Thursday, January 11, 2018

Looking Back on the Jan. 9th 2018 Chapter Meeting
The break in the weather helped a good crowd of singers get to Durant on time for this week’s meeting. 

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and started work on one of our show songs for this year’s show season.  When director Joe Cerutti arrived from the airport, he went right to work on our contest uptune, “Blow, Gabriel Blow.”  During his time up front he also stressed the point that the upcoming one-on-one interviews are not auditions.  He also pleaded with guys to get back on the risers on time at the end of the break.

Executive director Terry Reynolds conducted the chapter meeting and welcomed Tom Jackson, who we had seen for a while.  Terry also stressed that the Whiffenpoof Show on Sunday Feb. 4th is in the afternoon at the Masonic Memorial in Alexandria – so football fans can be in front of their TV for the Super Bowl. He also asked guys to sell tickets for this event.

Terry made note that some of the rehearsal dates for the “Iron and Coal” concert at Strathmore have changed, so please use the list of dates he sent our Tuesday nite as your current schedule.

Chapter convention chairman Craig Kujawa extended the deadline to purchase Orlando International convention registrations in the Harmo block to the end of Tuesday nite’s meeting.  

Terry explained the chapter’s plans for Singing Valentines the evening of Sat. Feb. 10, afternoon of Sun. Feb. 11, and during the day on Wed. Feb. 14.  Singers are need to form quartets that would sing “Hear of My Heart’ and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” at assigned locations that chapter selects in the community as public relations and community outreach. Sign ups are encouraged.

Speaking of forming quartets, Calvin Schnure has offered to help any members – new or long timers – to form a quartet.  Maybe even to enter the Southern Division contest this spring which will be held in Alexandria. See Calvin or contact him if you would like to find parts for a quartet to sing with you.

Chapter choreographer Carols Barillo asked all the members to be well prepared to perform the choreo for “Gabriel” on Tues. Jan. 23rd so that he can coach the next level of performance plans for that song to take on to Orlando.  Watch for videos from Chuck McKeever and also note that Chuck will meet with all singers for the next two weeks on Tuesday nite at 6 pm on the stage at Durant  to review the moves.
Terry explained more about the pending interview plans for all – updated assignments were posted in the hall for all to check during break.  They were sent out via email before midnite Tues. too. That email also explained what each member needed to do in order to prepare including filling out a survey that goes to section leaders. 

Immediate past president Randall Eliason extended an invite for all members to get their tickets for the important 44th Presidents’ Banquet on Sat. nite Feb. 4th at the Elks Lodge in Fairfax. Tickets are just $29 per person which includes the dinner. They can be purchased from Dave Branstetter each Tuesday nite in January.  The evening includes a cash bar happy hour, the banquet with officer installation followed by dancing to the Riptide band. New members are welcome too. Past presidents welcome all their fellow Harmonizers and significant others to attend – including in-active singers.  

President Shawn Tallant reminded everyone about our youth policy in the chorus and announced a task force will review and present an updated version. A study committee is reviewing the chapter dues structure too. 

Stay tuned for more details also about our hosting the Kingsmen chorus from England this year in our homes.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented new member materials to Jon Frank and then membership renewal cards to Brian Ammerman for 24 years; Matt Kahn for 29 years and Mark Klostermeyer for 37 years.

Ben Watsky introduced the guests this week – Jerry, Connor, Dan and Carter back again, and first timers Maxi, John and Gary.

Terry ended the meeting with notes from the Alan Lamson family thanking the chapter for our songs sent last week during the time of their loss. 

After the break we worked on “New York, New York” including presentation for this favorite Harmonizer song.  And we reviewed the melody for our new contest ballad.

In honor of our 70th Anniversary, the chapter is asking members, our Harmonizer fans, friends, and family, to recommend their favorite Harmonizer songs of all-time. Submit the title of any favorite Harmonizer songs at! The survey will be open through January 14th, so don't delay.  Also, save the date for the show on September 8th, 2018 at the Schlesinger Performing Arts Center.  We will be performing with another award winning chorus and a gold medal quartet.

