Thursday, July 9, 2020

Looking Back on the July 7th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

Again the chapter has suspended in-person meetings of the chorus, boards and committees until further notice as well as for any small group, quartet, or ensemble gatherings. Chapter leaders are discussing and considering how to move into the next phase of openings for groups – especially singing groups. The operations team has also started to budget planning for the next fiscal year trying to guess how it will unfold!

However, there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on July  7th   2020.  

Director Joe Cerutti hosted the gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue learning more about our chapter and our fellow members, learning about the barbershop hobby in general and meeting guests from around the Society. Plus we continue to work on our music.

Joe shared that our chapter leaders had published/posted the Alexandria Harmonizers’ inclusivity statement and shared it with the BHS, all of our members, patrons and supporters and friends.  He reports that one patron shared it with US Senator Tim Kaine who represents Virginia. 

It was great to have some Harmonizers with us this week we haven’t seen for a while including Rick Wagner from HI, Alex Crounk back on the call, Mike Fasano from his home in DE, Bob Thames from his home in FL, Keith Jones from his home in FL, and Gene Swartz from the Virginia Gentlemen Chorus in Roanoke. There were two other guests on the call this week – both having moved to the Alexandria area recently:  Yuhan Roh for his third or fourth visit and Justin F for his first visit with us (he is moving to the area and sang with the Independence OH Chapter).

Joe reviewed the future guests that will be on our Zoom meetings in the weeks ahead.  VINTAGE MIX quartet from Wisconsin (quadruplets that sang on our holiday show a few years ago) will be with us next week. The future list includes Clay Hine (one of our arrangers and the baritone of  the popular comedy quartet FRED); Chad Bennett (currently a staffer at BHS and former performer with Disney Dapper Dans); Steve Tramack and his family (an arranger of many Harmonizer songs and singing with other members of his family for us); Cindy Hansen (our successful performance coach during the last several years); and Charlotte Murray (director of Vocal DX chorus from New Zealand).

For the first time on a Zoom call, the chapter bid farewell to a chapter member who is departing the area.  Shawn Tallant and his family are moving to Tennessee soon.  There were many accolades mentioned by Joe as we bid farewell to our recent past president and positive leader for the chapter.  As is our tradition, we sang “A Place on the Risers for You” while a chorus recording of it was played. Joe wished Shawn the best of luck from us all and urged him to keep singing.

Associate director Tony Colosimo was leader of our warm up time and took the men through some physical exercises (encouraging guys to revisit the exercises taught by Quincie Snook a couple weeks ago on our Zoom meeting) and then concentrated on vocal matters to warm up the voice for the nite.  He ended the exercise with the two long-time traditional warm up pieces – “we sing late at times-canned goods” and “you could go all night-morning.”

Then all the singers at home in their own spaces worked on sections of the uptune and ballad we are preparing for future contests. Tony sang and Joe coached him so the members could see what Joe wanted.

At one point Joe asked every singer to get out his cell phone and record himself and then hit send to give it to the section leader or an assigned listener. This will be a regular activity for the chorus singers in order to build up the chorus custom of self-recording and to encourage the use of technology to help individual singers improve.  It is not a process for passing or elimination.

There were over 60 attendees again this week!! Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five to share “what’s your ‘light-bulb’ moment as a Harmonizer? ” There were 12 groups to report and everyone of them had at least one guy who said something about how the coaching by Steve Scott in recent years was his moment of change. Other moments included singing the “San Francisco song for “I Am Harvey Milk,” discovering you don’t have to sing every note in the chorus songs, the moments when we turned out “down the tiles” to the audience to welcome them in, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and realizing singing in a quartet makes you a better chorus guy and singing in the chorus makes you a better quartet guy.

The chapter’s business meeting was brief with no major announcements. Steve Murane shared a warm message of appreciation from Sandy and Mick Stamps to the Harmonizer family for the many messages, letters, cards, meals, serenades and prayers during their challenging time of late.

President Stan Quick urged members to take action to support or to ask others to support Choruses for Care and Compassion.  The Harmonizers have joined with 30 other choral groups in the DC area to raise monies for the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB).  The goal is to raise $100,000 by Labor Day so the CAFB can provide assistance to those in our community that have been impacted by recent economic changes. It fits well with our mission “enriching lives through vocal harmony in the greater DC area.” Matt Doniger is our cheerleader for this project.

