the late Clarence Clemons from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and many more.

In addition to his thriving private practice, Raz is an active faculty member at Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco, one of the Bay Area’s most prestigious music study institutes. Throughout his career, Raz has served as a guest instructor at SF Jazz, Jazz Camp West, Stanford Jazz, GRAMMY in the Schools, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, West Coast Songwriters, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School for the Arts, and various music education programs in Latin America and Europe.

Craig Knudsen   Knudsen Productions

In 1999, Craig Knudsen founded the talent agency, Knudsen Productions, LLC. With a focus on exceptional vocal talent, Craig quickly established Knudsen Productions as one of the most highly regarded US agencies representing a cappella groups, both national and international, working with top presenters in the performing arts market with regular bookings and tours at prestigious venues throughout the US and Canada. His agency’s current and past representation of vocal ensembles includes the 2015 GRAMMY winning choir, Conspirare; the multi Grammy Award winning British a cappella legends, the Swingle Singers; the multi Grammy nominated British early music vocal ensemble, Stile Antico; the Bay Area’s favorite women’s vocal ensemble, KITKA; the legendary BOBS! (also Grammy nominated); the 2012 Harmony Sweeps National Champions, Six Appeal; Decca recording artist, VOCES8; and, most recently, the 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions, Women of the World. Before embarking on his career as an agent, Craig served as the music director of the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Project, and, additionally, spent 18 years as a singer / Composer / arranger with the EDLOS a cappella quartet (the 1989 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions).

A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (vocal performance), Craig's performance credits span a wide variety of musical styles and performance mediums. As an opera and classical singer, he has performed leading roles with Pocket Opera, Mendocino Music Festival Opera, West Bay Opera, Berkeley Opera, Las Vegas Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera and the Austin Opera in Austin, TX. Craig originally came to the SF Bay Area in 1982 to join the San Francisco Mime Troupe as a sax player/music director/composer/actor, and toured extensively with the Troupe in the U.S. and Canada. Before joining the Mime Troupe, Craig was the sax player with the R&B Hall of Fame artist, the Marcia Ball Band (Austin, TX).

Stephanie Lawson   The Love Notes

Stephanie Lawson is the bass of the 2014 Sweet Adelines International Champion quartet, LoveNotes. LoveNotes competed at the Harmony Sweepstakes Nationals in 2009, where they claimed Audience Favorite but ultimately took second to another Sweet Adeline quartet, Maxx Factor. Stephanie has been singing barbershop since 2007, prior to which she sang solo and in accompanied groups from a very young age. With LoveNotes, Stephanie has traveled around the US performing and teaching barbershop educational workshops, and in 2008 had the opportunity to perform overseas at Barbershop in Germany (BinG!). LoveNotes' latest album, From the Heart, was released in April and was produced by Grammy Award winner Bill Hare. A far cry from the country singer she dreamed of becoming, Stephanie has fallen in love with a cappella – especially barbershop.

Annie Stocking   

Annie Stocking is a veteran of the Bay Area music scene with 35 years experience as a professional vocalist, producer, and teacher. She has toured or recorded with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Neil Young, Van Morrison, George Benson, Whitney Houston, Santana, Todd Rundgren and many others. Her a cappella credits include performing on the classic Bobs recording “Cover The Songs Of.” As the first singers' representative in the Bay Area for SAG and AFTRA, she contracted most of the Bay Area singers for jingles, film, and other session work for many years. She continues to arrange harmony vocals and produces lead and back-up vocals for many independent artists and is a highly regarded voice teacher.


Complete list of 2014 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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