15th 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.

1999 New York Champions

Naturally 7

The origins of the group date back to New York City in 1999 when Roger Thomas started the group with his brother, Warren, and five other talented singers they had come to know over the years from singing around the city. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups over the years, Roger developed an affinity for a cappella sounds and a unique ability to create distinct harmony arrangements. When invited to sing at a major a cappella competition in New York, they won the competition, moved onto the nationals and took away two more wins.

Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 were going to be an a cappella group or a traditional band, Roger had a novel idea: they could be both.

1999 Results
1st
Naturally 7
2nd
Christ Sent
3rd
Stay Tuned
Audience Favorite
Exboyfriends
Best Original Arrangement
We Three Kings


1999 Participating Groups

10 FM
10 FM has undergone two years of metamorphosis since it was founded in June 1996. From a traditional nine-woman lineup to the tight, six-voice female group to today, the funky, fearless, 10 FM femmes have been blowing audiences away with their like buttah voices, innovative arrangements, and penchant for bringing a little extra glamour, as well as more irreverence, to the world of female a cappella. These self proclaimed Velveeta Divas will take on anything from R&B to eighties rock - even a showtune originated by a drag queen. They have trashed the upright reputation of no boys allowed a cappella and have proven that an all-woman group can sound gorgeous, get in the groove, and be goofy too. Just imagine the damage they could do if they quit their day jobs...

Members: Kelly Armstrong, Alicia Hutchison, Teru Bower, Kelly McCann, Shoshand Silverman, Donna Winnicki
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Afterglow
Afterglow is a four-part jazz vocal group which began as an A Cappella group in 1993. They specialize in the Big Band sound of the 40s. They also perform the doo-wop, boogie, and the be-bop sounds of the 50s and 60s. They have entertained at numerous clubs, corporate, and private parties. Occasionally, you may see them performing with a full orchestra. They have appeared on local television and radio shows, and have been privileged to open shows for The Guy Lombardo Orchestra and Little Anthony & The Imperials. This quartet also records and performs various original material for noted songwriters. Afterglow will be appearing at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City this year.

Members: Jim Beliveau, Janie Del, Lou Orrichio, Dan Rival
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Back Seat Toys
The Back Seat Toys formed in January of this year at the insistence of a cappella guru Dave Kern. In fact, the Toys are a sub-group of the well-known West Side Sounds; Binghamton Universitys only post collegiate a cappella group.The varying interests and backgrounds of the group members range from pop, R&B, rock, and jazz. Although they sing a wide range of material, they often find themselves street singing in the tradition of barbershop and doo-wop. They are excited to perform with their counterparts in the Harmony Sweepstakes festival.

Members: Jane McIntosh, Vanessa Manuel, Jeremy Fulton, Thea McCarter, Jessica Dolinger, Xerxes Eclipse, Lehho Rebassoo
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Christ Sent
Christ Sent is a gospel group consisting of four men; each possessing a rock solid foundation built on Jesus Christ, a unique gift of song and the calling to go forth and share His message of salvation. Over the years, Christ Sent has received countless blessings; one of which was to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York City as the featured artist for record company, Jackobs Ladder. The group was invited to open for Gladys Knight at the National Urban Leagues annual benefit in Indiana. At the Church Center for the United Nations in New York, the group was honored to sing during the memorial service of internationally known, fashion illustrator and artist, Harvey Thomas Boyd. Media credits include and interview and performance on Channel 2, The People, a special on up and coming Gospel groups hosted by J.J. Gonzalez. They have also been seen on Positively Black, Good Day, New York, and Gospel Today as well as local and national cable broadcasts.

Members: Barry Addison, Richard Norman, Todd Brennan, Myron Williams
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Conn Artists

The Conn Artists is a 7-man a cappella ensemble that performs throughout Connecticut. Available for hire for all occasions, including musical performances, their musical repertoire ranges from Doo-Wop standards to complex vocal jazz to rock classics to sacred songs. The ensemble specializes in the "classic blend", execution of the musical phrase and crafting wicked original arrangements.



Members: Martin Brayboy, John Carlson, Dave Callahan, Mike Costantino, Charles Dear, Doug Rollins, Peter Sachner
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Duwende
The members of Duwende (Doo-Wen-Day) recently discovered that their combined middle names are an anagram for A Cappella is both fun and cool. Duwende is a Tagalong word derived from the Spanish term duende. Non of Duwendes members speak Spanish, but they believe the term has something to do with either goblins or hypnotism. Or possibly cattle ranching. Duwende would like to dedicate this performance to Uncle Jack, but non of its members have an uncle named Jack.