Joe also thanked Dean Rust for his work in applying to get the Harmonizers on the roster of touring Virginia artists.  His work stimulated an endorsement by the artistic director of Strathmore.

To wrap up the evening, we welcomed Tony DeRosa, director of the Heralds of Harmony in FL; four-time gold medal quartet singer  - KEEPSAKE baritone in1992, PLATINUM baritone in 2000, MAXQ lead in 2007, and MAIN STREET lead in 2017; popular coach for us and other ensembles in BHS and SAI; and musical director at Disney World for Dapper Dans and Voice of Liberty. He and his wife Jodi are both singers and met as part of Voices of Liberty.

He started at the age of seven with his Dad Joe in Rochester NY. His Mom was active in Harmony Inc. Tony says he liked the chords and sound right from the start. He says he is “thankful for a decent set of pipes and a good ear” that has made his hobby great and his professional work a success.

Joe interviewed Tony and asked questions the members had submitted. Tony told us a lot about the Heralds work during the covid 19 crisis – like us busy with Zoom meetings. One big project their chapter did was ‘Judging in June.’ They had guest speakers for each of the BHS judging categories, they asked some BHS judges to listen to some performances during a Zoom meeting and score them and explain their scores. Then to wrap up in the final week of June, the members of their chorus judged some  clips and compared scores.

To wrap up his visit with us, Tony congratulated the chapter and saluted our efforts to “keep things going” for our chapter and our organization.  He is a loyal fan of the Harmonizers.

As is the case each week, a bunch of guys stay past the closing time of the Zoom meeting for an impromptu afterglow. Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details.

 

Here are two other info items about our hobby and chapter.

First – here is the link to the video Joe and Darryl Flinn mentioned last Tuesday that gives a tour of the Harmony Hall mansion in Kenosha, filmed in the mid 90s.   For old timers, it’s also cool to see so many great society leaders as they looked in the mid 90s, Joe Liles, Mel Night, Ev Nau, Keepsake, Gas House Gang, and many more.  Enjoy.

A Walk Through Harmony Hall 

Second – the chapter’s history team (actually Martin Banks) has posted a list of all the men in the chapter who have earned gold medals as a Harmonizer.  It is posted in Groupanizer/Harmonizer Heritage/Harmonizer Chorus Competitions titled Gold Medal Men By the Numbers,

 

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 71st year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Friday, July 3, 2020



Looking Back on the June 30th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
Again the chapter has suspended in-person meetings of the chorus, boards and committees until further notice as well as for any small group, quartet, or ensemble gatherings. Chapter leaders are discussing and considering how to move into the next phase of openings for groups – especially singing groups. The operations team has also started to budget planning for the next fiscal year trying to guess how it will unfold!

However, there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on June 30th   2020.  

Director Joe Cerutti hosted the gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue learning more about our chapter and our fellow members, learning about the barbershop hobby in general and meeting guests from around the Society. Plus we continue to  work on our music.

Joe reported that the chapter leadership team had continued work on our chapter’s diversity and inclusion statement that was discussed in last week’s meeting as it relates to current events  in our Nation.  Dave DesPortes was added to the working team. Joe expressed his appreciation to the many members who were willing to offer their comments and insights. The statement was approved by both the BHS Chapter board and the AH Inc. board. 

Plus Joe was eager to share the good news that the chapter is a finalist in two of the new BHS Award Categories! We are a finalist in the “ensemble of the year” award program, and a finalist in the “ambassador of the year” award program. Here are links to the YouTube announcement of finalists. 


In the Ambassador category, we are nominated in combination with the Alexandria Singers for our New Zealand tribute show. Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist was also named an ambassador finalist for her leadership in getting more men to sing in our community. 

The chapter appreciates all those who worked on submitting the nominations. 

It was great to have some Harmonizers with us this week we haven’t seen for a while including John Santora, Kevin Kaiser, Keith Jones, and John Rettenmayer. There were two other guests on the call this week – Brian Richard from the Manassas Chapter, and Yuhan Roh a barbershop singer who has moved to Alexandria recently.

Joe reported news from the recent music committee meeting with plans for guest presenters during the weeks ahead. Next week, July 7th, our guest will be Tony DeRosa – a fun Harmonizer coach and gold medal lead with MAIN STREET QUARTET in 2017. 

