Sarah and Jeff Teets
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Sarah and Jeff Teets

Whitehall, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Whitehall, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter




"Bethlehem singer wins Acoustic Performers Contest"

A Bethlehem singer on Tuesday won the eighth annual Lehigh Valley Acoustic Performers Contest.

Kwesi Kankam, singing a Dave Matthews/John Mayer-inspired set, beat out three other finalists who like him had won weekly preliminary contests at Mezza Luna Sports Bar and Grill in Allentown. Kankam won the third week of preliminaries.

Playing alone on an acoustic guitar, standing at a microphone to sing, Kankam did a nine-song set. Both his guitar playing and singing were exceptional, and he won the nod of a four-judge panel before more an audience of than 50 people.

He won $500 cash donated by Associated Fire Equipment in Whitehall, a guitar and hard case from Martin Guitar Co. in Nazareth, a $250 gift certificate from SoLowB Productions, a $200 gift certificate from Dave Phillips Music and Sound in Allentown, eight Hours of recording time at Brian J Anthony Studios in N. Catasauqua, a $100 gift certificate from Hawk Music in Bethlehem and a professional photo shoot package.

I did not judge, but I would have favored brother-and-sister duo Sarah and Jeff Teets of Whitehall, who won the fourth week preliminaries. Playing with him seated on guitar and she standing to sing, they offered up a nine-song set that included the brooding rock that they play with their usual metal band, Necromance.

Sarah and Jeff Teets

The opening song, “Stand Up and Fight,” personified that – strong and fast. Sarah’s voice is a clear clarion, and she sang emphatically. But they also played some surprisingly gentle, and slower songs, such as “Fading Skies.” The closing “Remember” was a harder version of ‘70s soft rock.

I though Kankam probably benefitted from being the final contestant. His songs were too derivative for me. Most of his songs had nice playing, but no strong melody or song structure.

Also good were Sunsets North, an Allentown-based pop-rock-emo band that won the first week of preliminaries and made the finals in 2008. By random choice, they performed first, and gave a nine-song set of poppy punk-emo.

A three-man band playing guitar, bass and xylophone, their best songs were musically complex and had intensity and urgency.

Their opening “The Lonely Cowboy” was typical of their sound, but “Break The Mold,” with the xylophone actually driving the melody and adding a nice chim-y element, was better. “All Rained Out,” the title song of their recently released EP, was slower and gentler. And the closing “Anna Marie” offered a bit of beat box at the start and was played emphatically.

The band also was in the finals of radio station WZZO’s Backyard Bands contest at this year’s Allentown Fair.

East Stroudsburg’s Rick Delgado, who won the second-week preliminary, played alone on acoustic guitar, standing at the microphone, and singing in a breathy but powerful voice.

He did a seven-song set of standard coffeehouse songs, with occasionally more dynamic singing and guitar playing.

The four weekly winners got $100 in graphic design from Bruce Seaton Graphic Design, a professionally-shot DVD of their performance at the Nov. 29th finals, prize packs from Valley radio stations WODE-FM 99.9 The Hawk and WWYY-FM 107.7 The Bone. - John J Moser


Still working on that hot first release.



Sarah and Jeff Teets are a brother/sister duo who have been playing together on and off stage for many years, playing all styles of music - from metal to jazz to acoustic music. As an acoustic duo, the two showcase a dynamic range of vocals including many complex harmonies. Jeff's inventive and complex guitar playing serves as the bed for Sarah's unique, expressive, and powerful vocals. The two play a wide range of material, from re-arrangements of classic and progressive rock songs (Kansas, Aerosmith, Foreigner), to arrangements of contemporary rock and pop songs (Foo Fighters, Alter Bridge), to songs from Broadway musicals such as Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Jekyll and Hyde. In addition to the broad range of covers, the two also showcase their original acoustic music which comes with a rock-yet-melodic edge. They've been honing their skills in shows all over the region, but most recently were chosen as finalists for the Lehigh Valley Acoustic Performers contest at Mezza Luna Bar and Grille. Their mix of original and re-arranged music spans a time twice as long as their still relatively young lives (21 and 23, respectively), and their lighthearted and free-form atmosphere is sure to entertain crowds of all types.