2007 Participating Groups
| Vocal Chaos|
Vocal Chaos is an award-winning a cappella group from right here in Chicago! They have been making incredible music all over the Windy City since 1996, from Soldier Field and Cellular Field to Chicago Public Radio. They can also be heard singing a cappella in the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie "The Break Up". To foster collaboration and promote the art form of a cappella, they founded ACappellaFest, which in its eighth year has grown into the Midwest's largest a cappella festival. Vocal Chaos is thrilled to be back at the Harmony Sweepstakes. Look for their new EP to drop later this year!
Members: Paul R. Peterson, Tim Gallagher, Jeff Swearingen, Karl Solis, Anthony Roberts, Jordan Stoner, Mike Svacha, Sean P. Gorecki
| Home Free|
A cappella. It's technically what we do. But we're not your bow-tie barbershop quartet. We're a vocal band. Which means we do more than sing - we perform - engaging audiences in a rich blend of harmonies while entertaining them.
Home Free has performed for a diverse and extensive clientele, ranging from the Minnesota Vikings, to Fortune 500 companies, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Lines, Allied Concert touring services, the Dutton Family from America's Got Talent and many, many more. It also devotes its time to educating and encouraging music in the public schools through innovative workshops and concert fundraising. To date, its programs have already raised tens of thousands of dollars for schools in Minnesota.
Members: Chris Rupp, Tim Foust, Joe Fine, Adam Rupp, Andrew Umphrey
Nightwatch was formed in 1998 as a result of a lost bet, or at least it seems that way. "Stik" (Fireman - ask to see his Dalmatian), "Flip" (Security pro - he breaks in and cleans out your fridge), "Leo" (Nursing home crooner/heartthrob) and "Nooge" (Nacho cheese pump problems? He’s your man!) have been berating each other ever since meeting at a local Sadie Hawkins dance (they were the ones "holding up the wall"). Their consistent refusal to get serious actually paid off in August of 2000 - they were crowned the Buckeye Invitational Comedy Quartet Champions after performing their now infamous (this means 'more than famous', right?) Diner Set© in front of tens of people. Since then, they've hoodwinked their way into a 2001 Division Quartet Championship and a spot in the 2003 Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals. Scores of unsuspecting audience members across the country have made it through a “Nightwatch Experience”; the lucky ones brought a tarp. No matter what the venue, you can expect a wide array of musical styles from this group. What you cannot expect is for them to go to bed early or to have serious conversations with each other, or anyone else for that matter.
Listen to: Defying Gravity | Listen to: Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
Members: Scott Hettig, Daniel Naumann, Paul Wolf, Mathew Martin
| offBeat Acappella|
offBeat Acappella is a five voice, co-ed, semi-professional vocal band performing out of Madison, WI. They perform an eclectic mix of contemporary rock, pop, jazz, and doo wop; all without the use of instruments. All sounds are made by human voice and appendages. Their sound is characterized by tight harmonies, driving bass lines, and explosive vocal percussion. offBeat's music, as well as their "off beat" sense of humor, make them as much fun to see as they are to hear. If you like what you hear, order their CD, No Instruments.
Members: Colin Gagnon, Jon Baxter, Lauren Millar, Eric Pantano, Emily Petersen
THNX & WLCM 2 OMG! JTLYK a lil more about OMG! Nobody is really sure what the letters stand 4; One More Group, Oh My God...On Musical Genius...but they do know exactly what they stand 4 when it comes 2 entertaining an audience! IMHO fun is a natural byproduct when you take a baker, a chocoholic, the mother of the cutest baby known to man, a baseball fan who claims that the only real team in Chicago is the Cubs, a drum machine, an MBA, a garage pianist and Ian...who BTW wants you to know that although he may play the fool at times, he is more than just a pretty blonde girl with a butt that won't quit!...LOL You're thinking OMG right? FWIW, OMG! is here to bring u exciting arrangements that take elements from contempo a cappella, jazz, blues, BBS, musicals, pop and OMG flare, it's no wonder OMG is the hottest thing to hit Chicago since the fire! HTH...HAND...C U L8R! (J/K)
Members: Cara Shugoll, Jennifer Wallus, Lauren Herpe, Justin Raczak, Ian Field, Matthew Finder, John Magana, Sean P. Gorecki
Shircago is Chicago's premier Jewish a cappella ensemble. They have performed everywhere from local synagogues to Philadelphia's Independence Square. Their high-energy performances and creative arrangements are accessible to audiences of all ages. Shircago has recorded an eponymous studio album and had one of its tracks featured on the recent Best Of Jewish A Cappella album. This is the group's third appearance in the Harmony Sweepstakes. They will be debuting two new arrangements tonight!
Members: Vicky Glikin, Loren Shevitz, Danny Appelbaum, Becca Gruenspan
| Sound Up|
Sound Up is an a cappella quintet from the city of Akron, Ohio. Mixing together the styles of R&B, soul, funk, jazz and pop into a cappella singing, they write, record, and perform their own original music and arrangements. Starting as the septet "7stacked" in high school, all members of the quintet are graduates from Harvey S. Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio. With a new sound and completely new music, the newly named "Sound Up" is a fresh blend of a wide mix of style, musicality and personality.
