39th Annual

Pacific Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, Seattle, washington state, olympia, acapella singing competition

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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.

March 11th, 2023 - 7.30pm

WASHINGTON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

512 Washington St. NW, Olympia, WA 98501

Hosted by

2022 Pacific Northwest Champions

Verdant

Verdant is a 6-member semi-professional a cappella group located in Eugene, Oregon, which was first established in 2016 under the direction of Cameron Graham-Mask.

Verdant brings together the unique musical stylings of each member to shape dynamic, compelling arrangements of songs from a variety of genres, including Top-40, indie rock, film soundtracks, and more.
Website



2023 Participating Groups

Highlight Quartet

Highlight Quartet is an all women's barbershop group focused on bringing fun interactive shows to audiences of all ages!

Members: Kat Erickson, Claire Cook, Asia Comeau, Leah Schremp

InVoice

Hailing from greater Portland OR and bringing together numerous backgrounds of vocal performance, 'InVoice' blends together 4 guys with the love of music in classical, choral, gospel, musical theater and of course barbershop styles to create a unique and exciting experience for the audience.

Members: Paul Carter, Jake Yoakum, Dean Waters, Kevin Stinson

Outpour

Outpour is envisions a community that emphasizes collaboration, connection, equity, and harmony. We will bring our community together through music and inspire our audience to invest in each other by sharing the stories of our neighbors and highlighting local resources for those I need.

Members: Jade Perry, Joette Dunnihoo , Rachel Border, Arthur Verdusco, Isaiah Ragland , Collin Donoghue , Jacob Cecil, Matthew Mayrhofer

The New Originals

The New Originals are an a capella quartet originating from Bellingham, WA in 2008 Starting as a Collegiate Barbershop Quartet, TNO has evolved into many different genres including vocal jazz, gospel, classic rock and top 40. With various members over the years they have been entertaining audiences over the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The New Originals also have acted as the house Barbershop Quartet for The Men's Room Radio Show on 99.9FM KISW in Seattle since 2014

Members: Ted Stiers, Turner Stiers, Josh Honrud, Kyle Mitchell

The Pillage People

Avast, me hearties! We be The Pillage People of Portland, Oregon. We sailed all the way here to sing, fight, talk like pirates, and attempt to steal the Prize they say be here, guarded only by a small team of judges. Be forewarned, for tonight ye'll hear original pirate songs, parody covers, bad jokes, and even worse pirate jokes. Those among ye of a certain respectable age, with a sharp eye (or two, if ye're lucky!), might observe that our crew bears a passing familiarity with a group once known around these parts as Strangers In Harmony. Tis merely a coincidence, I'm sure.

Members: RC Cowlishaw, Mike Haines, Mike Mendyke, Shawn Dudley, Roy Rasera

Up to Something Quartet

These ladies have been Up to Something since July of 2015. As members of Sweet Adelines Intl. they primarily sing in the Barbershop Style. It wasn't long before they agreed that comedy was the way to go for them. They are not your 'typical' quartet and have been known to do parodies and things just a little out of the ordinary. Their Comedic sets have earned them the Audience Choice Award for most entertaining quartet at the 2017, 2018 and 2022 Region 13 competitions. They placed 8th in the 2018 All Northwest Barbershop Contest. Their name fits them well. Anyone that knows them will agree, always expect the unexpected because they are always Up to Something!

Members: Deb Loundagin, Amy Ripee, Denise Thompson, B.Gail Hillyer

Your Emcee for the Evening

Raymond Dobson

Excited and honored to be returning yet again as emcee for Harmony Sweepstakes, Raymond grew up in southern California where he was exposed to a wide variety of musical genres. From the classical, opera and rock & roll that his mother would listen to while cleaning house on Saturdays (Mom loved Creedence!) to the traditional hymns sung at church on Sunday mornings and on to showtunes from musical theater productions and the harmonies of barbershop and doo-wop.

He has performed in various stage productions including “My Sister Eileen”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Guys and Dolls”, “The Music Man”, and “The Death (& Life) of Sneaky Fitch” and has also been an integral part of dramatic productions such as “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “Tobacco Road”, “Mister Roberts”, and “The Brick & The Rose”. He was a member of two southern California based quartets- Regular Boys Short (barbershop) and The South Bay Curve (doo-wop), as well as the comedy/folk duo The Men from Abdo (aka The Abdo-Men).

Raymond relocated to Olympia in 1990 and, after taking extended time away from performing (and after considerable prodding from his wife), Raymond returned to the stage fifteen years ago and can now be seen every December on this very stage “walking with style” as Herr Silberhaus in the local production of Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker” alongside his wife Jennifer.

He returned to singing ten years ago as a member of Masterworks Choral Ensemble to honor the lives and memories of both his best friend (and fellow Abdo-Man) and of his mother. Now retired but keeping himself busy driving a big yellow bus for North Thurston Schools, Raymond lives in Lacey with his wife Jennifer, Gibson the dog and Pippin the cat. They have two sons- Noah & Gabriel- and he enjoys expanding his culinary experiences on the grill, working on home projects, a dram or two of Scotch, an occasional cigar, and spending time in his Cave listening to various selections from his collection of over 5,000 vinyl records where he is always willing to take someone for a “spin” down memory lane.

2023 Judges

Jennifer Hermann   

Jennifer Hermann is the Executive Director of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra in Olympia, WA,. She is highly regarded as a community leader, educator, musician, administrator, and advocate for the arts. A native of Tacoma, WA, Jennifer is a graduate of Florida State University (MM Piano Performance & Pedagogy) and Washington State University (BM Piano Performance). She has enjoyed an accomplished performance career which includes concerto engagements with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and SPSCC Symphony Orchestra, and varied solo, chamber, and choral accompaniment appearances throughout the Pacific Northwest. Jennifer’s educational accomplishments include a robust private teaching studio and a decade-long appointment as Associate Professor of Music at South Puget Sound Community College, where she taught courses in music theory, music appreciation, and piano. She continues to be in high demand as an adjudicator, clinician, and collaborative pianist.

Deborah Vinsel   

Deborah Vinsel has worked in nonprofit community media for more than 30 years. She has been the CEO at Thurston Community Media since 1990. She currently serves on the boards of directors for Washington Center for the Performing Arts and the Alliance for Community Media NW Region.

Vinsel’s decision to make media her career was an extension of her love for theater, dance and music. Her parents supported her passion for the performing arts with training in music and dance throughout her school years. By the time she reached her early 20s she was a proficient musician playing flute, oboe and piano but her plans for a professional dance career were sidelined by a knee injury when she was in college.

Vinsel found a performing home in community theater until the siren song of television pulled her into a career both in front and behind the camera. She still enjoys singing and dancing for an audience and has never met a microphone she didn’t love or stage that didn’t beckon. Vinsel often says “the arts shaped my life.”

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.

Jill Barnes   

Jill Barnes is the Executive Director of the Washington Center, a lover of all things Broadway, and a car/shower/office singer extraordinaire. She has a music degree from the University of Utah and a Master's in Arts Administration from Boston University. She shares her home and life with her husband Nathan, 3 curly haired kids, a wonderful Korean exchange student, and 2 gentle giants (AKA Great Danes). She’s in love with the new wallpaper in the recently renovated Center and is over the moon to again have the opportunity to regularly attend live performances and to play a part in facilitating those opportunities with the community.

Angi Swan   

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 2023 participants





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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 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.

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
gwitley77 (at) gmail.com


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