2009 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: Only You | Listen to: Bless the Broken Road
Members: Kevin Dixon, Ben Feeney, Michael Henrickson, Malcolm Lee, Darcy Romano, Kieran Daly
|The Fault Line|
AfterShock is a five person a cappella band based in Albany, NY, that takes traditional a cappella and smashes it against the wall. The remains are rebuilt into AfterShock's funky musical style for all the world to enjoy. These five musicians come from a variety of musical experiences, but are drawn together with an incredible passion to bring the funk and soul to the a cappella world.
Members: Dave Baumgartner, Matt Olmstead, Tommy Morris, Adam Decker
Six-man vocal band Six13 brings an unprecedented style of Jewish music to the stage. With songs that range from hip-hop dance tracks to rock anthems, their albums have been the recipients of five Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards and selections to nine different "best of" compilations. This summer, they were chosen as finalists in the casting process for NBC's prime-time series The Sing-Off, and the group has also become an internet sensation, with over 500,000 views on YouTube.
Members: Yan Frenkel, Moshe Cohn, Josh Mohrer, Justin Rosenblum, Alan Zeitlin, Mike Boxer
| Classic Sounds|
If you close your eyes and think back to Murray the K, the Brooklyn Paramount, the street lights on Belmont Avenue, the boulevards of Bensonhurst, straphanging from a leather strap on your way to see "Dem Bums", Frankie, Dion, WMCA Good Guys, cruising the streets in a '56 Chevy with the windows cranked down, singing to the tunes on your portable AM radio, and a host of other good times, you'll know why "The Classic Sounds" sing DooWop. That's why a surgeon, a plumber, 2 teachers, and a musician can lean in close to each other, sing those back-up sounds that are second nature to us all, give you a little hand jive and a smile, and make you remember what "feel good" acappella music is all about.
Members: Alan Fennell, Julie Seda, Lou Valentino, Bob Seda, Gabriel Dassa
Choice - THE CHOICE CONCEPT...Choice emerged out of the Greenville section of Jersey City, NJ as a hobby for five young men looking for a fun way to occupy their spare time. After attracting much local attention and interest, they began performing professionally. With their extensive rehearsal and research schedule, Choice has earned their reputation as one of the hardest working groups on the acappella circuit, and has performed at such venues as Nassau Coliseum, Continental Airlines Arena and Radio City Music Hall. Among Choice's most notable achievements is their 2007 appearance on ABC News' Speak Freely, recording with our good friend, Dennis Gruenling, and his band, Jump Time, and participation in two Japanese film documentaries on the history of acappella and rock & roll which have aired on the Fuji television Network in Japan, and a commercial for Diet Pepsi.
Members: Leroy McCray, Anthony Peoples, Harold Shipman, Melvin Wright, Dwayne Guzman
HarMannics is Horace Mann School's a cappella group. The group consists of high school singers who beat box and sing music from classical to pop styles. Although the club existed at this independent school in Riverdale, NY a few years ago, it was revived and restarted under the leadership of 11th grader Katie Dubbs in fall of 2007 and currently includes both boys and girls in the 9th through 12th grades. HarMannics performs at school charity fundraisers as well as in venues in New York City and Westchester County for community service. HarMannics has performed at the DeWitt Nursing Home, Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home, and Blythedale Children's Hospital, among others. Performances at Horace Mann's sponsored events for charity include Ampléfest on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, Urban Aid on behalf of Breast Cancer Awareness, and the Holiday Dinner on behalf of the Sanctuary for Families. HarMannics is thrilled to have the opportunity to enter the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, and to compete at The Miller Theater. We thank Ms. Bahr, Ms. Lawrence, Mark Johnson and Colette for their support and encouragement!
