|Now in its fourth decade, the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival has been the melting pot of top-notch a cappella talent from around the nation (and some from overseas!). The groups that have held the title of "Harmony Sweepstakes Champion" are diverse in their musical styles, backgrounds and rosters, and, more often than not, continue their legacies today with fruitful careers in the entertainment business. The following is a list of our esteemed champions.|
|2018|| Business Casual
Business Casual is a five-person powerhouse performing a wide range of genres including funk, folk, pop, soul, and R&B. Their diverse musical backgrounds each lend something unique to the group. Fueled by a highly combustible mixture of hunger, talent, and passion for music, Business Casual brings the formal and the funk, the heart and the smart. Their recently released EP, "Eyes on Me" is available on Loudr, iTunes, and Spotify, and through their website: www.BCvocals.com.
Members: Michael Wang, Jacob Chamoun, Roshun Alur, Cassie Greene, Leslie Baker
|2017||The Sound Exchange
Meet your 2017 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions! From soulful ballads, to blistering rock anthems, from jazz standards to chart-topping singles, The Sound Exchange does it all. Based out of the Twin Cities, this group brings dazzling harmonies and wisecracking audience interaction to every show and do it with it with joy and humor. Get ready for the hijinks and harmony of…The Sound Exchange.
Members: Alicia Renée, Nick Bailey, Eric Buegler, Caleb Lee, Paul Donnelly
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. Stiletta members boast multiple Off-Broadway and voice-over credits, WAMMY and CARA awards, original cast recordings for “Memphis” and “Dora the Explorer,” a top rank at the Beatbox World Championships and a half-decade directing the Single Singers at SingStrong A Cappella Festival. These ladies have the moves, the grooves and even the shoes. So get pumped!
Members: Judy Minkoff, Haley Clair, Stevi Incremona, Jaymee Frankel, Olivia Harding, Meghan “MC Beats” Costa
|2015|| Straighter Road
Singing is one of the purest art forms. Nothing man made between the artist and the audience. Straighter Road was formed as a Gospel vocal group first, with a band back-up, and recently has ventured down the Acapella Road. The challenge of acapella sing is without edges and joined with the charge of spreading the Good News of the Gospel, keeps Straighter Road striving for excellence.
Members: Diane Trandum, Lynn Knight, Jerry Leith, Chris Nelson, Aliya Kunz, Mary Kunz, Kevin Kunz
|2014|| Women of the World
Women of the World was formed to bring women musicians from across the globe onto a common platform to collaborate and create, not only through the sharing of music, but also to explore and celebrate the differences in ideologies, and cultural tenets that exist in the daily lives of women all over the world.
Honoring global folk traditions, their repertoire spans music in 29 languages. In many ways, the ensemble is a microcosm of the world, with members working closely together, not just to create and perform music, but also learning about each other's countries, cultures, languages, beliefs and practices.
2014 Harmony Sweepstakes champions, nominees for the 2013 Boston Music Awards and 2014 Independent Music Awards, Women of the World has toured North America and Asia, having collaborated with many industry legends including Grammy-award winning vocalist, Bobby McFerrin and African vocal icon, Angelique Kidjo. Women of the World continues to serve as cultural ambassadors of peace and unity through music and has delighted audiences at venues like Carnegie Hall, Blue Note Jazz Club, Boston Symphony Hall, as well as through collaborations with the United Nations, amongst others. Creating the Harmonious Human Orchestra of Life, Women of the World has brought over 200 women from all over the world together to collaborate musically.
Members: Ayumi Ueda , Annette Philip, Giorgia Renosto, Deborah Pierre
|2013|| Honey Whiskey Trio
Honey Whiskey Trio blends sounds and styles from folk, bluegrass and jazz. This trio found its roots in the vocal jazz department of CSU Long Beach where the members all studied with Christine Guter, though at different times. Years later, well into their own careers as musicians and educators, the need for a new outlet for musical exploration brought Courtney, Ann and Christina together and the Honey Whiskey Trio was formed.
