1991 Participating Groups
Intimate, witty and intelligent songsters, the award-winning Irrationals, are an a cappella ensemble acclaimed for their rich, complex vocal style. The delicious blending of their voices has been described as "cafe mocha for the ears." Singing together for almost twelve years, this six-member, Berkeley-based group is praised for its harmonic excellence and diverse repertoire. The Irrationals often perform songs about the unpredictable. They are dazzled by the irrationality of love, awed by the intuitive nature of life and intrigued by things that don't make sense.
The Irrationals' sound has an African American foundation that is used to explore pop, R&B, jazz, folk and rock. A core blend of three soulful women enhanced by bass, tenor and percussive vocal elements creates an exquisitely layered melodic mix. Whether it's Stevie Wonder with a rap twist, Annie Lennox, Talking Heads, the Neville Brothers or a romantic folk song, the Irrationals are playful, distinctive and sometimes irreverent.
Members: Gwen McElwee, Tim Lukaszewski, Renee Hayes, Chris Sanborn, Matt Skinner
| 9th Cabaret|
The 9th Cabaret is an a cappella trio consisting of Glenn Myles and his two daughters. They sing nostalgic music of the 20s, 30s and 40s as well as original songs. They've been performing for 12 years and are highly sought after as entertainment for private parties. They also have been featured at such events as the Black and White Ball, Hall of Flowers for KJAZ, the KRE "Hot Fun in he Summer" concert series and Chez Panisse in Berkeley on New Year's Eve.
Members: Michelle Myles, La Reva Myles Ratoosh, Glenn Myles
| About Face|
About Face is the a cappella version of the 7-piece dance band by the same name, whose unique vocal blend and engaging stage presence make this group one of the most sought-after acts in the Bay Area. The members have been making a name for themselves in the local community through appearances on local radio and TV, as well as capturing prizes for "Best Original Arrangements" and "Best Bay Area Group" in the 1990 Harmony Sweepstakes. They appeared on the TV show "Big Break" in December 1990. Their varied repertoire includes works by such artists as Sam Cook, the Police, and the Jackson 5, as well as original songs penned by gifted writers Mat Silverman and Murry Orrick.
Members: Murry Orrick, Stan Johnson, Mat Silverman, Laurie Jones
Baysics has been making a cappella funk/jazz music since the summer of '89. They are a group of reserved yet passionate musicians, and as such, have assembled a repertoire that is both sophisticated and gutsy. Last year, after winning the Best Original Arrangement award at their Harmony Sweepstakes debut, Baysics went on to win the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival.
Members: Emiko Okada, Martin Puryear, Beth Puryear, Dan Dermer, Scott Douglas
PMS has been pleasing audiences with a special blend of harmony since 1985 when they took their music skills out of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and into the Jazz and contemporary music scene. The group as international fans after two European tours, which included the Music Festival in West Berlin and the International Jazz Vocal Festival in Crest France. PMS has also been invited to the renowned Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and has played the major clubs of Paris and Berlin along such accomplished jazz figures as Bob Dorough and Elisabeth Caumont. When not traveling, you can catch them at Kimball's, The Great American Music Hall, Wolfgang's, the Chi-Chi Club, Roland's and other Bay Area locations.
Members: Mary Lambert, Sandy Noltimier, Pat Bregant
| Vocal Point SF|
Vocal Point was formed in 1989 as a jazz quartet at their high school in Grass Valley. Between then and now, the group has performed in the Soviet Union, done three standing-room-only concerts in their hometown and undergone several personnel changes.
Members: Chris Miller, Nat Perry-Thistle, Mike Blanchard, Becky Kneubuhl, Lisa Dowling
| What Now|
What Now is a student-run, 12-member, high school a cappella group from the Branson School. The group was founded two years ago, and, as members graduate, new students are recruited to fill the empty ranks - Wiffenpoofs watch out! What Now has performed at various schools and private parties throughout the Bay Area.
Members: Matt Bowden, George Petersen, Delee Har, Jeremy Kirk, Ian Kirk, Chris Gewald
| Woogie Women|
On a vacation in SF in 1987, Andrea and Rebecca did some spontaneous singing on board a cable car and caused such a sensation, they were compelled to put together a performing vocal group. Back home in Manhattan, they added Lizz and the trio dazzled audiences on the streets at Rockefeller University, in central park, at sorority clubs and private parties, on the radio, at Ultra Violet's book publishing ceremony, and on the Manhattan subway. The group broke up when the members' "careers" took them far away from New York, and by coincidence, they all ended up in San Francisco! Combining opera, musical theater and musical education, the Woogiw Women have thus regrouped and expect to be playing private parties, cable cars and BART in the bay Area!
Members: Rebecca Sowers, Lizz Hodgin, Andrea Thornock
||Bob Gowa |
Bob Gowa, a twelve-year resident of Marin County, is K-Tide's Program Director and midday air personality. Bob can also be heard flying high above the bay as one of K-Tide's airborne trafficreproters, and his voice is heard on numerous radio and television commercials. Before joining K-Tide, Bob was a disc Jockey and program director at stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. "A local radio station such as K-Tide affords us the opportunity to perform a real service to the community. We live in a very special place, and I'm proud to be able to serve it." When he's not on the air, Bob enjoys convertibles and animals. He lives in San Rafael with his wife and two floppy-eared hounds.
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.
In addition to his thriving private practice, Raz is an active faculty member at Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco, one of the Bay Area’s most prestigious music study institutes. Throughout his career, Raz has served as a guest instructor at SF Jazz Center, Jazz Camp West, Stanford Jazz, GRAMMY in the Schools, The Pacific Voice and Speech Conference, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, West Coast Songwriters, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School for the Arts (SOTA), California Jazz Conservatory and various music education programs in Latin America and Europe.
||Pamela Polland |
Pamela Polland is an award winning singer/songwriter with 3 albums on Columbia and epic to her credit. Her ever-increasing musical credits reads like a veritable who's who of stars from all points of the music spectrum. Over 25 years in the business, this seasoned industry professional has both performed an recorded with such luminaries as Bonnie Raitt, The Manhattan Transfer, John Denver, Billy Williams, The Vocaholics, Loggins & Messina, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Jose Feliciano, Jackson Browne and a host of others. Her songs have been recorded by the likes of Helen Reddy, Linda Ronstat, The Byrds, Wesley Willis, Vicki Carr, Nancy Ames, Bobby Bare and Anita Carter. She has also won numerous songwriting awards including an ASCAP award and a coveted gold record. Since 1980, Pamela has enjoyed success as one of the most sought after vocal and performance coaches in the Bay Area. Her Learn-to-Sing video "VOCALEASE" has been received with overwhelming raves.
Complete list of 1991 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 :
John Neal (Bay Area)
Beginning as a local event the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, under Neal’s guidance, has grown to become the most significant live showcase for a cappella music in the nation and attracts hundreds of groups and thousands of audience members every year. The Harmony Sweepstakes was the original inspiration for the NBC prime time series The Sing-Off and Neal was hired as a consultant to the series. Neal is president of Primarily A Cappella - (www.singers.com) which is the nation’s leading vendor of a cappella music including recordings, arrangements, DVDs, songbooks and instructional material for singers. Neal writes the informative blog at www.acappellanews.com which has a large and loyal readership.
PO Box D, San Anselmo, CA 94979
festival (at) harmony-sweepstakes.com