29th Annual

New York Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival acapella singing competition

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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.

2013 New York Champions


The Rainbows is a group from Quebec City started in 2007, comprised of six professional signers. The six voices brought together forms en explosive sound full of rich harmonies. They take their inspiration from Jazz, Pop music and always surprise their public with original arrangements that come to life after several jam sessions. Why are they called ''The Rainbows''? We'll let you figure it out.

2013 Results

Low Key
Audience Favorite
Satellite Lane
Best Original Arrangement
"Alive" Medley - Marc Silverberg
Best Original Song
"Shema" - Mike Boxer

2013 Participating Groups

The Bowties have been performing in the Rochester, NY area since 1997. The group sings a wide variety of music from jazz to doo-wop to rock and pop classics, and performances are laced with humor and fun. In 2006 they released their first CD "Untied". This was followed by their late 2012 release "Black Tie Optional" featuring jazz vocalist Madeline Forster, their first female member. A majority of The Bowtie's songs are arranged by group members. Members: Tim Forster, Paul Howes, John Langfitt, Phil Marino, Chris Teal, Madeline Forster

The Dolls
Unique. Inviting. Joyful. Surprising. Fun. Simple, yet Complex. The Dolls are a fresh a cappella group making waves over the internet and across the world. The Dolls formed in 2008 at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with members Mary Anne Cleary, AJ Luca, Ariel Kerber, and Megan Wellman. With backrounds in Jazz, Doo Wop, Musical Theatre, and even Opera, The Dolls began arranging tunes of all genres. Today, The Dolls do all types of music, inlcuding Pop, Spiritual, Folk, and Indie. You name it, The Dolls can sing it--with style! Their unique musical backrounds help create dynamic sounds that are always surprising. Arranging their music organically, and always as a team, the girls find their best work comes from spontaneous, adventurous musical moments. They work together in harmony so well, it's hard to believe there are only 4 voices creating their rich sound. The Dolls draw creativity from percussion in new and unique ways, and they are known to use "unusual objects" to create dynamic sounds (i.e. utensils, plastic drawers, even a cheese grater!) In February and March of 2012, The Dolls became overnight YouTube sensations with their cover of Adele's "Rumour Has It." The video was featured on The Huffington Post, RyanSeacrest.com, Philly.com, AOL.com, and trending topics all over Twitter and blogs! Enjoying their present experiences and looking forward to those in the future, The Dolls relish every opportunity to make music together--and they do it with an invigorating flair that is all their own!Members: Ariel Kerber, AJ Luca, Megan Wellman, Mary Anne Cleary

The LarKings were originally formed in 1961 in Williamsburg and Ridgewood Brooklyn, NY. They first performed at Eli Whitney High School After a few years of performing they reformed in 1993. Making their debut at the United Group Association, they are considered one of the most popular vocal groups which specialize in reproducing the sounds of the Moonglows and Nutmegs. Their Melliflous voices has won them the Lead East Vocal Group Acappella Competition twice. No doubt you too will be mezmorized by the sweet harmonic sounds of the LarKings. The LarKings repertoire consists of 50's, 60's and 70's music.They have won Veteran Group of the Year for 1997 and have a new CD available on the Clifton label, and now the LarKings have been inducted into the Doowop Hall of Fame 2009 at Boston Symphony Hall Members: Warren Tesoro, Nelson "Tino" Alverez, Cal Ng, Bernard BJ Jones, Gil Torres

Loose Interpretations New York
Loose Interpretations is an all female a cappella group hailing from New York City. We are made up of women from all types of professional and performing backgrounds with a common love for a cappella music, and have been making music together for 8 years. We perform throughout New York City, everywhere from public parks, to famous rock clubs like Cafe Wha? and Arlene's Grocery, to the Metropolitan Opera House. We arrange 95% of the music we perform and love looking for new and interesting ways to interpret contemporary music. Members: Stacia Woodcock, Dana Kraugh, Emilie Bandy, Jen Kipley, Laura Campbell, Heather Glotzer, Reynetta Sampson, Erin Byram

