Thursday, August 17, 2017

Looking Back on the Aug 11th Market Square Show and Aug. 15th Chapter Meeting
Well the rainy weather won this year again!  About 7:15 pm it started to rain and the chorus scattered fast and got the risers put back on the truck and helped Mike Kelly get the sound equipment back into his car.  Mike had sensed the approaching storm was about to start, so he had begun moving speakers and such under the stage pavilion at Market Square.  Matt Doniger was load master for the Harmo truck and things got put away fast.
A good sized chorus had assembled and was warming up in City Hall with associate director Tony Colosimo when the rain started. TBD was prepared to sing and had done their sound checks. The audience had begun to assemble too.  New membership director Dave Kohls had set up an info table to help recruit new singers too.
After loading our equipment, many Harmonizers went to nearby restaurants for dinner and such. And so the fellowship continued.
This is not our first rain out at Market Square over the many years we have done a Friday nite summer concert for the city. Fun that new technology helps us get the word out faster than the old telephone tree we used to use to contact the members!
Tuesday nite’s meeting and rehearsal was another busy one in preparation for the fall contest.
Associate director Tony Colosimo taught a tag at 6:45 for early arrivals, then did the warm up session at 7 pm.  He used “Happy Birthday” for some demos and then we sang it so Clyde Crusenberry could record it for his wife, and then we sang it again to Chris Huber (who brought a big tray of great cookies to share at break from his wife).
Tony and assistant director Chuck Hunter tag-teamed the director duties for the nite while director Joe Cerutti was on vacation.  Chuck worked on the ballad including refreshing the new notes in the transition between songs of the ballad.  Tony worked with choreographer Carlos Barillo on the uptune combining singing and learning the visuals for the song.
The dancers for this song had a special rehearsal last Saturday and worked in the lobby before tonite’s meeting as well as always when the chorus was learning their moves. They joined the chorus a couple times before the nite ended.
Executive director Terry Reynolds conducted the chapter meeting. He reminded everyone that if they will miss any meetings/rehearsals in Sept., they should indicate those dates on Gropanizer.
In that regard, the extra rehearsal that was scheduled for Thursday, Sept 14th has been cancelled and will be held on Wednesday Sept. 13th.  This is a major change for those who have already made plans for that week.  Take note!
The annual gathering of Northern Virginia Choruses to share a fun nite of fellowship and harmony, called Dog Days and hosted by the Manassas Chapter, is Tues. Aug. 29th at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 12975 Purcell Rd, Manassas VA 20112. Former members are welcome to come sing two songs also.
The special session with Carlos to review the new presentation plan for the uptune is Thursday nite, Aug. 17th at Durant.
The big softball game between the Harmonizers and the Hershey chapter is Sat. Aug. 26th at 10 am.  Everyone is invited.  Watch for details.  YeEd has heard that our team with have “shirts” and are ready to go to battle on the diamond!  He also has heard that there will be hot dogs for all.  Watch for details as to what other goodies you should bring. 
Some M-AD leaders reminded the guys that tonite was the last few hours to order registrations for the fall contest.  So at the afterglow, several guys bought their tickets at the reduced rate.
Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reminded all contest singers that they must be fully paid up on their chapter and society dues.
The winning name in the internal contest for the fall show is “Rock My Soul” submitted by two guys – Rob Barnovsky and Brain Ammerman.
There was a straw poll taken to see how many guys might wanna attend an afterglow following the sing at Carnegie Hall.  One bus will stay for it.
There was a report that Kevin McKenzie is under-the-weather health wise.
Membership director Dave Kohls reminded the “learning quartet” formed to help guests with their qualification song to meet at break. Dave welcomed Nick, Will and Purev. Members are encouraged to bring other guests during these months – tho we are working hard on the contest songs now, the guest can get in on the ground floor of those two songs for the year ahead!
Ike Evans took mug shot photos for guys to update their pictures on the photo board that is in the hall every week.
After break, we were back to work on our contest music.
Until next time – editorjack!
(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Friday, August 11, 2017