Members: Courtney Gasque, Ann Louise Thaiss , Christina Wilson
|2012|| Six Appeal
Is Six Appeal a comedy group, a vocal ensemble, or a rock band? Audiences have been trying to answer that question for years. Swearing off instruments, Six Appeal uses a cappella singing to span decades of classic oldies, current chart toppers, and catchy original tunes. Featuring vocal dexterity and adventurous song selection, the group explores all genres with a far-reaching repertoire that will surprise and captivate audiences regardless of the setting.
Despite their cheeky group name, the antics of these six young gentlemen provide a good natured atmosphere for their electrifying performance. A Six Appeal show will split your sides, feed your musical sweet tooth, and leave you wondering how in the world they pulled it off just with voices.
With members formally instructed in singing and musical composition, and over 70 combined years of musical training and experience, Six Appeal utilizes a diverse arsenal of style and entertainment. In addition, Six Appeal has a passion for spreading their a cappella music to every audience, and an essential aspect of their mission is to empower young singers in their educational outreach program. What makes these Six stand out from the crowd? Their Appeal.
Members: Jordan Roll, Michael Brookens, Trey Jones, Nathan Hickey, Reuben Hushagen, Andrew Berkowitz
|2011|| Da Capo
Da Capo is an a cappella group hailing from the Washington, D.C. area composed of music professionals from all walks of life. We believe strongly in promoting a cappella music and educating youth about the Barbershop style. Ryan, Tony, Wayne, and Joe have officially been singing together since October of 2009, when our lead singer Tony assembled us to sing his marriage proposal to his wife-to-be. We have also been members of the Barbershop Harmony Society for a combined total of 54 years!
Members: Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Wayne Adams, Joe Sawyer
|2010|| Plumbers of Rome
While serving as court musicians/crepe chefs at the court of Charles VII in the 13th century (they were not allowed to serve as the Royal Plumbers, since plumbing was at that time considered to be a form of witchcraft) the Plumbers of Rome invented a device to hurl food and concert T-shirts into the starving peasant section of the King's Concert Hall. Adapted for military use, and named the Trebuchet, this modest invention lead the French army to many victories, as well as adding to the festive atmosphere of French wedding receptions and modern day Renaissance Festivals. While history has all but forgotten the inventors of the Trebuchet, the Plumbers are commemorated in the traditional French carol ballade de l'arme romaine aim'e de plombier.
Members: Randy Jackson, Ron Gilgamesh, Ernie Stuckowitz
|2009|| MAXX Factor
MAXX Factor, a Baltimore based quartet singing in the barbershop style, was formed in 2005. They are the 2011 Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champions. Other MAXX milestones include being named the 2009 Mid-Atlantic and 2009 National Harmony Sweepstakes Champions as well as being selected as contestants on the very first season of NBC’s "The Sing-Off." Over the past ten years, MAXX Factor has been busy competing, performing and teaching barbershop style singing across the United States and internationally. They were invited to perform locally on the 2014 "The Sing-Off Live Tour." In 2015 they were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and at The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, MD.
Members: Molly Plummer, Leslie Wodday, Valerie Hadfield-Rasnake, Kim Hudson
The press is unanimous: vocaldente's "singing technique is professional", their "verve is phenomenal", and they're "sparkling with imagination". Critics say they offer a "high level in singing performance", with their "funny spoken interludes" and "imaginative, passionate choreography" - and that they're known for the "professionalism in their performance": Onstage they're "fitting and harmonic", "witty and fresh", "charming and professional" ...simply "harmonic, funny and good with a refreshing naturalness."