Low Key
Whether its classic doo-wop or current pop hits, Low Key loves to sing anywhere and everywhere, bringing that barrel aged, high hopped blend that gets people out of their comfort zones and into a new sonic experience. Since beginning in 2011, Low Key has grown in scope and artistry, winning third place in 2013s NY Harmony Sweepstakes and performing in a stream of private gigs and public performances across the NY Metro area. From Rockwood Music Hall to private celebrations to the Mulberry Street sidewalk, the Low Key Effect takes ahold of friends and strangers alike. Members: Will Moller, Adam Zamora, Ben Piper, Josh Ruzansky, Sam Orleans

The Rainbows is a group from Quebec City started in 2007, comprised of six professional signers. The six voices brought together forms en explosive sound full of rich harmonies. They take their inspiration from Jazz, Pop music and always surprise their public with original arrangements that come to life after several jam sessions. Why are they called ''The Rainbows''? We'll let you figure it out.Members: Genevieve Paré, Hera Menard, Alexandre Hudon, David Latulippe, Nicolas Grynzspan, Julie Vandal

Satellite Lane
Satellite Lane is a Long Island-based a cappella group that currently belongs to the Contemporary A cappella League. Made up of seven teachers, Satellite Lane specializes in spreading a cappella education to music programs and performing spontaneous original compositions. In March 2013, Satellite Lane competed in the New York Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, where they won "Audience Favorite," "Best Arrangement," and a special "Honorable Mention" for originality. Currently, they are working on their first studio album and several original music videos.Members: Alex Forte, Andrew Duca, Christine Benedetti, Mara Stomber, Melanie Malusa, Andrew Fallu

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: Eric Dinowitz, Rob Operman, Craig Resmovits, Dan Singer, Mordy Weinstein, Mike Boxer

The Tee-Tones
With their brand of R&B soul, The Tee-Tones are quickly making a name for themselves in the NYC tri-state area, The Tee-Tones are an amazing a cappella singing group from Brooklyn, NY who combine soulful, group harmony with passionate vocal performances in the classic Doowop, RnB and Motown genres everyone loves.Members: Lee "Scout' Ford, George Ellington, Gerard Giddiens, Jerome Cohen

Vocal Heights
Vocal Heights is an eight member, co-ed, New York a cappella group with an eclectic style, performing a wide range of music from the 60's, all the way to the 2000's. With a repertoire that is predominantly rock and pop, We also like to mix it up with some doo-wop, jazzy standards, blue grass, non-secular selections, and even the occasional madrigal thrown in for good measure! While predominantly using original arrangements of covers we are psyched to now have several original songs in our repertoire as well. Our mission is simple: to put on a great show with great music!Members: Andrea Au Levitt, Chantel Mead, Erik Levitt, Jim Longo, Daniel Scribner, Cliff Archey, Mindy Gordon

Your Emcee for the Evening

Steve “The Whistler” Herbst

Steve “The Whistler” Herbst has been dazzling audiences with his artistic whistling for over 50 years. A remarkable three-octave range matches his enormous stylistic range, which encompasses classical music, jazz, blues, pop, and Broadway. At the 2002 International Whistlers Competition, Steve won International Grand Champion; and at the 2003, 2004, and 2005 Conventions, he was awarded the coveted title, International Whistling Entertainer of the Year (the first person ever to win 3X). In 2007, he was named to the Whistlers Hall of Fame, the highest honor a whistler can receive. These awards acknowledge not just his competitive excellence, but also his winning international acceptance for this musical art form wherever he performs.

