25th 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.

2009 Pacific Northwest Champions

Rezonate

Rezonate The premiere a cappella group from Eugene, Oregon, the gentlemen of Rezonate sing R&B, Gospel, Pop, Soul, Jazz, Funk, and even some Hard Rock, including deftly arranged covers and original songs. The group started singing together as Rezonate in December 2004, and have sung at many venues since. At the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals in May of 2009, Rezonate won both Third Place and the coveted award for Best Original Arrangement. With thick, lush, true six and seven part harmonies and a difficulty level second to none, Rezonate can evoke the smooth sounds of the Four Freshman, the rockin' edge of the Goo Goo Dolls, or the pop excitement of acts like Bruno Mars and Owl City.

2009 Results
1st
Rezonate
2nd
Strangers in Harmony
3rd
Essence of Larynx
Audience Favorite
Rezonate
Best Original Arrangement
"Ghost Train" - Rezonate


2009 Participating Groups

Chanteuse
Chanteuse is made up of six wonderful women with a common love of a cappella music, gourmet meals, and early harvest varietals. Founded in 2000, the Olympia-based group sings an eclectic range of music from standards to popular (and sometimes not so popular) music. Best known around town for their singing Valentines, Chanteuse has performed for many local festivals and fairs, including ArtsWalk, the Christmas Forest, Oysterfest, and the Olympia Farmer's Market. Chanteuse is thrilled to be competing at the Harmony Sweepstakes for the first time and hopes to do Olympia proud!

Members: Jan Smallwood, Margaret Eby, Teresa Fowlkes, Christine Salvador, Liz Frawley, Barbara Campbell
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Essence of Larynx
he Larynx is that thing in your throat that makes noise, enabling speech, singing, yodeling, and Wookiee sounds. The voice box. Essence of Larynx makes noises with theirs, a selection of larynxes (larynges?) renown for their function if not for their form. Essence of Larynx also employs tongue, lips, teeth, and sometimes that thingy that hangs down in the back of the throat to create unique musical constructions. Their larynges (larynxes?) don't mind the assistance, since some of the stuff that comes out is a little strange, and it's nice to have more visible parts of the vocal tract take the blame for the nonsense.

Members: Tim Jones, Kai Robinson, Bryce Robinson, Judy Lambino, Jaason Guffey
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Rezonate
Rezonate The premiere a cappella group from Eugene, Oregon, the gentlemen of Rezonate sing R&B, Gospel, Pop, Soul, Jazz, Funk, and even some Hard Rock, including deftly arranged covers and original songs. The group started singing together as Rezonate in December 2004, and have sung at many venues since. At the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals in May of 2009, Rezonate won both Third Place and the coveted award for Best Original Arrangement. With thick, lush, true six and seven part harmonies and a difficulty level second to none, Rezonate can evoke the smooth sounds of the Four Freshman, the rockin' edge of the Goo Goo Dolls, or the pop excitement of acts like Bruno Mars and Owl City.

Listen to: Ghost Train | Listen to: Book of Love

Members: Aaron Matthew, Chris Dobson, David Fertal, Jason Caffarella, Tyson Biggerstaff, Justin Diller
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Strangers in Harmony
Strangers in Harmony is a vocal quintet from Portland, Oregon. Since 2009 The Strangers have been delighting audiences all over greater Portland with their memorable original music and classic crowd-pleasing covers. In 2010 Strangers in Harmony took top honors in the prestigious "Portland's Got Talent" contest. Five guys from different musical and geographical backgrounds come together to make music. That's Strangers in Harmony.

Members: Eric Chung, Ramsay "RD" Cowlishaw, Jeremy Davidson, Shawn Dudley, Mike Mendyke
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V-Chords
V-Chords has roots as far back as 2001 when Jeremy, Chris and Mike sang together in Pendleton, Oregon with Second Chance Singers. After relocating to Portland several years later, they formed V-Chords by joining forces with Bryan, Dave and Josh. They have performed throughout the region and are looking forward to many wonderful venues in the coming year. In 2007, V-Chords was proud to represent the Pacific Northwest Region at the National Harmony Sweepstakes Competition in San Rafael, CA.

Members: Jeremy Miller, Chris Moore, Bryan Podwys, Dave Edwards, Josh Killingsworth, Mike Telfer
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2009 Judges

Scott Farrell   

Scott Farrell, A Northwest native, has been a professional actor, singer, music director and teacher for over 40 years. As a featured singer he has appeared in theatres and nightclubs around this world, including New York City, Miami, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, London and Bermuda, For sixteen years he was music director for Greg Thompson Productions, one of the largest producers of staged revue shows in the world, where he arranged and directed over 50 world-class productions He is a former music faculty member at The Evergreen State college, where he directed the college’s choral group, The Evergreen Singers. Based out of Seattle, with an additional studio in Olympia, Scott currently provides private and group vocal experiences through his company, Harmonic Oasis LLC, helping people connect more deeply with their vocal selves.

Bill Gibson   

Bill Gibson, President of Northwest Music and Recording, has spent the last 30 years writing, recording, producing, and teaching music. As demonstrated in his new series of six books and DVDs (The Hal Leonard Recording Method) Bill has developed unique insights into the techniques and procedures that produce extremely high-quality audio. Keep an eye out for Bill's new book with Quincy Jones, titled Q on Producing Music.

Kevin Kunz   

Kevin studied jazz piano and voice at Central Washington University and studied under nationally renowned director, John Mowad. After college, Kevin jumped into radio jingle and commercial singing, while playing jazz and pop keyboards and singing in clubs and lounges in the 80’s. Kevin joined with his brother in 2000 and formed Groove For Thought, which went on to win the coveted 2005 National Harmony Sweepstakes championship. Groove for Thought has gone on to star in NBC’s The Sing Off Season 2 and continues a very successful musical career.

With numerous songwriting awards, album credits for writing and arranging, including arranging for string ensembles and horn sections, 2 CARA Awards and 3 more nominations for 2107, he is very active in the local music scene.

Kevin formed Straighter Road in 2012. The 6 vocalists of SR come from very diverse vocal backgrounds and experiences and blending them together resulted in being named 2015 Pacific Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes Champions, their very first competition ever, and then on to with the National Harmony Sweepstakes Competition award 2 months later in SanFrancisco, competing against the very best groups from around the country, while also bring home the award for Best Arrangement!

Joan Levitin   

Joan Levitin is an active member and one of the Musical Leaders of the award-winning Pacific Sound Chorus. As a member of Sweet Adelines International, she is a Certified Director, a Certified Expression Judge and a Panel Chair. Joan was the front-line director of Jet Cities Chorus for over seven years and was the lead in eight regional medalist quartets. She presently serves on the Education Direction Team for her region and is an active coach and faculty representative as well.

Dan Schumacher   

Dan Schumacher is a member of The Bobs, an accappella group based in San Francisco, California. The tallest Bob to date, Dan was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and studied vocal jazz and opera. He sang with vocal groups Monkey Puzzle and Kickshaw (with Blake Lewis) before joining the Bobs, with whom he often sings his socks off (apologies for the smell). He doesn’t fit in most rental cars.

Complete list of 2009 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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