But vocaldente have also impressed on the international stage, convincing jurors from all areas of vocal and a cappella music, from classical style to voice pop, such as John Potter (former The Hilliard Ensemble member), Ward Swingle (founder of The Swingle Singers) and Anders Jalkeus (The Real Group). The quintet have prevailed at the biggest and most significant national and international vocal and a cappella competitions in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Members: Tobias Kiel, Ansgar Pfeiffer, Niklas Turmann, Johannes Gruber, Tobias Wunschik
|2007|| Moira Smiley and VOCO
Moira Smiley & VOCO is a visionary blend of voices - redefining harmony singing with the power & physicality of folksong, the avant-garde fearlessness of Bela Bartok and the delicious, vaudevillian accompaniment of cello, banjo, accordion and body percussion. Moira Smiley leads an ensemble of extraordinary musicians who share a passion for spreading powerful, emotional music with lush four-part vocal harmony, cello, accordion and banjo. Original improvisation-built songs steeped in Appalachia and Eastern Europe.
Named #1 a cappella group in the U.S. in 2007, VOCO is the energy of street singing and the elegance of a string quartet. Recently featured in Dirty Linen and on more than 100 radio stations nationwide on NPR's "Harmonia", VOCO has released two critically acclaimed CDs in '08-'09: "Small Worlds" and "Circle, Square, Diamond & Flag". VOCO is sweet, hard-driving Americana mixed with crooked eastern European dance and dissonance. It's all rounded out with body-stompin' percussive movement and joyous, magnificent, hair-raising harmonies - music that mourns and dances at the same time.
Members: Moira Smiley, Jess Basta, Christine Enns, John Ballinger, Jessica Catron
Hi-Fidelity is considered to be one of the top a cappella show quartets in the country with a locked sound, creative packages and an extremely unique sense of humor (perhaps twisted?). Hi-Fidelity is the current Champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society's Far Western District. They have also taken top honors at another national "mixed" a cappella contest in 2002 when they were crowned the Buckeye Invitational Grand Quartet Champions. Their CD, "Almost Live" has been a big hit, and one cut (Blackbird Parody) was nominated for a CASA award in 2005. You may have seen them in some commercials too! Either as the Roto-Rooter plumbers or promoting the popular X-Box game "Tao Feng, Fist of the Lotus" (a very "painful" commercial - Check it out at www.hifidelityquartet.com). The guys are also members of the current International chorus champions, Masters of Harmony.
Members: Craig Ewing (tenor), Tom Moore (lead), Gregg Bernhard (baritone), Martin Fredstrom (bass)
|2005|| 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.
Members: Kelly Kunz, Jeffrey Horenstein, James Niles, Randy Taylor, Kevin Kunz, Peter Jones
|2004|| Chapter 6
The group's boundless range and appeal has resulted in one of the most diverse touring schedules in the music industry. Whether at an opera house, symphony hall, campus, church, corporate or community event, or aboard a cruise ship, Chapter 6 is right at home. Opera houses are often repeat clients, while the Association for the Promotion of Collegiate Activities' audiences named Chapter 6 "Entertainer of the Year" (2005). Chapter 6 has performed theatrical pops programs with over ten major metropolitan symphony orchestras in association with The Symphonic Pops Consortium, yet returns to the intimate classroom where the group has conducted over a hundred master-classes for high school choirs. Finally, their Christmastime concert is a favorite among churches and arts venues offering holiday programming.
Members: Luke Menard, Nathan Pufall, A.D. Stonecipher, Jarrett Johnson, John Musick, Mark Grizzard
|2003|| Idea of North
The Idea of North defies categorisation. As a quartet of musicians, their voices are their instruments: soprano, alto, tenor and bass, with a bit of vocal percussion thrown in. Their sound and style is distinct, yet they cross many musical genres: jazz, pop, folk, gospel, even comedy.
Their arrangements are extraordinary. They take songs you know and songs you don't and create songs you'll love. But it's not just about the music:
"A pitch-perfect ensemble negotiating complex modulations with ease, constant seamless transition between lead and accompaniment parts, and the whole thing strung together by low-key, humorous conversational patter..." The Courier-Mail
Members: Trish Delaney-Brown, Naomi Crellin, Nick Begbie, Andrew Piper
|2002|| Perfect Gentlemen
The Perfect Gentlemen provide the perfect blend of harmony and humor harkening back to the days of Vaudeville. Preserving America's great vocal sounds from a time when music was music, The Perfect Gentlemen recreate the close harmonies of such legendary groups as The Ink Spots and the Pied Pipers, while including the era's great comic songs made famous by the likes of Louis Jordan and The Hoosier Hotshots.