Steve has appeared on "The Today Show", CBS-TV's "Early Show" and "Sunday Morning," plus “Good Morning America.” He was also featured in and narrated the award-winning documentary film, “Pucker-Up – The Fine Art of Whistling.” Other performances have included The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall; several appearances with the late, great Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club; Bird Land; The Cotton Club; and Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar; plus several TV commercials. His debut CD, Broadway and Beyond is in its third edition. When he’s not whistling, Steve is a singing member of, and a frequent soloist with, the University Glee Club of NYC. Steve lives in NYC with his wife, Melinda where he teaches and coaches whistling for all levels of students.

2013 Judges

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.

John Califra    

John Califra is an accomplished composer whose work with small group ensembles, vocalists, and large orchestras encompasses Oscar and Emmy-winning film and television productions, documentaries and animated features. His music spans an impressive variety of styles, genres and emotions. His credits include Keiko Ibi’s Oscar-winning "The Personals", and the 2007 feature film "My Brother" starring Vanessa Williams, which the New York Times noted for the "moving orchestral score by John Califra." He scored the music for Jonathan Caouette’s indie hit film “Tarnation”, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. John also recently worked on Barbara Rick’s Emmy-winning "She Says: Women In News". His score for Stephen Higgins and Nina Seavey's film, "The Matador" received an Emmy nomination and Last year, he scored music for the national commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy in Washington DC. He composed the music for the New York City Times Square Millennium celebration and the theme music for Major League Baseball’s World Baseball Classic. John Califra’s music has been performed and recorded worldwide by such noted orchestras as the San Diego Symphony, the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, the Philarmonica Bulgarica and by members of the Czech Philarmonic. The Whitney Project, which will be released this spring to major digital retail stores worldwide.

Margaret Dorn   

Margaret Dorn is an award- winning singer, composer, arranger and producer whose work encompasses the recording industry, commercials, film and television, theater, night clubs and the concert stage. As a versatile vocalist and musician she covers a broad range of styles. She has sung with many artists including Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, k.d. lang, Carly Simon, Michael McDonald, Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Ross, Rosanne Cash, Lucie Arnaz, Garth Brooks and The Chieftains. She recently toured the US and Australia with Bette Midler.

Mark Paul   

Mark Paul is an accomplished a cappella performer, music director, vocal coach, and lifelong musician. A 45-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), he's currently the bass of the a cappella barbershop group The Square Route, specializing in digging out old, forgotten barbershop songs and re-introducing those harmonies to both young and old alike. The Square Route holds a quartet championship in the BHS US & Canada Northeastern District. Formerly the bass singer of a top-20 international-level a cappella barbershop quartet, Reveille; they regularly entertained audiences across the United States and internationally. Reveille holds a quartet championship in the BHS six-state Mid- Atlantic District. Mark served for seventeen years in top musical leadership positions for gold and silver medal internationally competitive BHS choruses, and was the front-line musical director of a BHS District level chorus. He performed in a cool a cappella documentary film about barbershop singing and is on two music albums. An a cappella vocal coach for 39 years, Mark works with individuals and groups of all sizes and has served as faculty on several exciting a cappella music education programs, both domestically and abroad. Whatever level the individual/group is at, he elevates them, instilling higher levels of awareness, alignment, confidence, commitment and fun. Mark is an Executive Leadership Development Coach and a Reiki Master. Mark's favorite downtime activities are surffishing, photography and camping.

Jim Vincent   

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.

Complete list of 2013 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 :

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

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Miller Theater, Columbia University

Miller Theatre at Columbia University is a performing arts producer dedicated to developing and presenting new work from world-class artists. Acclaimed for its innovative programming, Miller Theatre provides an intimate exploration of the creative process and a look into the personalities and emerging trends in contemporary classical music, opera, dance, and film. Its adventuresome performances and elevation of advanced ideas have established Miller Theatre as a nationally recognized cultural center for artistic discovery. Established in 1988 with funding from the Kathryn Bache Miller Fund, Brooke Astor, and John Goelet, Miller Theatre is located on the Columbia University campus in New York City.Directions -Yelp reviews -

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