30th Annual

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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 New York Champions

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.

2014 Results
1st
The Quintessential Five
2nd
Vocal Motion Six
3rd
Rsix
Audience Favorite
Satellite Lane
Best Original Arrangement
"Tales of War" - Quintessential Five
Best Original Song
"Tales of War" - Quintessential Five


2014 Participating Groups

Feedback
Feedback is an NYC based a cappella group specializing in Top 40, RnB, & Jazz. Feedback incorporates jazz harmony and contemporary a cappella techniques to create a unique take on top 40 and RnB songs. Music director Michael Gullo pulled together a core group of friends from the University of Miami, and added some extra strength from the NYC circuit to fill out the ranks. All of our members reside in New York City.

Members: Sam Nulton, Michael Gullo, Garrett Philbin, Kevin Rose, Alec Galambos, Doug Larsen
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Loose Interpretations New York
Loose Interpretations is an all female a cappella group hailing from New York City. We are made up of women from all types of professional and performing backgrounds with a common love for a cappella music, and have been making music together for 8 years. We perform throughout New York City, everywhere from public parks, to famous rock clubs like Cafe Wha? and Arlene's Grocery, to the Metropolitan Opera House. We arrange 95% of the music we perform and love looking for new and interesting ways to interpret contemporary music.

Members: Jen Kipley, Laura Campbell, Stacia Woodcock, Emilie Bandy, Lara Paquette, Reynetta Sampson, Heather Glotzer, Dana Kraugh
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Low Key
Whether its classic doo-wop or current pop hits, Low Key loves to sing anywhere and everywhere, bringing that barrel aged, high hopped blend that gets people out of their comfort zones and into a new sonic experience. Since beginning in 2011, Low Key has grown in scope and artistry, winning third place in 2013s NY Harmony Sweepstakes and performing in a stream of private gigs and public performances across the NY Metro area. From Rockwood Music Hall to private celebrations to the Mulberry Street sidewalk, the Low Key Effect takes ahold of friends and strangers alike.

Members: Sam Orleans, Will Moller, Josh Springer, Ben Piper, Mike Ogurick, Cheiku Camara, Adam Zamora
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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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Rsix
The majority of RSix came together while singing in Restated, a co-ed semi-professional a cappella group based in New York City. Though that is how most of the group met, they are their own powerful entity, especially with the addition of a friend and seventh beautiful voice. Comprised of versatile performers and veteran a cappella musicians, the women of RSix love bringing their talents together to make fun, dynamic music, and they hope you enjoy their soulful sound and boundless energy.

Members: Candice Leigh Helfand, Meg Tirrell, Lily Graf, Asami Kondo, Melissa Paul, Sarah Bill, Anna Concepcion, Sarah Primmer
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Satellite Lane
Satellite Lane is a Long Island-based a cappella group that currently belongs to the Contemporary A cappella League. Made up of seven teachers, Satellite Lane specializes in spreading a cappella education to music programs and performing spontaneous original compositions. In March 2013, Satellite Lane competed in the New York Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, where they won "Audience Favorite," "Best Arrangement," and a special "Honorable Mention" for originality. Currently, they are working on their first studio album and several original music videos.

Members: Marc Silverberg, Christine Benedetti, Mara Stomber, Andrew Duca, Andrew Fallu, Melanie Malusa, Alex Forte
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Stiletta
This NYC-based, all female sextet is known for combining pop leads, rich harmonies, and hip-hop dance moves. Stiletta members boast multiple off-broadway and voice-over credits, and everything from WAMMY and CARA awards, to original cast recordings for "Memphis" and "Dora the Explorer". Beatboxer, MC Beats made a show-stopping entry into the beatbox community in 2012 when she was ranked 3rd best female beatboxer in the world at the Beatbox Battle World Championship in Germany. Stiletta's director, Judy Minkoff, also directs both the DC and Chicago Single Singers at the SingStrong a cappella music festival. Stiletta is dynamic, high-energy, and these ladies will show you they have the moves, the grooves and even the shoes.

Members: Julie Seda, Judy Fontana, Meg Lanzarone, Haley Clair, MC Beats
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Vocal Motion Six
Anyone who has not experienced the phenomenon of VMSIX (Vocal Motion Six) cannot imagine the profound effect the spirit of this group will have upon them. Nor can it be described. As they say, you have to be there! All we can do is describe their effect on others! The group is represented with one Female and Four men. In 1999 the group was among the 537 groups nationwide who auditioned for the Namibia National Music Makers Competition. Chosen as one of the 37 finalists, they traveled 700km southwest to the capitol, Windhoek. There, in a televised broadcast, they won 2 awards for Best Vocal Group and First Place overall Artist of the Year, winning the opportunity to record their first album in 1999. VMSIX journey is remarkable

Members: Vasco M. Mario, Jones M.Mario, Lilani Kisting, Mark M. Chizyuka
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Your Emcee for the Evening

Steve “The Whistler” Herbst

Steve “The Whistler” Herbst has been dazzling audiences with his artistic whistling for over 50 years. A remarkable three-octave range matches his enormous stylistic range, which encompasses classical music, jazz, blues, pop, and Broadway. At the 2002 International Whistlers Competition, Steve won International Grand Champion; and at the 2003, 2004, and 2005 Conventions, he was awarded the coveted title, International Whistling Entertainer of the Year (the first person ever to win 3X). In 2007, he was named to the Whistlers Hall of Fame, the highest honor a whistler can receive. These awards acknowledge not just his competitive excellence, but also his winning international acceptance for this musical art form wherever he performs.

