24th Annual

Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, acapella singing competition, illinois

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The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival is the premier American showcase for vocal harmony music. The annual national competition draws from hundreds of vocal groups from around the country with regional competitions in eight cities. The winning group from each festival is flown to perform in front of celebrity judges and a sold out house of enthusiastic a cappella fans at the National Finals.

2008 Chicago Champions


5one is an up-and-coming pop/rock a cappella group consisting of five male Millikin University music students. Established in April, 2006, 5one accepted an offer to entertain tourists at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL that following summer. Since then, 5one has astounded audiences and encouraged musicians in the Chicagoland metropolitan area. Winners of the 2008 Chicago Rgional of the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. Currently based in Decatur, IL, 5one has released their first album, "Get It" through their own student-run record label at Millikin.

2008 Results

An Octave Above
Audience Favorite
Best Original Arrangement
"Tico Tico" Arr. Nick Falco - An Octave Above
Best Original Song
"Lovely" - MAUF

2008 Participating Groups

5one is an up-and-coming pop/rock a cappella group consisting of five male Millikin University music students. Established in April, 2006, 5one accepted an offer to entertain tourists at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL that following summer. Since then, 5one has astounded audiences and encouraged musicians in the Chicagoland metropolitan area. Winners of the 2008 Chicago Rgional of the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. Currently based in Decatur, IL, 5one has released their first album, "Get It" through their own student-run record label at Millikin.Members: David Kempton, Brian Parrish, Jesse Upah, Tony Marx, Shane Irvin

An Octave Above
An Octave Above is a group of eight professional vocalists who blend years of experience and a love of a cappella harmony to every style of music they sing. From doo-wop to jazz, standards to pop, Bacharach to The Beatles, An Octave Above creates a new standard for excellence on the Chicago music scene.

Also members of prestigious Chicago-area choral ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Chorus, An Octave Above members hold degrees from Elmhurst College, Northern Illinois University, Bradley University, University of Illinois at Champaign, Western Michigan and the University of Miami.Members: Meredith McGuire, Melinda Voss, Debra Wilder, Chris Moan, Nick Falco, Jennifer Gingrich, Lamont Lambert, Kris Monn

Fiveplay, Chicago's 2005 Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes Champions, is not your typical vocal group. In a world where musical trends change on a weekly basis, Fiveplay's style is timeless and enduring. With fresh interpretations of the standards of yesterday, classic arrangements of the hits of today and their own critically-acclaimed original compositions, Fiveplay demonstrates stunning versatility and razor-sharp precision with every song. Their diverse repertoire is virtually a 20th century songbook, covering everything from Sinatra to The Temptations to The Beatles and U2. More than simply a musical showcase, Fiveplay's refined choreography and unique brand of humor will entertain audiences of all ages.Members: Brian Siedband, Dave Wagner, David Reeder, Cody Whitlock, Kyle Smith, Aaron Siedband

In Vox
In Vox began in November of 2004 singing in a basement and calling themselves Underground Sound. Over the next three years, the group would see itself grow into being one of Chicago's premier a cappella forces. With hip arrangements of songs in every genre and a growing original repertoire, InVox has been seen at small venues like house/block parties or holiday caroling at local nursing homes, as well as large venues such as Six Flags: Great America and Navy Pier! From February to May of 2007, and still under the name "Underground Sound," the group recorded their debut demo CD at MasterWerkz Studios. In the next few months, the group decided to re-vamp their sound and change the name to InVox. InVox can be described as a tall, traditional a cappella latte with a shot of Jazzy choral flavor and a big side of hotness! Get ready to be Invoxicated!Members: Lindsay Liden, Lisa Akey, Emily Smith, Ben Fergeson, Alex Juarez, Holly Bowen, John Magana, Sean P. Gorecki

Last Minute Quartet
Last Minute is a successful Sweet Adelines a cappella quartet and has been singing and competing together for 3 1/2 years. They have sung in many different venues including the Acuff Theater at Opryland and numerous college campuses across the nation. Last Minute is currently the 2nd place international Young Women in Harmony winners and regionally placed 5th overall, and plans on only going up from there. Not only do they enjoy competition, but they are mostly passionate about entertaining any audience. Last Minute shares a zeal for barbershop as well as gospel, jazz, and competemporary music, and love to sing whenever they get a chance. They love to sing together, even though most of their practice time is laughing at each others silliness. They are the best of friends and they couldn't ask for anything better.Members: Rebecca Box, Sherida Rowsell, Erica Kawano, Deidra Ekins

