Thursday, September 17, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 15 th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

Looking Back on the Sept. 15 th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The Alexandria Harmonizers were excited about coming together for their Zoom meeting after having been named Ensemble of the Year on Monday, Sept. 14th,  during the BHS Awards Gala.

Director Joe Cerutti congratulated the members of the chapter for helping earn the award in recognition of a terrific, busy, and successful 2019.  As he said, “It’s hard to believe we crammed it all into one year!” Members were encouraged to use social media to share the news of the award with family, friends, fellow barbershoppers, and colleagues.

We all were proud to recognize three Harmonizers who were recognized as new 50-year members during the awards gala – Jack Cameron, Joe Witmer, and Harold Nantz.

This week’s meeting was planned to be a full session of meeting, learning music, chatting among ourselves, and planning ahead. Again this week we had a lot of guests from around the nation – many former members or current members who live in other states.

To kick off the fun, we got to hear a tag sung by Doug White doing all four parts. This was part of the pledge to play any videos produced by members during these times of virtual meetings. Great job, Doug.

In the way of announcements and planning, Joe explained that a work session Wed. nite at 8 pm will provide instructions for the members to prepare their recordings for the virtual chorus pieces for our virtual holiday show.  The Wed. nite session will work on the intro for “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” as a dry run during a Facebook Live session with associate director Tony Colosimo. Each singer will be asked to submit a vocal and visual recordings soon.  Get details at the session with Tony. In the end the chorus will do two or three songs for the virtual choir process.

Joe also shared a report on the funeral service for Bob Wachter at St. Louis Catholic Church in Alexandria on Monday.  Eulogies were given by Sam McFarland, Drew Fuller and Joe.  A quartet of Fairfax singers sang. Burial will be at Arlington Cemetery in the future. Recorded music from the Fairfax, Alexandria and Mount Vernon choruses was used during the services at the funeral home also.

Tony hosted the warm up session for the singers this week. Joe and Tony teamed up to help the chorus singers work on “tough spots” in “Carol of the Bells” and in “Gloria”

We did a breakout discussion for a fun topic this week – “what is your stupid human trick that you can demonstrate?” This was a crazy session with lots of laughs. Calling owls was about the wildest! Wiggling ears and clicking fingers were popular tho.

 

 

Last week, the music team asked Harmonizers via an email to take a survey of which of several Harmonizer Holiday performances on YouTube should be used on our holiday show.   They asked members to rank them and then music leaders will use the ranking: to select the recordings to use for our Virtual Holiday Show; to select our submission for the WETA 2020 Winter Concert project, and to select materials for any additional opportunities that come up to “show our stuff.” Responses were prompt and Joe thanked all those who helped and responded.

There were two electives presented by members this week.  Mike Edison spoke about building a race car.  Adam Afifi spoke about musicality as part of singing in a large ensemble.  Joe chimed in on this one too. About half of the 65 attendees were in each of these sessions.

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. The discussion topic will be – “If the chapter was given a million dollars, how would we spend that money?”

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 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 14th, 2020 Virtual BHS Awards Gala

 

Looking Back on the Sept. 14th, 2020 Virtual BHS Awards Gala

The Alexandria Harmonizers hosted a “Watch Party” Zoom session during the BHS Awards Gala presented via YouTube on Mon, evening, Sept. 14th. We gathered about 7:30 pm for visiting, greeting some members we haven’t seen for awhile including Rick Wagner from HI, and sharing stories about our year. About 35 of us were on the call for the event that lasted until about 10 pm.

Terry Reynolds played the previous finalists announcements for our review to explain that the Harmonizers were named as finalists for two of the major awards – Ambassador of the Year, and Ensemble of the Year.  Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist was also a finalist for Ambassador of the Year.

It was great to be together for the event when the Alexandria Harmonizers were named Ensemble of the Year. The show included a great summary video of our terrific 2019 year including the trip to England and Scotland.

As president Stan Quick shared, “2019 was a banner year for the Harmonizers. I counted at least 19 events at which the chorus itself participated - from local Alexandria venues to Seneca Land District to the U.K.  To win this award in the inaugural gala especially when judged against the other nominees is a truly great achievement of which we should all be proud.”

 

Stan also acknowledged “Bill Colosimo's submission of our chapter and the Alexandria Singers concert with Vocal Collective from New Zealand for the Ambassador of the Year Award. Also nominated was Dr. Joyce Garrett, who has been instrumental in forging our relationship with Alfred Street Baptist Church.  Although we and Dr. Garrett did not win this category, we owe both Dr. Garrett and Bill and his Alexandria Singers a big thank you for their major contributions to helping us win the other category, Ensemble of the Year.”

The gala was quite well done and full of close moments for Harmonizers to see former members and coaches, helpers from our recent youth festivals, and fellow M-AD barbershoppers honored.

The Video of the Year Award went to MIDTOWN from our district and were introduced by lead of the Quin-Tones, Julian LaFore who has been on our show a couple times.

Album of the Year went to GQ and was introduced by Deke Sharon. Both the quartet and Deke were part of our youth festival.

We were pleased to learn that Alan Lamson, a former Harmonizer, and Kevin Keller, arranger of our contest uptune, were named to the BHS Hall of Fame.

The Arranger of the Year Award went to Theo Hicks who has been on our show too.

The Joe Liles Lifetime Achievement Award went to a former Harmonizer coach, Greg Clancy from the Dallas Vocal Majority.

Later in the show, Greg introduced our chapter as winner of the Ensemble Award. Stan Quick appeared on the YouTube show to give a message of appreciation from the Harmonizers.

The actual winner of the Ambassador of the Year Award went to BARBER DRUNK quartet who started Barbershop Harmony South America.

The Quartet of the Year Award went to THE NEWFANGLED FOUR and they were announced by DOUBLE DATE who sang for us recently on our Zoom event for Dog Days.

The Barbershopper of the Year Award went to Will Downey, bass of GIMME FOUR, who has often helped us with our youth festival.

Our friends and gold medal champs, SIGNATURE quartet, sang on the show and reminded us all how they helped promote our youth festival in the DC Metro area.

Overall host for the gala was Alex Morris from Australia, who often hosts the Webcast at International convention.

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 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 8th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

Looking Back on the Sept. 8th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The Alexandria Harmonizers continue meeting via Zoom. This week was another full session of fun, singing, BHS news, plus director Joe Cerutti came prepared to lay out plans for the next few months. 

Again this week we had a lot of guests from around the nation – many former members or current members who live in other states.  That’s one positive of this era under the virus threat – guys can join us from anywhere. Several members of the AH Inc. board were on the call this week too.  There were 68 folks on the call this week.

To kick off the fun, we got to hear some of guys in Riptide the Rock Band who made a fun video of their performance of “Saw Her Standin’ There.” Joe Cerutti Sr, Joel Golden, Chris Huber, and Kellen Hertz are in the group plus their two buddies Austin and Doc.  This was part of the pledge to play any videos produced by members during these times of virtual meetings.

As a reminder, next Monday, Sept. 14th at 8 pm Eastern, the BHS Awards Gala event will be presented via YouTube.  The Harmonizers were nominated and are finalists for two of the major awards – Ambassador of the Year, and Ensemble of the Year.  Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist is also a finalist for Ambassador of the Year.

The Harmonizers will have a Live Watch Party too that nite, gathering to start at 7:30 pm, via Zoom.  Plan to attend and share the fun. Families and friends are encouraged to be on the Zoom call.  Watch for the link to this party time.

There was no warm up session this week, so that Joe could share music team plans for the months ahead.  Obviously much of this is dependent of the health matters in our area, but it is great to look forward to some fun new music, new venues, new gigs, and new technology.

His major points were to encourage the Harmonizers with news about two important projects on the horizon.

The first project revolves around a tentative performance schedule for the next twelve months that could include singing for the new Scottish Rite group in DC, a retreat with Harmony University classes for our members prior to a contest run in Cleveland, a show for the Fredrick MD Chapter, a fall show at Schlesinger, a gig in Rappahannock, VA, a holiday show at Strathmore in November, and a holiday show at Schlesinger in December.

A creative team of members plus Joe, Tony Colosimo, Terry Reynolds and Cy Wood developed a complete plan for our first show after the pandemic ends. It would be designed to help our audiences see new light and enjoy great music again. The theme is “A Beautiful Morning” and of course would include the terrific new song we have been working on, arranged by David Wright, “Oh What A Beautiful Morning.”

The song list would bring back some old favorites like “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” as an audience participation piece.  Recently Joe received a treasure-trove of barbershop songs collected by Wilbur Sparks during his lifetime as a member of our chapter.  And in that collection Joe found an arrangement by John Hohl that will be used in the show too.

The show will close with our popular “Circle of Life” number from last year.

The second project is a virtual holiday show – coast to coast.  We would be doing it in collaboration with Northwest Sound Chorus in Bellevue, WA, directed by former Harmonizer, Ken Potter.   It will be on Sunday, Dec. 20th at 6 pm EST.

Here again there will be a live premier of the show with a Zoom pre and post gathering for singers and fans.

Joe and team have asked Harmonizers via an email sent out Tuesday nite to take a survey of which of several Harmonizer Holiday performances on YouTube should be used on the show.   They are looking for members to rank them and then music leaders will use the ranking: to select the recordings to use for our Virtual Holiday Show; to select our submission for the WETA 2020 Winter Concert project, and to select materials for any additional opportunities that come up to “show our stuff.” Responses are due on Friday, Sept. 11th by 4 pm.

Some holiday tracks are already on Groupanizer, according to Terry.

Joe’s summary of this virtual show – “just do it.” He pledges that complete instructions will be sent to all members as to what they will need for this project such as headsets, and how to prepare.  There will be a test run of the virtual singing process on the intro to “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”

Harmonizers should realize there are plenty of slots for volunteers, helpers, workers on these two major chapter projects. 

New chapter communications director Matt Doniger asked for business items from the chapter executive director, president, secretary and membership director.  Hearing none, the meeting was brief!

Special guests this week were Dr. Tim Workman and his young children from WV.  Tim is choral arts director at University of Arkansas in Fort Smith.  He had with him on the call his son Tanner, and daughters Analyn and Abby.  With dad on bass, they belted out some fantastic tags, taught us a tag, and shared some of their world as young singers all in one house.

Dad Tim was tenor in 2001 Collegiate Champ quartet, REPRISE. He and his siblings were a singing family too, so it is all a family tradition.

For our meeting, this generation of Workman singers sang a great “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” tag plus a couple others.

About half way thru this week’s meeting, Craig Kujawa joined the call from his post in Africa.  Great to hear from him and learn that he has only ten more weeks there.

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. The discussion topic will be – “If the chapter was given a million dollars, how would we spend that money?”

Funeral details for Bob Wachter were announced. Visitation will be Sunday, Sept. 13th from 11 am to 1 pm at Demaine Funeral Home, 520 S. Washington Street, Alexandria.  There will be a funeral Mass at 11 am on Monday, September 14th at St. Louis Catholic Church, 2907 Popkins Lane, Alexandria.

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 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 1st, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

Looking Back on the Sept. 1st, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The Alexandria Harmonizers continue meeting via Zoom. This week was another full session of fun, singing, BHS news, and visits with current and former members from around the world..

Director Joe Cerutti welcomed all folks after early arrivals chatted about the results of the finals round of the Legacy Quartet Championship. 

Many Harmonizers watched and participated in the finals contest at 6 pm Saturday nite, Aug. 29th.  First off, there were some former Harmonizers in quartets in the finals –Richard Lewellen in RIPTIDE, and Lee Hanson in CENTER STAGE. Two Harmonizer guys are currently district presidents who had agreed for their districts to help sponsor the Legacy Contest – John Rettenmayer, RMD, and Bob Eckman, M-AD.  And there were some of our guys in all three of the chat rooms offered for those who bought a ticket (Society History, Chat with the Champs, and Hospitality Room). No doubt other members watched the contest free without chat room time via YouTube. Joe and Tony were fun chat room leaders in the hospitality group! As you would expect there were many of our chapter friends and coaches on the calls as moderators or listeners. It was fun.

Top five placements were 139TH STREET in first; RIPTIDE in second; METROPOLIS in third; CENTER STAGE in fourth; and HARRINGTON BROTHERS in fifth.

Joe shared the positive responses from nearby barbershop chapters after last week’s Dog Days Virtual event that we hosted.