A typical performance by The Perfect Gentlemen includes marvelous melodious music mingled with masterful mirth, mischief, and merry-making. The group's versatility allows for effortless shifts between vocal styles with an air of ease, whether singing a cappella or accompanied by guitar or ukulele. Their signature piece, Salute to the 20th Century, is a humorous take on the de-evolution of music over the last century, illustrated by singing the same song in the style of Barbershop, Dixieland, Blues, Big Band, Doo-Wop, Bluegrass, Disco, Techno Punk, and Rap, complete with visuals that delights audiences of all ages time and time again.
Members: Dan Jordan, Tim Reeder, Mike Economou, Jim Campbell
|2001|| Sixth Wave
January 2005 brought on a season of change for us, as Amy Fogerson left the group and was replaced by Jennifer Barnes. Shortly thereafter, both Gerald White and Gary Rosen also made the decision to leave the group to pursue other ventures, which created openings filled by tenor Greg Whipple and baritone Greg Jasperse. This 50% new group is now eagerly working towards the goal of being a powerful and cohesive musical unit, adding exciting new repertoire while maintaining the spirit and integrity for which Sixth Wave has always been known. Please keep checking back for new and exciting news and updates as things progress.....
Members: Elin Carlson, Cindy Bourquin, Amy Fogerson, Gerald White, Gary Rosen, Eric Bradley
|2000|| Toxic Audio
In 1998, Toxic Audio launched its quirky show in an abandoned storefront at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. To their amazement, people began cramming into that storefront to see them. The show caught the attention of Disney executives who hired them as featured performers at the Disney/MGM Studios. Soon after, the group was crowned champion at the National Harmony Sweepstakes in California.
In the year 2003, Toxic Audio's album, Chemistry was named "Album of the Year" by the Contemporary Acappella Society of America. The group has made national TV appearances with Ed McMahon and Wayne Brady, and even got to sing a reggae-style weather report on ESPN2's morning show "Cold Pizza". Toxic Audio won the 2004 Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience" for their Off-Broadway Show in New York's John Houseman Theatre where they continue to electrify audiences by exploring the boundaries of the human voice.
Members: Rene Ruiz, Jeremy James, Shalisa Sloan, Michelle Mailhot, Paul Sperrazza
|1999|| Naturally 7
The origins of the group date back to New York City in 1999 when Roger Thomas started the group with his brother, Warren, and five other talented singers they had come to know over the years from singing around the city. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups over the years, Roger developed an affinity for a cappella sounds and a unique ability to create distinct harmony arrangements. When invited to sing at a major a cappella competition in New York, they won the competition, moved onto the nationals and took away two more wins.
Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 were going to be an a cappella group or a traditional band, Roger had a novel idea: they could be both.
Members: Roger Thomas, Warren Thomas, Dwight Stewart, Garfield Buckley, Roderick Elderidge, Marcus Davis, David Laroche
Formed in February of 1994, Metropolis has come to the attention of national television audiences within the past few years, beginning with their appearance on the pilot episode of Four Floor Show on E! Entertainment Television in June 1995 and the filming of a national Dr. Pepper commercial later that same year. They continue to make appearances in various media, most recently singing jingles for radio commercials and having appeared in the limited release film entitled "Pacino is Missing." The members of Metropolis have performed in a cappella groups on national and local television, film, radio, and in 28 different states and provinces including Florida, Michigan Minnesota, Hawaii, Alberta, Ontario, California, Arizona, and Nevada. They have competed in numerous different vocal styles encompassing Jazz, Doo-Wop, Broadway, R&B, Dixieland, Madrigal, and Opera.
Members: Bob Hartley, Brian Philbin, Mike McGee, James Sabina
SoVoSo is a highly imaginative a cappella ensemble that sings a unique, rhythmic mix of jazz, gospel, world and R&B music, all rendered in their trademark improvisational style.
The SoVoSo repertoire consists of original compositions and other songs that present a global perspective, from Afro-Latin idioms to traditional funk and jazz arrangements. Two SoVoSo members (Joey Blake, past member, and current member David Worm) are current members of Bobby McFerrin's a cappella group, Voicestra, performing with him from 1993 to present.
Currently you will see David Worm, Sunshine Becker, Bryan Dyer and Zoe Ellis in this vocal band line-up, along with other great singers such as Nicolas Bearde, Ashling Cole and Vernon Bush. The SoVoSo family of singers continues to expand as this one of a kind musical project grows and flourishes.
Members: Sunshine Garcia, Dave Worm, Joey Blake, Rhiannon, Nic Beard, Melanie
Hailed "one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world" by the San Francisco Chronicle, m-pact is respected worldwide as a cutting edge trailblazer in the realm of vocal music. Emerging from an age of auto-tune and overproduction, this Los Angeles-based sextet has cultivated a new generation of ears hungry for the fresh, raw power of nature's "first instrument" - the human voice.
From the beginning, the "pact" of these well-studied masters has been to stay true to Music, regardless of style or genre. Their sophisticated sound and accessible appeal have garnered vast accolades, including "Vocal Group of the Year" from the LA Music Awards, an Indie nomination (the Independent GrammyTM), "Artist of the Year" (Seattle Music Awards), and Grand National Champs of the Harmony Sweepstakes competition.
Members: Carl, Mathew, Jonathan, Marco, Trist
A unique mixed voice octet, The Accidentals are known for their sophisticated harmonies, off-beat sense of humor, and an eclectic repertoire of original songs and distinctive arrangements. Their many awards include MAC and Back Stage Bistro Awards for Best Vocal Group. They were also the 1995 National Champions of the Harmony Sweepstakes. The Accidentals' CDs have won several Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, and their songs have been included in feature films and on television.
Members: Emily Bindiger, Dennis Deal, Kevin DiSimone, Margaret Dorn, Bill Mitchell, Marcia Pelletiere, Rosie Vallese, Jim Vincent
The Coats vocal band started on the street corners of Seattle, Washington's famous Pike Place Market. Singing for tourists, locals, fish vendors, and fellow buskers, their humble ambitions of earning a few clams to fight off the tuition bills quickly evolved into a full-time international performance career. They've since won national vocal competitions, sang for the President of the United States, and have been fortunate enough to share the stage with such talented fellow entertainers as Ronnie Milsap, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, The Beach Boys, Tanya Tucker, Billy Dean, Crystal Gayle, and Colin Ray, just to name a few, all while continuing their tradition of outreach performances and workshops supporting music in schools throughout the northwest.
Members: Kerry Dahlen, Jamie Dieveney, Joe Mele, Doug Wisness
|1993|| 17th Avenue All-Stars
The 17th Avenue Allstars are celebrating 20 years as one of Denver, Colorado's top musical acts singing contemporary a cappella. The Allstars have performed across the United States and opened for National Acts such as: BB King, The Temptations, Mel Torme, and Robert Cray. Named the official anthems singers of the Denver Broncos they've experienced a wide range of a cappella performance opportunities including shows for US Presidents and Governers, corporate events and product launches, outdoor festivals and concerts and large charitable fundraisers. Book the Allstars today for your concert or special event and experience the a cappella magic that is The 17th Avenue Allstars.
From the Doo-Wop favorites from the 50's to Contemporary A Cappella; straight ahead rock tunes or a cappella vocal jazz, the 17th Avenue Allstars will put on a show for any audience!