Other future guests will be VINTAGE MIX quartet from Wisconsin (quadruplets that sang on our holiday show a few years ago); Clay Hine (one of our arrangers and the baritone of  the popular comedy quartet FRED); Chad Bennett (currently a staffer at BHS and former performer with Disney Dapper Dans); Steve Tramack and his family (an arranger of many Harmonizer songs singing with other members of his family); Cindy Hansen (our successful performance coach during the last several years); and Charlotte Murray (director of Vocal DX chorus from New Zealand) . 

Associate director Tony Colosimo was leader of our warm up time and took the men through some physical exercises (including some dancing) and then concentrated on vocal matters to warm up the voice for the nite.  

Then all the singers at home in their own spaces worked on sections of the uptune and ballad we are preparing for future contests. Tony sang and Joe coached him so the members could see what Joe wanted. At one point Joe asked every singer to get out his cell phone and record himself and then hit send to give it to the section leader.

Alan Wile conducted the fifth interview of chapter members who have submitted a Harmo Heroes form for inclusion in the chapter info section of Groupanizer.  This week’s interviewee was Reed Livergood. He grew up in the St. Louis area and during grad school sang in a group directed by Jim Henry.  He was not able to resist the pull to eventually sing with the Ambassadors of Harmony. 

Besides a youthful interest in sports with his family, Reed majored in music and eventually taught in Russia and Korea.  

He came to the DC area for work.  At that point Reed was eager to find another performance opportunity and came to the Harmonizers.  He has been both baritone and lead section leader; director of our in-house a cappella group, TBD; and has accepted a variety of leadership assignments in the chapter. No wonder he does well on the front row – he studied tap and also has done a lot of clogging.  Another musical interest of Reed’s is to be in cover bands.

There were 60 attendees again this week. Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five to share “what’s the most beautiful place you have seen on the planet? And what’s on your bucket list to go see? ” Amazing that men in this chapter have been all over the world.  Not too many of us who haven’t been to another country. Dean Sherick rode his motorcycle to Alaska. Guys have been to Tibet, cities in Viet Nam and China and New Zealand.  Bruce Roehm hopes to take a safari some day.

The chapter’s business meeting was brief with no major announcements. Steve Murane reminded men to take note of the recent email message about ordering new uniforms and accessories and then respond to his wife Robyn, the uniform chair.

 President Stan Quick suggested members reach out to Sandy and Mick Stamps during this difficult time for them. You can also visit Sandy's CaringBridge site at: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sandystamps 

Stan also thanked Dean Rust for his work in submitting grant requests for the chapter.  We have received two more lately from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. One is in recognition for our work on the tribute show for New Zealand and one is for our on-going project with Alfred Street Baptist Men’s Choir.  Thanks as always, Dean

Rob Barnovsky was on the call from his mother’s home in Ohio where Rob is helping his family cope with the situation while his 87-year-old father is fighting Covid 19. 

To wrap up the evening, we welcomed long time friend of many of us and fellow Harmonizer, Darryl Flinn from his home in Canton, OH. Great to see him and hear him share stories about his work with us as a coach and mentor to sing better. He came to us first as a judge at a contest and when he offered suggestions, the music team asked him to come visit us.  He shared the fun story about working to build up the bass sound of the chorus to include his admonition that “basses are animals” and are the foundation for the great chorus sound. 

He worked in the gold medal years with us.  One of his fond memories was when our chapter went to Canton to sing on their show.

At some point, Darryl decided to expand his leadership in the Society to the administrative side having been at the helm of the judging side of things for years.  He became president of the Society.  Then filled the Executive Director slot from 1996-2004 when the headquarters was still in Kenosha, WI.  Later he was president of Harmony Foundation, International.

He had a lot of fun as a quartet singer and competed on the international stage. One of his quartets, CHORD DUSTERS, traveled with a USO show and Bob Hope. Darryl is a 65-year member of BHS having been encouraged by a high school music teacher to sing in their school quartet. 

We credit him for using the term “breathless moments” which we adopted as the title of our chapter’s 50th anniversary book.  It was great to have him with us again and enjoyed his ability to recall Harmonizer history and names of many of the men.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details.

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 71st year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Thursday, June 25, 2020



Looking Back on the June 23rd, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
Again the chapter has suspended in-person meetings of the chorus, boards and committees until further notice as well as for any small group, quartet, or ensemble gatherings. Chapter leaders are discussing and considering how to move into the next phase of openings for groups – especially singing groups.