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

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Looking Back on the Jan. 2nd 2018 Chapter Meeting 

The freezing cold temps outside did not keep Harmonizers away from our first meeting for 2018 which brings us back into Durant. Riser crews and av crews and hospitality crews were busy at 6 pm getting ready.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal warm ups and then director Joe Cerutti got us singing on “Blow Gabriel Blow.”  He apologized to all that this week’s meeting would have a lot of talking and reports as we kick off a huge year-long plan for 2018. But he was excited to share news and plans and new directions with the chapter.

Executive director Terry Reynolds began the meeting portion by welcoming a number of members we have not seen for a while – Bob Mattes, Matt Kahn, Masahisa Takahashi Terry Jordan, Calvin Schnure and Ken Fess.

Terry announced that all chapter meetings/rehearsals will be at Durant for the month of January.

He reminded everyone that Tuesday was the last time you could give your money to convention chairman Craig Kujawa to purchase a seat in the Harmonizer block of seats at the International convention in Orlando in July at the early-bird price. There are provisions for getting a registration/ticket/seat later.  Be sure to watch for messages from Craig and his periodic “Magic City Countdown” newsletters.
Craig also suggested strongly that Harmonizers should use the link he published to get their housing in Orlando.  There was also talk among members at break and afterglow about some guys finding good airfares. 

Terry asked all attendees this week to indicate on the charts he posted behind the risers which of the one-on-one interview sessions each of us would be able to attend.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented a new member certificate to Ben Watsky and a Man Of Note Award to Mark Klostermeyer.
Those who ordered CDs from our Carnegie appearance were asked to pick them up at break.

Membership director Dave Kohls welcomed six singer guests for the evening – Mike, Jerry, Connor, Andre, Dan and Zak

After break, we took seats for a “sort-of” State of the Chapter session.  We reviewed the successful 2017 Harmonizer year including the good news that we ended the year “in the black.” Certainly the support of many members and former members helped with that, as did the successful holiday show headed up by Brian Ammerman. A complete “Looking Back at 2017” edition will be published right after the Presidents’ Banquet.

Incoming president Shawn Tallant presented an exciting look at his plans and expectations including his goal to be open, to seek input and to be our voice. He spoke about the honor he felt in being our president and the challenge to manage a combined budget of over $200.000. He emphasized it is a TEAM EFFORT. Shawn’s military and professional background will prove useful for him as he leads the board this year – Chris Buechler, Al Herman, Dave Branstetter, Clyde Crusenberry and Matt Doniger. As a leader you would not be surprised Shawn suggests that every couple years, each member needs to step up to the plate to head up an event or activity (Shawn asked for a show of hands of men on the risers who have had military or leadership experience – it was 100%!).
Liz Birnbaum, president of Alexandria Harmonizer, Inc. spoke about the role of that board and its composition – four non-Harmonizer community members (Liz Birnbaum, Julie Rizzo and Pat Miller and five Harmonizers (Ken Fess, Bruce Roehm, Shawn Tallant, Randall Eliason). Yes - currently there is an opening for a community member and for a Harmonizer. If you have ideas for candidates, Ken Fess is nominating committee chairman.

The operations team was announced that does the day-to-day work for the chapter with leadership from Executive Director Terry Reynolds. Every member will serve on a team and those team meetings will be held on a couple Tuesday nites during the year. 

Artistic director Joe Cerutti then presented an exciting look-ahead for the chapter and its chorus.  He too thanked many for their work last year and for the contributions by the membership in general.  An overview of topics he covered include;  the plan to do another major musical performance at Strathmore; a new contest ballad for us to sing in Orlando, arranged by David Wright, to go with our uptune  “Blow Gabriel Blow;” a retreat in preparation for contest with super coaches; a fantastic 70th anniversary show (Platinum Moments) Sept. 8th at Schlesinger Hall with major VIPs and BHS talent with the chorus singing the top ten songs from the past as voted by fans and members in a survey; the production team for the anniversary show is headed by Matt Doniger, Rebecca Conner, Krissi Folsom and Rob Langston; producer for the holiday show in 2018 will be Jeff Burkey; section leaders this year will be Brian Ammerman, Reed Livergood, Chuck Hunter and Andrew Havens.

Notes from the speakers this week will be released to the membership via email.  That message will include the very complete calendar of events, rehearsals and activities.  Everyone will need to get those dates posted on their personal calendars. 

