24th Annual

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

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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.

2008 New York Champions

Red No. 5

Red No. 5 has been causing a sensation in Connecticut's local music scene. Moving audiences with skillfully tight a cappella harmonies and dynamic performances, the four young women of Red No. 5 have lent their voices to reinvigorate and diversify their home state's musical community. While each woman in the quartet resonates as an individual, the four voices fuse together to create breathtaking harmonies and produce a truly original sound. Red No. 5's self-arranged four-part interpretations are rooted in their creative and unconventional understanding of music. Their eclectic repertoire spans all genres, from folk to soul, reflecting a particular enthusiasm for contemporary a cappella compositions. Red No. 5 looks forward to sharing their music with wider audiences, and is enthusiastic to participate in this year's harmony Sweepstakes.

2008 Results
1st
Red No. 5
2nd
'Round Midnight
3rd
L5
Best Original Arrangement
"Friend in Need" Arr. Red No. 5
Best Original Song
"Al Hanissim" - Mike Boxer - Six 13


2008 Participating Groups

'Round Midnight
'Round Midnight is an award-winning "a cappella" quartet of music educators from the Long Island/Manhattan area of New York. While they sing primarily in the barbershop style, their eclectic influences range from jazz to classical and everything in between. The group is a two-time Semi-Finalist in the Barbershop Harmony Society's (BHS) International Barbershop Quartet Contest and they are also the BHS 2010 Mid-Atlantic District Quartet Champions. In addition, the foursome won the New York City Harmony Sweepstakes Championship and was bestowed with the coveted "Audience Favorite" award by overwhelming crowd vote. The quartet has received praise for their self-titled debut recording too, receiving a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nomination in the category of "Best Barbershop Song" for their rendition of "Try A Little Tenderness". 'Round Midnight has been featured in an array of showcases, contests, and educational workshops spanning the United States from New York to California.

Members: Larry Bomback, T.J. Carollo, Wayne Grimmer, Jeff Glemboski
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Classic Sounds
Classic Sounds are a five member a cappella ensemble that hails from the Bronx and Westchester Counties of New York. Formed in 2002, their diverse backgrounds is what gives flavor to their renditions of the music that is called Doo Wop. Influenced by The Platters, Etta James, and other great performers of the 1950's, their mission is to keep a cappella, as an art form, alive and well. They spend much of their time teaching young children the art of a cappella singing and have been honored to serve as the opening act for Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, The Cadillacs, The Chanels, and other greats of the era. If you close your eyes and think back to Murray the K, the Brooklyn Paramount, the street lights on Belmont Avenue, the boulevards of Bensonhurst, straphanging from a leather strap on your way to see "Dem Bums", Frankie, Dion, WMCA Good Guys, cruising the streets in a '56 Chevy with the windows cranked down, singing to the tunes on your portable AM radio, and a host of other good times, you’ll know why “The Classic Sounds” sing DooWop. That's why a surgeon, a plumber, two teachers, and a musician can lean in close to each other, sing those back-up sounds that are second nature to us all, give you a little hand jive and a smile, and make you remember what "feel good" music is all about.

Members: Gabriel Dassa, Alan Fennell, Julie Seda, Lou Valentino, Bob Seda
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Cut Time
Cut Time is the newest crop of killer singers skimmed off the top of the world's jazz capital. Combining astounding vocal talents with zippy-fresh 'in-house' arrangements (as well as steroids). Cut Time aspires to take the world by storm and, establish their place among the world's finest musical performers, (including Britney Spears, Wing and William Hung)

Members: Lehho Rebassoo, John McMahon, Craig Eckhardt, Melissa Munn, Gwenivere Mann
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DoubleShot!
Since 2006, the guys have blended traditional and contemporary all- vocal music with energy and humor to create six decades of hits live on stage at every show. Every sound - vocals, bass, effects, even the drums - is created using only the voice. They have performed all over their native Pittsburgh, and nationwide from Washington, D.C. to the San Francisco Bay, as well as features on local news, television, and radio. In the Harmony Sweepstakes, they were Mid-Atlantic Champions and Audience Favorite in 2007 and have received two awards for Best Arrangement.

