21st Annual

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Boston | Chicago | Los Angeles | New York | Pacific North West | San Francisco | Mid Atlantic (DC)

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.

2005 National Finals Champions

Groove For Thought

Infectious grooves, stunning arrangements, and electrifying solos are just some of the phrases used to describe Seattle based vocal group Groove For Thought. Since 1998, GFT has brought their unique brand of jazz and R&B infused tunes to festival, concert, school, and nightclub audiences throughout the United States and abroad.

2005 Results

Groove For Thought
Audience Favorite
Best Original Arrangement
"Paper Moon" Greg Murai
Best Original Song
"Walk The Straighter Road" Kevin Kunz

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

Rocky Mountain

Face is a nationally recognized all-vocal rock band from Boulder, Colorado, bringing a new edge and attitude to the human voice. Using just five voices and a vocal drummer, or "beat-boxer," Face creates a rock-music phenomenon that has to be seen to be believed. No other instruments or special effects - just six guys. Considered "among the top 10 singing groups in the country," (Norm Johnson, Las Vegas Leisure Guide) they regularly wow sold-out audiences throughout Colorado, including such classic venues as Boulder Theater and The Soiled Dove.

Face was recently named "Best Local Musician/Group" by Boulder Weekly's 2009 Best of Boulder Reader Survey. In addition, Face is a two-time winner of the National Audience Favorite Award at the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals, as well as National Runner-Up in 2005 and 2007. Face was also runner-up for Favorite Pop/Rock Group in the 2007 Contemporary A Cappella Society's Community Awards. Face has been headlining in Las Vegas periodically since 2007 to rave reviews, paving the way for even more national attention.
Listen to: Harder To Breathe | Listen to: Pink Panther Theme

Members: Mark Megibow, Cody Qualls, Ben Lunstad, Forest Kelly, Jayson Throckmorton, Stephen Ross


Firedrill! stepped back, got a big running start and LEAPED... And made a big splash at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps by winning the Boston regional. When the finals came around, though, the group bellyflopped. Two years later Firedrill! is back with bright-red bellies (see for yourself!) and the same disregard for what contemporary a cappella is supposed to be. Since its last appearance the group has stepped up its repertoire and performance schedule, appearing at SoJam in North Carolina and agreeing to host the ICCA Finals at Lincoln Center this April. Firedrill! even released its first EP, Rock Paper Scissors. Thanks for having Firedrill! at the Boston Harmony Sweepstakes!
Listen to: Chain Of Fools | Listen to: Canít Stop Thinking About You

Members: Mike Barnicle, Nathan Altimari, Michael Leblanc, Mark Manley, Victor Sandman, Judd Tomaselli, Matt "Twinkles" Wrobel


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.
Listen to: I Never Knew | Listen to: Superstitious / I Wish

Members: Brian Siedband, Aaron Siedband, David Reeder, Dave Wagner, David Wilner

Pacific Northwest

Groove For Thought
Infectious grooves, stunning arrangements, and electrifying solos are just some of the phrases used to describe Seattle based vocal group Groove For Thought. Since 1998, GFT has brought their unique brand of jazz and R&B infused tunes to festival, concert, school, and nightclub audiences throughout the United States and abroad.
Listen to: Walk The Straighter Road | Listen to: Joy To The World

Members: Jeff Horenstein, Kelly Kunz, James Niles, Randy Taylor, Kevin Kunz, Peter Jones

Bay Area

Mood Swing
Moodswing is the newest configuration of some of the Bay Area's most moody jazz singers. Sweeps award winners and +4db founders Dave Duran and Juliet Green have put aside their differences to team up with mercurial couple Paul and Julie Ford of the Renaissance-Jazz sextet Without Measure. They have sung together, in brief stints in such groups as InFusion, Vocal Flight, Vocal Underground, Oarkland Jazz Choir, Siemens Microelectronics Stealth Band, and on Ward Swingle's Instructional video "Swingle Singing." Combined, Moodswing brings almost 20 years of community college vocal jazz experience to each performance. Photos, mp3s, and anger management techniques are available at www.moodswing.us.
Listen to: Paper-Moon | Listen to: Moanin

Members: Dave Duran, Juliet Green, Julie Ford, Paul Ford, Juliet Green, Dave Duran

New York

With their expansive vocal range, vocal dynamics, tight harmonies, "female bass" and hard hitting percussion, this NY based group offers a variety of musical styles and continually push the envelope of female vocals. Their wide range of musical influences-Gospel, Contemporar, Christian, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Spirituals, Caribbean and African, just to name a few-has lead them to create a unique style all their own. Over the years, the group has had some amazing experiences including singing churches, colleges, prisons and festivals
Listen to: Mary Donít You Weep | Listen to: Englishman In New York

