2013 Participating Groups
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.
Members: Tyson Biggerstaff, Jason T. Caffarella, Justin Diller, Chris Dobson, CJ Mickens, Jason Simms
| Uptown 4|
The Uptown 4 - What started out as four friends singing in their backyards has become one of the fastest-growing A Cappella quartets in the Northwest. The Uptown 4, based out of Renton, Washington, has been described as "having a natural, raw quality and talent" and "one of the best quartets in a long time." The Uptown 4 is consistently working on new music, finding ways to bring unique style and personality to their arrangements. They perform an extensive repertoire of music, spanning a range of different styles from Fifties Doo-Wop and Standards to modern-day Top 40 hits. They have performed at events and venues across the country, from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, California. They were even given priority auditions at NBC's "The Sing-Off" and "America's Got Talent".
The Mission of The Uptown 4 is to bring the joy of harmony to people of all ages and prove that A Cappella will continue to be one of the best forms of music for generations to come.
Members: Chris Taylor, Jeffrey McGlinn, Jeff Weister, Jesse Lewis
| Bodacious Ladyhood|
Bodacious Ladyhood is a Seattle-based trio of women who have been singing together since 2002. Carolyn, Loretta and Jenny are excited to be back for their fourth time at Sweeps, having placed in the top three in their prior three appearances! They have opened for The Baudboys and have performed at Chateau Ste. Michelle (and on live, national radio) as guests on "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." They have been called "distinctive", "vibrant-voiced", and "show-stopping." Bodacious Ladyhood is three parts harmony, one part comedy and a whole lot of fun.
Members: Loretta Deranleau Howard, Carolyn Hastings, Jenny Buehler
| Shot in the Dark|
In June of 2012, six transplants from all different corners of the US found a shared passion for singing in Seattle. Starting out as strangers who sometimes sing together, they quickly evolved into singers who will never again be strangers. In sharing a passion for music, a cappella and otherwise, they became Shot in the Dark.
Singing everything from dance hits to country ballads, Shot in the Dark has made it their mission to not only share their love of a cappella, but to make everyone else love it, too! Individually, they are a doctor, a writer, a designer, a scientist, a soccer player and a redhead. Together, they have six voices that create one sound.
Members: Caitlin Nelson, Divya Mehta, Jessica Michele, Ann Trigg, Nathan Pierce, Van Lang Pham
| 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: Ramsay "RC" Cowlishaw, Eric "EC" Chung, Mike "MM" Mendyke, Roy "RR" Raser
||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 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.
Angi Swan has been accompanying since age nine. She has played piano for numerous soloists , events, and choirs, including the Masterworks Choral Ensemble. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, earned her Kodaly certification at the University of St. Thomas, and is currently working toward her masters in music education from Kent State University. She is the Director of Music at the First United Methodist Church of Olympia, where she directs the bell choir and Contemporary choir, and she teaches K-5 vocal music in the Olympia School District. Angi and her husband, Patrick, live in Olympia and have three daughters.
Complete list of 2013 participants
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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 12 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
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
info (at) mce.org