2009 Participating Groups
| Plumbers of Rome|
While serving as court musicians/crepe chefs at the court of Charles VII in the 13th century (they were not allowed to serve as the Royal Plumbers, since plumbing was at that time considered to be a form of witchcraft) the Plumbers of Rome invented a device to hurl food and concert T-shirts into the starving peasant section of the King's Concert Hall. Adapted for military use, and named the Trebuchet, this modest invention lead the French army to many victories, as well as adding to the festive atmosphere of French wedding receptions and modern day Renaissance Festivals. While history has all but forgotten the inventors of the Trebuchet, the Plumbers are commemorated in the traditional French carol ballade de l'arme romaine aim'e de plombier.
Members: Ron Gilgamesh, Ernie Stuckowitz, Randy Jackson
TonicEffect is a group of five talented musicians and truly gifted drinkers who transcend traditional a cappella roles to deliver an unexpected, exciting performance. Our modern, edgy music - including original mash-up arrangements, shared lead vocals, and rotating vocal percussion - brings a new energy to the Bay Area a cappella scene.
Members: Colm Davis, Jennifer Exley, Syreeta Mussante, Glenn Shope, Brian Arao
| House Blend|
HouseBlend is an a cappella male quartet performing its own pop, jazz, seasonal, folk, country, gospel and other assorted musical genres.
The members of the group met through the music ministry at Concord United Methodist Church. As they sang together, they realized something special was developing. In 1998, HouseBlend was born. Almost immediately, they were in demand to sing at various occasions in the area. Their repertoire expanded with each performance, their style emerged and their sleek presentation unfolded.
Members: Bill DeGarmo, Kent Parr, Doug Emigh, Jim McGuire
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: Renee Hayes, Sam Rogers, Tim Lukaszewski, Jeff Pettit, Gwen McElwee
| Love Notes Quartet|
LoveNotes competed in Harmony Sweepstakes a cappella competition in 2009 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco where they won 1st place and also received the award for Best Original Arrangement for Bohemian Rhapsody. They went on to compete at the Harmony Sweepstakes Nationals where they placed 2nd while also winning the Audience Favorite award.
n the Fall of 2013 LoveNotes was crowned the 2014 International Quartet Champion 'Queens of Harmony' at the Sweet Adelines International Quartet Competition in Honolulu, Hawaii. They were also chosen as winners of the Celebrity Award by Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers. LoveNotes has had the opportunity to perform all over the world and they have also released 5 CDs
Listen to: Bill Bailey Medley | Listen to: Bye Bye Norman
Members: Mia Dessenberger, Stephanie Lawson, Brittany Gilmore
Musaic's mission is to share beautiful men's a cappella singing with our Bay Area community. Our music is rooted in classical choral traditions, through a repertoire of many genres and languages. The members of Musaic are passionate about men's ensemble singing, and enjoy the artistic balance and musical fellowship it brings to our lives. Musaic was founded in 2000 as a few friends gathering to sing for our own pleasure. We took the name Musaic to represent a mosaic of song and voice. Since then we have performed over 100 concerts and produced five recordings.
Members: Michael Kyle, Emilio Mercado, Andy Rice, Stefan Schermerhorn, Erick Larson, Matthew Schermerhorn
| After Five|
What do soul, pop, rock, jazz, and hip hop have in common with yodeling? Yes, you guessed it my friends,ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!
Members: Cory "J-shot" Coppin, Kevin "Kinky-pants" Valenzuela, Natalie Gosmeyer, Josh "The Jackalackin" Embury, Ron "Tha Raptor" Hart, Kale "Kingpin" Coppin
AkaBella is a world fusion vocal group dedicated to learning, sharing and performing traditional songs from around the world. Their original arrangements of ancient melodies borrow from Reggae, Hip Hop, R&B and Jazz. When combined with traditional rhythms and five-part harmony, the effect is pure inspiration. AkaBella moves people with their voices and audiences emerge dancing, clapping and singing along.
Members: Verena Reece, Lauren Smith, Nola Pierce, Lorenza Simmons, Melody Walker
| High Seas|
High Seas is an 8 member women's jazz group, performs a wide range of jazz at private clubs, parties and benefits around the Bay Area. We also sing on boats!
Members: Kim Zimmerman, Christina Perozzi, Jamie Collette, Kay Fealock, Janet Mancine, Jackie Pettus, Nancy Svendsen
| His Juliet|
Over 16 years ago, the Norwood (Alisa's maiden name) and Wilber families crossed paths. Growing up in the Church, they were all trained to sing. In 2000, the group cut a CD of Christian devotional songs. Two years later, they stepped it up and cut a second album of songs composed themselves. After that, due to their busy lives, the girls took a seven year break, going in all directions.
Knowing a gift from God so great could not be given for nothing, they never stopped dreaming. It was just a matter of time.
Summer 2008, the girls sang for a wedding of a very close friend, and by God's grace and perfect timing, His Juliet was officially established.
We thank everyone so much for their support in this incredibly exciting journey!
Members: Alisa McVicker, Kelsia Wilbur, Cara Wilbur
||Caitlin Tabancay Austin |
Caitlin Tabancay Austin began her musical career in the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and has since enjoyed numerous opportunities to conduct at the SFGC’s annual summer camp. She holds a B.A. in Music History from UCLA, where she sang with various choral ensembles, including the Bulgarian Women’s Choir “Superdevoiche.” While living in L.A., Caitlin taught music at Kenter Canyon Elementary and performed with Vox Femina and Trio Folkestra. She is currently a member of Kitka and resides in Berkeley.
Singer/conductor Boyd Jarrell is familiar to California audiences through his appearances with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Oakland Symphony, and the Santa Cruz Symphony. Mr. Jarrell served San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral as Cantor and Associate Choirmaster for over twenty-five years, where he trained the renowned boychoir. As a baroque specialist, Mr. Jarrell has performed with the American Bach Soloists, the California Bach Society, the Baroque Choral Guild, and the San Francisco Bach Choir. He toured with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in Handel’s Acis and Galitea, and performs frequently with the Magnificat baroque ensemble. He toured and recorded with the acclaimed conductor Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices. He has recorded on the Angel/EMI, Harmonia Mundi, Gothic, and Koch International labels. He appeared onstage with the San Francisco Ballet, singing the music of Brahms in the George Balanchine production Liebeslieder Walzer. Mr. Jarrell is currently music director of Marin Oratorio and Director of Choral Activities at the College of Marin.
||Maria Lyons |
Marie Lyons has been listening to and collecting music crossing many genres for over 50 years. Currently she is co-host of the Human Voice show on KKUP as well as a fill-in DJ in the Eclectic Department at radio station KKUP.
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."
||Eric Morris |
Eric Morris is a founding member of the renowned male a cappella quartet, the EDLOS, and sang first tenor with them for over 20 years until their retirement in 2011. In their first year of existence the EDLOS won first place and audience favorite and Mr. Morris also won that same year for best original arrangement at the Harmony Sweepstakes. Eric has been a tenor soloist with such diverse groups as the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, Pocket Opera, Marin Opera, Canada Opera Piccola, the Lamplighters, and many others. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Eric was the tenor soloist for the first annual Sing-it-Yourself Messiah at the SF Opera House. Fifteen years ago Eric became a faculty member at Notre Dame de Namur University, teaching private voice lessons, vocal performance, opera workshop, computer music applications and music skills lab. He has won awards for his compositions as well, and is an avid bicyclist, accordionist, tennis player, banjo player, horticulturist and Chapman Stick player.
Complete list of 2009 participants
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Groups of any style are welcome, but you must have between
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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