Members: Michael Bodnar, Luke Clavey, Eric Manalo, Nate Wildfire, Dave Wilson, Mike Yanchak
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L5
L5, based in Long Island, NY, is a group of guys who enjoy what they do and are not afraid to take on a different song or arrangement because it wasn't done in a cappella before. Many of their contemporaries, other groups their age, were doing 50's or 60's doo wop, which L5 loves, but wanted to move away from. They have a great appreciation for the Motown era, and want to take audiences back to that soulful period of music. With fun and camaraderie, hard work and dedication, L5 puts forth a sound of R&B, Motown, and pop that does both justice to the groups they admire (i.e. The Temptations, The Persuasions, etc...) and the a cappella art form.

Members: Lou Comito, Steve Manno, Tony Petito, Ron Simmons, Ray Millan
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Red No. 5
Red No. 5 has been causing a sensation in Connecticut's local music scene. Moving audiences with skillfully tight a cappella harmonies and dynamic performances, the four young women of Red No. 5 have lent their voices to reinvigorate and diversify their home state's musical community. While each woman in the quartet resonates as an individual, the four voices fuse together to create breathtaking harmonies and produce a truly original sound. Red No. 5's self-arranged four-part interpretations are rooted in their creative and unconventional understanding of music. Their eclectic repertoire spans all genres, from folk to soul, reflecting a particular enthusiasm for contemporary a cappella compositions. Red No. 5 looks forward to sharing their music with wider audiences, and is enthusiastic to participate in this year's harmony Sweepstakes.

Members: Brie Johnston, Sumitra Ratneshwar, Mary Kate Sitarz, Kristin Yates
More Details

Six13
Six-man vocal band Six13 brings an unprecedented style of Jewish music to the stage. With songs that range from hip-hop dance tracks to rock anthems, their albums have been the recipients of five Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards and selections to nine different "best of" compilations. This summer, they were chosen as finalists in the casting process for NBC's prime-time series The Sing-Off, and the group has also become an internet sensation, with over 500,000 views on YouTube; their new music video collaboration with NCSY recently went viral. Six13's recent performance highlights include the Chabad Telethon, NYC's Mayoral Chanukah party, and performances for 30,000+ at Citi Field (five times), Dolphin Stadium, Madison Square Garden and NYC's Salute to Israel Parade. They are currently touring to standing ovations at simchas, affairs and concerts at synagogues, schools and JCCs from Tucson to Toronto.

Members: Mike Boxer, Moshe Cohn, Yan Frenkel, Josh Mohrer, Justin Rosenblum, Alan Zeitlin
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The Newyorkettes
The Newyorkettes are the all female a Cappella Beauty-Shop Quartet", singing songs from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. They have been paying tribute to The Andrews Sisters, The Shangri-las, and The Ronnettes since the group was formed in 2005. Complete with a vintage look and choreography, they have performed in countless clubs and private parties in NY City, including Times Squre Studios for Walt Disney's Annual Awards Ceremenoy. They were invited to perform the pre-game show for Military Appreciation Day for the The New York Mets at Shea Stadium last July. They are very excited to perform at this year's Harmony Sweepstakes!

Members: Julie Castro, Shannon Rolbeicki, Evelyn Troester, Anita Reyes
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Undercover
Undercover is a group of 4 men and 3 ladies who love nothing more than to step away from their day jobs every now and then and perform for their fans! After joining the NYC a cappella scene in 2006, they've been having a blast singing at venues big and small, for audiences of all ages. Their harmonies are tight, their drum riffs are catchy, and their diverse repertoire of pop/rock songs is sure to please. At the 2007 Harmony Sweepstakes NY Regional competition, the group won 2nd Place and also took home Best Arrangement honors for their infamous 80's Medley. They're excited to return to Harmony and perform alongside this new batch of great groups!"

