1993 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, Shelley Higgins, Renee Hayes, 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
| Cherry Fizz|
Whose members include three state workers, one published poet, three mothers, one father and one salesman for Blue Diamond Almonds, evolved from a class in Doo Wop taught by their present coach and music director, Christine Martin of Tu Tone Shoes. These five people have been singing together since August 1992.
Members: Mary James, Teresa Souvignier, John Wagaman, Leslie Cummins, Mary Zeppa
| Corner Market|
Since their public debut last May, Corner Market has been winning raves for their intricate jazz/funk arrangements, laser-sharp harmonies, exquisite intonation and classy moves. Lead by Grammy-nominee Jason A. Smith, the group anchors its sound on the pops, snaps, crashes and cracks of master vocal percussions Vern A Smith. Ttopping off an appearanc with the Neville Brothers with a five-day run with jazz great George Benson, Corner Market went on to amaze crowds at music fairs and festivals around the bay and on local TV. Harmonically rich, rhythmically playful, Corner Market proved six vioices can indeen be a jazz/funk "band."
Members: Jennifer Newell, Mona Dena, Mel McMurrin, Jason A. Smith, Vern Smith, Martin Puryear
Is approximately one sixth of the Occidental Community Choir. "We like to think of ourselves as the "cute" sixth." The choir writes and performs its own music (a new concert each year) which provides Occipella with lots of material.
Members: Carol Frick, Connie Coleman, Colgy Glover, Marcy Telles, Ron Mortimore, Elliot Simon
| Only Human|
Less than a year ago, 7 of the finest female singers from colleges around the country converged in the Bay Area to form "Only Human". OH performs a variety of popular music from the 60's to the 90's an are proud of their eclectic and diverse repertoire.
Members: Shana Levy, Ruthanne Larsen, Denise Allen, Katy Santen, Jennifer Dickinson, Lisa Robatzek
| Quintessence (1993)|
The spectrum of their musical style emerges from an unlikely meeting of diverse backgrounds. The five met in school at UC Berkeley where they each pursued different musical interests ranging from opera to jazz, from rock to chamber music. Accordingly, Quintessence creates arrangements that invite the ear to explore the vocal colors and nuances unique to this combo of influences. Their large repertoire, extending from French impressionism to "grundge-appella", grants them the unique ability to appeal to a broad range of tastes and audiences.
Listen to: Sign Your Name | Listen to: Wonder Woman
Members: Neal Cruz, Eric Freeman, Anthony Hale, Tako Oda, John Bennett
| Tu Tone Shoes|
Is a Sacramento based quintet, that specializes in preserving the Doo Wop vocal harmony sound of the fifties. Since their debut at Harmony Sweeps in may 1990, they have been audience favorites in Sac and Davis clubs and special events, including headlining the Lincoln and Davis Summer Arts Festivals.
Members: Mary Asbury, Jim Malone, Bill Cavins, Christine Martin, Rudy McClary
A revered vocal teacher director, Martin Frick has piloted numerous musical and theatrical productions in the Bay Area including College of Marin, Dominican College, the Mountain Play, and the Winefred Baker chamber choir.
||Richard Bob Greene |
Richard Bob Greene is an award-winning composer, arranger, singer, writer and producer. As the co-founder and creator of the nu-wave a Cappella super group The Bobs, Greene fractured and reconstructed the rules for popular music. He was nominated for a Grammy for his and Gunnar Madsen's a Cappella arrangement of the Beatles "Helter Skelter". As a composer and songwriter/librettist, Greene has received commissions from Lincoln Center, the Los Angeles Theater Center, the Minnesota Opera, Oberlin Dance Collective, ISO Dance Theater, National Public Radio and many others.
He has written music for the feature films "Breaking the Rules" "For Better or Worse" and "Man in the Moon" (the Andy Kaufman bio-pic). He was one of the vocal arrangers for the 1995 Emmy Awards starring Jason Alexander. He has recently turned to producing for other a cappella groups and in the past year has done CDs for "Throat Culture," "Toxic Audio" and "Da Vinci's Notebook." His most recent credit is as directorand host of the A Cappella Foundation's "Arranging For Vocal Groups" video.
Jeff Kaliss is an internationally published critic and feature writer about world music, jazz, classical music, rock, country, and other forms of entertainment. Based in San Francisco, his articles, reviews and interviews have been published in periodicals and on websites such as JazzWest, World Music Central, Muze, Rootsworld, Jazz Times, Marin Independent Journal, Oakland Tribune, SF Chronicle, Metroactive, Boston Phoenix and others too numerous to list.
||Laura Moody |
Known on air as "Laura in the Livingroom", Laura is a veteran of Bay Area radio. She has had a show for 20 years on UC Berkeley's KALX (90.7 FM) Radio, one of the nation's most influential college radio stations, where she did an extended stint as music director. Laura has a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science specializing in Music Librarianship. As an undergraduate, Laura studied voice and percussion at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Il. An avid music lover with a seasoned and critical ear, Laura enjoys all types of music from Ayler to Zappa.
Complete list of 1993 participants
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We are always seeking groups who would like to participate
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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 Nealís 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 nationís 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