2012 Participating Groups
| Breath Of Soul|
Cutting-edge arrangements, tight vocal percussion and spirited harmonies are just some of the phrases used to describe Nashville based vocal group Breath of Soul. Since 2006, the group has brought their unique a cappella tunes to festival, concert, and church audiences throughout the United States and abroad.
Before their relocation from the midwest to Nashville, TN, Breath of Soul was formerly titled 5one - so named for the familiar music cadence, V-I. The group originated at Millikin University in Decatur, IL and three of the five founding members of 5one still perform with the group today.
Members: Jesse Upah, Jake Black, Tony Marx, David Kempton
Hi-Fi Since last spring of 2011 when they formed with the goal of creating "high quality sound", Hi-Fi has been building up a following in their home base of the Chicago metro area. All four members are veterans of the womens barbershop quartet style. Maureen and Debra have known each other since high school. They sang together for many years in "Melo-Edge" quartet which won the Sweet Adelines International Quartet Championship in 1983. The group travelled extensively, produced many recordings and made appearances on TV including the "Phil Donahue Show". Helen sang in the very first couple of Chicago Harmony Sweeps Regionals with a quartet named "The Tonight Show". More recently she and Dawn made it to the Top 10 International Quartet finals with "Jukebox" quartet. Helen and Debra are music directors of the Spring Valley (Schaumburg) and Edge O' Town (northside Chicago) choruses, respectively. All four members of Hi-Fi have won chorus international gold medals with the Northbrook-based Melodeers. They also coach other quartets and choruses and serve as clinicians for teaching others about the performance of barbershop music.
Members: Maureen Brzinski, Debra Peters, Dawn Peters, Helen Giallombardo
| Phonic Uproar|
Phonic Uproar was founded at the University Of Dayton and features six male vocalists. The group has performed in various venues including church conferences, university functions, and concert settings. This eclectic ensemble derives its roots in various genres such as Motown, R&B, Rock, Pop, Classical, Jazz, and many others.
Members: Jelani Connally, Josh Forman, Trevor Rosenbaum, Andy Kurzhals, Michael Cullum, Jelani Connally, Justin Padmore, Joey Saliba
| Rooftop Rhythm|
Rooftop Rhythm began in Spring of 2010 when Jacob, Nate, and Ashley began looking for a bass singer to complete the group. After a short search, Steve was brought into the fold and things took off. The quartet honed their style through practice, recreation, and a rough two weekends roofing a garage. Sure, Steve nailed Jake’s jeans to the roof, but the quartet survived and became close friends and hard workers.
In July, their hard work paid off when they finished 49th in the world at the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention. Rooftop Rhythm has sung in many venues, including contests, barbershop shows, corporate meetings, sporting events, and private functions. It’s rare for these four gentlemen to turn down the opportunity to show folks how great a cappella music can be. With a varied repertoire that includes barbershop, jazz, opera, Americana, and gospel, you’re sure to find something you like
Members: Jacob Oxley, Nathan Oxley, Steve Schoultz, Ashley York
| Sunday Afternoon|
Based in Cedar Rapids Iowa, Sunday Afternoon's (SA) distinguished sound comes from the diversity of each member of the band. We strive to perform high energy, family friendly shows and we pride ourselves in our ability to incorporate a wide variety of music genres into all performances, including but not limited to: pop, R&B, rock, techno and even a little country. SA has performed for hundreds of people at various state fairs, ball games, wine tastings, and concerts in Iowa as well as Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia. We aim for everyone to leave our performances satisfied.
Members: Alicia Strong, Matt Bryant, Sheila Wagner, Aaron Jackson, Stephen Banks
Once upon a time, one of the greatest acappella groups in the Midwest was a buzz in the ears of Milford, MI. From 1998 - 2010, elmoTHUMM wowed audiences with their aggressive sound, rich arrangements, and boundless energy. They won countless contests, accepted awards, played for Presidents and royalty, filled TV screens, and worked their way into the hearts of kids and parents throughout the country. Now THUMMp, they look forward to bringing Chicago more great music as only THUMMp can.
Members: Adam Westmoreland, Jason Miller, Ed Pendleton, Tom Hamilton, Greg Vaden
| 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: Dave Nadolski, Blair Baldwin, Eric Fenton, Steve Moore, Eric Spiegel, Zachary Watts
||Steve Biossat |
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.
Daniel Gregerman, Choral Director at Niles North High School in Skokie, IL has spent 23 years building an award winning choral program. Applying his deep passion for music and education, Gregerman started and built the NNHS vocal program. He was recently named, the 2014 John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year by the Jazz Education Network and the Berklee School of Music. His groups have earned national recognition, performing at regional and national conferences, winning multiple Down Beat awards, and performing at festivals both nationally and internationally. Gregerman’s ensembles have shared the stage with such names as Diane Schuur, The New York Voices, The Real Group, Take Six, and Janis Segal of The Manhattan Transfer. Known composers such as Jennifer Barnes, Michele Weir, Kirby Shaw, Greg Jaspers, and Gary Fry continue to create musical arrangements and compositions for his ensembles. Gregerman has served in a variety of leadership roles within the community of education. He is a founding member of the Jazz Education Network, (JEN), where he has volunteered in many different roles including his role as the Conference Office Co0rdinator for the Annual JEN Conference. Gregerman has held positions as State and District Chairman of Vocal Jazz for ILMEA, and has been Guest Director for several ILMEA District Jazz Festivals as well as acting as a clinician for vocal groups both locally and around the Midwest. Gregerman earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and a Master of Music Degree with an emphasis in Choral Conducting and Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.
||Alice Lane |
Alice Lane was an active member of the North Shore Harmonizers Women’s Barbershop Chorus for four years before becoming the director in 1991. She has a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and voice from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, with continued independent study in viola, organ and harp. She has been the Music Director/Organist for the Lake Street Church of Evanston since 1991. In addition she has created and directed a yearly concert series which has included among others, Mendelssohns Elijah, Haydn’s Creation , Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah. She sings baritone with the "4 On A Chord" barbershop quartet and maintains an active piano studio in her home. Alice and her husband, Paul, make their home in Evanston, and have three sons and six grandchildren.
Upon her graduation from Northwestern University, Patti began performing in theater and joined Actors Equity when she was cast in the original production of Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? Not long after that, she formed her first vocal quartet with Megan Mullally called Colossal Nerve and has enjoyed performing close harmony music ever since. Patti has her own band and musical services company Patti Lupo Music and is the co-founder of Chicago’s busiest Christmas caroling group, The Caroling Party.
||Darren Stephens |
Darren Stephens has been performing in harmony groups his whole life. For five years in the late 80’s, he made his living as a member of The Four Guys Standing Around Singing, an a cappella music and comedy act. When they weren’t performing in Chicago, The Four Guys appeared at hundreds of colleges and universities around the country, and were chosen as the National Association of College Activities Performer Of The Year. They also starred in national television and radio commercials for McDonald’s, regional ads for Pepsi and the Sun-Times, and did tons of corporate shows and state fairs. In the Four Guys’ heyday, the comedy club boom was at its height, and the group was a featured act at every Catch A Rising Star club in the country including New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, opening for comedians such as Janeane Garofalo and Jerry Seinfeld. Darren is currently performing comedy in bluegrass three-part harmony with an ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’-style act called The Famous Brothers . Alongside his singing group activity, Darren has performed around Chicago as a theater actor and improv comedian, and has made his living as a voiceover actor for hundreds of radio and television commercials.
Complete list of 2012 participants
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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.
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