In other news, a number of Harmonizers attended the annual holiday blast hosted by the Dundalk Chapter on Thurs. Dec. 28th. Past district popular quartet ARCADE made an appearance for their 25th anniversary.  Mike Kelly filled in as bass. Rick Taylor sang with ARCADE too and with BSQ, 

Hope many members will take the suggestion from Craig Kujawa about participating in the Scrip program.  It is an easy way for a member to help the chapter increase its income.  We made $1,200 last year, according to Craig.  That is nice, but it’s less than a tenth of what the chapter could be earning with wider participation.  Craig was at the rehearsal to assist people in signing up. If you didn’t speak with him, do so next week.

Before we adjourned, the chapter sang a message of condolence to Alan and Jan Lamson and their family.

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, December 28, 2017

Looking Back on the Dec. 19th Heat Glow Party
The tradition of a Heat Glow party for the Harmonizers continued this year on Tues. the 19th at the home of Jack and Pat Pitzer near Hayfield High School. Festivities started at 7:30 pm and the chapter leaders declared no meeting or rehearsal that nite.
A huge crowd came to the party bringing goodies share.  The Pitzers prepared the recipe of holiday punch that was from the recipe passed down from chapter leaders in the late 1960s when the Heat Glow event began. In those days, the chorus sang for the annual burning of the greens (discarded Christmas trees) in the City of Alexandria.
As expected, a few songs were sung and a lot of good treats were consumed by the members and their significant others. There were some recipe exchanges for sure. For sure, the house was packed!!
There were two memorials held recently for the Harmonizer family.  Bob Wachter’s wife Jean was celebrated in Alexandria on Dec. 20th. A celebration for the life of Mark Klostermeyer’s mother who died Dec. 2 was held on Dec. 24th in Mark’s framing shop which was in honor of her having started the family business years ago. Also the chapter was saddened to learn of the auto accident a few days before Christmas that took the life of Alan and Jan Lamson’s daughter-in-law in CT. 
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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Looking Back on the Dec. 12th Carol Crawl in Old Town Alexandria
There were over 50 of us in Santa hats strolling thru the streets near the riverfront area to stop in and sing two or three carols in several popular restaurants and bars.  Mark Klostermeyer and Ryan Kasperski went ahead of us at about 6:30 pm to alert the managers that we were coming to sing for their patrons again this year.
It was really cold and windy, but the Santa hats helped and guys came prepared.  We assembled at Durant to organize, announce how the nite would go and have a brief chapter meeting. Associate director Tony Colosimo was director for our carol crawl.
There were many extra copies of “Yuletide Favorites” for all to use including any and all former or inactive members. Several guys came to sing with us who are not active on the risers: Matt Kahn, Joe Wagovich, Lew Klinge, Joe Cerutti Sr., Keith Jones and Alan Wile. There were a couple guests too: Brian and Carter.
Highlights from the meeting:
1.  Turn in your checks for registrations for the International convention next summer in Orlando to Craig Kujawa tonite, 12/19 and 1/2.
2, The next chapter meeting and rehearsal will be Jan. 2 at Durant. On the second we will have a state of chapter session including the exciting news about 2018 and 2019 events and opportunities. All meetings in Jan. will be back at Durant.
3. The Whiffenpoof show time has been changed to 3 pm on Feb. 4 at the Washington Masonic Memorial.
4. President Randall Eliason reminded members of his request for end-of-year contributions.
5. On Dec. 19, we will have a Heat Glow (an afterglow in the winter) at the home of Jack and Pat Pitzer, 7801 Suffolk Ct., Alexandria VA 223155, for singers and their significant others.  Near Hayfield Hi School on Telegraph Rd.  Arrival at 7:30 pm. Bring finger foods to share and your favorite drink too.  A holiday grog will be served too that is from the original recipe from Harmonizer Heat Glow events begun in the 1960s when the chorus sang for the annual burning of the greens (discarded Christmas trees) in the City of Alexandria. Car pools would be a good idea since the parking will be a little tight or you could walk from one of the nearby schools. The house is not far from the Franconia Metro.  Jack’s cell is 703-627-9424.
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