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The comic a cappella group Da Vinci's Notebook was formed through a classified ad in the Washington City Paper that brought together Bernie Muller-Thym, Greg "Storm" DiCostanzo, and Paul Sabourin. Richard Hsu, a college friend of DiCostanzo's from the University of Maryland, joined in the summer of 1993, completing the lineup, though a fifth member, Jay Jones, sang with them from late 1993 until 1994, when he moved to Scotland. The group made its mark by coming in third in the 1994 Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes and then winning the contest two years later. The victory led to press coverage and an Artists-in-Residence stay at the Kennedy Center. They went on to appearances on Comedy Central and PBS, as well as several radio shows, and began to build a following for their live performances. They released their debut album, Bendy's Law, on their own Da Vinci's Notebook label, and followed it in early 2000 with The Life and Times of Mike Fanning, by which time all the group members had quit their day jobs. In 2001, their novelty single "Enormous Penis" attracted radio attention.