2016 Participating Groups
|The Lost Keys|
The Lost Keys specialize in contemporary (pop) a cappella, but with a twist. With arrangements by Christopher Diaz and Tom Anderson, as well as numerous in-house works and a group of diverse voices, The Lost Keys are solidifying their pop-rock roots and expanding off the beaten path to include jazz, folk, and other musical styles.
Members: Jamie Serkin, Rachel Weinstein, Jenny Baik, Deanna Giulietti, Sarah Peck, Joe Martinez, Andrew Gutterson, Peter Lam
Stiletta is a NYC-based, all-female sextet combining pop leads, dance beats and hip-hop choreography. In 2016, the ladies of Stiletta were crowned National Champions at the 32nd Annual National Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival, winning in every possible award category: First Place, Audience Favorite, Best Arrangement, and Best Original Song. This enormous accomplishment came on the tail end of having won First Place and Audience Favorite at the 2015 Mid-Atlantic and 2016 New York Harmony Sweepstakes competitions, as well as Best Vocal Percussion and Best Arrangement. These ladies have the moves, the grooves and even the shoes. So get pumped!
Members: Judy Minkoff, Haley Clair, Meg Lanzarone, Jaymee Frankel, Olivia Harding, Meghan Costa
Founded in 2013, Backtrack is quickly defining itself as a powerhouse a cappella group throughout it's hometown, New York City, and beyond. This five member group performs a variety of music, with an emphasis on covers of today's top pop music.
Backtrack was originally formed to produce YouTube videos, and since its founding, the group has gained over 6.4 million views and 70,000 subscribers. Expanding from it's YouTube origins, Backtrack now performs live at music halls, corporate events, weddings and more!
Members: Mallory Moser, Melissa Jordano, Austin James, Andrew John Kim, Spencer Polanco
VXN members Anna, Holli, Jessie, Lauren and Meron first crossed paths when all five were living in New York City in 2012. Hailing from impressive collegiate backgrounds, it didn't take long to find their way to Empire A Cappella, New York City's premiere all female CAL [Contremporary A Cappella League] group. Although life has since moved Meron to Los Angeles and Holli to DC, the girls were unwilling to let a few miles keep them apart. It was on one of many bicoastal visits - this time in Los Angeles for LAAF 2014 - that VXN was born. The all-female vocal group solidified their fresh, fierce and fearless sound in person for the first time in June 2014.
Members: Meron Mogos, Jessie Louise Mark, Lauren France, Holli Kitching, Anna Concepcion
New York City's Jazz R&B group, Feedback is a group of professional musicians who have been seen and heard by millions around the world -both live and via broadcast. Turning artists like Usher and Jazmine Sullivan on their head, the group pushes the boundaries of both jazz and R&B. Feedback boasts a spellbinding variety of talents: Doug and Garrett make jingles and songs for major corporations; TEDx Beatboxer, Ben Mirin brings the beats, and can also perfectly imitate 50 bird calls; Mike takes helm at a recording studio; Alec arranges choral works, with some seeing performances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall; Sam is a studio singer and professional whistler (which he insists is "actually a thing"). This will be Feedback's 2nd appearance at Harmony Sweeps, and they're pumped about it!
Members: Sam Nulton, Michael Gullo, Doug Larsen, Garrett Philbin, Mark Martin, Alec Galambos
Your Emcee for the Evening
|Diana Preisler’s career in a cappella began as the female lead singer, and band manager of Broadway Records recording artist, Blue Jupiter. She is a featured soloists on Blue Jupiter's newest album, Twisted Broadway Vol. 1. Blue Jupiter has performed at performing arts centers, colleges, festivals, and corporate events around the world. Blue Jupiter won the Oreo “Milk’s Favorite Jingle” contest, hosted by famed American Idol Judge Randy Jackson, and has performed with iconic performers like The Roots, Livingston Taylor, and The Persuasions. Companies like: Disney, ABC Family, the Food Network, Honda, NOKIA, Nickelodeon, and Hermes have featured Blue Jupiter at their corporate events. You may have seen Blue Jupiter on Oprah, the Huff Post, headlining at theatres around the globe, cruise ships and casinos, including over 200 shows at the Sands Casino in Macau, China.
Diana’s work as an a cappella performance coach and mentor caught the attention of Lifetime TV in 2014. Soon after, Diana helped create and star in the Lifetime original a cappella series, "Pitch Slapped.” This competition docu-series featured Diana working with high school students through 10 weeks of competition. “Pitch Slapped" continues to air on Lifetime in countries across the world.
Before Diana began her career as an a cappella singer, she graced the theatrical stage on multiple national Broadway tours such as “Fiddler on the Roof” and “A Christams Carol.” Regional roles across the US include Eva Peron in "Evita", Ado Annie in "Oklahoma", Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, Linda in “Blood Brothers” and Shelley in "Bat Boy, The Musical.” As a Nationally televised voice-over artist, you’ve heard Diana as the voice of MTV, Nickelodeon, Behr Paint, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Herbal Essences, Priceline, Planter’s (with Robert Downy Jr), Fisher Price, HGTV, VH1, or Bank of America (to name just a few.)
||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.
Sara Yood has been a producer for Varsity Vocals since 2003 and has been singing a cappella since her high school years. Sara has previously served as ICCA Midwest Producer and ICCA Northeast/New England Producer, and beginning in 2016, is also the ICHSA Northeast Producer. Sara served as both Concert Coordinator and Group Coordinator for The Amateurs at Washington University in St. Louis, leading the group to their first appearance in the ICCA Midwest semifinals. After moving to New York City in 2004, Sara sang with Treble, a New York City semi-professional all-female a cappella group. Sara then attended Fordham Law School, where of course she directed the law school’s co-ed a cappella group The Tortfeasors. She is now an intellectual property lawyer in Manhattan, where she is he alto section leader of the New York City Master Chorale
||Greg Cooper |
Greg Cooper is a 29-year veteran of radio, television and theatre production, development and management. He has comprehensive experience in multimedia presentations and live event production and has also produced national television commercials and developed syndicated radio programming. In 2015, Greg produced the award-winning off-Broadway musical 'Acappella' at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. The production is slated to be published by Stage Rights in early 2016.
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.
Complete list of 2016 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 :
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