Thursday, May 28, 2020



Looking Back on the May 27th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
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. This is in recognition of recent mandates by officials and leaders of the BHS and in cooperation with local health authorities and government officials. 

Thus there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on May 27th,  2020.  
Again, director Joe Cerutti hosted a gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue the work on music, learn performance plans, and learn more about our chapter and the barbershop hobby in general. 

Recently chapter leaders sent a message to all members (not just the singing chorus) to make sure all Harmonizers, wherever they are, feel free to join us any Tuesday via a Zoom link. The chapter will resend the link every Tuesday in the hour before the 7 pm start time. This appeal brought some members to the call we have not seen for a while including Jeff Ashford and his brother Phil.

Since it has become clear that the chorus will not be able to get together in person anytime soon, the music team is adjusting the Tuesday night virtual rehearsals to include a significant amount of educational, social, and fellowship activities along with the singing.

Joe was excited to report plans for this week’s meeting and news from around BHS.  He expressed his appreciation to all those who competed the survey to choose special guests for chapter meetings in the weeks ahead. Next week we have a special visit with Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society (Marty asked to change to that date since he could not make it this week. )

The annotated version of the new ballad is on Groupanizer.

There were over 60 attendees this week again. Finally Joe again acknowledged that some members may find themselves lacking desire or drive to keep learning show music, turning in recordings, and drilling themselves.  He understands those who might not get a recording submitted. Most importantly, he hopes every member will continue to join the virtual meetings to stay caught up and stay in touch with our Harmonizer brothers. 

We had special guests this week to conduct the warm up sessions – Mo Field and Amelia Charnock from Toronto.  Many members might recognize them as the performers for ‘Beatles-A-Day- with Mo and Amelia’ on Facebook.  They have sung and performed a Beatles song on 70 days.  Amelia led the physical warm up session and Mo conducted the vocal warm up with emphasis on breathing.  Mo has been a Harmonizer coach in recent years and recently was named director of the Great Northern Union Chorus in MN.

After warm ups, the chorus separated into groups Riser Ready (with Joe) and Not Riser Ready (with Tony Colosimo) for “42nd Street.”

We were happy to have another guest from the BHS staff, Dustin Guyton, who is lead of the guest quartet, ROOTOP RECORDS, currently lined up for our fall show.

For fun, Terry Reynolds conducted a Harmo Trivia contest and members could enter their answer on the screen.  There were three guys who got all of the questions right except one, so the tie breaking question was “How many men have belonged to the chapter in 71 years?” Steve White got closest to the 1,367 answer!  It was fun.

 Next, music team administrator Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five or so.  The discussion topic this week was “How are you satisfying your hunger, If you’re cooking, what are you go-to meals, and if you are buying out, what new places have you found that are good. 

The small group YeEd was in wanted the recipe he talked about making several times since the shut down – Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Bars.  Here it is: 

½ cup crunchy style peanut butter   1/3 cup margarine, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar     ¾ cup sugar   2 eggs    2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsifted flour     1 tsp. baking powder     ¼ tsp. salt
One 12 oz. pkg  (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, combine peanut        butter, margarine, brown sugar and sugar; beat til creamy.  Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla.  Blend in flour, baking powder and salt.  Spread into greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.  Sprinkle chocolate morsels over top.  Place in 350-degree oven for three minutes.  Remove from oven, run knife through to marbleize.  Return to oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool.  Cut into 2x1 inch bars.  Makes four dozen bars.
The business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reports that Dean Sherick has renewed his membership and Chris has mailed him his renewal card.   

There were two electives this week that attendees could choose to attend:  Joe spoke about his duties at BHS as Director of Outreach and Tony spoke about Pedagogy.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. (Note that the Zoom call info number is the same each week.)

Other news from outside the chapter meeting:  Ken Ives emailed all members with this note - If you’re thinking of signing up for our scrip program (or purchasing additional eCards, or reloading a card), now would be a GREAT time to do it!  For a limited time, the chorus will get bonus rebates (at no additional cost to you!) on every order. If you have questions, contact Ken.

