Friday, June 15, 2018




Looking Back on the June 12th Chapter Meeting 

Seems like everyone arrived at Scottish Rite Temple in Alexandria ready to get back to work and continue the success achieved at the weekend retreat!!

Risers were left up from last week and so that made things go fast for set up.  

Steve Murane and a crew of helpers brought back all the black chorus suits to reissue to everyone for use in Orlando.  That seemed to go well – thanks to Steve and his helpers.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal warm ups and reminded the singers many of the major vocal changes taught by Steve Scott at the retreat.

Director Joe Cerutti and Tony invited all singers onto the risers for work on songs for the fall anniversary show.  We worked on reviewing the stage presence for them as well with choreographer Carlos Barillo and instructions from Craig Kujawa and Chuck McKeever.

The Joe welcomed our friend and coach Cindy Hansen Ellis to help us with our contest set.

Joe revisited some of the connection exercises from the retreat to set the mood for work on the ballad.  And certainly Cindy’s skill at adding polish and details for greater performance effectiveness were a great addition to the nite’s work.  

Steve Murane also conducted the chapter meeting reminding everyone that all meetings and rehearsals in June will be at Scottish Rite Temple – including the send off for Orlando on June 26th.  That nite the chorus will work from 7-8 pm and then guests will get to see us perform the set a couple times.  Everyone is invited to attend.

As acting uniform chairman while Robyn is out of town, Steve mentioned that all new contest chorus singers who need a black suit should send Steve their coat and pants sizes so he can help you get a black suite and such for Orlando. Don’t delay if you are one of the new guys. 

Also stay tuned for word about a new tie and pocket stuffer for the contest outfit.

Our convention coordinator, Craig Kujawa, announced that we will have a Harmo Hideaway in Orlando at the Hyatt.  He asks everyone who is staying there to let him know their room confirmation number so that he can work with the hotel to get our folks into rooms around the suite and thus avoid noise problems.

It was also announced that we WILL meet on the Tuesday nite after the International convention, July 10th.  (In past years we have not met on that Tuesday.)

Members were encouraged to consider attending the Mid-Atlantic District Harmony College East back up at McDaniel College this weekend.  Go to midatlanticdistrict.com

Chapter president Shawn Tallant thanked Chuck McKeever for his leadership and hard work in organizing another really successful retreat. 

Shawn also confirmed the announcement that the Harmonizers are going to England and Scotland in August of 2019. All those going need to pay $200 deposit immediately to Brad Jones. About 70 singers are going.
Shawn reported the Bob Wachter is still in the hospital and that Dixie Kennett is also in the hospital but hoping to get released soon.

Finally, Shawn announced that the board of directors has officially changed the name of our Spirit of Harmony Award to the Dick Hall Spirit of Harmony Award.  Great news.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Craig Kujawa for 15 years and Mike Edison for 27 years.  Chris also reminded the three or four guys who still need to pay their dues that they need to get that done.

Mark Klostermeyer welcomed former members Jim Gammon and Doug White; Reed Livergood’s parents and his wife and new daughter; Tim Cash who we have not seen for a while; and singing applicants Peter, John, and  Dale.

After the break it was back to work on the contest songs – especially on the uptune, making sure of continued great singing and the performance details for the song. But there was time for a bandana check for the Class of 2018.  And there were a couple without their obligatory bandanas visible – so they performed a “I’m A Little Teapot” for all to enjoy!!!

For those who did not see it, here is the great news about the chapter’s recent award from Terry Reynolds:

Wednesday night, June 6th,  was the 2018 Greater Washington DC Area Choral Excellence "Ovation" Awards, sponsored by the Choralis Foundation.   Associate Director Tony Colosimo, President Shawn Tallant, and Assistant Director Terry Reynolds attended the event representing the Harmonizers.   We were nominated in the category "Best A Cappella Ensemble" this year and when it came time for the announcement, complete with opening of an envelope and a room full of musicians hitting our tables in group drum roll, the announced winner was "The Alexandria Harmonizers."  Tony went to the podium and proudly accepted the award with a gracious and brief acceptance speech.
This year as each of the nominees was presented, a recording played of the group singing.   Joe had submitted ours with an excerpt of America and an excerpt of “Deep River.”   It sounded amazing.    The only voters for these awards are the musical / artistic directors of the Washington area choral groups. 
Earlier in the evening, five choruses celebrating major anniversaries were recognized: 20 years, 25, 30, 40, and of course, the Alexandria Harmonizers with 70 years.  There was a nice oooooooo reaction from the crowd when they announced "70 years".
Choralis has different award categories each year.   Last year we were nominated for "Outstanding Specialty or Show Chorus" (but we didn't win).

A good crowd of guys went to Ramparts for an afterglow – the new location now that we are meeting at Braddock Road.