Members: James Trani, Nick Fox, Jen Nycz, Rob Corradi, Di Zhang, Kelly Goggins, Juli Weiner
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Vocal Heights
Vocal Heights - Founded in 2002, Vocal Heights is a co-ed a cappella group with a fun, eclectic style and a wide range of music. Our mission is to put on a good show for our audience. Our repertoire includes contemporary rock and pop ("Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Free Falling"), specialty pieces (such as Weird Al's "Frank's 2000 Inch TV"), doo-wop, gospel, jazzy standards ("Java Jive" and "Someone to Watch Over Me'), with the occasional 16th-century madrigal thrown in. Based in New York's East Village, the group is composed of singers and musicians with wide ranges of experience and musical backgrounds Symphony Space and at Madison Square Garden Theater. Vocal Heights was awarded Best Original Song at the 2007 New York regional Harmony Sweeps for Optimism, written by co-Director Erik Levitt.

Members: Andrea Au, Ken Brady, Laura Dunn, Mindy Gordon, Susan Jeffers, Lauren Kuczala, Erik Levitt, Jim Longo
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2008 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.

Margaret Dorn   

Margaret Dorn is an award- winning singer, composer, arranger and producer whose work encompasses the recording industry, commercials, film and television, theater, night clubs and the concert stage. As a versatile vocalist and musician she covers a broad range of styles. She has sung with many artists including Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, k.d. lang, Carly Simon, Michael McDonald, Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Ross, Rosanne Cash, Lucie Arnaz, Garth Brooks and The Chieftains. She recently toured the US and Australia with Bette Midler. A highly respected writer and vocal arranger, Margaret’s work includes pop, rock, country, jazz, gospel, r&b, classical, theatrical and some styles that can’t be defined! She has written the score for a new musical, “Faraway Bayou”, featured in the NAMT festival in 2006. She’s always writing and arranging for her elegantly eclectic a cappella group THE ACCIDENTALS. Award winners on both coasts (Back Stage Bistro and 3 MAC Awards in New York; 3 CARA s ), The Accidentals won the Harmony Sweepstakes National Championship-sweeping all the categories in the New York Regional and 3 of the four categories in the National Sweepstakes. With 5 CDs (produced by Margaret), theater and cabaret shows, TV and film scores, and TV appearances (Denis Leary’s “Merry F#$%in’ Christmas”), The AX is still rockin’!

Ray Leslee   

Ray Leslee is an award winning composer and music director. His compositions for the theatre include AVENUE X, the a cappella musical, (Playwrights Horizons) about racial tensions in New York City circa 1963. “Rediscovering what musicals are all about!” –The NY Times. After an extended run Off-Broadway, AVENUE X went on to some 50 productions around the world winning Best Musical in Dallas, Austin, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles (Ovation Awards) and Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award for Best Musical 1997. He produced the cast album for RCA Victor/BMG Classics. His cabaret musical STANDUP SHAKESPEARE was directed by Mike Nichols for Off-Broadway and revived in 2005 starring Alfred Molina, F. Murray Abraham and Alice Ripley. A GOOD MAN, a blues musical about a Mississippi tenant farmer, premiered in 2006 at the Vienna Chamber Opera in Austria. ROMEO & JULIET FOR ORCHESTRA & ACTORS was performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic and the New Haven Symphony orchestras. As an 18-year-old rock & roll pianist, he toured with such legendary performers as Jay and The Americans, The Platters, Leslie Gore, The Shirelles, The Drifters, The Capris, and Eddie Floyd. Among many awards and commissions Ray received The Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theatre Award in 1997 and was honored at Lincoln Center for his contribution to the American theatre.

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.

Complete list of 2008 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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