Members: Keesha Gumbs, Tia Fields, Kimberly Robinson, Bianka Kotee, Tameeka Gumbs

Los Angeles

Undivided Musical Group
With ten years of musical career, four albums, a Latin Grammy nomination, six CARA nominations and two awards this year 2010 for best religious album and best song of religion, among other numerous awards, combined with thousands of records sold worldwide, the charismatic and cheerful style Undivided continues to conquer hearts in the U.S. and Latin America.

Undivided is a vocal group made up of six young people who play music a cappella style. Breaking the language barrier, playing their songs in Spanish, English and Portuguese. The group enjoys a variety of musical influences such as gospel, R & B, Jazz, Pop, Reggae, Rock, Salsa, Merengue and other Latin fusions are achieved by the skill and facility to play music with their voices.

These young people are not satisfied with what they have achieved, but are always looking for innovative and different ways to reinvent his style within the genre a cappella, a feature that allowed you to excel as one of the best vocal groups in the world. These young people have a musical talent that not only captures the ear with modern harmonies and musical arrangements, but they combine their voices with the visual aspect to provide a show without boundaries.
Listen to: Whatís Goiní On | Listen to: Amazing Grace

Members: Ruben Aponte, Gregory Gordon, David Cortes, Jose Rodriguez, Richard Aponte, Melvinsky Ramirez, Aldino Parchment, Miramar

2005 Judges

Sandy Cressman   

Professional singer, instructor, composer and arranger Sandy Cressman began her professional career with the acclaimed vocal trio "Pastiche", who won the Harmony Sweepstakes back in 1987. After recording and touring with Pastiche, Sandy branched out, following her love for Latin music, and forming a new group, "Homenagem Brasileira", who have been performing in major festivals and venues since 1997. She will release her second Homenagem Brasileira CD on August 1 of this year. As a session singer, Sandy has recorded with such diverse artists as Eddie Money, Jonathan Cain (Journey), Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo and Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra. Sandy is a Governor of the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy, and teaches private lessons and classes at Cressman Studios, Blue Bear School, and the Music Center of San Francisco.

Jeff Kaliss   

Jeff Kaliss has featured and reviewed classical, jazz, rock, and world music and other entertainment for the San Francisco Chronicle and a host of other regional, national, international, and web-based publications. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, is a published poet, and is the author of I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone (Backbeat Books) and numerous textbook and encyclopedia entries, album liner notes, and festival program notes. Jeff is also a frequent contributor to SF Classical Voice.

Ken Malucelli   

Ken Malucelli, native San Franciscan and charter member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, is also an 18-yr. veteran of San Francisco Opera and 8-yr. veteran of the Lamplighters GS company. Having worn a variety of hats in the music industry, he is CEO of A Cappella Central (div. Prince/SF Productions) and has coordinated bookings for most of the international celebrity artists on that roster: Take 6; The Nylons; The Swingle Singers; Real Group; Rajaton; The Persuasions; Rockapella, plus many of its fine national artists: Blind Man1s Bluff; Five O1Clock Shadow; The Knudsen Brothers; BNO, to name only a few. He also is or has been manager or exclusive agent for The EDLOS, The House Jacks, m-pact, Graffiti Tribe, Talk of da Town/Mighty Prince Singers and The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers (the world1s largest costumed caroling company); has executive produced CD1s for Kai, m-pact, The House Jacks, Mighty Prince Singers, Gospel Girls and The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers; and has had works commissioned and/or performed and recorded by San Francisco Opera Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses and Chanticleer, including the latter1s internationally acclaimed theme song, "King Chanticleer."

Jeffrey Wood   

Jeffrey Wood is an international music producer, engineer, and label consultant based out of the Fantasy Studios/Saul Zaentz Film Center complex in Berkeley. He has produced recordings for artists in six countries. He has worked for many labels including Warner Bros, Reprise, Virgin, and Chrysalis. For five years he lived in London, where he composed music for film, released two solo albums, and produced albums for other artists. In the past he has worked with such artists as Penelope Houston, Shana Morrison, Hank Williams III, the Housemartins, Pauline Black, Giant Sand, Luka Bloom, and others. His specialty is vocal music, and his latest credits include projects with a cappella singers Copperwimmin, Rhiannon and members of Kitka.

Complete list of 2005 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 :

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