2000 Participating Groups
Solstice is a female vocal ensemble specializing in music written by women or for women's voices. Our music spans many different genres with an emphasis on world, classical, pop, and jazz. We are also committed to performing new works for women's voices and regularly compose, commission, and arrange new songs.
Solstice has performed in many Bay Area venues including Freight and Salvage, La Pena, the San Francisco Community Music Center, Music on the Hill, the Berkeley Arts Center, Trinity Chamber Music series, and Villa Montalvo. Solstice has also performed on KALW's Folk Music and Beyond On-Air Folk Festival.
Members: Krista Enos, Becca Burrington, Sheryl Kaskowitz, Joanna Silver, Kim Warsaw
| Ready, Willing and Mabel|
This Los Angeles-based vocal jazz group has been singing together since 2003, and has developed a loyal and enthusiastic following for its unique A Cappella style and lively personality. The group's sound has been described as "compelling," "mesmerizing," and "a cocktail for the ears!" The foursome, who describe themselves as "self-confessed chord freaks", share a passion for "dangerously close harmonies" and "songs that can melt the heart!" A powerful combination indeed!
The Group Members: Caroline McLean, the group's lead singer, hails from Leeds, England.Kate Walker, alto, originates from beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand.Peter Neushul, tenor, is a native Los Angelino (claiming to be a descendent of Attila the Hun!). Jim Campbell, bass, has been singing professionally since 1991 when he moved to Los Angeles from Louisville, KY.
Members: Ken Potter, Peter Neushul, Caroline Mclean, Mark Feiner, im Kline
+4db is an a cappella quintet who's sound is as diverse as it is smooth. With a repertoire that ranges from jazz standards to contemporary pop, +4db straight-up swings and surprises. Formed in 1996, this award-winning ensemble makes its home in the San Francisco Bay Area. 1998 saw them champions of the Harmony Sweepstakes San Francisco Regionals, where they also earned Best Arrangement for the second year in a row. Their local success harbingered national accolades, with their memorable sound securing Second Place and Best Arrangement at the 1998 Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals. Judges aren't the only ones who dig the delicious harmony of these five voices. +4db has also won Audience Favorite each time they've participated in Harmony Sweepstakes regional and national competitions. +4db released their eponymous debut CD to much fanfare just this January.
Listen to: Away | Listen to: I Could Write A Book
Members: Michelle Ritche, Paul Cingolani, Jay Quibodeaux, Juliet Green, Dave Duran
| A Few Of God's Men|
A Few of God's Men started as a group in the spring of 1995. They are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The group's primary objective is to minister through the fine art of a cappella music. They have a unique ability to blend gospel and spiritual songs with a touch of today's modern flavors. A Few of God's Men are very active in their community and church by singing at various events. They have been the opening act for groups such as "the Jackson Southenaires" and "the Mighty Clouds of Joy." The group as a whole thanks the Lord for their singing talent as they continue to praise His name in song.
Members: Lawrence Holman, Chris Wright, Elbert Holman, Cliff Wright,, Maced Owens, Ron Smith, Michael Glenn
| Calamity Jane|
Calamity Jane is a female a cappella group whose seven members herald from around the Bay Area, including the East Bay, San Francisco, and the South Bay. The group performs its own unique, energetic arrangements of cover tunes ranging from 60's and Motown hits to current pop and rock songs. In 1999, Calamity Jane entered the world of original music and is proud to have completed three original songs which will they debuted in Fall 1999. In 1991, a few women who loved singing got together once a week to do just that. The members soon recognized that they wanted singing to be much more than just a casual hobby. They began performing on street corners and at open mike nights, and soon they had a dedicated following. In late 1993, many concerts, rehearsals, and auditions later, Calamity Jane became the group of talented and enthusiastic women it is today. The group has performed at venues such as the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, Border's Books in Palo Alto, the Cable Car Theater in San Francisco, at the1993 and 1998 regional Harmony Sweepstakes, and on Mornings on Two with Steve McPartlan on KTVU. The group also works with Bread and Roses to give pro bono concerts to organizations such as homeless shelters and schools. Calamity Jane, in the fall of 1998, released its first CD entitled "The Road Ahead" which is a lively compilation of the songs the group has perfected over the last 5 years.
