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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.

2003 Pacific Northwest Champions

Second Chance

Second Chance was formed in June of 2001 in Pendleton, Oregon. The group originally consisted of four members, but later added a fifth, bringing in vocal percussion. The membership of the group changed continually in a persistent search for the right combination of voices to produce the best sound. The group went through some more personnel changes during the 2001-2002 school year before arriving at the group you will hear tonight. In addition to local performances, Second Chance has performed in San Francisco, Hawaii, and all over the northwestern United States. They attended the West Coast Summit, an A Cappella conference in San Francisco, and are scheduled to debut there this fall. Second Chance has become one of the northwest’s fastest growing a cappella groups.

2003 Results
1st
Second Chance
2nd
Groove For Thought
3rd
Sound Design
Audience Favorite
Groove For Thought
Best Original Arrangement
Groove for Thought


2003 Participating Groups

Groove For Thought
Infectious grooves, stunning arrangements, and electrifying solos are just some of the phrases used to describe Seattle based vocal group Groove For Thought. Since 1998, GFT has brought their unique brand of jazz and R&B infused tunes to festival, concert, school, and nightclub audiences throughout the United States and abroad.

Members: Randy Taylor, Hannah Vierness, James Niles, Kelly Kunz, Kevin Kuna, Jeff Horenstein
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Double Deuce
Double Deuce was formed in 1998 by four experienced singers. In the beginning they concentrated on the barbershop style but as time went on they incorporated contemporary harmonies from groups like the Four Freshman and the gospel sounds of The Gaither Quartet. Working exclusively a cappella, they have entertained audiences throughout the Northwest thrilling audiences with their fast paced act that includes everything from music to choreography to comedy.

Members: Matt Yorkston, Rick Smith, Dan Evans, Jerry Potter
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Double Shot
Double Shot is Olympia’s newest quartet! We decided to start blending our voices merely days before the entry deadline for the Sweepstakes. We are having a great time and looking forward to making a bunch of music together. We have all enjoyed being involved in different musical and artistic activities over the years including singing a cappella music, playing the piano, dancing and rock-and-rolling in a Beatle Band. Mother/daughter combo, Stephanie and Amber, have enjoyed singing together most recently in a local, female, a cappella group called Chanteuse. Tony and Jon, formerly of The Akafellas, are thrilled to be singing a cappella music again.

Members: Tony Benjamins, Stephanie Claire, Jon Morgan, Amber Riley
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Mockingbird
Mockingbird is comprised of three good friends who have brought together their musical interests and diversity to form a blend of three-part a cappella harmonies straight from their hearts. They have been making music together for almost eight years and sing a delightful mix of songs, from the Shaker traditional “Simple Gifts” to 50’s “doo-wop” songs to lovely ballads to silly songs such as the audience favorite “Co-Dependent With You,” plus several originals. Each of the women has a wonderful voice, but when they sing together the combination of intricate harmonies and lovely voices and will send chills up your spine. Mockingbird has released three CDs—Drenched, Magic Everywhere and We 3. Last year they placed third at the Harmony Sweepstakes NW Regional A Cappella Festival.

Members: Robin Wallbridge, Sherrie Lutsch, Lesley Rigg
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Second Chance
Second Chance was formed in June of 2001 in Pendleton, Oregon. The group originally consisted of four members, but later added a fifth, bringing in vocal percussion. The membership of the group changed continually in a persistent search for the right combination of voices to produce the best sound. The group went through some more personnel changes during the 2001-2002 school year before arriving at the group you will hear tonight. In addition to local performances, Second Chance has performed in San Francisco, Hawaii, and all over the northwestern United States. They attended the West Coast Summit, an A Cappella conference in San Francisco, and are scheduled to debut there this fall. Second Chance has become one of the northwest’s fastest growing a cappella groups.

Listen to: Sand Down My Pants | Listen to: Go Tell It On The Mountain

Members: Mike Telfer, Jeremy Miller, Chris Moore, Kevin Tesch, Micah Barton
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Sound Design

Sound Design is a barbershop quartet from the Illinois District of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Pete sings lead, Doug sings bass, Tim sings baritone, and Dave sings tenor.