Members: Sarah Sanders, Izzie Baum, Mira Armstrong, Mark Levine-Weinberg, Andrew Demas, Alec Kacew, Katie Dubbs, Ethan Levine-Weinberg
| Invisible Men|
Invisible Men (IM) is a vocal band based in Manhattan, dedicated to performing tasty and propulsive arrangements of the choicest pop, rock and R-'n-B morsels.Coming out of the underground contemporary a-cappella scene, IM uses its voices-- including vocal percussion, well-amplified bass and the occasional audio effect-- to create performances as exciting and energetic as an instrumental combo. While most pop groups in the college a-cap scene (in which the IM guys honed their chops) are large and have the luxury of being able to literally recreate popular recordings using complex arrangements, IM and small bands like it are looking to create the excitement of popular music with efficient but powerful arrangements, so that while you know you're listening to voices, the sound is so full and convincing that you simply don't care. Invisible Men played its very first show on Feb. 26, 2005 at the New York Harmony Sweepstakes at Symphony Space, and took the metro vocal harmony scene by storm that night, winning Audience Favorite honors.
Members: Warren Bloom, Christian Lerch, Oliver Libby, Jason Menkes, Tyler Pennock, Angelo Rufino, Justin Blanding
Kelso: The anti-a-cappella group! Six performers have been brought together by a secret organization to take over the a cappella world. These are hand-picked masters of the vibrant music scene of New York City -- a jazz bassist, a techno beatboxer, a rock wailer, a musical theater lead, an R&B soul singer, a smooth cabaret soprano. When their powers of auditory finesse combine, they unite to bring awesome sound to the masses. The organization dubbed their creation Kelso, in honor of a thoroughbred racing horse whose statue graces the band's secret headquarters.
Members: Laraisha Burnette, Janifer Cheng, Nick Fox, Dave Soson, Di Zhang, Michael Bunting
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that...RUB! In the jazz corner, weighing in at 6 members, RUB packs a mean punch, & sounds like...well, imagine if Lalo Schifrin had a modern acappella group. As last year's 'Sweeps', RUB's 'Best Original Song' goes, "We're RUB...cuz we rub!"
Members: Melissa Munn, John McMahon, Craig Eckhardt, LLoyd Nilsen, Jonathan Hampton
||Gerard Brown III |
Gerard Brown III is a screenwriter and former writer in residence with the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has written a number of screenplays and teleplays for the likes of Paramount Pictures and HBO among others. However, his most gratifying artistic accomplishment was PBS's Spike & Co: Do it A Cappella which he conceived, wrote, and co-executive produced and shot at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
In a poll conducted by the A Cappella Society of America, Barry Carl was named ‘the most influential bass singer of the last thirty years’ for his work with Rockapella, which included fifteen albums, numerous compilations and collaborations, five years on the Peabody Award-winning television series, “Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” the ground-breaking PBS special, Spike & Co. Do It A Cappella,” appearances on countless tv and radio programs, and concerts worldwide.
Currently performing with the original quartet that comprised Rockapella, now under the name XRP, Barry can be heard on an all-new DVD of songs for Schoolhouse Rock, to be released later this year, and in concerts around the country. Barry holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in performance from the Juilliard School, where he also attended the American Opera Center and made his operatic solo debut. He won vocal competitions sponsored by the Boston Opera, the American-Israel Foundation, and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola program.
||Judith Douglas |
Judith Douglas is presently Team Coordinator and Assistant Director of Metro Rhythm Chorus, Sweet Adelines, Int.'l. (SAI) She has been a member of SAI for 25 years and has her certification as a "Front Row" Director. Judy's expertise is in the area of vocal training. She Directed Golden Apple Chorus, SAI, in Westchester, NY for nine years. Judy has held positions as choreographer and Asst. choreographer for four choruses in the SAI organization and at present, is working toward her judges certification in the Expression Category for SAI. She is excited about this competition and hopes all the hard work will benefit our fine contestants!