MAUF - An audience always expects from a music show an extraordinary mixture of several kinds of uniqueness. MAUF provides that in fascination, joy and music. MAUF captivates mostly through their live music using solely three microphones. Each of these microphones are used differently. The three elements are singing, beatboxing and creating sounds. This leads to an direct, authentic, lively mix of pop music, Techno, RnB, HipHop and World Music – not to forget fun and delight. MAUF have their qualities and have been recognizied all over the world. They have been very successful within the last 12 months and won 9 contests in Switzerland, Germany and Austria like the Austrian Band Contest 2006. Members: Fii, Christal, Verena

Spirit’s Harmony
Spirit's Harmony is a Christian quartet from North Avenue, 100 miles west of Chicago, in Oregon IL. They bring a new twist to Gospel music. Their common thread is they all attended the same school (in different generations). Ranging from mid 30’s to mid 50’s, Jamey, Patrick, Bill and Greg sing about 40 times a year. Engagements take them to both large and small churches throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and even other countries like Iowa. Their sound brings the word of the Lord in an upbeat fashion. You’ve heard of Southern Gospel-- they’re not it. Crossing many styles, you may hear traditional, Jamaican, Doo-Wop, Celtic, Gospel and Contemporary all in one performance. Spirit’s Harmony’s goal is to sing praises to the Lord and bring joy to people’s hearts.Members: Jamey Young, Greg Tremble, Bill Suneson, Pat Huston

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: Tim Gallagher, Jeff Swearingen, Jordan Stoner, Karl Solis, Mike Svacha, Anthony Roberts, Zachary Watts, Don Callahan

2008 Judges

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.

William Chin   

William Chin is the founder and director of The Oriana Singers, a six-voice a cappella ensemble that has presented concerts in the Midwest, Europe, and Central America since 1979. He is assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, a position he has held since 1999. He is also music director of the Oak Park and River Forest Children's Chorus, and director of the Symphony Chorus for the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Bill is active as a professional singer in the Chicago area and performs with the Cathedral Singers and Schola Antiqua. He has been involved in numerous recording sessions both as a singer and conductor. He has been on the adjunct faculty for both DePaul and Roosevelt Universities, and is the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Citation

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”!

Becca Kaufman   

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.

John Milne   

John Milne is originally from Redwood City, California, but has lived in Chicago for the last 16 years. His musical career includes many years with The Toons, a California vocal group whose recording of his song “Video Games” was featured in heavy rotation in the early days of MTV. The group won two Gold Cabaret Awards and was, in its day, the top college-touring act in the country. John currently sings with three-time Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes champions Chicago Voice Exchange, and is also the leader of an alt-country harmony group, The Long Gone Lonesome Boys, whose latest release, “Lonesome Time”, was named one of the Top 10 Local Releases for 2007 by Illinois Entertainer magazine.

Complete list of 2008 participants

Interested in Performing?

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 be waived.

How to enter

Please send music and photos to the regional director :

David Wilner (Chicago) David Wilner competed in the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes with Blind Man’s Bluff and Fiveplay, winning First Place, Audience Favorite, and Best Original Song with each group. During his six years in Blind Man’s Bluff, David toured nationally and recorded five albums. He also spent seven years with the classic rock quartet Ac•Rock, recording two albums. Today, David emcees events throughout the Chicagoland area and performs in the band The Four C Notes. He has been the regional producer of the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes since 2017.

P.O. Box 4502, Naperville, IL 60567

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Northshore Center For The Performing Arts

The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (NSCPAS) is a dynamic, two-theater complex located in one of the most vibrant communities in the country. The NSCPAS is home to three distinct resident companies: presenting organization Centre East, Inc, producing theater company Northlight Theatre, and the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra. The facility is also the performance home to the acclaimed Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra and hosts numerous other cultural organizations and special events each year. The NSCPAS is located just off of I-94 (Edens Expressway) about 30-minutes north of Downtown Chicago. In addition to a diverse programming schedule, its proximity to Old Orchard Shopping Center, a wide range of excellent restaurants and plenty of free parking, make the North Shore Center a convenient and popular destination for entertainment.Directions -Yelp reviews -

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