HomeJAMAA Winners Announced!

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A cappella for the World

A cappellafest

Colorado A cappella

Home Free


The Stanford Harmonics

Congratulations to all the JAMAA applicants!

Founded by Jonathan Minkoff in 2008, the purpose of the JAMAAs is to support individuals and groups with proposals to foster and promote the art form of a cappella and benefit the community.

The 2008 JAMAA committee consisted of Diana Preisler, Dave Brown, Freddie Feldman, Marty Gasper and Jonathan Minkoff.

A cappella for the World

According to the World Health Organization, 1.7 billion people, 28 percent of the world’s population, do not have access to clean drinking water and must often bathe, clean their clothes, urinate and defecate in the same water that they drink. As a result, 1.3 million children die every year of diseases caused by drinking contaminated water.

Chelsey Reardon, a high school student in Marblehead, Massachusetts and a devoted a cappella performer, is doing what she can to change that.

Ms. Reardon approached the JAMAAs with a novel partnership between the Marblehead/Swampscott Rotary, Pure Water for the World Foundation and Daniel Cantor, an audio engineer with Notable Productions.

Her plan: a compilation CD called “A cappella for the World” whose proceeds are dedicated to providing clean, safe drinking water to needy Hondurans.

The compilation CD will be composed of high school, collegiate and professional a cappella music.

Internationally renown, professional a cappella group, Blue Jupiter has already offered to donate their a cappella dance version of the Elvis classic, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love with You”.

Ms. Reardon’s own group, the Jeweltones, has committed to promoting the compilation at their live concerts.

The JAMAA Committee has committed to fully funding Ms. Reardon’s project.


A cappella group, Vocal Chaos under the direction and management of Jeff Swearingen along with major contributions from another group, elmoTHUMM, produced AcappellaFest in the greater Chicagoland area in September of 2007.

Home Free, Almost Recess and Rockapella’s lead singer, Scott Leonard joined these groups in helping draw over 300 people to this nascent event.

AcappellaFest’s goal: to expose Midwest audiences to high quality a cappella in a variety of genres –not just barbershop, doo wop or glee club.

They asked for JAMAA support to help expand the reach of their event and to continue serving the Midwest audience. The committee has chosen to partially fund their application.

Colorado A cappella

With support from Tim Jones of the a cappella group Moosebutter and Tony Huerta, live sound engineer for the gospel and often-a cappella group, Take 6, Andrew Hoag founded Colorado A Cappella in February 2007 for the purpose of promoting scholastic-based a cappella music in Colorado.

Since its inception, Colorado A cappella’s efforts have been focused on four major events and a long-term recording project: Colorado A Cappella Spring Showcase and Colorado Winter Invitational, two semi-annual events in which multiple Colorado collegiate groups work together to share a single performance; Colorado Vocal Conference, a weekend of a cappella seminars and performances for both college and high school groups; Colorado A Cappella Holiday Program, a multicultural music performance focused on an “all around holiday experience” rather than a traditional “Christmas” show; and the Mile High Vocal Project, a CD compilation of Colorado-based professional and collegiate a cappella groups.

Colorado A cappella asked for JAMAA support, not only to reinforce these existing programs, but also to create a new program called Colorado Vocal Educators in which at least 40 advanced middle school and high school choirs in the Colorado area will receive yearly in-school coachings. These workshops will focus on introducing traditional choral groups to the culture and vocal techniques of contemporary a cappella music.

Most importantly, all sessions will be provided free of charge to the schools. In exchange, the schools provide a venue to host a high school showcase concert featuring their HS group in which all profits associated with ticket sales and merchandise flow to Colorado A Cappella.

The JAMAA committee has opted to fully fund Colorado A cappella’s application.

Music In Our Schools

Home Free, an a cappella group based in Minnesota founded their high school outreach program “Music In Our Schools” in 2005. Working with the existing music programs of Minnesota high schools, as well as area elementary and middle schools, Home Free teaches sessions all day which finally culminate in an evening concert where the high school groups perform with Home Free.

These concerts act both to pay for Home Free and as fundraisers for Minnesota schools as door proceeds are split between the group and the music programs.

The JAMAA committee has offered partial funding to help Home Free continue this community-enriching program into the future.

The Stanford Harmonics

This California-based collegiate ensemble has been called “pioneering” by CASA founder, Deke Sharon. Known for their hard-rock influenced recordings, the Harmonics have long struggled with recreating their edgy studio sound in the live arena.

The Harmonics asked for the support of the JAMAAs in the purchase of rock-band-like sound equipment. The group will remain a cappella, but will now individually mic each singer. Further, the group plans to regularly incorporate electronic effects like distortion, delay, flange and chorus, previously reserved to guitarists in rock bands.

The Stanford Harmonic’s new harder, electronically enhanced a cappella sound would not only further the art form of a cappella music –particularly in the collegiate market where individually mic-ed performers are a rarity and the use of rock effects is rarer still, but also spread an appreciation of contemporary a cappella to the surrounding community.

In addition to their already full schedule of performances and recording, the Harmonics have committed to monthly performances at local high schools, with a specific focus on schools where the students are underexposed to the arts, such as in East Palo Alto; monthly performances at the Stanford Medical Center for patients; increased collaboration with Palo Alto arts-focused non-profits, such as SASTA, the Stanford Alliance for Service Through the Arts (http://www.stanford.edu/group/SASTA/); making all of the charitable events that the group currently participates in into annual performances- (such as Relay for Life and Very Special Arts Festival); and adopting a “no pay-no problem” approach for financially strapped schools unable to support the Harmonics’ outreach program.

The JAMAA Committee has opted to fully fund the Harmonics’ request.

Applications for 2009 are accepted on a rolling basis and next year’s winners will be announced late March of 2009.

Donations to the Jonathan A. Minkoff A cappella Award are tax deductible up to the fullest extent allowed under law. CASA is a 501(c)(3) charity.