Jonathan Minkoff is the Founder and Executive Producer for the Public Charity, SingStrong (SingStrong.org) and its International A cappella Festivals in NY, DC and Chicago. He performs world-wide and on TV with the award-winning a cappella quartet, Blue Jupiter. Minkoff holds a Bachelors in Music Ed. from Northwestern U., a certificate in voice study from the Boston U. Tanglewood Institute, and a JD from Boston U. School of Law. Minkoff won the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes 1st place and audience favorite and the Chicago & National Sweeps' "Best Original Composition" and "Best Arrangement Awards", shared a "WAMMY" nomination for "Best Album", a CARA nomination for "Best Jazz Album" and a WAMMY win for "Best A cappella Album". Most recently, Minkoff coached Stiletta, the current National Harmony Sweeps champions, and the only group to ever win every possible award at nationals. He has over 300 published a cappella reviews at RARB.org and his articles at ACAPPELLA101.com have thousands of views monthly. After teaching, performing, emceeing and judging at over 40 a cappella festivals worldwide, Minkoff now coaches, composes, records and produces for various a cappella groups in his New York City recording studio.
||Mark Paul |
Mark Paul is an accomplished a cappella performer, music director, vocal coach, and lifelong musician. A 39-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), he is the former bass singer of a top-20 International-level a cappella barbershop quartet, Reveille, that for nine years regularly entertained audiences across the United States and internationally. Reveille holds a quartet championship in the BHS six-state Mid-Atlantic District. He served for seventeen years in top musical leadership positions for gold and silver internationally competitive BHS choruses and was the front-line Musical Director of a BHS District level chorus. He has performed in a documentary film about barbershop singing and on two music albums. An a cappella vocal coach for 34 years, Mark works with individuals, quartets, and choruses, and has served as faculty on several a cappella music education programs, both domestically and abroad. Mark is a Reiki Master, certified to use healing energy to help remove blockages and assist in correcting imbalances, and he also works as an Executive Leadership Development Coach. He integrates his leadership development and Reiki work into his vocal coaching, guiding people on an energetic level to reach higher degrees of musical awareness and achievement. Mark’s favorite downtime activities are surf fishing and camping.
Jim Vincent is a singer, composer, arranger, and a founding member of The Accidentals, past winners of both the New York and the National Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. His rich and complex arrangements have been a major contribution to the group’s signature “orchestral” sound. In addition to his work with The Ax, Jim has sung with a wide variety of artists in the pop, jazz and classical fields – among them, Barenaked Ladies, Richard Barone, Randy Brecker, The Chordettes, Petula Clark, East Village Opera Company, Julie Gold, David Johansen (a/k/a Buster Poindexter), Christine Lavin, Denis Leary, Karen Mason, Vernon Reid, The Roches, Jane Siberry, and Ronnie Spector. As a composer, Jim is particularly drawn to the beauty and the challenge of setting poems to music. He has made songs from the poems of Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, Eleanor Wilner, and fellow Accidental Marcia Pelletiere. Currently, he is collaborating with the poet N.M. Hoffman on a song cycle inspired by the “Chairs” paintings of Gloria Matuszewski. A native of Rochester, New Hampshire, Jim earned a B.A. in music from the University of New Hampshire, where he studied composition, music history, and choral technique & conducting.
||William Zukof |
William Zukof is one of the founding members of The Western Wind , the internationally acclaimed vocal sextet. A New York City native, he has appeared as a soloist with the Roger Wagner Chorale, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, and Musica Sacra of New York. Mr. Zukof performed the Bach Magnificat under the direction of Leonard Bernstein at the Vatican in Rome. His operatic appearances include roles with the Washington Opera, the Eastern Opera Company, the Eastman School, and the University of California at Berkeley. He has directed hundred of workshops and is also a stage director of opera and music theater. Executive producer for Western Wind Records, he has produced many recordings and publications.
Complete list of 2009 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 :
Colette Thompson (New York)
Colette Thompson has directed or performed in over eleven vocal ensembles, with her group, Stay Tuned, placing 3rd in the 1998 New York Regional of the Harmony Sweepstakes; Colette has performed/recorded with Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein, Jesse Norman, Peter, Paul & Mary, and James Levine A billboard-ranked singer/songwriter, she has also managed several events, including, Christmas at NYU, Complex at the Duplex, and An Evening with The Real Group at NYC's Symphony Space. With performances televised via major news programs including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, and NY1, she is a promoter, producer, adjudicator and an ambassador of vocal music worldwide.
128 Fort Greene Place, Suite 1B, Brooklyn, NY 11217
colette.thompson (at) mac.com