Members: Jason Baluyut, Edward Chung, Abbey Janes, Dexter Jones, Morgan Phillips, Susan Hills, Brett Hopkins
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Exboyfriends
Formed in 1993, the seven-member vocal band started their humble journey in small NYC music clubs and worked their way up to win the Audience Favorite Award at the 2000 Harmony Sweepstakes national finals in San Francisco. Along the way, they appeared on VH1, Nickelodeon, TNN, NBC's Today Show as well as several appearances on The Howard Stern Show. They performed regularly at NYC rock club Mercury Lounge and their classic rock roots even earned them opening act slots with the likes of The Marshall Tucker Band and The Edgar Winter Group.

Their debut CD, A Cappella's Dead (1999) was called the "classic rock album a cappella has been waiting for" (Recorded A Cappella Review Board). The album features inventive covers of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Yes, and Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight". Their follow-up CD Karaoke Bar Brawl (2002) gained even more praise. Produced by Rockapella vocal percussionist Jeff Thacher, the album was nominated for two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Association (CARA) awards: Best Album and Best Cover Song ("25 or 6 to 4") and was one of RARB's "Picks of 2003" for favorite albums of the year. Karaoke Bar Brawl (named after a true event involving several band members) features loud & raw covers of The Who, Alice In Chains, Queen as well as two original songs.

Members: Brian Reichelt, David Curry, David Kern, Lehhop Rebaso, Jeremy Lipkin, Jeff Leibert, Xerxes Eclipse
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Full House
Full House was born three years ago when, at a choral rehearsal for a P.D.Q. Bach concert in Carnegie Hall, Michelle approached Mark and asked him if he was interested in putting together a vocal jazz ensemble. Mark jumped at the idea and the two of them hand picked their favorite singers to join them. They are newcomers to the Harmony Sweepstakes, but not to a cappella music: all of the members of Full House have extensive classical training and have sung with the premier vocal ensembles in New York Collegium, Canticum Novum, and Voices of Ascension. Their professional activities also include composing, teaching, and research, but they all make time in their busy schedules to rehearse. Because two of its members are also arrangers, Full House has several original pieces, and the group is proud to be presenting two of them in tonights performance.

Members: Elizabeth Farnum, Michael Steinberger, Mark Johnson
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Naturally 7
The origins of the group date back to New York City in 1999 when Roger Thomas started the group with his brother, Warren, and five other talented singers they had come to know over the years from singing around the city. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups over the years, Roger developed an affinity for a cappella sounds and a unique ability to create distinct harmony arrangements. When invited to sing at a major a cappella competition in New York, they won the competition, moved onto the nationals and took away two more wins.

Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 were going to be an a cappella group or a traditional band, Roger had a novel idea: they could be both.

Listen to: Bridge Over Troubled Water | Listen to: Bless This House

Members: Roger Thomas, Warren Thomas, Dwight Stewart, Garfield Buckley, Roderick Elderidge, Marcus Davis, David Laroche
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Sons & Lovers
Sons & Lovers has been delighting audiences for nearly six years with their sophisticated a cappella music and warm, inviting stage presence. Their musical style is fresh and lively with a repertoire that defies categorization. Sons & Lovers performs regularly in New York City and throughout the New England area. They have participated in New York City programs that include the Metropolitan Transportation Authorities "Music Under New York" program and "A Day At the Movies" where they performed their a cappella rendition of Bernstein's "New York, New York" with new lyrics by the award winning team of Comden & Green. Sons & Lovers has appeared on television, on radio, an in numerous publications including Today in New York, New York 1 News, Party Talk, Alternating Currents, Igny, HX, New York Blade, Bay Windows, New York Newsday, and In the Life.

Members: Joshua Koffman, Ken Browne, Bob Stern, John Whitley
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Stay Tuned
Stay Tuned was born in 1991, with little more than a pitch pipe and a dream. A handful of Penn alumni - for years of a cappella singing were obviously not enough - had been gathering each Christmas to sing carols at Rockefeller Center. Each occasion reminded them how much they missed the thrill of naked voices blending in harmony. Over the last seven years, the group has gone through various stages of change and growth; what began as a 24 (!!) member club with a swing jazz repertoire, has evolved into a tight configuration of seven musicians who eagerly experiment with pop, rock, jazz, kitsch, and classical. Stay Tuned performs steadily throughout Manhattan for corporate events, conventions, private parties, weddings, and proposals of marriage; at downtown clubs like Duplex, and uptown clubs, like Triad. At the slightest provocation, any member would be happy to tell you about the impromptu jam session with Bill Joel in the lobby of the St. Regis Hotel and/or (depending on how much time you have) the RC Cola radio commercial that ran for four months in three major Eastern markets. Go ahead, make their day.