However, there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on June 23rd   2020.  

Director Joe Cerutti hosted the gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue learning more about our chapter and our fellow members, learning about the barbershop hobby in general and  meeting  guests from around the Society. Plus we continue to  work on our music.

It was great to have some Harmonizers with us this week we haven’t seen for a while including Mike Fasano. Bob Eckman and John Rettenmayer were back with us too.

Joe reported news from the recent music committee meeting with plan for guest presenters for the weeks ahead. Next week our guest will be one of our frequent arrangers, Steve Tramack and his family of singers, who will bring us some songs.

Other future guests will be Darrel Flinn (one of our coaches in the gold medal years who named the Basses Animals, and the guy who came up with the term “Breathless Moments” which became the title of our history book ) on July 7; VINTAGE MIX quartet from Wisconsin (quadruplets that sang on our holiday show a few years ago) on July 14; Clay Hine (one of our arrangers and the baritone of  the popular comedy quartet FRED) on July 21; and Chad Bennett (currently a staffer at BHS and former performer with Disney Dapper Dans) on July 28. 

We had two special guests on our Zoom call this week to help with the warm up period. Quincie Snook did physical body warm up routines. She is from Nashville and sings tenor in THE LADIES quartet – fifth place last time at SAI.  The quartet was on staff for our Youth Harmony Festival recently.  Drew Wheaton did the vocal warm ups and taught the chapter a fun tongue twister and a chord warm up round.  He had done some of the Harmonizer learning tracks in recent years and is the gold medal tenor with FOUR FRONT.  He is also director of the Louisville Thoroughbreds. 

 After the warm ups, Joe and associate director Tony Colosimo worked with the singers on sections of the uptune and ballad we are preparing for future contests. Tony sang and Joe coached him so the members could see what Joe wanted.

There were 60-plus attendees again this week. Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five to share “how are you finding time to work on your music?” The Covid situation had a lot to do with making it hard for guys to work on their music: challenging to sing loudly in the house, no commute to work and therefore no chance to listen to the music, guys are working at home and many report they are required to do a lot more work and have more responsibilities. Of course everyone misses the fellowship and the sounds of chords ringing!!

The chapter’s business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  President Stan Quick suggested members reach out to Sandy and Mick Stamps during this difficult time for them. You can also visit Sandy's CaringBridge site at: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sandystamps 

Other Harmonizer family news included word that Rob Barnovsky’s 87-year-old father in Ohio tested positive for Covid 19. This is especially of concern since his dad has several underlying health issues. Rob is in Ohio to help his Mom during this time.

Former member Al Duddleston called to report that his wife, Cookie, died on Saturday in FL.  Al sang on the front row of the chorus in the ‘70s. Cookie was 86.

Latest news from BHS reports that former member Alan Lamson will be named to the Society Hall of Fame. He joins fellow Harmonizers Wilbur Sparks, Dean Snyder, Bud Arberg, Darryl Flinn and Walter Latzko.  There can't be many chapters that have six members named to that honor.  Also our coach and arranger Kevin Keller will be named to the Hall of Fame this year.  Congrats all around.

Chapter Chris Buechler reports sending renewal cards to the following members: Howard Nestlerode  for 45 years; Bob Bates for 42 years; Ike Evans for 33 years; Ken Rub for 29 years; Bob Wells for 29 years; Anthony Colosimo for 27 years; Rob Barnovsky for 10 years; and Stan Quick for 9 years.

The chapter welcomed guest Yuhan Roh again this week. He has moved to the Alexandria area having sung in other choruses.

To wrap up the evening, Joe and president Stan Quick invited members to offer input regarding a statement from the Alexandria Harmonizers regarding our chapter’s work relating to diversity and inclusion in response to recent events.  The statement was prepared by chapter leaders Stan, Randall Elliason, Bruce Roehm, Joe and Tony with editorial input from Noah Van Gilder and Ben Watsky. It was sent to the members over the weekend and also was posted on the Zoom screen during the meeting.
Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details.

During the “afterglow” period, there was some chatter about the Bucket Challenge advanced recently on Facebook by Will Cox to learn the intro to the ballad blindfolded.  He put his mask over his eyes and launched the challenge.  A fun time when we are trying to learn our music alone at home.

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 71st year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd