Strangers in Harmony was founded in January 2009 when two transplants from the East Coast vocal scene decided on a whim to put together a group to compete in the NW Regional Harmony Sweepstakes. Six rehearsals later they had their first public appearance at the Sweeps and tied for 2nd place. The current lineup includes bassman and co-founder Mike Mendyke, tenor and Portland local Ramsay "RC" Cowlishaw, baritone Roy Rasera, and tenor Mike "New Guy" Haines.

Past Strangers include chef extrordinaire Jeremy Davidson of The Portland Soup Company, beatboxer beyond measure Shawn "The Kit" Dudley, tenor and all-around nice guy David Anderson, who also recorded and produced our album Made in Oregon, and of course co-founder, director, and original songwriter Eric Chung. They will always be Strangers in our hearts!

Scroll down to learn more about The Strangers:

RC Mike H Mike M Roy
Mike H

Mike H

Mike Haines was born and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a child, he couldn’t stay away from his Fisher-Price record player. As he got older, his parents took him to church and also gave him the opportunities to learn piano, French horn, and various percussion instruments. Mike also drank his milk, so he kept growing until he went away to college to study music at the University of Miami.

Mike picked up guitar in the early 1990′s at a summer camp, where he also learned to lead singing in worship. After graduating, Mike worked in radio in Key West, Florida, where God "tricked" him into going back into worship at a church by providing him a place to play guitar every Sunday. He went on to tour the North West United States for a year with Captive Free, a Youth Encounter ministry based out of St. Paul, MN. God then sent him to Portland, Oregon, where Mike worked with a youth group for 6 years.

Mike currently lives in Tualatin, Oregon, where he is Husband to his Wife Kathy, Daddy to his son Nathan, born July 2004, and daughter Abigail, born July 2007, and worship leader at Community of Hope in Wilsonville, Oregon. Mike is also regularly leading worship and playing programs for churches, coffee houses, youth group and university events in the Portland Metro area. Visit his website at



Ramsay "RC" Cowlishaw is moved by three things in his life: Music, laughter and art. Being in the Strangers satisfies two of those (at any given time). RC's avocation is a karaoke host and DJ in the Portland area (with over 70 weddings to his record -with zero divorces!) In addition, he's been a member of the Portland Improv Group and is one of the Pacific Northwest's leading authorities on the art of origami (Japanese Paper Folding), having taught in schools throughout the northwest and attending special seminars across the country.

RC has been involved in a cappella music since his high school choir days. He's been in barbershop choruses all over Oregon, formed a collegiate group called "Three Hits and a Miss", and when he moved back to his home town of Portland he co-founded "The Rainy Knights" (orignally "The Commodes") who have opened for the likes of Cake, Hall & Oates, and KC & The Sunshine Band. He brings to the Strangers his broad vocal range as well as an uncanny memory for lyrics- as of late the boys have been improvising on the streets of Portland, and RC's knowledge base of songs (from his karaoke experience) have served them well..

Somebody drop a hat! The Strangers will sing if you do!


Mike M

Mike Mendyke started his first a cappella group in sixth grade, and has been singing in groups ever since. A graduate of MIT with a degree in aerospace engineering, Mike believes that every a cappella group should have at least one rocket scientist. Mike cut his contemporary collegiate a cappella teeth with the MIT Logarhtyhms

In the '90s Mike sang bass for three Boston-area groups: Extra Cheese, Five O'Clock Shadow, and Alta Voz. In 2000 Mike met film and television legend Dick Van Dyke and formed a quartet called Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix. The Vantastix regularly perform at hospitals and charity events throughout the greater Los Angeles area, and have made numerous television appearances.

In June of 2010 The Vantastix performed at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC for President Obama and 600 of his closest friends.

When in Portland Mike loves to harmonize with the rest of The Strangers, providing a solid bass foundation for the group's lush leads and testosterone-challenged higher voices.


Roy R

Roy Rasera grew up surrounded by classical music and the Beatles. In this inspirational environment his interests naturally gravitated towards poetry, photography and music. Paired with the Viola, French Horn, and a camera, Roy spent his early years (~8-15) competing at the state and local levels of Solo, Chamber, Band, Choir, and Orchestra festivals, and photography contests. For his senior year of High School, Roy was accepted to and attended the Interlochen Arts Academy on a Viola scholarship.

Roy's life then switched gears as he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for college and post-grad studies. It was there that he was seduced by a capella music and joined the MIT Logarhythms, an award-winning all-male vocal group. After producing two CDs, two national tours, and a dozen arrangements, Roy left MIT and the Logarhythms.

Armed with his three MIT degrees (one of them in Music), he moved to Arizona to work at Intel. There, he spent several years singing with the five-man a capella group "The Soundbytes" and began competing in Poetry Slams. Roy finally made the move to Portland, Oregon, where his artistic focus shifted to electronic music recording/production (, publishing his poetry, and selling his nature photography at galleries from Ashland to Portland (

Having left Intel nearly a decade ago, Roy's professional life took a more expansive direction - he now uses his analytical nature and orchestration/arranging talents to develop and implement financial strategies for ambitious professionals in the top 5% of the country. During a financial seminar he held for MIT Alumni, Roy met Mike Mendyke and bonded over their history with the MIT Logarhythms. This eventually led to forming a quartet of friends (including Mike) to help Roy sing his proposal to his (now) wife.

When Mike asked if Roy would audition to fill a vacancy in Strangers, Roy leaped at the chance to add his vocal blend to the group. The rest, as they say, is history.