Members: Donna Eng, Collette Thompson, Indu Viswanathan, Eric Chung, Jonathan Bennet, Mark Shone, Scott Paley
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Vox Bop
Vox Bop is a mixed a cappella quartet that performs a variety of musical styles from the lyrical beauty of the Renaissance to the lush harmonies of the Jazz Erato eclectic arrangements of pop classics. Founded in 1995 by David Deschamps, who also does the arranging, Vox Bop has performed at St. Luke in the Fields and Rudin Managements" Mostly A Cappella Festival" as well as Old South Church and The French Library, both in Boston. Jazzy Holiday repertoire has become a specialty of Vox Bop and their many clients range from Bloomingdales and Borders to J.P. Morgan and the Brooklyn Museum. They have also started to attract a devoted following which includes Liesl Schillinger of the New Republic who wrote in the December 16, 1996 issue: There are a few groups that I like, and I trail them around the city worshipfully...[among them is] Vox Bop.

Members: Jennifer Nelson, David Deschamps, Jeffrey Sprugeon, Maura May
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1999 Judges

Scott Brannon   

Scott is the musical director of the Big Apple Chorus in Manhattan, an award winning barbershop chorus with appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and throughout the US and Canada. He also coaches and advises vocal groups throughout the country.

Jimmy Hayes   

Jimmy Hayes is a founding member of the legendary Persuasions. Dubbed the "godfathers of a cappella" the group began singing together in Brooklyn, New York in the mid-1960s. They have performed interpretations of both secular and non-secular music, and have covered a wide range of musical genres for almost 50 years with Jimmy singing bass. As a member of the Persuasions, Jimmy has covered artists such as Frank Zappa, the Grateful Dead, Roy Hamilton, Jerry Butler, Sam Cooke, and Elvis Presley, and toured, performed, and recorded with Joni Mitchell, Liza Minnelli, the Grateful Dead, and Ray Charles.

In addition to their own recordings, Jimmy and the Persuasions have appeared on albums by artists such as Joni Mitchell, Don McLean, and Paul Pena, and their version of "Papa Oom Mow Mow" appeared on the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Jimmy appeared on Season 2 of the NBC’s “The Sing-Off” with the Persuasions, and groups as varied as Take 6, Rockapella, The Nylons, and Boyz II Men cite The Persuasions as major influences.

Claudia Marx   

With more than twenty years in the record industry, Claudia Marx began her career at Connoisseur Society Records, a small classical label where she was in charge of production. In 1979, she accepted a position at RCA as an assistant in the publicity department, where she worked alongside well-known jazz publicist Elliott Horne who opened her eyes to jazz. She later moved to Vanguard Records where, as head of production, she was responsible for pressing and record jacket production. She completed her industry education during a stint at NewYork Digital Recording, where she learned bout the technical aspects of the recording business. She launched Town Crier Recordings in 1986, aspiring to make it the Rolls Royce of jazz labels. The personal attention she was able to give her artists and the high audio standards she set for her recordings put Claudia in a league of her own - head and shoulders above the big record companies. When Sir Roland Hanna first heard his finished Round Midnight recording he remarked that it is the best album he ever made. Paquito D'Rivera said the same thing about the album he made for Town Crier. Since 1991, Ms Marx has been the Director of a jazz-oriented vocal group called the Lance Hayward Singers. The 18-voice ensemble sings unusual arrangements of jazz compositions, standards Negro Sprituals and some classical music. The group has been working since 1984. Town Crier Recordings is the American record label for the high level a cappella groups The Real Group and most recently, Vox P.

Jack Scandura   

Jack comes from a musical family. His Dad was a musician with prominent big bands during the 40s and the 50s. Jack grew up in Queens, in the 1950s, acquired his interest in vocal groups singing with friends on the local street corners. To his credit are numerous recordings with groups such as the Blend-Aires, Blue Stars (LP on Clifton in 1990), and most recently the Five Discs. Jack has been a member of this legendary street corner group, the Five Discs, for the last few years traveling the country with the group of the 50's, 60's revival concerts. Musician, lead singer, harmony sing, arranger, musical director, vocal teacher, all facets of Jacks love, interest and knowledge of vocal harmony. He is currently working as an arranger, lead and background vocals on a couple of CD projects for Clifton Records.

Complete list of 1999 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 :

Colette Thompson (New York) Colette Thompson has directed or performed in over eleven vocal ensembles, with her group, Stay Tuned, placing 3rd in the 1998 New York Regional of the Harmony Sweepstakes; Colette has performed/recorded with Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein, Jesse Norman, Peter, Paul & Mary, and James Levine A billboard-ranked singer/songwriter, she has also managed several events, including, Christmas at NYU, Complex at the Duplex, and An Evening with The Real Group at NYC's Symphony Space. With performances televised via major news programs including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, and NY1, she is a promoter, producer, adjudicator and an ambassador of vocal music worldwide.

128 Fort Greene Place, Suite 1B, Brooklyn, NY 11217
917-442-2011
colette.thompson (at) mac.com


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