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, May 22, 2020



Looking Back on the May 19th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
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. This is in recognition of recent mandates by officials and leaders of the BHS and in cooperation with local health authorities and government officials. 

Thus there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on May 19th,  2020.  
Instead, director Joe Cerutti hosted a gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue the work on music, learn performance plans, and learn more about our chapter and the barbershop hobby in general. 

Recently chapter leaders sent a message to all members (not just the singing chorus) to make sure all Harmonizers, wherever they are, feel free to join us any Tuesday via a Zoom link. The chapter will resend the link every Tuesday in the hour before the 7 pm start time. This appeal brought some members to the call we have not seen for a while  Bob Sutton, Bob Eckman, Al Herman, and Phil Ashford.

Since it has become clear that the chorus will not be able to get together in person anytime soon, the music team is adjusting the Tuesday night virtual rehearsals to include a significant amount of educational, social, and fellowship activities along with the singing.

Joe was excited to report that we were anticipating a surprise guest for this week and there would not be any other electives.  He kept the members guessing as to who it would be. Next week we have a special visit with Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Also next week there will be sessions for ‘Riser Ready’ or ‘Not Riser Ready’ singers for “42nd Street.”

The annotated version of the new ballad will be on Groupanizer maybe as early as Wednesday.

Finally he again acknowledged that some members may find themselves lacking desire or drive to keep learning show music, turning in recordings, and drilling themselves.  He understands those who might not get a recording submitted. Most importantly, he hopes every member will continue to join the virtual meetings to stay caught up and stay in touch with our Harmonizer brothers. He was happy to have over 60 attendees this week again.

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted another compete warm up session with lots of physical as well as vocal exercise
.
Then Joe worked on the uptune with special emphasis on rhythm and phrase endings; and he revised the traditional 1-10 range of volumes we have used  down to 1-6. 

Next, music team administrator Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five or so.  Joe had asked the guys to share “What’s your  favorite memory as a Harmonizer.”  Each small group reported the stories and there were some amazing stories from our members as well as some pretty crazy ones. The guys who have been members over 40 years often referred to the first time we won the district contest and the first time we won the Southern Division and thus started a run of many trips to the International contest. Other popular points were Les Ventes, France; first Kennedy Center Honors performance; the New Zealand show;  Harvey Milk show; show with Dick Van Dyke; the gold medal in Atlanta; and a quartet singing for John and Annie Glenn at their home.

Alan Wile continued his interviews of members (who have submitted their personal story via the Harmonizer Heroes program.  This week’s guest was Frank Shipp who has been a member of our chapter a short time. His professional career has been in agriculture and equestrian management in KY and VA.  Plus he has had a lot of theater and music experience over the years. 

The business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  Executive director Randall Eliason reinforced the point for members to use the Scrip program to help raise monies for the chapter and make shopping easier.  If anyone needs explanation about using Scrip, contact Ken Ives.  This is a great way for members who live far away from the chapter to lend a hand. Randall also suggested guys use Amazon Smile to donate to the chapter.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reports the following members have renewed their membership and he has mailed them their renewal cards: Bob Thames - 60 years; Bill Colosimo - 44 years; Bob Eckman - 36 years; and John Oswald Greene - 9 years. Chris is now calling all renewals in addition to mailing their cards with a note.

The surprise guest was former chorus director, Scott Werner, who now lives in The Villages in Florida, with his wife Linda.  He is director of The Heart of Florida Chorus.

Scott joined the Harmonizers in 1964 as a guest of former director, Oz Newgard, who was director from 1963-70. Within two years of his joining, Scott was elected administrative vice president of the chapter and during his term, the chapter achieved Century Club Status.  He was elected chapter president in 1967 and again in 1968 – the first man to serve two consecutive terms in our chapter. He proved to be a versatile musical leader having been lead section leader, assistant director and music committee chairman prior to 1970. He arranged close to a dozen songs for the chorus during the ‘70s.

Scott served as Musical Director of the Harmonizers from 1970, with time out from 1980 to 1983, and then from 1984 until 2002 – a total of almost 30 years! He guided the chorus to its first District championship in 1977 and its first International appearance and medal in 1978—a fourth place bronze. He led the chorus to ten District titles, each of which culminated in an International medal, including four bronze medals, three silver medals, and four gold medals in 1986, 1989, 1995 and 1998.

In 1995, Scott won a gold medal when his senior quartet (Reminisce) won, and the chorus won a gold medal also that year. 

During Scott’s tenure as director of the Harmonizers he helped grow the chorus to 145 singers.  He added Geri Geis to his team to help create many great show appearances. 

Joe conducted an interview and one of the fun points was Scott’s favorite song was “Music of the Night.”  Scott shared that his philosophy was to use all the talent in our chapter and suggested that advice to others.  He also believed in making sure the experience was fun for everyone. Scott stayed on the call into the afterglow portion and greeted many men who sang with him before his retirement.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. (Note that the Zoom call info number is the same each week.)
   
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, May 15, 2020



Looking Back on the May 12th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
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. This is in recognition of recent mandates by officials and leaders of the BHS and in cooperation with local health authorities and government officials. 

Thus there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on May  12th,  2020.  
Instead, director Joe Cerutti hosted a gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue the work on music, learn performance plans, and learn more about our chapter and the barbershop hobby in general. 

Joe was excited to report that we were anticipating coach and arranger David Wright to share his insights and thoughts about the new ballad he created for us “Oh What a Beautiful Morning;” and that we will hear from Cay Outerbridge, director of Vocal Revolution chorus in Concord, MA, explaining sight-reading methods used by his chorus. 

Joe reported that he had received the Proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Alexandria in honor of Brian Miller, who died last month from complications due to the convid 19 virus.  Joe will pass our copy on to the chapter’s history committee for our archives.

Joe also reports that chapter leaders will create a survey to seek “votes” for future meeting night topics or special guests for electives (all of which were suggested last week during our breakout sessions with fellow members).  These electives will be for virtual meetings as well as regular face-to-face meetings when they resume.  Watch for that survey and offer your opinion.

Finally he acknowledged that some members may find themselves lacking desire or drive to keep learning show music, turning in recordings, and drilling themselves.  Plus he suggests there is a strong chance we won’t be able to have our fall show. Therefore, Joe and the music team plan to pivot the music program more toward preparation for the next contest package, adjust recording plans and dates, possibly shorten virtual work sessions, and expand the general discussions with each other and about barbershop and our chapter.  Most importantly, he hopes every member will continue to join the virtual meetings to stay caught up and stay in touch with our Harmonizer brothers.

Before we moved on to breakout sessions, Terry Reynolds noted that each member will need to update to the new version of Zoom before next week.

Then Joe welcomed David from his home office in St. Louis so he could go over the ballad and let us make notes about how he sees it going.  He shared that he felt the Harmonizers were right for this song and this message and could handle the challenges he put in the arrangement to make it also exciting for the audience. His creative introduction to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song is terrific.  It was a great session with David in which he explained the parts of the song, the tempo and many key changes and how the music expressed the message of this familiar song. 

Next, music team administrator Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five or so.  Joe had asked the guys to share “What’s the closest you’ve been to a major celebrity and what were the circumstances.”  Each small group reported the story that they thought was best.  There were some amazing stories from our members as well as some pretty crazy ones.

The business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reports the following members have renewed their membership and he has mailed them their renewal cards: Gary Mankin - 47 years;
Al Herman - 37 years; Chris Buechler  - 35 years; Tom Berkey - 23 years; and Steve Murane - 18 years.

There were two electives this week.  Joe gave a very understandable and thorough explanation of the BHS Vision of Everyone in Harmony, and answered questions.  Cay met with another segment of the chorus for his presentation.

After these sessions ended, we thanked Cay and he joined the members who stayed on Zoom to visit and chat.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. (Note that the Zoom call info number is the same each week.)
   
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, May 7, 2020



Looking Back on the May 5th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
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. This is in recognition of recent mandates by officials and leaders of the BHS and in cooperation with local health authorities and government officials. 

Thus there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on May 5th,  2020.  

Instead, director Joe Cerutti hosted a gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue the work on music, learn performance plans, and learn more about our chapter and the barbershop hobby in general. He is quick to thank the chapter’s admin team, particularly Terry Reynolds, who makes it all happen as Zoom host.  