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, June 13, 2018



Looking Back on the June 8-9th International Retreat 

Chapter members headed up to Westminster, MD, on Friday nite June 8th to gather for the working retreat of the Harmonizers on campus at McDaniel College. This is a regular event for the chapter prior to going to an International chorus contest. Those who left DC later in the afternoon faced a lot of traffic.  The front row worked for several hours that nite with presentation coach David McEachern, from Toronto.  Some members met with Steve Scott from the BHS staff in Nashville for voice coaching and singing help.  Also several members met with Dave Kohls for focus group sessions to discuss a new strategic plan.

Many of the Friday nite attendees had dinner in downtown Westminster at the Irish Pub. 

Saturday, June 9th, the rest of the members arrived – all in time for breakfast together.  Longtime retreat organizer, Chuck McKeever, had arranged for Saturday breakfast for all. Chuck and his crew had helped guys check in Friday eve and early Saturday. His helpers were Dean Sherick; Bob Blair who drove the truck, too; Jack Cameron; Bob Wells; and Sam McFarland.  The riser crew had things ready for the chapter early Friday afternoon. 

Saturday morning’s work session started at 8:45 am with associate director Tony Colosimo doing the vocal and physical warm ups.  The members were decked out in all sorts of Harmo gear, or in the case of the Class of 2018 (Connor Goss, Jerry Jayjohn, Mario Sengco, Mickey Robertson, Rob Barnovsky, Johan Westberg, Adam Afifi, and Chris Leyen) – their blue/green bandanas. (And some guys sported CAPS gear in honor of their Stanley Cup win!)

 Then director Joe Cerutti, just back from a trip to Alaska, officially introduced our coaches for the weekend and welcomed them to go to work after some opening remarks. Joe thanked the guys who had helped with musical leadership during his trip that took him out of town, and he  proudly shared the news about the chapter winning the 2018 Greater Washington DC Area Choral Excellence “Ovation: Award sponsored by Choralis Foundation.  (We were honored as ‘best a cappella ensemble.’ President Shawn Tallant, assistant director Terry Reynolds, and Tony were there to accept the award on June 6th  and presented the trophy to Joe).

Joe invited the chorus to do the first run thru so he and the coaches could observe and listen.  Assistant director Chuck Hunter directed the ballad - “We Kiss In a Shadow” arranged by David Wright.  Tony directed the uptune – “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” arranged by Rasmus Krigstrom.

Then the judges offered lots of suggestions and ideas.  They were a strong team helping us improve all day and evening on Saturday. After lunch on Saturday, the Archbishop Curley High School men’s chorus that was also on campus for the weekend, stopped in to hear our set.  Then Joe invited them to join the chapter on the risers and taught them a tag. 

Saturday nite after dinner, we worked more and then took a break to relax.  The Class of 2018 performed their skit for us all.  Joe ranked it the second best skit ever!  We also watched videos from the 1998 contest package and a performance of “Director’s Lament.” And then we had refreshments and lots of visiting.

Sunday morning everyone turned in their keys to Chuck and we worked more on the emotion of the ballad. Then Joe thanked the coaching team again and both David and Steve gave their concluding remarks.  The chapter gave each of them a Harmonizer camp shirt. Both coaches are eager to see us again in Orlando.

We closed the weekend with the tag we sing every year – “A Lifetime Is Not Too Long to Live As Friends.”
Last minute announcements before everyone took off for home included: Tuesday nite meeting is at Scottish Rite Temple; stay tuned for a possible repeat sing at Strathmore right after our fall show; drive safely.

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, June 7, 2018




Looking Back on the June 5th Chapter Meeting
We met at the Scottish Rite Temple this week as we will every June meeting and extra rehearsal.  The old risers fit well across the auditorium space facing the theater seats.  Chapter leadership reports that they are working on negotiations for this to be our new regular meeting space with needs for storage and rehearsal spaces.

Our riser team had to get back some risers we rented to the DC Gay Men’s Chorus for their show that was this past weekend at Lincoln Theater.  They had about 150 singers on the stage.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and was in charge of the music this week.  He worked with choreographer Carlos Barillo and assistant director Chuck Hunter, who directed the ballad, for most of the evening on the contest set with the contest chorus. 

The beginning of the nite tho everyone was welcomed to the risers to work on music and stage presence for the anniversary show where we are bringing back 9 songs from the past that the chorus used on shows and contests during our 70 years. Craig Kujawa and Carlos helped teach the former performance plan for two of the songs

There have been some terrific video learning tools created by Carlos and Chuck McKeever for all singers to use in preparing themselves for the Sept. 8th afternoon show. 

We did have sectionals for the contest songs. The front row worked on the uptune plan in the lobby before the meeting.  And there were a couple run-throughs of the set that guys used to make their recordings.
Chapter executive director Randall Eliason conducted our chapter meeting and presented the announcements.  First important one was for each singer to respond to the survey about a possible trip to England and Scotland in 2019.  

The new uniform situation is on hold as leadership works to rectify the situation since the suits were not the style and fit we wanted.  Sizing issues are also a problem.  Members should not alter their suits yet (or let leaders know if you have done so) and stay tuned for the next step.

All June meetings will be at Scottish Rite Temple including special rehearsals June 21th and 28th, as well as the International send off on Tuesday June 26th. This is an open event and all family, friends and other barbershoppers are welcome. 

There was another reminder about the chorus retreat. Payment for the chorus retreat goes to Howard Nestlerode. The retreat will be June 8-9-10 at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, (about 70 miles from Springfield).  Friday June 8th will be mandatory for front row and optional for all others with special sessions for the small groups to be coached. There are many good restaurants in town and it is a good social time on Friday nite. Fees include lodging; three meals on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday; plus linens and a Saturday evening party. There are three price levels – Friday-Sunday attendees ($114); Saturday-Sunday attendees ($83); and commuters who won’t be staying any nite ($78). Non-competing members are welcome to attend. All requests for roommate assignments are due to retreat master, Chuck McKeever, immediately

Special notes for the retreat: 
* Be sure to arrive on Sat. morning in time for the breakfast – you paid for it and there won’t be a coffee break service.
* Good idea to wear any Harmo gear you have.  And comfortable shoes for standing!!
* There is a full kitchen in your suite so plan ahead!!!
* GPS address to use is 203 Pennsylvania Ave, Westminster MD 21157.
* Registration Fri. begins at 3 pm – 6:30 pm and Sat. 7 am to 8:15 am – look for the Harmo truck parked just off Pennsylvania Ave. Follow directions Chuck sent out.
* Class of 2018 – don’t forget your scarves. And know that we are all eager to see/hear your skit on Sat. nite.

During the time in Westminster, the chapter strategic planning committee will conduct focus groups to get member feedback for their work.  The first one is Fri eve at 7:30.  Dave Kohls is conducting these sessions.

In other news, this coming weekend while we are at retreat, the Alexandria Singers is performing at the GW Masonic Memorial Theater! Our own Bill Colosimo is their director.  Performances are Friday June 8 at 7:30, Saturday June 9 at 2:00, and Sunday June 10 at 7:30.  Tickets are $20 and $25, available at the door.
“American Pops!” is a terrific selection of pops favorites from the 1950’s to today, performed with full choreography and without a conductor.  Special solo and small ensemble acts are featured among the exciting full ensemble tunes.  This show is our preview presentation of the three concerts we’ll perform during our Ireland tour in July!

Also there is a call for wedding singers. Ninamarie Maragiolglio's daughter Joia (Kellen Hertz's sister), is getting married in September.  Ninamarie has asked if there are enough Harmonizer volunteers who would be willing to attend and sing Ave Marie for the service as we did sister Brielle's wedding in 2015.    The wedding is Saturday, September 29, at 2PM in Burke VA.   If enough volunteer, we will have a couple rehearsals early or late on Tuesdays in September and  meet at the church at 12:30 the day of the wedding.
 President Shawn Tallant announced that Bob Wachter is in Mt. Vernon Hospital for at least this week. He can have visitors.
Chorus manager Mark Klostermeyer did a “bandana check” with the Class of 2018.  Everyone present was in compliance!!
It was great having all the guests and former members at rehearsal last night.  There is a lot of interest in individuals wanting to move forward with auditions.  All potential candidates are being told this is a good window of opportunity for membership and to prepare for the Fall Show so prepare for numerous learning quartets and auditions. (Speaking of auditions, transfer candidate Dale Bird passed his audition Tues. night and will be put forward for Chapter membership).  Jack Pitzer welcomed the guests including former members Dave Vernon and Dave Ermlick, Other singing guests were Peter, Jordan, and Hunter,

After a break, it was back on the risers for contest work.  The guests worked on their audition piece in another room.

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, May 31, 2018




Looking Back on the May 29th Chapter Meeting 

What a busy nite at Durant for the Harmonizers!

Chapter executive director Randall Eliason welcomed our visitors from the British Association of Barbershop Singers, The Kingsmen from Kingsbridge,  Their chorus was with us for the whole evening. 

They are spending about 10 days in the US visiting cities and choruses. They had been in the Lancaster PA area and sang with the Red Rose Chorus there.  After their visit in Alexandria, they left early on Wednesday for NY and a visit with the Westchester Chordsmen in Westchester, NY.  While they were in our area they toured DC. They stayed at a hotel on Eisenhower Ave. and walked to Durant as a group.  Our own Jim Kirkland was their walking guide. Gerry Fuller was coordinator with their leadership for this visit in Alexandria.

