2005 Participating Groups
| Cartoon Johnny|
Cartoon Johnny is an energetic vocal band that pushes the limits of traditional a cappella. Drawing on influences from classic soul to modern alternative, they've crafted an exciting sound that is often mistaken for an instrumental band - but it's all vocal.
Based in the Washington DC area, Cartoon Johnny performs a variety of sure-fire audience favorites and their own original music, bringing audiences to their feet show after show. They are two-time National Harmony Sweepstakes finalsists, winning the title for the Mid-Atlantic Region in 2005, and in New York in 2009.
Cartoon Johnny has shared the stage with some of the best in a cappella and beyond. Highlights include headlining ACappellaFest Detroit in 2010, and performing with Marvin Hamlisch in his Christmas special at the Kennedy Center in 2008. Hamlisch invited the group to join him for his July 4th concerts in San Diego in 2009.
Listen to: Crazy Love | Listen to: Rock Your Body
Members: Kevin Dixon, Kieran Daly, Ben Feeney, Mike Henrickson, Darcy Romano, Mike Webb
| Almost Recess|
Almost Recess is a five-man vocal band from the Washington, DC area whose mission is to bring kickin' a cappella music to every single person in the world. This is Almost Recess's second time around at the Mid-Atlantic and we are happy to have them back, and not just because they are going to videotape the performance!
| Rare Blend|
Hailing from central Florida, Rare Blend fuses gospel, vocal jazz classical, swing and doo wop. Whether singing for thousands at a festival, hundreds at a convention, dozens in church or an intimate private party, Rare Blend is striking a heart-chord with Central Floridians. This will be Rare Blend's second appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.
Members: Rebecca Roberson, Shannon Elswick, Greg Patterson, Betsy Reid
Regency is a five man a cappella vocal group from Baltimore Maryland. They are often called the Temptation of the twenty first century. Their musical magic has fascinated fans throughout the United States. They sing everything from 40's Swing, Elvis, Motown and Classics and Pop Tunes in their own special a cappella style that is not quite doo wop, not quite R&B, but altogether wonderful. They have won Entertainer of The Year on the college market many times, have done national commercials and have opened for many of today's leading musicians. They have NEVER performed without receiving a standing ovation. Their biggest fans are musicians who marvel at their vocal ability. Regency won the New York Regionals several years back and have not competed in several years.
Members: Milton Ames, Aubrey Brown Jr., John Tiller, Dewayne McNeill, Isaiah Simmons
Staticflow is a band with a unique, vocally-generated sound. The group focuses on creating original music filled with passion, drive, and soul, but also performs a number of popular covers. Each singer in the group brings their own influences to bear on the sound, filling the music with rich vocal textures, soaring leads, and thumping bass and vocal percussion. This will be Staticflow’s second appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.
| Tonic & Gin|
Tonic & Gin - In the spring of 2004, a group of musicians-at-heart gathered together in the hopes of creating a new, fresh mix of voices. What evolved from that first meeting was a collection of six singers ready to take on the DC a cappella scene. Rehearsals began, gigs presented themselves, and the group began to mesh. After endless discussions about what to call ourselves it finally hit us ‚ Tonic & Gin!Today, Tonic & Gin continues on as a vibrant co-ed group of seven members dedicated to sharing a wide variety of music with intriguing arrangements, amazing soloists, and a whole lot of fun!
