27th 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.

2011 National Finals Champions

Da Capo

The da Capo Vocal Band Born out of the Binghamton University a cappella community, da Capo is a high powered, raucous male vocal band founded in the fall of 2000 committed to bringing professional a cappella to central New York. Literally translated, da Capo means "from the beginning" and the group aims to stay true to its roots: award winning groups with an emphasis on entertainment and fun for their audience while expanding their sound to creative new heights. A full, rich sound, intense percussion, outstanding vocalists and an eclectic repertoire make da Capo a group to look for in the future.

2011 Results

1st
Da Capo
2nd
Vybration
3rd
Brass Farthing
Audience Favorite
Da Capo
Best Original Arrangement
"Route 66" arr. Deke Sharon, Vybration
Best Original Song
"Monsters & Animals" - Emily Bedal, Throat


2011 Participating Groups

Pacific Northwest

The Baudboys

Back around 1990, a couple of the founding members of the coed Microtones decided that they wanted to form a men's a cappella group at Microsoft so that they could sing the charts from their college groups. The original quartet consisted John Rae-Grant, bass and musical director, Bill Pope, baritone, Bob Gunderson, 2nd tenor, and David Olsen, 1st tenor. True to their profession, the group's chosen name, The Baudboys, referred to the method by which modem speeds were rated. The group performed only a few times in its first years of existence, doing lunch time gigs on the Microsoft campus.

As members left Microsoft over the years, they would also leave the Baudboys, prompting natural turnover in the membership. During the 1990's, the group expanded it's membership, aiming to have two full quartets within the group. Since that time, the group has remained at 7-9 members, but the expanded membership has allowed the group to sing more complex arrangements than the 4-part charts that the founders envisioned.

Members: Elliot Lewis, Dave McEwen, Jon Schwartz, Mark Adolph, Paul Eng, Martin Puryear, Mike Thomsen, Owen Braun

Bay Area

Brass Farthing

Brass Farthing is a group of stalwart lads brought together to sing songs, raise good cheer, and otherwise make merry in the company of friends both old and new. We take our inspiration from many periods and enjoy performing historical, traditional, and contemporary compositions in traditional styles.

George started the group in August 2006. We first performed at the Dickens Chistmas Fair and have performed there every year. We cut our self-published CD "Brass Farthing" in summer 2007. We also perform at the Northern California Ren Faire, Steam Punk Conventions and local bars.

Members: Chris Callahan, George Chlentzos, Mark Donnelly, Jim Partridge, Tazz Richards, Bill Roper, Ben Wilson, Rory Alden

Chicago

Brotherhood Singers

The Brotherhood Singers (from Covington, KY and Cincinnati, OH) are among the very few remaining quartet style groups that still perform in the old-school acappella fashion. The Singers specialize in the intricate and emotional four-part harmony "jubilee" style pioneered by such legendary groups as the Dixie Hummingbirds. the Golden Gate Quartet, the Soul Stirrers and The Harptones of Cincinnati. The Brotherhood Singers started singing at the 9th Street Baptist Church in Covington, KY in 1986 and has performed in churches, secular music venues and television spots throughout the U.S., Canada and in Spain (which they have toured 17 times).

Members: Ric Jennings, Greg Page, Stace Darden, Demetrius Davenport, Eric Riley

Mid-Atlantic

Da Capo

The da Capo Vocal Band Born out of the Binghamton University a cappella community, da Capo is a high powered, raucous male vocal band founded in the fall of 2000 committed to bringing professional a cappella to central New York. Literally translated, da Capo means "from the beginning" and the group aims to stay true to its roots: award winning groups with an emphasis on entertainment and fun for their audience while expanding their sound to creative new heights. A full, rich sound, intense percussion, outstanding vocalists and an eclectic repertoire make da Capo a group to look for in the future.

Members: Tony Colosimo, Wayne Adams, Joe Sawyer, Ryan Griffith

Boston

Overboard

Founded in the spring of 2006 by current director Nicholas Girard, Overboard is a male a cappella group from Boston, MA. Although Overboard's repertoire consists primarily of contemporary pop/rock songs, including covers from such artists as Rascall Flatts, Stevie Wonder and The Beatles, the group remains true to its a cappella roots and continues to perform classic selections such as "Blue Moon," "In The Still of the Night" and "Stand By Me."

First conceived as a street performance group intent on entertaining audiences around coastal New England during the summer months, Overboard has come a long way in a short time. The group's first album, Shipwrecked, was recorded in Nick's living room and was released during that first summer. Shipwrecked was distributed during frequent busking stops in Newburyport, MA; Freeport, ME and Burlington, VT, as well as around the group's hometown of Boston.

Members: Jeff Eames, Nick Girard, Alfredo Austin III, Caleb Whelden, Scott Cobban

Rocky Mountain

Throat

Throat is a collective of singer-musicians that perform original music. Hard-rocking beats, cerebral songwriting and a full, in-your-face band sound...that just happens to all be produced without instruments. Throat is a vocal band that sings 100% original music. Influenced by great rock groups of the past 50 years, as well as the pioneers of the contemporary a cappella vocal band movement, THROAT is dedicated to performing fresh, rocking music for the masses.

Members: Emily Bedal, Peter Driscoll, Mister Tim, Matt Murphy, Kate Spencer

New York

Traces

With their expansive vocal range, vocal dynamics, tight harmonies, "female bass" and hard hitting percussion, this NY based group offers a variety of musical styles and continually push the envelope of female vocals. Their wide range of musical influences-Gospel, Contemporar, Christian, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Spirituals, Caribbean and African, just to name a few-has lead them to create a unique style all their own. Over the years, the group has had some amazing experiences including singing churches, colleges, prisons and festivals

Members: Keesha Gumbs, Sherene Campbell, Gbianka Kotee, Tamika Gumbs, Cindy Valerus

Los Angeles

Vybration

Vybration was formed in 2001 to perform at Disney's California Adventure under the name "Groove 66". The band quickly became the park's most popular atmosphere group. Its members are some of the most powerful, versatile, and in demand vocalists in all of Southern California with resume credits spanning from broadway, television, and film, to orignial rock bands, and pioneering modern music projects. Vybration is unlike many acapella sextets out there, covering a variety of music that includes traditional jazz tunes like Blue Skies and Fly Me to the Moon, rock n roll songs like Lenny Kravitz's Fly Away, pop hits such as Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin Something and many many more. All that have witnessed the magic in music that Vybration creates can tell you that, "Vybration is a force to be reckoned with!"

Members: Jill Burke, Bryan Chadima, Trist Curless, Laura Dickinson, Jeff Smith, Heather McMasters

2011 Judges

Phil Fetterman   

Phil co-hosts the Human Voice program on 91.5fm, KKUP radio (www.kkup.org), which has become the Bay Area’s premier radio showcase for vocal music. Since the Human Voice program began in the same year that the very first Harmony Sweepstakes competition was held (1985), they’ve always shared a mutual admiration for one another.

Phil has always had a passion for vocal harmony, he currently sings in a men’s quartet known as ‘Amen’, as well as a 9 voice mixed ensemble named ‘Heartsong’. He has been actively involved in music & media since the mid 1960’s. He sang with The De Anza Chorale and The Vintage Singers, each under the direction of Dr. Royal Stanton. Later, he was a singer and vocal arranger on 3 album projects for Banish Misfortune, a “Renaissance-Jazz”/folk group of the 1970’s & 1980’s. In the 1990’s, Phil hosted the morning drive “Breakfast Table” under the name Wayne Phillips on KFAX radio, San Francisco. He also did voice-over work and commercial production at both KFAX and KMKY/Radio Disney, Oakland. He also worked as the in-house anthem singer and music & effects coordinator for the San Jose Giants baseball organization. Then, in 2002, he was a videographer for the San Francisco Giants. Phil has also served previously as a judge in the Harmony Sweepstakes competition.

Shiloh Hobel   

Shiloh Hobel’s musical background as a singer, songwriter and musician inspired her to pursue a career in both the business production management and artistic sides of the industry and dedicated her passions to arts and education.

For over two decades Shiloh has earned a reputation as a respected music industry studio production manager and singer, earning numerous gold and multi-platinum awards for her business and vocal work with world-class recording studios and multi Grammy award winning record producer, Narada Michael Walden and the famed Record Plant Recording Studios. Selected clientele list includes: Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Lisa Fischer, Patti LaBelle, Barbra Streisand, Howard Hewett, Tevin Campbell, Shanice Wilson, George Benson, Journey, Heart, Starship, Rick James, Santana and Huey Lewis and the News and many others.

Craig Knudsen   

In 1999, Craig Knudsen founded the talent agency, Knudsen Productions and it quickly became one of the most highly regarded US agencies representing vocal ensembles (both national and international). His agency’s current roster features two recent Harmony Sweeps National Champions: Six Appeal (2012) – Grand Prize Winners of the 2018 A Cappella Moscow International Championship, and Women of the World (2014). Additional past and current representation includes the multi Grammy Award winning British a cappella legends, the Swingle Singers; the multi Grammy nominated British early music vocal ensemble, Stile Antico; the SF Bay Area’s beloved women’s vocal ensemble, KITKA; the legendary BOBS! (also Grammy nominated); The Choir of Clare College Cambridge; The Marian Consort; and ModernMedieval. For 11 years Craig also served as the music director of the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Project. In 2014, Craig was the recipient of the Arts Northwest “Coyote Award”, an award recognizing his “outstanding service to Arts Northwest and the western performing arts field”.

Raz Kennedy   

In the realms of vocal performance and singing instruction, Raz Kennedy has created a legacy for over 40 years that rivals the music industry’s finest. Acknowledged as “the premiere vocal coach in the Bay Area” by Narada Michael Walden (multi-platinum Grammy and Emmy winning producer and musician)his eclectic performance credits include serving as a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra and performing as a background vocalist on recordings for many legendary artists, including Whitney Houston and Al Jarreau, as well as on stage for Sting, Rebeca Mauleon, and Mickey Hart.

His depth of knowledge and expertise has positioned Raz to instruct a diverse roster of musical luminaries, from members of Metallica, to Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, Hilary Duff, Davey Havok of AFI, members of Los Tigres Del Norte, Tiffany Austin, the late Clarence Clemons from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and many more.

Michelle Weir   

Michelle Weir is one of the leading figures in vocal jazz today. She has earned international recognition through a diverse set of talents as arranger, teacher, singer and pianist.

Michele's vocal arrangements are performed by The Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, M-Pact, Beachfront Property, Chanticleer, Voice Trek and her orchestral works played by the Boston Pops, the Buffalo, Cincinnati and Pacific Symphonies, and others. Michele's educational arrangements are distributed by various publishers, including her own online publishing company, MichMusic. She was Vocal Producer for the Manhattan Transfer.

Currently serving on the faculty of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Michele taught previously at USC, CSU Long Beach, and the Phil Mattson School. Highly respected as a teacher and clinician, her work has taken her to more than 22 countries around the globe.

In her role as Music Supervisor for the DreamWorks film, Prince of Egypt, she journeyed through Europe and Asia overseeing music production for the film's foreign language dubs. Her solo CD with jazz guitarist Bruce Forman is titled, "The Sound of Music." Michele is a member of S.A.G., A.F.T.R.A., A.S.C.A.P. and N.A.R.A.S.


Complete list of 2011 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 be waived.

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2011 NATIONAL FINALS

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