Members: Carolyn Huber, Katy Sansburn, Judy Widener, Sue Beck
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Tied A Cappella
Tied A Cappella was formed in October 2002. Their diverse style consists of modern contemporary and pop styles as well as original compositions. Members of the group originate from four states in the Northwest region: Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Utah. Ryan Brierley, the vocal percussionist, finds himself with great job security since we can’t afford a drum set. James Case, “The Super Bass”, constantly seeks companionship through his Barry White impression. Todd Becraft, the baritone, thinks hair is overrated, and thus has none. Ben Wischmeier, the lead tenor, is single. Scott Tavares, tenor, is the glue that holds our sound together—at least that is what he tells us!. Finally, Branden McKnight, sings sky tenor and will gladly take on any soprano.

Members: Branden McNight, Scott Tavares, Ben Wischeimer, Todd Becraft, James Case, Ryan Brierley
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Witherspoon
Witherspoon was formed in 1993 by four sisters ages 7, 9, 10, and 13. Though originally an a cappella group, they have expanded their repertoire to also include instrumental accompaniment. Their fresh unique style appeals to all listeners. Their sound is fresh, exciting, and full of sweet harmony. Producing songs with a positive outlook, Witherspoon wants their music to be an inspiration to all who hear it. Witherspoon’s goal is to share their talent and positive outlook on life with as many people in as many places as possible. Wherever music is, Witherspoon wants to be there.

Members: Erica Witherspoon, Tasha Witherspoon, Tamara Witherspoon, Krista Witherspoon
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2003 Judges

Randy Poff   

Randy Poff is choir director at North Thurston High School. He has instructed choirs at the middle and high school levels during his 29-year career. His choirs have received many honors including superior ratings and outstanding choir at district music competitions. A number of ensembles from North Thurston have been selected to perform at state levels competitions. Mr. Poff has also been asked to adjudicate at a variety of music competitions over the years. Mr. Poff has developed the North Thurston Jazz Choir into one of the areas most popular singing ensembles. Their repertoire if popular, classical and jazz songs have been well received by audiences throughout our city and state. Randy Poff lives in Olympia with his wife, Teri, and their 3 children Shannon, Kelly and Colin.

Dottee Rambo   

Dottee Rambo, a Certified Director of Sweet Adelines International, has been a member of the Olympia Chapter Sweet Adelines since 1968. She has been co-director of the chorus since 1998. She has taken advantage of many music education opportunities offered by Sweet Adelines International, including attending the International Education Symposium each of the past 5 years, which is every time it has been offered. She has been a member of several Sweet Adeline quartets and has coached quartets. She is a member of the National Choral Directors Association.

Dan Schwartz   

Dan Schwartz is in his tenth year as choral director for Olympia High School. He is also a private voice instructor. As a member of ACDA and WMEA, he has adjudicated many choral contests and festivals. Dan has sung barbershop with the Schwartz Brothers since he was just a little guy (It's a family thing).

Terrence Shaw   

Terrence Shaw is currently the choral director at Timberline High School in the North Thurston School District. Mr. Shaw is the founder and director of the Olympia Choral Society. He also directs the Olympia Youth Chorus Junior Choir, is the musical director for the Wrinkles of Washington, accompanist and musical director for numerous local musical productions and the organist at Olympia's Westmister Presbyterian Church. In his spare time, Mr. Shaw enjoys coaching football, flying, and spending time with his wife and son.

Matthew Stull   

Matthew Stull began performing in summer stock at 16 in Bergen County, New Jersey. He studied Acting and Directing at Ohio University in the professional training program. After moving to California he continued acting and directing in San Francisco. In 1981 he formed the singing group The Bobs with his friend and fellow singing telegram partner Gunnar Madsen and Richard Greene for something to do in between acting and directing jobs. 22 years later The Bobs continue to perform both nationally and internationally and are currently collaborating with The Flying Karamozov Brothers an internationally touring juggling group on a show called "A Comedy of Eras" Matthew also has a jazz combo based out of Seattle, WA. called Vic and Nick.

Complete list of 2003 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 :

Gary Witley (Pacific Northwest) The Pacific Northwest Regional Festival is sponsored and produced by Masterworks Choral Ensemble (MCE). Gary Witley is the Artistic Director & Conductor of MCE. MCE is a Southwestern Washington community chorus dedicated to performance, community service, music education and leadership in the arts. Our mission is to perform sacred and secular choral, orchestral and newly commissioned works; to participate in community service activities and to provide a leadership role in developing, sponsoring and broadening the vocal arts.

PO Box 1091, Olympia, WA 98501-1090
360-339-0532
info (at) mce.org


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