Steve has appeared on "The Today Show", CBS-TV's "Early Show" and "Sunday Morning," plus “Good Morning America.” He was also featured in and narrated the award-winning documentary film, “Pucker-Up – The Fine Art of Whistling.” Other performances have included The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall; several appearances with the late, great Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club; Bird Land; The Cotton Club; and Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar; plus several TV commercials. His debut CD, Broadway and Beyond is in its third edition. When he’s not whistling, Steve is a singing member of, and a frequent soloist with, the University Glee Club of NYC. Steve lives in NYC with his wife, Melinda where he teaches and coaches whistling for all levels of students.

2014 Judges

Dr. Charles Beale   

Dr. Charles Beale - Jazz musician, choral director, clinician and writer, Dr. Charles Beale joined the 250-strong New York City Gay Men's Chorus as Artistic Director in September 2007. His time with NYCGMC so far has been characterized by a confident open sound, a more relaxed and interactive style with audiences and innovative programming that has included everything from Beyonce’s Single Ladies and Benjamin Britten, to Broadway show favorites and traditional South African songs. NYCGMC’s Connect Program reaches out to all five boroughs and includes everything from street performances to singalongs with LGBTQ elders and singing interventions with Brooklyn women living with HIV. A specialist in pop and jazz singing and dance music session musician, his recent ground-breaking book, Popular Voiceworks, co-authored with Steve Milloy and published by Oxford, was voted best Pop Music Publication of 2008 by the Retail Music Association of the UK. It’s follow-up, Popular Voiceworks 2, came out in 2012. Since 2000, Charlie has given clinics on jazz and choral singing in the UK, the Far East, Australasia and of course the US and Canada.

Emily Borromeo   

Emily Borromeo is a native of the sunny Bay Area, California and currently lives in NYC pursuing an acting and singing career. She graduated with a degree in Business Organizations and Entrepreneurship from Brown University and was awarded the William Weston Award for Outstanding Performance in Theater. Emily's love for a cappella manifested at an early age, when she was a freshman in high school. New to the a cappella scene, but armed with determination and raw talent, she formed a quartet with her good friends and they were featured on the Best Of High School A Cappella album that year. While at Brown, she was the proud leader of the co-ed a cappella group "The Higher Keys" with whom she won "Best Soloist" at The International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Most recently, Emily formed the female group Element, and appeared with them on NBC's "The Sing Off." The ladies of Element performed on "The Sing Off Tour" and just released their first self-titled album. Emily continues to perform in the city in various musical workshops, concerts, and cabarets, and all over the world with her 1940s swing vocal trio The Manhattan Dolls.

Debbi Burdett    

As a director, performing artist, and professional consultant through her company, DB Creative Consulting, Debbi Burdett is currently involved in the marketing and website design for NOT YOUR TIME, a short film featured at numerous film festivals, and a similar project with A JOURNEY TO JOY, a CD of spiritually engaging songs. Her directorial credits include - The Dysfunctional Pianist, Three Guys, Three Girls and A Diva, Take Five, Take Five More and numerous cabaret and nightclub acts. She has been the director of The WestSide Youth Choir, which was heard in the feature film HOUSEHOLD SAINTS. She has been featured in numerous musicals and plays, most notably as Cleo in THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, the Soprano in Terrance McNally's PRELUDES and Ruth in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE and Katisha in THE MIKADO. Additionally, Debbi is very proud to have coached NY Harmony Sweeps competitors, Dobosonfly, and Stay Tuned, who placed 3rd at the 1999 competition. Debbi has performed to wildly enthusiastic crowds in her one woman show throughout the United States. Her work continues to be a dedication to Bob & Eugene: "They continue to teach me all I know."

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.

Garth Kravits    

Garth Kravits is an American actor, singer, musician and composer. Kravits is best known for making his Broadway debut in the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, with his brother Jason Kravits. On television, Kravits has guest starred on the NBC series 30 Rock, the CBSdrama series Hostages, theNBC pilot Tin Man, The CW series The Carrie Diaries, theCBS series Nash Bridges andThe Hollywood Squares. He appeared in the film Sweet November with Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron. Kravits has appeared in the Off-Broadway productions of Old Jews Telling Jokes and Toxic Audio Loudmouth; regionally in Gettin’ The Band Back; Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry and It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry (Bucks County Playhouse); The Producers (Gateway Playhouse) and Happy Days: A New Musical (Goodspeed Opera House); and as Benny Southstreet in the regional tour of Guys and Dolls. In addition to acting, Kravits toured the country for 7 years as a member of the San Francisco group the House Jacks. They are billed as "the original rock band without instruments". Kravits' vocals and original compositions are featured on the albums "Drive" (2001), "Unbroken" (2003), Fitchy & Grikko (2005). A multi-instrumentalist, Kravits plays piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussion, banjo and ukelele.

Dave Revels   

Dave Revels has been an entertainer for over 40 years, performing all over the world. He has worked in several genres of music from Reggae, Country, Rock and Roll, Soul to Calypso, where he recorded for several years with calypso legend The Mighty Sparrow. In the U.S., he was a member of the The Drifters during the 1980’s and He also wrote the music for a musical “Love Potion #10" which was showcased in Las Vegas. Dave is presently a member of the legendary a cappella group, The Persuasions; he is the group's arranger and producer on several of their record releases which include the music of The Grateful Dead, U2, Blues legend J.J. Cale and their latest CD release, “Knockin’ On Bob’s Door,” featuring the works of Bob Dylan. He is also the composer of a nationally acclaimed patriotic song, Stand Up America, which is performed nationwide by his Stand Up America “One World” Children Chorus. Mr. Revels is also the founder and director for the Stand Up America Goodwill tour which has performed free concerts across America for our troops and their families. Mr. Revels is also an author, having written a book entitled “Mastering the Art of Life Entertainment.” The book is a valuable tool to young people or anyone interested in learning about the skills necessary to establishing a rapport with an audience.


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 :

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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