Looking Back on the August 8th Chapter Meeting
It didn’t seem like there was any summer slump in attendance at chapter meeting.  Everyone is eager to prepare for the fall district contest, our appearance at Carnegie Hall, our summer show for the City of Alexandria on Market Square, and getting our softball team organized for the battle with Hershey Parkside.
Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and was musical director for the nite.  His first task was to voice place another 15 guys for their position on the risers – a continuation of the work from Harmony U and from last week’s meeting.  In the end, we all got new positions for the coming contest season which includes a row on the floor plus another row of dancer performers.
While Tony and assistant director Terry Reynolds worked on deciding the riser line up, Chuck Hunter worked with the chorus on the new ballad and taught us the change in the arrangement from Brent Graham for the transition between the two songs in the ballad medley.
Before the nite ended, we also sang thru some of the songs we will be singing Friday nite Aug. 11th at Market Square.  Great to see our guests getting on the risers and learning the new songs.
Membership director Dave Kohls announced plans for a practice quartet to work with the guests as they prepare for their audition.  Rick Wagner made introductions of our singing guests.
The chapter meeting was conducted by executive director Terry Reynolds
NOTE – there will be a regular chapter meeting at Durant on Tuesday Aug. 22nd and no gathering at a church on the 23rd.
Bruce Roehm is retiring from the military and has asked the chorus to sing at this ceremony on Sept. 8th – chorus members can sign up to sing on Groupanizer.
The Market Square Show is Friday, Aug. 11th – chorus call at 6:30 pm, show at 7:30 pm. Report to the square near the fountain on King Street. Be sure to bring your parking receipt if you park under the square so it can be validated for you (YeEd assumes that will be possible again this year.) Uniform is black camp shirt, jeans and black shoes. It will be possible for new singers to step off the risers if they don’t know one of the songs we end up singing. Invite your family and friends – suggest they bring a folding chair too.  Many guys go out to eat afterward there in Old Town.
Dog Days is Tuesday Aug. 29th at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manassas.  More details to come.  Any former member of the chorus is welcome to join us on the risers for “Armed Forces Medley” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Dog Days is a summer annual event when choruses in the area gather to sing for each other, visit and enjoy refreshments and share the hobby.  Director Joe encourages all singers to join in this fun. 
President Randall Eliason reported some family news items: former member Ben Smith died..  He was a member from 1989 – 2012 and commuted from Lynchburg to sing with us. He was 87, He is father-in-law of Steve White – sympathy to Steve and Jerri and the family; Carl Kauffmann’s wife Kathy has an appendicitis attack; and Terry Jordan is home from the rehab facility.
Private Voice Instruction sessions will resume next Tuesday nite. See Keith Jones to schedule an appointment with Vickie Dennis for the PVI.
Ian Poulin is our chairman for hosting the district fall contest and convention in Reading PA Sept 15-16.  He asked for some volunteers who could get up to Reading extra early on Friday and he got all he needed!!  Great.  As a reminder, each singer needs to have gotten a room at the Crowne Plaza.  As YeEd understands it, there is a Harmonizer block of rooms.
Secretary Chris Buechler reminds all members that they must have all dues paid in order to compete on the stage in Reading.
Members should also respond immediately to the Groupanizer request about bus transportation from Alexandria to Reading and on to Carnegie Hall and back home.  There will be stops in Maryland too.
After break, we were back on the risers for more singing and work on our music.
Until next time – editorjack!
(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Friday, August 4, 2017

