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VAN Reviews

New York Regionals
Harmony Sweepstakes

February 17, 2001, 7:00pm
Symphony Space, New York
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Reviewed by Dan Rosenbaum
Web posted February 23, 2001

Most concerts don’t end with a winner being declared. For that matter, most concerts give the acts on the bill more than eight minutes on stage. And most concerts have significantly fewer acts than the eight that perform at the typical Harmony Sweepstakes.

All of which somewhat blunts the formal critical impulse. The event, after all, claims to be self-reviewing, ending with a champion being crowned. In the best case, that’s indeed what happens. Yet talent shows – particularly the New York Sweeps – have an odd way of ending in a somewhat skewed manner, with the results not always tallying with what happened on stage.

Happily, the 2001 edition of the New York Sweeps played true throughout. Vox Bop, the six-year-old jazz quartet featuring intricate and cerebral arrangements by David Deschamps, was deservedly named the winner both by judges and audience. In addition, Deschamps’s “Slinky Variations,” a seven-and-a-half minute survey of a cappella styles based on the Slinky jingle, was named best arrangement of the evening.

The group will represent the New York region at the National Harmony Sweepstakes in San Mateo, CA on May 5.

The result visibly surprised