The founder of their chorus and current director, Roy Hann, and several of their leadership team met with our musical and chapter leaders at Theisman’s before coming to Durant.

The Kingsmen sang a couple songs for us; we all sang together on the risers; and then they were on hand for the musical work session with our music and performance team.  At the end of the nite, we all sang “Keep The Whole World Singing” together.

In addition to having our visitors, there was the usual set up work of risers and all the other equipment needed to operate a meeting.

AND the new chorus suits were issued by uniform chair Robyn Murane with a team of helpers who accepted payments, collected old suits being turned in and helped get info to the members such as the instruction sheet for altering the new suits.  Rick Savage was a key helper in checking the sizing questions. We did this on the stage.  Several members helped haul out the collected old suits for Robyn to sell.

At the start of the evening, the president of the Potomac Harmony SAI Chorus in Arlington, congratulated the chapter for the launch of its 70th anniversary and presented the chapter with a gift card.

While the work progressed on issuing the uniforms, associate director Tony Colosimo taught our guests,  and those Harmonizers who had finished with their uniform, a tag or two.

Then all singers in the house were on the risers for a warm up session with Tony.

After our guests sang for us, we switched places and they watched while the Harmonizers’ contest chorus members did the two song set for recording and filming. This was after a brief review by choreographer Carlos Barillo.  Assistant director Chuck Hunter directed the ballad and Tony directed the uptune.
And after that, we launched a busy work nite on songs for the fall anniversary show. All singers were invited back to the risers who wished to do so.

We made progress on “Great Day” with visual review and instruction by Craig Kujawa.

Communications director Steve Murane conducts the chapter meeting sessions these days.  He clarified the correct name for our possible new meeting site as Scottish Rite Temple.  It is at 1430  Braddock Rd. in Alexandria.  We will be there for all of our meetings in June including the two special Thursday nite rehearsals June 21 and 28, AND for the June 26th dress rehearsal and Send Off performance before going to Orlando.

ALSO NOTE: there will be pre-dress rehearsal at the June 19th chapter meeting at Scottish Rite Temple so there are no surprises in Orlando.  That means there are 21 days to have alterations done!!!
Fall show ticket chairman Ian Poulin had consignment tickets available to members.  There are still some other choruses in the area that need a “Harmonizer salesperson” to go visit them with fall show ticket information. See Steve Murane.

The Brazil trip is off, but watch for an email from chapter leadership about another trip overseas in 2019.
There was another reminder about the chorus retreat. Steve reminded guys to turn in their payment for the chorus retreat to Howard Nestlerode. The retreat will be June 8-9-10 at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, (about 70 miles from Springfield).  Friday June 8th will be mandatory for front row and optional for all others with special sessions for the small groups to be coached. There are many good restaurants in town and it is a good social time on Friday nite. Fees include lodging; three meals on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday; plus linens and a Saturday evening party. There are three price levels – Friday-Sunday attendees ($114); Saturday-Sunday attendees ($83); and commuters who won’t be staying any nite ($78). Non-competing members are welcome to attend. Many members are behind in getting in their payments.  All requests for roommate assignments are due to retreat master, Chuck McKeever, immediately.

Also note that the “Magic City Countdown” newsletters from our convention coordinator Craig Kujawa have resumed.  He sent one earlier in the week about transportation matters, and promises others to be coming our way soon.

Chorus manager Mark Klostermeyer announced the Class of 2018 and presented them their blue/green “bandana” to be worn at every Harmonizer event until walking on stage in Orlando.  The class includes Adam Afifi, Rob Barnovsky, Connor Goss, Jerry Jayjohn, Chris Leyen, Mickey Robertson, Mario Sengco, and Johan Westberg. They meet with Mark after chapter meeting on the stage for more instructions and to get their assignment to elect a class president. 

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler provided a Man of Note award pin for Jerry Jayjohn to give to his sponsor, Brian Miller.  Chris also presented membership renewals to John Greene for 7 years; Rob Barnovsky for 8 years; Nick Leiserson for 8 years; Chris Odell for 9 years; Ian Poulin for 18 years; and Howard Nestlerode for 43 years.

Dave Kohls was back in town and announced plans for focus group sessions at the retreat next weekend to get member input on the work done by the strategic planning committee.  Guys were asked to sign up for one of three sessions during the weekend. The first one is Friday nite at 7:30 pm.

Calvin Schnure welcomed our guests from England, and then specifically singers Dale, Nick and Jake.
For break we served a decorated cake for our chorus guests.  Thanks to Gerry Fuller for getting the cake and bottled water to the hall, and for Sandy and Aideen who cut the cake and served it for all to enjoy.

After break, it was back on the risers to work on fall show songs.

After the meeting, a crew of men loaded both sets of risers for relocation.
.
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