Members: Tanya Carswell, Donna Bessette, Kimberly Filutze, Zoe Crowder, Shana Levy, Egidia Vergano, Lisa Waters
Take the power of rock, the grit of blues, and the smooth groove of R&B. Add a funky beat, commanding bass, and a lethal vocal and stylistic range. Founded in November 1998, Dilemma began with a group of women who wanted to take the foundation of their collegiate a cappella backgrounds and challenge the more traditional female sound. The result is dynamic and powerful music that has entertained private corporate audiences as well as Bay Area cafi and club denizens. With voices that command attention and performances that resonate, Dilemma is building a new tradition in female a cappella. Let six sassy songstresses show you that it's time to give the guys a run for their money.
Members: Jane Lee, Rahela Abbas, Georgi Rausch, Denise Shepherd, Suzanna Smith, Tracey Van Hooser
| Schrodinger's Cat|
Jackson Blacklock, Lester Chiu, John Pointer, Jr., William Blacklock, Coron Hardman.
Singing is only half of it. The body delivers the rest. Slapping, clapping and stomping all over the stage, we have brought a new dimension to a cappella from deep in the heart of Texas. We're proud to say that our debut CD "Big Beat A Cappella," released last March, has been nominated for a CARA award and was tapped by RARB as one of the best of 1999. Just over a year old, we have already had a nationally televised appearance on the Roseanne show and have appeared in venues stretching from Texas to Alaska. Schrodinger's Cat walks the line between the highly innovative and the completely insane, with an energetic display of musical prowess, sadistic tendencies, and recklessly bad humor. Arguably the sweatiest singing group around, we look forward to bringing you the other half of a cappella.
Members: Lester Chiu, Jackson Blacklock, John Pointer, Jr., William Blacklock, Coron Hardman
| Special Feature|
Special Feature is an a cappella vocal group whose high energy, tight harmonies and dazzling showmanship has been thrilling audiences across North America for over ten years. They formed originally as a barbershop quartet in 1988, and quickly rose to the championship level in the Barbershop Society, building a loyal following from California to New Hampshire and from British Columbia to Florida. Ever since their participation in Reno's "Hot August Nights," their musical focus has been shifted more towards popular music from the fifties and sixties. Special Feature continues to polish their act and develop their music. They strive to obtain additional professional gigs in Reno, sufficient to say goodbye to their day jobs.
Members: B. J. Hill, Jamie Arrington, Paul Olguin, Raymond Davis
"Voices to move the spirit" - VocaMotion is a contemporary upbeat a cappella quartet from Santa Cruz. Their eclectic repertoire of rock, folk, soul, blues, doo-wop and original tunes, along with their friendly on-stage chemistry will lift your spirits, have you tapping your feet, clapping along and laughing out laud. They can rock, reflect, inspire, and get silly. They love what they do, and you will too. They are bound together by their joyful commitment to the positive power of music to touch our hearts. They feel privileged to be able to offer their voices, and join with their with their audiences in the service of lifting the human spirit and having a good time.
Members: Gail Clark, Jonathan Arthur, Michael Levy, Kath Robinson
| Wicki 6|
Wicki 6 is an energetic mixed a cappella sextet that combines excellent harmonies, rockin' percussion and powerful solo voices. Their mission is to bring a new brand of a cappella to the San Francisco Bay Area, one that is fun, entertaining, daring, courageous, spirited, animated, and yes, even a little wacky! Wicki 6 features very talented and versatile vocalists that have a tight blend and a powerful dynamic. Add to this harmonic mix a premier vocal percussionist handling the beat, a cool groove rhythm bass, and several incredible soloists and you have a dynamite sound that characterizes the Wicki 6 experience.