Joe was excited to report that we were anticipating coach Cy Wood on this call to teach more of the choreo for “42nd Street” that we are learning; and that we will hear from Alan Gordon explaining the singing judging category for BHS contests. 

Joe asked members to let him know if they have a contact with a DC-area men’s dance organization the chapter can partner with; and he encouraged singers to submit their rehearsal ready materials by Fri. May 8th for “Chorus Line.”

Next Joe lead the reporting of the survey we all took over the December holidays and prior to the individual interviews.  One interesting result was a pledge for chapter leaders –both admin and musical – to make an effort to align members with teams/interest groups/committees in a long list of possibilities: visual, show production, music review, youth festival, small group coaches, membership, social, history, technology, quartet activity, and to organize a “blind” nite event. 

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the physical and vocal warm up sessions for the 60+ singers on the call.  Then there were sectionals to work on “Chorus Line.

As a new feature this week, Alan Wile hosted an interview of fellow chapter member Chuck Hunter. The new feature will help members know fellow members better (so as not to wait until their memorial service) as recorded in Harmonizers Heroes which Alan manages (he has done it for 10 years).  The full collection of 250 reports submitted by members is available on Groupanizer under Documents.

Chuck was involved with his Dad, Chuck Sr., in CA and joined the Society at age 12. He directed the San Jose CA chorus in his early 20s. During his foreign service career he has been posted in Cairo, Algiers, Tunis, Muscat, Jerusalem, Al-Hillah (Iraq), Damascus, Bagdad, and Istanbul, plus often back to Washington DC which explains why he has frequently left the chorus for a period and then returned.  Whenever he has been here he has usually been a section leader and/or assistant director. AND he reports that he has never sung with us when we won a gold medal. 

Next, music team administrator Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five or so.  Joe had asked the guys to share “any ideas you have for guest speakers or elective topics for the weeks ahead (both during Zoom and when we are back to regular chapter meetings).  Each small group reported and there was a great collection of strong ideas.

While guys were reporting, Joe received the learning tracks for our new contest ballad, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” arranged by David Wright.  Joe played it for all to hear and the music was on the screen to follow along.  David, Joe and Tony agree it is a challenging number but David felt the Harmonizers could handle it. There were positive reactions on the Zoom call – including smiles and head nods during the playing of the music for us.

The business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  President Stan Quick thanked the members for keeping him informed about health and welfare status of our members. It was good to have Tom Berkey on the call and to get his report that his wife is doing much better. 

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reports the following members have renewed their membership and he has mailed them their renewal cards: Tom Hansen - 44 years; Andy Smith- 44 years; Jim Lucey-31 years; Bill DePuy-30 years; and Jason Lee-18 years.

Next coach Cy Wood came to us from his home in Ohio.  He went right to work on continuing his choreo instruction for “42nd Street,” with a brief review of what he taught last time, and then a lot of new material for guys to work on. 

There were two electives this week.  Alan Gordon spoke about the singing category for our BHS contest judging.  He is interim director for the Masters of Harmony and sang baritone in popular top quartets MASTERPIECE and GOTTCHA. 

Jack Pitzer spoke about the directors that have served the Harmonizer chorus since it was chartered in 1948: Gene Barnwell – 1948-50; Werner Paul – 1950-61; Bud Arberg – 1951-62; Oz Newgard – 1963-70; Scott Werner – 1970-80 and 1984-2002; John Hohl – 1980-83; Terry Reynolds – interim Aug.-Dec. 2002; Richard Lewellen – 2003-06; and Joe Cerutti – 2007 until now.

After these sessions ended, some of the members stayed on Zoom to visit and chat.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. (Note that the Zoom call info number is the same each week.)

Outside the chapter meeting, there was a recent email from Harmony Foundation International with news that our chapter ranks 23rd (as of April 30th, 2020) in percentage of contributions. There were 82 of our 187 members who gave yielding a 44% or 23rd place.  (Interesting, we were the only chapter over 100 members in the top 75! Congrats Harmonizers!)

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