Members: Norm Silver, Jeff Harris, Robert Anderson, LaTanya Hall, Robert Johnson
|1992|| Acme Vocals
Acme Vocals performs a wide variety of musical styles - bluegrass, gospel, folk, pop, heavy metal, and rap - and combine a comedic flair with incredibly rich sounding vocals. Their performances have produced critical acclaim and a national following. Their credits include performing on "CBS this Morning" and on Garrison Keller's American Radio Company. They have also displayed their talents at such nation events as the NBA Playoffs and MLB's All-Star Game and have opened for such national opened for stars as David Brenner and Jay Leno. Acme Vocals recently was nominated the top entertainment act in the nation by colleges belonging to the National Association for Campus Activities, the largest college entertainment booking organization in the country. They have harmonized together for more than five years and have traveled extensively throughout the United States, performing at more than 200 concerts yearly.
Members: Steve Anders, Tom Ciappa, Beth Frank, Kevin Poise, Faadl Shukry
|1991|| North Shore A Cappella
For the last 26 years, North Shore Acappella has entertained and excited thousands of listeners throughout the Boston area, adding an experienced blend of harmony, rhythm and tempo to songs from the 40's right up through today. This special art of delivering music without instrumental accompaniment is what North Shore Acappella is all about. The award-winning group offers a continuously fresh repertoire of hundreds of popular hits that cover the last five decades. Each number and performance is arranged in a way that showcases each member in a role of lead singer – a trait that very few acappella groups in the country can claim.
Members: Tommy Duarte, Paul Lopes, Jimmy Martin, Vinny Straccia, Richie Willis
|1990||The Knudsen Brothers
SIX are six real brothers. They actually come from a family of ten brothers, no sisters and are the six oldest in the family. Apparently their mom and dad (Arnold and Joyce Knudsen) wanted a girl.
Barry Knudsen is the eldest and was born in Davenport, Iowa. Kevin Knudsen is second and was born in Farmington, New Mexico. Lynn Knudsen is third and was born in Mesa, Arizona. Jak Knudsen is fourth and was born in El Paso, Texas. Owen Knudsen is fifth and was born in Seattle, Washington and Curtis Knudsen, number six, was born in Seattle as well. Their father worked where he could to support his family which explains their nomadic beginnings.
The four younger brothers are a huge support to their six older performing brothers and play an important part behind the scenes.
Members: Barry Knudsen, Kevin Knudsen, Lynn Knudsen, Jak Knudsen, Owen Knudsen
The EDLOS, you might ask? Four guys who sing without instrumental accompaniment... A Cappella. What's with the name? The story they tell is that the name is an acronym for Excessive Decibel Levels from Outer Space and that they're refugees from the planet "A" which circles the star Capella in the constellation Auriga. The story goes on, but let's cut to reality here for a minute. These four classically trained guys; Eric, Larry, Ed, and Craig were destined to take their schooling, talent, and juicy voices into the 21st century, always breaking new ground in their never ending pursuit of A Cappella diversity and originality. Speaking of diversity, the EDLOS have three shows to offer. Their critically acclaimed Popourri Show, which consistently draws standing ovations, is made up of eclectic originals and familiar favorites.
Members: Eric Morris, Bill Davis, Larry Venza, Ed Cohn
Finess'e is a SF based group formed in November of 1985. Since then they've been delighting audiences statewide in such clubs as the Sweetwater, New George's, Offpaza, Waterloo and Rathskellar's in Las Vegas. Their range of music is unlimited (R&B, gospel, jazz and classical) which makes them available for any and all occasions. Special award winners in Harmony Sweeps '87, they have recorded in Las Vegas and worked with Maxine Howard.
Members: Greg McDowell, Bill Hopkins, Terry Baxter, Don Dorsey, Jimmy "Jam" Smith
Over the years, jazz has seen its share of talented vocal groups --New York Voices, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Andy Bey & the Bey Sisters, and Beachfront Property are among the names that immediately come to mind. All of those groups had two-gender formats, and rarely do you find a jazz-oriented vocal outfit with an all-female lineup; Pastiche is such a rarity. Consisting of singers Jenny Meltzer, Sandy Cressman, and Becky West, the female trio brings a jazz foundation to this self-titled debut album. But having a jazz foundation doesn't necessarily mean being a jazz purist or a jazz snob, and Pastiche is an appropriate name for the Bay Area threesome because Meltzer, Cressman, and West obviously have a variety of influences -- not only jazz vocal outfits like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and New York Voices, but also everything from soul and pop to Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean music. Stevie Wonder has influenced some of the writing, and so has the Manhattan Transfer.
Members: Sandy Cressman, Becky West, Jenny Meltzer
In the pantheon of a cappella, The Flips are considered amongst the vanguard of groups that emerged during a cappella’s “new wave” in the mid-1980’s, paving the way for a cappella’s current popularity. Founded by Kevin Carter, Patti Lesser, Kirk Livingston and Shanna Strassberg in 1984, while studying musical theater at San Francisco State University, the group honed their vocal talents singing at keg parties, in stairwells, back alleys… pretty much anywhere anyone would listen. Their unique alchemy of demented humor and gorgeous harmonies quickly turned them into the darlings of the San Francisco/Bay Area and Los Angeles comedy and cabaret scenes.
Billed as “Off-the-Wall A Cappella,” The Flips refused to be categorized. Their theatrical stage shows incorporated skits, monologues, satire and sight gags, sets, props, lighting and sound effects, all woven around their signature four-part harmonies in wide range of musical tastes - from do-wop to new wave, jazz to country, gospel to pop, and even rap. In 1986, The Flips won the coveted Harmony Sweepstakes and then went on to win back-to-back San Francisco Cabaret Gold Awards for Best Musical Group in 1986 & 1987. Featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment (Pink) section, and named “Comedy Pick of the Week” by the LA Weekly, the band’s popularity sky-rocketed. As frequent guests on the TV and radio talk show circuits in both Northern and Southern California, some highlights include performing live on NPR’s West Coast Weekend, and as regular guests on Live 105 with Alex Bennett and Lori Thomson..
Although The Flips officially disbanded in 1989, its members continue to sing together in various configurations for special projects… or when begged... or when free cocktails are involved… or, well, pretty much any time they're all together in the same room..
Their album, What's In The Bright Pink Box, was recently reissued and can now be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and many other online music websites.
Members: Kirk Livingston, Patti Lesser, Shanna Strassberg, Kevin Carter
|1985|| Just Friends
Just Friends- a jazz octet based in San Jose, CA – 1981-1986 – playing jazz and some Motown classics in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Darryl Rowe has been a presence in the San Francisco Bay Area Jazz scene for two decades. In 1992 the “Darryl Rowe Trio” was featured at the Monterrey Jazz Festival. He has appeared at Keystone Korner, The De Anza Hotel, Yoshi’s, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has worked with Woody Herman, Dexter Gordon, Sergio Mendez, Bobby McFerrin, and Patrice Rushen.
In addition to singing alto with Just Friends, Peggie Calamewas also the leader, the founder, the coordinator of the group. Many of our A Cappella tunes were arranged by Peggie. Through her efforts Just Friends had steady engagements at venues all over the Bay Area, and performed at many special events as well. Since her time in Just Friends, Peggie has moved to Portland, OR, where she continues to sing and play piano with friends, and has continued to pursue her longtime profession as a Metal Smith/Jewelry maker.
After hitting the high notes with Just Friends, Laura Rosvoldbecame involved in Christian music. Her husband was a Naval Doctor for many years, so the family moved numerous times all over the country. Currently they reside in Northern California.
After his time with Just Friends, Loren Dummett has sung at special events, weddings, etc. He has continued to explore his passion for all types of music. He loves to compose, arrange, and record music, and enjoys photography. He is currently singing in the Blackhawk Chorus, based in Danville, CA. for which he has been a member since 2008.
Members: Darryl Rowe (Bass), Peggie Calame (Alto), Laura Rosvold (Soprano), Loren Dummett (Tenor)