Members: Vanessa Santiago, Bhakti Klein, Dubie Dubendorfer, Jeff Falk, Elaine Chao, Shannon Pierce
||Cynsa Bonorris |
Cynsa Bonorris is the founder and musical director of Mary Schmary, a Bay Area women's a cappella quartet. She has been composing, arranging, and singing a cappella since she founded the Metrotones of Columbia College in 1984. Ms. Bonorris has been a pivotal member of national discussions on women in a cappella, and administers the Women in Harmony a cappella website and the Women's A Cappella Calendar. She has lectured on arranging a cappella at the 1999 West Coast A Cappella Summit, and her song "Babar the Elephant" won Best Original Song at the 1998 Bay Area Regional Harmony Sweepstakes. Her other band, Joe Schmoe, performs bizarre and humorous eclectic musical works in Bay Area clubs. She plays the ukelele, rides a motorcycle, and her hair has been many different shades of blue.
|Mary Ellen Geist
Mary Ellen Geist is an award-winning reporter at KGO Radio, San Francisco and ABC News. She is also a jazz singer and performed professionally with a band for ten tears. She began her singing career at the age of six with her family in an acappella group, performing in the Detroit area and at the annual national a cappella festivals called "Spring Sing".
||Ken Malucelli |
Ken Malucelli, native San Franciscan and charter member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, is also an 18-yr. veteran of San Francisco Opera and 8-yr. veteran of the Lamplighters GS company. Having worn a variety of hats in the music industry, he is CEO of A Cappella Central (div. Prince/SF Productions) and has coordinated bookings for most of the international celebrity artists on that roster: Take 6; The Nylons; The Swingle Singers; Real Group; Rajaton; The Persuasions; Rockapella, plus many of its fine national artists: Blind Man1s Bluff; Five O1Clock Shadow; The Knudsen Brothers; BNO, to name only a few. He also is or has been manager or exclusive agent for The EDLOS, The House Jacks, m-pact, Graffiti Tribe, Talk of da Town/Mighty Prince Singers and The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers (the world1s largest costumed caroling company); has executive produced CD1s for Kai, m-pact, The House Jacks, Mighty Prince Singers, Gospel Girls and The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers; and has had works commissioned and/or performed and recorded by San Francisco Opera Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses and Chanticleer, including the latter1s internationally acclaimed theme song, "King Chanticleer."
|Jan Pederson Schiff
Jan Pedersen Schiff, is a master vocal teacher and choral conductor with Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Music Education, Choral Conducting with Vocal Pedagogy emphasis. She founded Singers Marin, a nonprofit performing arts organization some 30 years ago, that now supports 7 choral ensembles for youth and adults. The teen chorus, les etoiles, has traveled extensively and won 1st and 2nd place, bronze, silver, and gold awards at numerous international festivals.
Guest conducting opportunities have included the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Her awards include the Susan B. Anthony Award for Cultural Achievement in Hollywood, the Marin Women's Commission Certificate of Commendation, and a Milley Award for her contributions to the creative life of Mill Valley. She’s been inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, and most recently received recognition from Mark Levine of the California State Legislature for 30 years of service to the community of Marin. Ms. Schiff will be returning as a Guest Artist to Carnegie Hall next month on April 28th, as part of MidAmerica’s 35th Anniversary Concert Season, conducting “Frostiana” by Randall Thompson with a 150 voice choir and orchestra.
||Walter Zelnick |
Vice-President of the legendary City Hall Records -- one of the last truly independent music distributors in the nation and distributor of the Primarily A Cappella imprint-- has been a pillar of the Bay Area music scene for the last thirty five years. During his tenure, Mr. Zelnick has overseen the distribution of a wide variety of talent across the musical spectrum, from Bay Area Rap legends, Too Short, MC Hammer and the late Mac Dre to such artists as Paula West, The Two Live Crew, NWA, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Salt-N-Pepa, Lavay Smith, Charo, Doris Day, The Jingle Cats and many more. He has witnessed the evolution of the music delivery system from LP to cassette to CD to digital to LP. One of his proudest achievements is his unsought credit as a background vocalist on the 1995 recording, "Christmas Unleashed" by the Jingle Dogs (actual dogs).
Complete list of 2000 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
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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