Looking Back on the August 1st Chapter Meeting
There was lots of excitement in the hall as guys arrived this week with talk about their travel, fun and working together at Harmony University in Nashville last week.  There was no meeting at Durant on July 25th.
There was a new set up this week too – the risers were backed up against the stage and guests were seated at the other end of the hall.   Great to see Bob Wachter in the house who came to check out our new sound after HU!
Will Cox did the warm ups and then director Joe Cerutti did a wrap up on last week’s spectacular experience and invited the chorus members to offer their personal reflections. Joe asked the men to send him their thoughts and ideas and reactions too.
Then it was right to work on singing the new contest songs. 
A big block of time was used to do riser placements for the 25 or so men who were not able to attend HU including some new men.
While Joe was doing the preliminary assessments, section by section, in another room, Chuck Hunter worked with the remaining three sections on the ballad. Eventually everyone had a new position on the risers.
The chapter meeting was conducted by executive director Terry Reynolds. We welcomed new dad, Tony Colosimo. He and Elizabeth have a new son born on July 26th, Christopher Frank.
Plans were announced for the big softball game on Sat. Aug. 26th with Hershey Parkside Chapter.  Ball players need to sign up for field positions.  All members are welcome for the social and fun event at a field nearer Baltimore.
Singers should mark their calendars and sign up on Groupanizer for the outdoor sing at Market Square in Alexandria on Fri. eve Aug 11.
Terry also announced that we will be singing “Deep River” in the fall show and it is available for review.
President Randall Eliason gave updates on family news from the chapter: Paul Durning, who was a member from 1984-2006, died recently and interment will be Aug. 10; former member Ben Smith and father-in-law of Steve White, fell and broke a hip, so Steve and Jerri headed out to be with the family; Dick Hall called and reported that he had spoken with Terry Jordan who says his doctors think he is making good progress in the rehab center and might get to go home in a couple weeks.
It was stressed that guys should also take action regarding their plans for the fall district contest in Reading PA, Sept. 15-16. Chapter hosting chairman, Ian Poulin, needs to know of any Harmonizers who can be there early on Fri. morning the 15th.
Membership chairman Dave Kohls announced that his team will be meeting soon to expand the membership operation for the chapter.  This week, Rick Wagner welcomed four singers as our guests – Seth, Ben, Nick and Will.
The chapter sang “Happy Birthday” for Carol Dangel.
Our International BHS board member John Santora won the 50/50 this week and chose a song to close out the nite from the “Chicago” medley.
A great crowd of guys made it to the afterglow including some of the new members and some guests.  There was lots of tag singing, good chow, laughs and stories.   Come join in the fun this summer at 1600 Duke Street.  Free parking too.
Until next time – editorjack!
(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Looking Back on the Harmonizer’s Participation at the 2017 Harmony University
There were 75 Harmonizers at HU on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville July 23-30, 2017!
By all counts it was a tremendously beneficial week for the chorus, the chapter and each of the singers.  It will certainly rank high in the list of “Breathless Moments” in our chapter’s history.
The chapter musical leadership recommended this event for the chapter a couple years ago and we decided to do it and not go into the competition cycle.  In preparation for our week, we learned three contest songs – two ballads and an uptune – for the coaches to work on with us. 
Each guy paid his own way for the week and guys traveled over the weekend to be there for the opening session on Sunday nite, July 23rd.  A number drove the 10-12 hour trip from the DC/Alexandria area either stopping en route to over nite or driving straight into Nashville on Sunday. Many took flights over the weekend.  Some came with family for vacation time.  One member drove his RV and parked nearby and was a commuter for the week.
Belmont University is meticulous about its grounds and the campus is extremely beautiful with many flowers and trees.  The weather was very hot and muggy most days, but we were not outside all that often except when walking between classes.
The chorus was enrolled in a coaching pod and had four coaches assigned to us for the entire week: Kevin Keller, Cy Wood, Joe Hunter and Jordan Travis.  They worked hard with us to shape and develop a musical and performance plan for the songs and created a plan for us to use for the upcoming district convention.  By mid-week we settled on a ballad arranged by Brent Graham and the uptune arranged by Rasmus Krigstrom.
Each day at HU started with a general session we attended with the rest of the 700 HU folks – men and women barbershoppers from all over the USA and from 14 other countries. These morning sessions usually involved some instruction, teaching of a song and singing a tag. Then the chorus had a morning and an afternoon two-hour block of coaching time each day.  The rest of the day the guys, like all the other attendees, took a variety of classes to improve themselves as singers, coaches, administrators, arrangers, quarteters, directors and leaders. One of our chapter quartets, SILVER ALERT with Rich Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox and Steve Murane attended as many classes as possible as a quartet and were coached during the week when they could. Terry Reynolds was a faculty member in the leadership pod during the week.  Mike Kelly was a staffer working on video productions during the general sessions and helping produce the shows on Friday and Saturday nites.
Our director Joe Cerutti helped us work with our coaches and apply the lessons they brought us to our music for contest and other songs.  Chuck McKeever and Phil Ashford did videos of the coaching sessions so we could capture, for future use, all the pointers.  Part of our last day session we talked as a group about how to integrate all we had learned into our program and how to help the 25 or so other guys, who could not attend, catch up.