Members: Spencer Davis, Phil Anderson, Brandon Morton, Nick Harper, Doug Larsen
||Timm Adams |
Timm Adams is enjoying his fifteenth year as Associate Professor of Music at Rockford University where he teaches a variety of voice and musical theater-related courses, conducts three choirs and musical directs the Performing Arts Department’s main stage musicals. For 15 years, he was the proud Artistic Director of the Chicago Chamber Choir, presenting more than 40 concert series and producing 4 CDs. He stepped down from that position in 2014 in order to devote more time to the growing Performing Arts Department at RU.
In the fall of 2015, Adams was awarded a sabbatical from the university, during which he directed and performed in Pump Boys and Dinettes in his home town of Kansas City. He also furthered his research in vocal pedagogy for contemporary singing styles (rock and musical theater, primarily) by shadowing six prominent musical theater and rock voice teachers in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Steve Biossat - Owner of ChicagoLiveMusic.com, Steve got his start as a professional entertainer in the Teen Chorus of the touring Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie, starring Tommy Tune. Studying at Western Michigan University helped Steve hone his skills in harmony singing, as a tenor in one of the most esteemed jazz choirs in the country. After college, he refined his jazz vocals by moving back to his family’s native home of New Orleans, and found himself singing in some of the city’s jazz clubs, learning from some of the best in the world. Then off to Carnival Cruises, and finally Chicago, to tour with the a cappella group, Blind Man’s Bluff in the early 1990’s. Chicago has brought Steve many opportunities, including recording soundtracks for Universal Pictures, co-hosting New Year’s Eve with Joe Piscopo, producing “America Can Sing” and sharing the stage with many legends. Steve now spends the majority of his time running ChicagoLiveMusic.com and leading his band, Sway Chicago.
||George Gipp |
George Gipp is a Chicago native born and raised on the northwest side. His musical roots run deep, stretching back to the mid 1970’s honing his craft as a bass guitarist, arranger and rhythm section leader for several popular blues bands playing the “Lincoln Avenue Circuit”. He then broadened his musical horizons into the world of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). He is an International Champion – 2001 Gold Medalist member of The Northbrook New Tradition Chorus and a three-time International Bronze Medalist Quartet Baritone with The Chicago Chord of Trade and The Cincinnati Kids Quartets. George has recorded with all three groups and performed around the world including Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a “Certified Presentation Judge” in the BHS, George has judged numerous District and International Preliminary Contests throughout the United States and Canada and at the international level in Jacksonville, Florida (2005) and again in Indianapolis, Indiana (2006) to crown the BHS Collegiate Champion. He has a full spring schedule including British Columbia and Upstate New York. George is a sought after presentation coach and motivator- “World Wide”!
A native New Yorker, Becca moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University’s renowned theatre program. Beginning her career as one of the most sought-after jingle writers/session vocalists in Chicago, Becca quickly expanded her talents to producing musical showcases and albums, providing commercial voice overs, and becoming a wedding expert featured on TV and radio—including her own radio show “I Do, I Do” on 105.9fm, WCKG. Becca has been leading her own society band, BK), for the past ten years. A little over four years ago, Becca launched her own company, BeatMix Music, bringing on a roster of talent including dance bands, string quartets, jazz trios and more, hoping to match every client with an unparalleled music experience. Becca has appeared on stage with performers such as Lily Tomlin, Brooke Shields, Phoebe Snow, Tony Roberts, and Ellen Burstyn and several summers ago was a featured performer in the Broadway Chicago Concert in Millennium Park singing for over 19,000 people. Becca was cast in the role of a comedic cabaret singer for Scrooge & Marley, a feature film released in late 2012. And, should you wonder where her hometown loyalties reside—she has sung the National Anthem for both the world-champion Chicago Bulls and her forever-losing New York Knicks. She is the proud wife of acclaimed chef, Peter Schonman, and by far her best productions are their three kids, Gabe, Brooke and Trevor.
||Judy Storey |
Judy Storey has been a professional vocalist in the Chicago area for over forty years, singing with jazz trios, big bands, pop/rock groups, orchestras, and the vocal trio, “Sweetening”. Live performance credits include singing background vocals for Celine Dion at McCormick Place and Carole King at the Lyric Opera House. Judy was a four-year member of the Lakeside Singers, a professional Evanston-based choir with a classical and pop repertoire. In 2010 she was part of the 100-voice choir that performed the soundtrack to “The Lord of the Rings” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. During years of studio singing, Judy’s commercial credits include McDonald’s, United Airlines, Budweiser, Pizza Hut, and many more. One of her original compositions, “Shipwreck”, appeared in Don Johnson’s film, “Cease Fire”, and she sang in background vocal recordings for the film, “My Best Friend’s Wedding”. Judy currently resides in the Chicago suburbs where she continues to sing and has a private vocal instruction practice.
Complete list of 2007 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 :
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