| Vocal Obsession|
Vocal Obsession consists of five friends who have sung in various ensembles for the past twenty years, and decided to form a group devoted to a cappella music. They have performed separately, gaining recognition in ensembles and as soloists in the US and Europe (including Orlando, Chicago, Amsterdam, Montreux, Vienna, Strasbourg, and Liege). In 2003 Vocal Obsession decided to band together to sing sans instruments. While they began primarily as a jazz group, they enjoy singing all types of contemporary a cappella tunes. This is Vocal Obsession's third appearance at the Sweeps. They won Best Original Song in 2005 and 2006. Maybe there are better things in the cards for them this year
Members: Donna Youngberg, Dotti Smith, Charles Braungard, Marianne Pastelak, Harry
||Richard Hsu |
Richard Hsu is the President and founder of the Rock Creek Artists Group, a music booking and management agency representing a selection of acoustic and roots music's rising stars. Artists on the roster have appeared at clubs and festivals across the country, including Boston's Club Passim, New York's Knitting Factory, Philadelphia's Tin Angel, Atlanta's Eddie's Attic, and Alexandria's Birchmere. Prior to starting the agency, he was a founding member of Washington D.C.'s loud--and occasionally lauded--Da Vinci's Notebook. Known for their clever lyrics and madcap antics, the group has been heard and seen on NBC's Today Show, the Drew Carey Show, Comedy Central, NPR, and XM Satellite Radio, and were named A Cappella Group of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association in 2002 and 2003. He has written and arranged CARA-winning arrangements for Da Vinci's Notebook and penned radio jingles and short songs for educational television. Mr. Hsu is a graduate of the University of Maryland and a founder and director of the generics, the first men's a cappella ensemble there.
Cal Sexton has been singing in a cappella groups since the eighth grade, when his chorus director asked how many boys wanted a pass to get out of Homeroom and sing instead. Cal raised his hand, and that’s how it all began. At the age of 19, he became the tenor of then current Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Champion Quartet, The Lads of Enchantment. By the age of 21, Cal had moved to Los Angeles, and spent the next ten years as a full-time professional group singer. On the road, on television, films, commercials, and recordings, Cal has performed with Judy Garland, Julie London, Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Dean, Glen Campbell, the Norman Luboff Choir, the Robert DeCormier Singers and many others. After more than 10 years of singing for a living, Cal decided it was time to make singing his avocation instead of a vocation. When asked why he decided to leave full-time singing, Cal replied, “For over 10 years I got paid for what I would do for nothing. I figured that sooner or later they’d get wise to me, so, I got out.” Since then, Cal has continued with his singing through the Barbershop Harmony Society, as a quartet singer, chorus director, coach, and Certified Judge. Cal earned his Chorus Gold Medal as a member of the ten times International Chorus Champion, the Vocal Majority, of Dallas, Texas.
||Carolyn Sexton |
Carolyn Sexton is no newcomer to the Harmony Sweepstakes – she and husband Cal were both judges at the 2001 and 2002 competitions. For most of her adult life, Carolyn has been a proud member of Sweet Adelines International. She became an International Quartet Champion in this organization of women who teach and train the art of singing 4-part a cappella harmony, barbershop-style. During her long association with this singing organization, Carolyn served as an award-winning Chorus Director, Judge, Education Faculty member and Coach of many outstanding choruses and quartets from all over the U.S. & Canada. After switching voice parts recently (from tenor to bass), she is now working in a new combination called Gold Dust. Who knows…we may see them on the Harmony Sweepstakes stage in the future! Her latest passion is founding a new mixed a cappella chorus in the greater Frederick, MD area.
For a ten year span in the late 1980s and mid 1990s, David Whitman was the basso profundo of Brock & The Rockets. Brock & The Rockets were the first D.C.-area acappella group to headline at the Birchmere, were earlier winners of the Harmony Sweepstates eastern regional, and hosted the regional in D.C. in 1994. Prior to his stint with Brock & Rockets, Whitman bassed for six years for the Boston-based quintet, The Moving Violations. He last served as a judge at the D.C. regional in 2002.
Complete list of 2005 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 :
Amanda Cornaglia (Mid-Atlantic)
Amanda Cornaglia is the manager for Acaville Radio,
a 24/7 streaming service for a cappella music. Amanda is also co-owner of Clear Harmonies, a full service studio and management company for a cappella groups. She got her start in contemporary a cappella with Special K, an all-female ensemble at Hamilton College. She has since performed and directed groups around the globe. She is business director and primary arranger of the multiple CARA nominated group Euphonism. She
also founded Snowday, a professional quintet that incorporates contemporary vocal music into education, visiting close to 100 schools each year. She has served in various capacities at the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) & turned the Contemporary A Cappella League into its own non-profit organization. Amanda has been a CARA nominator and judge since 2010.
amanda (at) clearharmonies.com