Five By Design's signature harmonies have withstood the test of time in a career that stands out on America's musical landscape, spanning more than twenty years. This nationally-acclaimed vocal quintet has been the choice of symphony orchestras and performing art centers delighting hundreds of thousands of fans.
Following the tradition of the great big band vocal groups such as the Pied Pipers and the Moderernires, Five By Design's next project will feature four of it's members as a three man, one woman quartet in The Ultra Lounge Show. With founding member Alton Accola serving as host for their very own series of (fictitious) radio shows, the quartet heads to the studio for their latest broadcast.
Just as American car companies added chrome to their cars in the fifties, Five By Design is “putting the fins” on the Great American Songbook for their newest production. You'll travel to exotic locales for a taste of the rhythms that awaken the desire for the sun on your skin and sand between your toes, listening to the ocean lap at the shore and delighting in the breezes that refresh your soul. The luxurious harmonies of "Sway," a trip to Rio and the infectious beat of "Mas que nada," the hilarious antics of the Spike Jones-inspired "Hawaiian War Chant" and a mysterious trek through the desert in "A Night in Tunisia" all await the audience as well as the ensemble's comic sketches including a visit to a less-than-quiet library and a sip of "Perk Up Coffee" that will keep you up all night.
The music of The Ultra Lounge Show not only takes you abroad but focuses on the kings and queens of cool…the artists that defined the atomic era: Bobby Darin, Rosemary Clooney, Wayne Newton, Julie London, Louis Prima & Keely Smith and the songs they made famous in fantastic new arrangements. "Mack the Knife," "Mambo Italiano," "Danke Schoen," "Cry Me a River" and "That Old Black Magic" are just a few of the hits you'll be enjoying as Five By Design takes swing to the next level…for the ultra-hip, the ultra-young and the ultra-cool.
But Five By Design's creative talents go far beyond their vocal prowess. As the creative talent behind Radio Days, Club Swing, Stay Tuned, and Cool and Swingin’, featuring legendary alto sax player Richie Cole, their productions showcase the group's penchant for storytelling and the comedic. Whether backed by symphony orchestra or studio big band, Five By Design embraces the unforgettable melodies, lush harmonies, and swinging rhythms that evoke the names of Miller, Mancini and Mercer.
The Minnesota-based Five By Design includes Lorie Carpenter-Niska, Kurt Niska, Michael Swedberg, and Terrence Niska. The four members have been singing together since 1990. The group’s familial ties include brothers Terrence and Kurt Niska and the husband-wife duo of Kurt and Lorie Niska and childhood collaborator, Michael Swedberg. The creative team is supported by in-house Artist Representatives Alton Accola, Debra Bishop and Midge Swedberg. Their technical team currently includes Sound Engineer Phil Henrickson (since 1987) and Technical Director Paul Heim.
Five By Design enjoys the great fortune of working with outstanding orchestrators including: Lovell Ives, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Professor Emeritus of Jazz Studies; Willis Delony, Professor of Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and ﬁlm score orchestrator, Maury Laws, noted most for his work on the Rankin-Bass animated specials including “Frosty, the Snowman” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” While the vocal arrangements are the creative work of Five By Design, their orchestrators bring those charts to life with unparalleled expertise.
With a touring itinerary averaging 60-plus performances each season, their talents have taken them across the country, up into Canada and as far away as the Bosphorus International Music Festival in Istanbul, Turkey. National media exposure includes National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition–Sunday” and “Swingin’ Down the Lane”; and a feature story in “Symphony” magazine. Five By Design is also a featured artist in Wisconsin Public Television's "Jewel Box Series".