This was the first time at HU for several members including 12-year-old Mickey Robertson who was a star all over campus.  He was certified as an official “woodshedder” by the Ancient and Harmonious Society of Woodshedders (AHOW). He was the youngest attendee at HU and, for that distinction, won his own new pitch pipe from the barbershop Harmony Marketplace store (which was open in the cafeteria all week with t-shirts, caps, music and other barbershop gear plus umbrellas (for the couple times we had a little rain).  
Meal time was great fun and often guys would sit with barbershoppers from all over the world and swap stories. But it was also a chance for our guys to sit together with their chapter friends to discuss the results of the day and the coaching pointers and swap stories about the chapter. In the evenings after classes were done, many of us would gather at the bars/restaurants across the street from Belmont for socializing and singing.
Monday evening we had a late-nite session with Theo Hicks, the lead of INSTANT CLASSIC.  He spent time with us on of the ballad he had arranged for us.
On Wednesday morning we were up early and warmed up (Will Cox came out of retirement as our warm up guru for the week) so we could sing for that day’s general session and help demonstrate the meaning of the music judging category with Steve Tramack, David Wright, Kirk Young and Kevin Keller (all who have worked with us as arrangers and coaches in the past). We sang passages from our 1995 gold medal ballad, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and from “Summertime.” At the end of the demonstration, Steve asked us to sing the entire ballad. The HU audience gave us enthusiastic cheers and congratulatory and thank you comments all week!
Another major event happened on Wednesday nite when Rob Mance spent a couple hours voice placing us on the risers – all new positions and a new concept for riser location.  The idea is to put men whose voices share similar characteristics near each other on the risers, to create a more uniform sound. It took a while but the resulting sound difference was breathtaking! There were some laughs as each man sang “Row Row Row Your Boat” several times while Rob evaluated each man’s voice and place him accordingly.
There were many personal highlights during the week for Harmonizers – Alan Kousen was presented his 50-year Society membership pin by a staffer of Harmony Foundation International.
At the end of the week, president Randall Eliason presented each of our four coaches a black Harmo camp shirt with our logo on it and a Harmonizer lapel pin!  They were seen wearing them later in the week too.
As is a tradition at HU, there was lots of ice cream to have each nite.  Of course the chorus members were there for that and also some even were brave to climb the rock wall there in the student building.  YeEd saw Masahisa Takahashi make it to the top.  He and his dad, Antony, were with us on the risers all week.  Don Thompson’s son Devon was at HU too and sang in the Next Generation chorus.  Jack Cameron and Johan Westberg found time to sing in the Honors Chorus.  Both of those special choruses learned songs in advance, were coached during the week and appeared on the Saturday nite show. Some of guys also found time to sing with the Brigade during the week.
Quartets and other groups attending HU appeared on the Friday nite show.  A quartet called BARBERSHOP INSTANBUL appeared too.  They were friends of Chuck Hunter when he was stationed there and had learned a lot of tags!  They sang for us during our Tuesday nite session. At the end of the week, they shared how grateful they were for the freedom to come join in the larger world of barbershop.
On Saturday afternoon the chapter and chorus conducted a Master Class for any other HU students to attend.  We sang the songs we had worked on all week, and Joe and Terry spoke about how we conduct a chapter meeting, what tools the music team uses to help the members, plus shared background about some of our activities over the past few years including Harvey Milk and our exploration of gospel music. Joe took a minute to show the demographics of the chorus when he asked for a show of hands for length of membership, for  professional musicians, and for government or military men. President Randall Eliason spoke about our board and administration and the changes we had made over the past few years, including pioneering the idea of community board members.  We used AV to help share video clips and slides, thanks to Terry and Jeff Burkey. As the end of the session we answered any questions.
The Harmonizers debuted their “Chicago” medley for the wildly enthusiastic HU audience near the end of the Saturday nite show.  It was arranged by Steve Tramack. Kellen Hertz “sang” a trumpet solo in the introduction and Drew Wheaton from FOREFRONT sang a solo during”25 or 6 to 4.”
Also we surprised our fellow barbershoppers and had THE FAIRFIELD FOUR sing with us on that show.  They came in to warm up with us back stage before the show and when we got to the tag of one of their songs we had sung, Joe welcomed them to the stage.  We sang three gospel songs with them out front on the stage. It was a huge success and loved by all. It was great fun for all of the Harmonizers to see our Grammy award winning friends again – they performed with us in May and will be back in Alexandria for our fall show.
The Saturday nite show also featured gold medal quartets INSTANT CLASSIC and FOREFRONT, the honors chorus and the next generation choruses, and our M-AD friends, PRATT STREET POWER.
There were a number of former Harmonizers attending HU and they often stopped in to check on our progress.  Also it was great to see many friends in the judging and coaching community during the week that have worked with us, or have even been Harmonizers. A good number of our men did some running or walking during the week to keep in shape – almost a losing battle with the great food and ice cream each day!
The chapter appreciates the work and effort by the HU staff, particularly Donny Rose and Antonio Lombardi, for helping us all prepare for our arrival and help us get the most out of the week. The campus has ideal classrooms for seminars or workshops as each is fully equipped with modern AV equipment. The buildings and dorms were air conditioned and had elevators.
After a late nite for many of us celebrating with our friends, we had to leave bright and early on Sunday morning because all HU students had to be off campus by 9 am. We headed for home by car or plane. Our guys were impressed to have BHS CEO Marty Monson on hand to bid farewell to each bus headed for the airport very early Sunday morning. 
For certain we were worn out, but we were exhilarated over all we had learned and accomplished during HU week and eager to put it all into use going forward.
  Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Looking Back on the July 18th Chapter Meeting
There was lots of excitement in the hall as guys were talking about their travel plans or car pools for the trip to Nashville on Sunday for 2017 Harmony University. After warm ups by associate director Tony Colosimo (he spoke briefly about his disappointment in having to miss HU, although he is joyful about the arrival of their new baby during the week), director Joe Cerutti spoke about a lot of exciting things that will happen next week.  
He shared plans for our being part of the 700 members present at Belmont University for the week, about the various coaches we will meet with and some of the work we will be doing, about our part in presenting a class to share with others, about the food and ice cream, and about the many former coaches and friends of the chapter who will be there too.  It will be fun for many guys to meet the staff members who have been so helpful in preparing us for the week.  Thanks too for the work done by chapter chairman Craig Kujawa for getting us there.
With that said, Joe took off right away singing our three possible contest songs we have learned in preparation for the coaching – with a plan to select two for the fall contest.  And we sang thru songs we will perform for fellow students.
Executive director Terry Reynolds and Joe made several announcements about our week at HU.
1. Wednesday during the general session we offered to be a demo chorus for the instructors.
2. After the Sunday eve general session, we will meet outside on the patio for a few minutes just to coordinate and confirm that everyone made it.
3, Saturday’s uniform is the black camp shirt, jeans and black shoes.
4. Joe spoke about the variance in temperatures - outside about 100 degrees F, inside with the air conditioning you might wanna be prepared if you get cold easily, and you might wanna bring a light extra blanket.
Terry announced and thanked Dean Rust for his work in obtaining a grant from the State of Virginia for our work in diversity and inclusion.
Wednesday evening Aug. 2nd, the Washington Men’s Camerata invites us to join for a social and musical nite with other men’s choral groups from the DC area.
Yes, the Harmonizers will do their annual summer outdoor concert at Market Square in Old Town Alexandria, as part of the city’s summer series. Friday nite Aug. 11th.
Ian Poulin has agreed to coordinate our chapter’s hosting duties at the fall district contest in Reading, PA, in Sept.
As a reminder, all of our rehearsals in August and September will be mandatory in preparation for the contest in Sept.
President Randall Eliason reported that Dick Hall has moved back “home” with Carolyn at The Charleston Senior Community, Room 3202, 45 S Patrick St, Waldorf MD 20603, Dick sends thank you to all who have sent cards or called.
Randall also reported that Bob Wachter’s wife, Jean. is facing more surgery.
Terry Jordan is in rehab for a cracked vertebrae at Potomac Falls Health & Rehab Center, 46531 Harry Byrd Highway (Rte 7), Sterling VA 20164, Rm 104.
Secretary Chris Buechler reports the new BHS member site reports that we have 256 members at this time. This is an inflated number they are working to correct. He presented membership renewal cards to Jeff Burkey for 3 years; Elliot Roseman for 5 years; Johan Westberg for 13 years; and Bob Wells for 26 years.
Membership director Dave Kohls introduced some first time guests and welcomed back some returnees!  We sang our Harmonizer welcome song for them as we do each week – usually lead by emeritus assistant director Will Cox.
We took a break for refreshments and then right back to work singing.
Before we left for the nite and the afterglow (a good sized crowd got over to La Porta’s nearby on Duke Street), we sang “There Will Always Be a Place on the Risers for You” for Greg Tepe who leaves soon for Ireland.
Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Looking Back on the July 11th Chapter Meeting
Fresh back from the International convention and after a break with no meeting on July 4th, this week’s meeting and rehearsal was a busy one.
Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and then director Joe Cerutti took over and briefed the chorus on some of the highlights from the Las Vegas contest. He congratulated our friends in Hershey for earning their first medal in the chorus contest.  And he was wearing his new #EveryoneInHarmony t-shirt.
He reviewed the four-point goals for members of the chorus and launched work right away then on the three contest songs we will be using for our coaching sessions at Harmony University in Nashville soon.
Executive director Terry Reynolds conducted the chapter meeting and welcomed Greg Tepe, who will be leaving for Ireland in a couple weeks for a two-year tour of duty.
As part of the possible change in meeting location from Durant, we will NOT meet at Durant on Aug 22nd, but instead try out the meeting space at Arlington Forest Methodist Church on Wednesday Aug. 23rd.  The change to Wednesday is a possibility for the future.
Terry announced that the rehearsals in Aug. and Sept. will be mandatory.  Sign up on groupanizer – especially note the extra Thursday rehearsals.
Hint for those flying to HU – be sure to sign up for the return trip bus to the airport.  Chuck McKeever will be video recording the highlights of the coaching sessions for all to review from HU.
President Randall Eliason welcomed Dave Kohls who has agreed to take over the membership director position recently vacated by Rich HewittDave will be forming a membership team and welcome volunteers.
Chris Huber reported on a recent phone conversation with Ms. Peggy Harris in France – the lady we sang too as part of our Normandy Trip.  She is now 94, still sings in her church choir, and says she sees our chorus picture from that wonderful day hanging on her wall every day.
New membership guy Dave welcomed five guests and we sang our welcome song to them. Great to have singers come visit us.
Before the end of the nite, we worked on the “Chicago” medley and the spiritual songs we have learned.
Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd
Looking Back on the 2017 International Contest and Convention, Las Vegas

Amazing numbers of current and former members of the Alexandria Chapter were at the 79th annual BHS International Convention and Contest in Las Vegas NV, July 2-9, 2016. Although the Harmonizers did not compete this year, and none of our quartets were able to compete, the Alexandria crowd was there to sing, work and volunteer, attend meetings, cheer for our friends from M-AD, meet old friends and hang out with each other.

Early arrivals volunteered at the convention such as Alan Wile and Keith Jones. Some folks came on to Vegas from a convention trip such as Jack Pitzer and Bruce Roehm.  And some guys came later in the week to join in the fun such as Craig Kujawa and Ken Rub.

The quartet gold was won by MAIN STREET with one of our chapter’s great coaches, Tony DeRosa, as their lead.  SIGNATURE quartet from FL who has been here in Alexandria a couple times to help us promote singing for youth was second. Third was AFTER HOURS from Bloomington, IL, who had won a collegiate contest some years ago.  Fourth was THROWBACK with former Harmonizer Sean Devine as lead.

The chorus gold was won by the Masters of Harmony, having scored 96.4% over the Dallas Vocal Majority who scored 96.2%. Central Standard was third. Toronto Northern Lights was fourth.  And our fellow M-AD friends from Hershey PA, Parkside chorus, won the fifth place medal with a 92% and Hell’s Kitchen from M-AD placed tenth with a score of 87.8%.

The contest venue was the Axis Theater in Planet Hollywood where Britney Spears appears.    .  It was a great place for the contest audience members. Attendees were mostly staying in Planet Hollywood, Bally’s and Paris hotels as the three are all connected.  The temperatures outside were over 110 degrees every day, so folks were glad to be inside.   A major water main inside Planet Hollywood burst on Saturday just before the grand spectacular and finals session.  It closed many paths to the venue and to the stage but it all worked out.  YeEd saw Sam McFarland leading some of the group singing as we waited for permission to go into the venue after security had to close parts of the place.

The contest judging panel included former coach Steve Tramack and our former director Richard Lewellen who was named head of the singing category of judges during meetings at the convention.  His wife, Christina, was present to represent Harmony Inc. as she is their president.

