2018 Participating Groups
20/20 is a collection of former college friends who have formed a lifelong bond through sharing their love of music. With their skills from music school at hand, the group combined already has decades of performing experience including leading opera roles, national festival performances, and professional choral recording sessions. Since graduating from Central Washington University they have all taken different career paths but still find time to come together in order to pursue musical excellence and share their passion for performing as 20/20.
Members: Emelia Blunt, Theo Olson, Ben Rice , Isaiah Ragland, Jacob Cecil, Matt Mayrhofer
| Altra Volta|
Altra Volta is a 7-voice a cappella vocal ensemble founded in 1998, from Calgary, Canada. A creative community comprised of talented singers, arrangers and songwriters, the group's diverse repertoire includes classical choral, vocal jazz and pop music. In recent years the group has gone from performing published works to also creating arrangements and original songs of their own, exploring the many facets of the human voice to emulate various musical instruments. In addition to their own concerts, Altra Volta has performed for weddings and other special events around the city.
Members: Charishe Amante, Noel Amante, Hilary Aubin Amante, Sarah Hayduk, Keith Knudsen, Kristen Simpson, Ryan Wagner
| B-Side Book Club|
B-Side Book Club A Cappella is a community of friends, voices, and musicians who all share a love for creating music. Based in Portland, Oregon we work together to creatively produce music that is enjoyable, beautiful, and meaningful.
Members: Adriana Hernandez, Alison Noe, Kushi Beauchamp, Siani Donnelian, Becky Friedman, Charlie Best, Louis Umbarger, Kimo Camat, Trevor Sargent, Mason Wordell, Robert Pirtle, Sam Wellander
Fourcast first sang together in November of 2015...it was an audition for a baritone...and almost instantly we knew this was something special. Since then, we've competed twice in North-by-Northwest Region 13's Annual Convention and placed 3rd both times.
Members: Anna Martin, Lisa Martin, Carol Ward, Sue Beck
| S'Pacific Sounds|
S'Pacific Sounds is an elite group of ladies from the Pacific Sound Chorus in Bellevue, WA. This subset group of the chorus features exceptional singers and energetic performers, and they augment the chorus's shows with their expanded and varied repertoire. Their goal is to be able to continue to expand each individual's performing skills while bringing their style of a cappella music to audiences! They are so thrilled to be able to perform tonight in this competition. They hope the audience has as much fun as they do!
Members: Susan Kegley, Diane Lee, Tami Kamp, Janice McKenna, Michaela Phillips, Tricia Kastrop, Rebecca Strenge, Evy Young, Stephanie Potter, Michelle DeFreece, Cheryl Blasich, Terri B'Hymer
| Stumptown Fellas|
Stumptown Fellas is an all male R&B A Cappella from Portland, OR. They sing anything from Motown classics, 80's & 90's R&B, to songs by artists including Bruno Mars, John Legend, Robin Thicke, and Amy Winehouse. The group was founded by Matt Biller, Aisea Poulivaati, and Daniel Jeppesen back in 2014.
Members: Matt Biller, Aisea Poulivaati, Armond Frazier, Jason Bourke
Your Emcee for the Evening
|Raymond has performed in various musical stage productions including “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Guys and Dolls”, and “The Music Man”, and has also been an integral part of dramatic productions such as The Diary of Anne Frank, Tobacco Road, Mister Roberts and The Brick & The Rose. He was a member of two southern California based quartets- Regular Boys Short (barbershop) and The South Bay Curve (a cappella doo-wop), as well as the comedy/folk duo The Men from Abdo (aka The Abdo-Men).
He moved to Olympia in 1990 and, after taking time away from performing (and after considerable prodding by his wife), Raymond returned to the stage and can now be seen every year “walking with style” as Herr Silberhaus in the local Olympia production of Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker” alongside his wife Jennifer.
He returned to singing in recent years to honor the memory of both his best friend and his mother, and is a current member of Masterworks Choral Ensemble. Raymond lives in Lacey with his wife and their two sons, Noah and Gabriel, dog Gibson and Dennis the cat.
||Riana Nelson |
Riana Nelson is a singer, artist, and entrepreneur from Olympia, WA. She sings professionally in a three-part-harmony sibling trio with her two brothers (called “Derik Nelson & Family”), touring to more than 70 Performing Arts Centers stages nationwide this year. She began touring with her brothers in 2013, to raise money for music and drama programs across 40+ West Coast high schools. Riana and her siblings provide educational outreach in many cities on tour as role models for young minds, conducting motivational seminars for high school students, inspiring kids to go outside their comfort zones to take chances, and empowering young women.
Riana proudly received her BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan, and during her time there, co-musically directed the oldest and most decorated a cappella groups of the university’s history, Amazin’ Blue.
With a diverse entertainment background, Riana was a lead singer for Princess Cruises in onboard Vegas style production shows. She’s also performed the national anthem for 69,000 people at a home Seattle Seahawks NFL game, worked for Disney in Beijing, China teaching English through arts and music, and performed on-screen in episodes of “Cinnamon Girl,” (a Renee Zellweger produced pilot), “Glee," and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Riana has been featured in the Huffington Post as an “Inspirational Woman" and currently serves on the Board of Directors at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in her hometown of Olympia. She is thrilled and honored to be serving on the Harmony Sweepstakes judges panel!
Jill Barnes is the Executive Director of the Washington Center. She has previously worked in Idaho Falls at the Willard Arts Center/Colonial Theater, John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, UT. Jill grew up attending and participating in chorus, band, theater, and musicals. She studied vocal performance at the University of Utah and holds a Masters Degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. She moved to Olympia in June with her husband Nathan and 3 curly-haired children. She is an enthusiastic consumer of the arts and is thrilled to be a part of Harmony Sweepstakes.
||Kevin Kunz |
Kevin studied jazz piano and voice at Central Washington University and studied under nationally renowned director, John Mowad. After college, Kevin jumped into radio jingle and commercial singing, while playing jazz and pop keyboards and singing in clubs and lounges in the 80’s. Kevin joined with his brother in 2000 and formed Groove For Thought, which went on to win the coveted 2005 National Harmony Sweepstakes championship. Groove for Thought has gone on to star in NBC’s The Sing Off Season 2 and continues a very successful musical career.
With numerous songwriting awards, album credits for writing and arranging, including arranging for string ensembles and horn sections, 2 CARA Awards and 3 more nominations for 2107, he is very active in the local music scene.
Kevin formed Straighter Road in 2012. The 6 vocalists of SR come from very diverse vocal backgrounds and experiences and blending them together resulted in being named 2015 Pacific Northwest Harmony Sweepstakes Champions, their very first competition ever, and then on to with the National Harmony Sweepstakes Competition award 2 months later in SanFrancisco, competing against the very best groups from around the country, while also bring home the award for Best Arrangement!
Deborah Vinsel has worked in nonprofit community media for more than 30 years. She has been the CEO at Thurston Community Media since 1990. She currently serves on the boards of directors for Washington Center for the Performing Arts and the Alliance for Community Media NW Region.
Vinsel’s decision to make media her career was an extension of her love for theater, dance and music. Her parents supported her passion for the performing arts with training in music and dance throughout her school years. By the time she reached her early 20s she was a proficient musician playing flute, oboe and piano but her plans for a professional dance career were sidelined by a knee injury when she was in college.
Vinsel found a performing home in community theater until the siren song of television pulled her into a career both in front and behind the camera. She still enjoys singing and dancing for an audience and has never met a microphone she didn’t love or stage that didn’t beckon. Vinsel often says “the arts shaped my life.”
||Mark Anton |
Since 1980 Mark has sung lead tenor with The Americana Supper Clubs of Florida, The Norman Luboff Choir The Roger Wagner Chorale, The Pied Pipers and The Dapper Dan's of Disneyland. He has performed with the Big Bands of Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown, Ray Anthony, Jimmy Dorsey, Horace Heidt, Billy May and Harry James along with such great stars as Tony Bennette, Rosemary Clooney,Julie Andrews,George Burns ,Barry Manilow, Diana Krall to name a few and was featured on the Larry King White House Christmas Special Andy Williams.
In addition to live performance, studio recording, TV and Radio performance Mark has owned and operated his private vocal studios in Los Angeles, CA and Olympia, WA where he continues to teach singing to students of all ages, levels and personal musical interests.
Complete list of 2018 participants
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We are always seeking groups who would like to participate
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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 :
Gary Witley (Pacific Northwest)
The Pacific Northwest Regional Festival is sponsored and produced by Masterworks Choral Ensemble (MCE). Gary Witley is the Artistic Director & Conductor of MCE. MCE is a Southwestern Washington community chorus dedicated to performance, community service, music education and leadership in the arts. Our mission is to perform sacred and secular choral, orchestral and newly commissioned works; to participate in community service activities and to provide a leadership role in developing, sponsoring and broadening the vocal arts.
PO Box 1091, Olympia, WA 98501-1090
info (at) mce.org