He also encouraged everyone to mark their calendar and to make plans to watch the BHS Awards Gala on Monday, Sept. 14th at 8 pm. Former member Joe Witmer will receive his 50-year membership that nite; and the chapter is a finalist in two awards categories – Ambassador of the Year, and Ensemble of the Year.  Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist was also a finalist for Ambassador of the Year. Stay tuned also for details about joining a Harmonizer Room for ‘watch nite’ details.

Next week’s guest for our Zoom meeting will be Dr. Tim Workman and his family from WV.

Joe shared music team plans too – next week will be the last time to spend time on contest songs and then a move towards work on songs for a virtual holiday show, AND OUR FIRST LIVE SHOW (when ever that happens!).

There was a reflection from many members about former Harmonizer president Gary Smith, 72,  who died last Tuesday nite.  He had been president twice, sang bari in two of our gold-medal contest choruses, and was major editor and driving force to create our wonderful Breathless Moments 50th anniversary history book. He is survived by his wife Sara Jane in Waynesville, NC, where they have lived in recent years. Some members had watched the celebration of life that included three long-time favorite Harmonizer songs – “Softly as I Leave You,” “A Place on the Risers for You,” and “I’ll Walk with God.”

Joe invited associate director Tony Colosimo to lead a warm up session the 60-plus members, former members and guests on the call.

Following the warm ups, the program shifted to work on another section of “Oh What A Beautiful Morning.”  And following that there was more review on the choreo for “42nd Street” with Tony. In this regard, guys were encouraged to touch base with another member who seems to be getting the plan mastered.

Our small group discussion this week was “What do you think makes the most successful afterglow after a chapter show.”  There were tons of great ideas that the chapter leaders recorded for consideration in future planning.  Being well organized was likely top of the list, having a team to run it, good food, good pricing, plenty of room, a location close to the show, a strong emcee, and allow time for attendees to visit about the show.  There were a few new ideas like having a featured drink that is based on the show theme for that afterglow; serve breakfast foods, live stream it for those who can’t attend.

Alan Wile conducted his ninth interview of a Harmonizer Hero that is on Groupanizer.  This time he visited with Steve White, a 43-year member of our chapter who has been in the front row about 40 years!! He has sung in five M-AD champ quartets – COPYRIGHT ‘86; THE BAY RUM RUNNERS; PHAT CATS; TOUCHSTONE, and MAD HATTERS.  A proud moment for Steve was having sung with and for U.S. Senator and Astronaut John Glenn and his wife Annie a couple times in their home.

His professional career centered on science and research after his college work in biology and chemistry. He taught high school science one year in the high school where he graduated in MD. He has been at the NIH for 21 years and is involved in the entire Covid 19 research efforts.

He and Gary Plaag were a team that wrote and produced a long run of fun and successful Harmonizer shows.

Steve was president of the M-AD honor club, elected to the M-AD Hall of Honor and is longtime president of the M-AD association of quartet champions.

He was named an Eagle Scout in his youth and then along with his wife Jerri encouraged his two sons to also achieve Eagle Scout recognition.  Last year Steve and Jerri were named winners of the Wilbur and Ibbianne Sparks Award for all the work they have done for our chapter.

Chapter executive director Randall Eliason conducted a chapter meeting to announce a change for chapter communications director on the Operations Team.  Steve Murane is stepping away after several years in that position. The chapter extended appreciation for his service in that important task.  The new director will be Matt Doniger.

One of this year’s joint board meetings of our BHS Chapter and our AH Inc. Chapter was held this past weekend. Members of the Operations Team were also invited to attend. Major action was approval of cooperating budgets for the two boards with indications of adjustments as the year unfolds during the pandemic.  There was also an interim report from a Visionary Work Group chaired by AH Inc. community board member Marie Muscella.

Results are in from our chapter’s participation as one of the 30 choral groups in the Choruses for Care and Compassion. According to their organizers, more than $33,000 was raised to feed 82,000 people in the DC area through the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB).

There were two electives for members to attend during the latter part of the meeting this week. One was presented by Randall EliasonWhat is White Collar Crime.  He is speaks on this topic for local university law school students.  A second elective was presented by Matt Doniger – an in depth chat about Star Wars The Expanded Universe. There was good attendance for both of these sessions presented by members in response to chapter leaders request for members to present topics they are passionate about.

Both topics launched good fun discussion in the afterglow session this week. 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 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd