1997 Participating Groups
The Essentials have ushered in a new decade with a new member, new sound, new CD, and renewed enthusiasm.
Called "one of the finest acappella groups in the world" by one reviewer and "musical geniuses" by their mothers, The Essentials continue to sell-out shows while reinventing themselves and are now emerging on the international stage with some new twists on some age-old ideas.
"It's been a great journey so far but that was really just a warm-up," said band member Dan Speck. "Since Janet joined the group in the last year, we've basically reinvented ourselves. But we won't ever get away from what got us here - strong vocal harmonies and performances, tied to unforgettable melodies. Maybe we should have called the CD Nothing But New instead of Nothing But Blue!"
| Chicago Voice Exchange|
CVX is an entertaining award-winning five-member a cappella group based in Chicago. CVX is a three -time winner of the Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes competition, and has entertained crowds at venues such as sports events (Cubs, Sox and Bulls games, the World Cup), holiday events, festivals, industry conferences and bake sales.
One of the first actions of the group was to argue long and hard about what the name of the group should be. There were a whole host of possible names: WeWopDoo (from Peter Harlan, master of cheese), New Caboose, Vox Populi, Digital Voice Exchange, Five Guys named Moe, etc. Eventually, a compromise was reached with Chicago Voice Exchange. Hurrah.
Listen to: Higher And Higher | Listen to: Spiderman
| Blind Manís Bluff|
Bluff rock is vocal rock - more than vocal. more than rock. aggressive. dirty. human. texture that tingles. both familiar and surprisingly unique. gritty but not grating. edgy but not hard edged. a sound you've never heard before. unquestionably modern. undeniably rock. rich. dark. driving. enticingly organic. depth without pretention. no holds barred and widely appealing. what you're waiting for - believe your ears.
| Throat Culture|
Describing themselves as "eclectic a cappella," Throat Culture's diverse material draws upon a variety of influences, including gospel, doo-wop, classic pop and Motown. Alto Betsy Brickey puts her creamy tone to good use on "Chameleon" and "Sweet Dreams" (Eurythmics). "Damaged Goods" is reminiscent of the style and vocal inflection of Stevie Wonder. Their songwriting style is personal and original, and tends toward dark themes of love and loss, but with an irreverent twist.
| Vocal Point|
Vocal Point was originally founded in 1969 as an ensemble of 12 women accompanied by a piano, simply called 'Women's Ensemble'. Gradually, the group began performing more songs without accompaniment, and by the early 1980's the group was fully transformed into the all-female a cappella group that Vocal Point is known as today.
Complete list of 1997 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 :
David Wilner (Chicago)
David Wilner is a singer, songwriter, pianist and DJ who has been performing in the Chicago area for over two decades. David's a cappella career began with the University of Illinois Xtension Chords where he won a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for vocal arranging. David went on to sing professionally with the popular Chicago-based vocal rock band Blind Man's Bluff where he toured nationally for six years and recorded five albums. David competed in the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes with both Blind Man's Bluff and Fiveplay, winning First Place, Audience Favorite, and Best Original Song with each group. David twice took Third Place at the National Finals, once winning the award for Best Original Song. Today, David is on stage as often as possible: performing as a solo artist, leading events as a DJ, singing in the classic rock quartet Ac∑Rock, spreading holiday cheer in The Caroling Party,, and releasing his inner "Jersey Boy" in the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute band The Four C Notes. Outside of music, David enjoys chasing after his two kids, coaching soccer, and cheering for his beloved Chicago Cubs.
P.O. Box 4502, Naperville, IL 60567