The contest and judging committee honored former member David Binetti for his work on new scoring software and our chapter secretary Chris Buechler was given an award of excellence by the C&J Committee for his career-long support and dedicated service on behalf of the judging program.  It is the highest award given by that committee.

Several former members sang in competing quartets in the contest: Scott Disney in ROUTE 1; David Ellis in THE HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER 4; Sean Devine in THROWBACK; and Mark Rodda in ZERO HOUR.

Several current members and many former members sang with one of the 30 competing choruses. Two current members sang in Hershey Parkside Chorus – Michael Vlcej and Pookie
Dingle along with former members Sean Devine, Jay Butterfield, Scott Disney, Ed Schubel, Kenny Toula and Fred Womer. Members Sam McFarland and John Adams sang with the Carolina Vocal Express chorus and former member Mark Rodda did also. The following former members sang in the chorus contest: Michael Gilmore sang with the Alliance chorus from OH; Joe Kane and Lynn Hineman sang with the Harolds of Harmony from FL; TJ Donohue and Kevin Kaiser sang with the Colorado Sound of the Rockies (Kevin was even in the front row!); Lou Bergner sang with Toronto Northern Lights; Ray Johnson and Jim Haggerty sang with the Masters of Harmony;  Ben Luttge sang with the Men of Independence from IN;  Ken Potter was director of the Northwest Sound from WA; Spencer Wight sang with the Voices of Gotham; and Jack Stevens sang with the chorus mic testers The Marcsmen from TX.

Former member Jay Butterfield served on the judging panel for the Youth Quartet contest (formerly called the Collegiate Quartet Contest). John Santora was contest administrator for that event.  As part of the convention (actually mic testers for the second half of the chorus contest), a reunion chorus of youth quartet participants sang and former Harmonizers Joe Eckert and Ed Schubel  were on the risers. Ed, who sang with last year’s youth champ quartet PRATT STREET POWER from M-AD, also competed in the main quartet contest and placed 18th. One of Joe Cerutti’s major duties at the convention as a BHS staffer was the youth program and he sang with the reunion chorus as a former collegiate quartet contestant.  

The Saturday nite spectacular, which preceded the quartet finals, was awesome and featured a 350-man chorus of Ambassadors of Harmony and Dallas Vocal Majority, with quartet appearances with them in combined music from SPECTRUM and CROSSROADS, plus GQ, a popular SAI quartet from our area.

A major announcement at this convention was the roll-out of the new strategic vision – EVERYONE IN HARMONY.  You can access a video and details about it at It is exciting to see how well current efforts by our chapter fit into this new direction.

The BHS board meetings held early in the week saw our own John Santora elected as incoming treasurer. Several of our former members were at the convention as past BHS presidents including Daryl Flinn and Alan Lamson.

Terry Reynolds, John Santora and Jay Butterfield taught classes during the week as part of the Harmony University sessions during the convention. 

Gary Smith was present to receive his 50-year membership pin at a breakfast function hosted by Rick Taylor as emcee (and part of his duties as Harmony Foundation staff).  Mike Everard and Alan Kousen also were announced as 50-year members and Alan Wile accepted on their behalf.

Chapter president Randall Eliason attended the convention as did former presidents Dwain Chambers and Gary Plaag. Other current members in Vegas for the convention included Chuck Hunter, Ross Johnson, Tom Gannon, Jordan Haedtler, Eric Wallen and Mike Wallen.  Former members present included Jim Lake, Larry Silva, Steve Matuszewski, Dan Cook and Bob Hirsh. Associate members Ellen Dellert and Dixie Kennett attended too. Dixie was also a volunteer and helped with judges hospitality.

Thanks to Dixie and Alan for helping collect names of current and former members at the convention.

It is Great to Be a Harmonizer!

Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Looking Back on the June 27th Chapter Meeting
(Thanks again to Don Harrington for reporting on this meeting while YeEd is in Alaska.)
After a great warm -up, we jumped right into our newest song, "Blow, Gabriel, Blow." Good thing the All Sections rehearsal last Saturday was well attended, because the pace is accelerating and the excitement is building. Next, we worked on "The More I See You."
Special guest was Doug Carnes, director of the BHS Great Northern Union chapter, in town to join Joe, the PRATT STREE POWER quartet and others to promote singing at several venues, including the U.S. Congress this week. We enjoyed singing with other guests, including two first time guests.
Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler delivered membership renewal cards to Ike Evans (30 years), Ian Poulin (17 years) and Steve Szyszka. Last week, Stan Quick received his card for 6 years.
EDITOR NOTE:Â The following bulleted announcements were also distributed by Stan Quick through groupanizer.
· No rehearsal/ chapter meeting next Tuesday (July 4)
· If you are going to HU, be sure you have signed up for classes. Lots of information is being sent out by email from the various instructors and coaches to help you prepare.
· Watch your email Thursday - the BHS is preparing to send a big announcement.
· Operations Director, Mike Edison, is trying to find a new, permanent rehearsal space instead of Durant. Please contact Mike if you have an idea.
· A group of 8-10 alumni of Vickie Dennis's private vocal instruction (PVI) got together to do a brief progress & feedback session with Vickie. She ended by having the group sing 30 seconds in their old way, then had them sing using the suggestions she had given each guy individually. The result was a much improved unit sound. If you're wondering if a PVI session may help our chorus, the answer is a resounding "yes".
Congratulations to Josh DesPortes who was back on the risers after his recent wedding. Bob Rhome was the lucky winner of 50-50. Thanks, Alan Wile and Walt Page. You are doing s superb job collecting contributions! Thanks to also to Jeff Burkey, Sandy Stamps, Kellen Hertz and others who stepped up to provide refreshments in Jack Pitzer's absence, and thanks to Jack, who takes the lead on this week after week.
After substantial work on 'I Was Here" and the Chicago medley, which will be performed, but not rehearsed, at Harmony University, Â the meeting ended with the guests being called to the front and treated to a performance of "There Must Be a City."

In other news - Alan Wile reports these Harmonizers and former Harmonizers were at this year’s Harmony College East, held for the first time on campus at McDaniel College in Westminster MD, June 16-17: Steve Guy, Joe Cerutti, Gary Plaag, Mike Louque, John Santora, Drew Fuller, Dean Sherrick, Mike Fasano, Mike Kelly, Bob Hirsh, Bob Eckman, Gary Bibens, Bill Colosimo, Dennis Ritchey and of course Alan.
Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Monday, July 10, 2017

Looking Back on the June 20th Chapter Meeting
(Thanks to Don Harrington for reporting on this meeting while YeEd is in Alaska.)

Heavy traffic notwithstanding, the weekly rehearsal started on time with Director Joe Cerutti teaching us a couple of tags and then helping us improve "A Place on the Risers for You," the beautiful, bittersweet song composed and arranged by the late John Hohl and words by another Harmonizer, Bob Bates, that we sing to departing members.
Standing in the center, Joe placed the chorus in various configurations without risers involving circles, marching, clapping, humming, and listening to introduce and begin working on our new up tune, "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."   Next, we worked on the Chicago medley, which we will debut in Nashville in July at Harmony University. 
Executive Director Terry Reynolds thanked the eight guys who represented the chapter at a singing gig at the Masonic temple in honor of the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Masonic Lodge.  In attendance were many notables including the Duke of Kent, who congratulated the group for its rendering of "God Save the Queen."  In a related note, Harmonizer supporter Paul Dolinsky presented the chapter with a check for $3,000 on behalf of the Masonic Lodge. 
Terry announced that Rich Hewitt is stepping down as Membership Director, after having served in this position and similar ones for many years.  Rich was honored with a round of applause and members were encouraged to consider serving as Rich's replacement. 
Terry announced that the Harmonizers will continue meeting at the Durant Center while continuing to pursue other options.  Give your suggestions to Mike Edison.  At least one alternative under consideration would require us to move weekly meetings to another day of the week.  A show of hands indicated that Wednesdays would be workable for most members present.
President Randall Eliason echoed thanks for Rich's service, then shared a note received last week from Marty Monson, BHS Executive Director.  Responding to last week's Weekly Notes reporting on the Harmonizer's 69th birthday celebration, Marty said how great it is that the Harmonizers celebrate our history.  Kudos to Jack Pitzer!
It was great to welcome several guests, including at least two returnees.
After break, we split into sections, including one for men who had committed to learn "I Was Here" by today, then returned to rehearse with everyone on both new potential contest songs.  Ike Evans, the lucky 50/50 winner, directed us in "Keep the Whole World Singing" to finish the night.
Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd