Thursday, October 15, 2020

Looking Back on the Oct. 13th 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Oct. 13th 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

This was another busy chapter meeting for the Harmonizers. Director Joe Cerutti launched this week’s Zoom session with a welcome for out-of-towners this week. Then he thanked all those singers who have worked to record both singing and performing in the correct costume for the virtual holiday show.

 

He stressed that if any member is having trouble with the recording process, please reach out to him or to associate director Tony Colosimo. They will help everyone.

 

But several times Joe confessed how much he misses all the guys and of course singing live!

 

Tony conducted a vibrant warm up session starting with a reminder that he hopes guys will do some physical warm ups before 7 pm – stretching especially. (He was truly remote this week – from a rental property at Bethany Beach in DE.)

 

After warm ups, the attendees were sent to sectionals where they worked on “Carol of the Bells,” “Gloria,” and “Caroling Medley” for the virtual holiday show on Dec. 20th with Northwest Sound chorus.

 

Those sessions were important to clarify special spots in the songs and to emphasize the plan to “base all recordings on the learning tracks!”

 

For this week’s check in via small groups, the topic was “What is the most useful non-musical app on your phone?”  One guy confessed he didn’t have a cell phone! There were a lot of app that you would guess – GPS, Google Maps, Google search, Waze, WhatsApp, gas buddy, Uber, Map My Walk, Amazon Smile, and My Scrip Wallet (Randall Elliason gave a quick promo for guys to add this one and help the chapter raise money via its Scrip program. Ken Ivesis the guru to help you learn more.),  

 

During the brief business meeting, Randall reported good news that the Alexandria Arts Alliance (which our chapter belongs to), is having a virtual fund raiser on Oct. 24th and has accepted our two-minute video created by Dean Rust and Joe Cerutti with help from Mike Kelly that tells about our chapter and chorus over a background of a “Circle of Life” live performance. 

 

Chairman of the Harmonizer History team, Jack Pitzer, gave a brief update on that committee’s recent work to add a large collection of things from Wilbur Sparks such as original Echos, show scripts from the original Spring Tonics, and many years of board minutes.  These additions and the materials recently donated by Terry Reynolds, and materials expected from Steve White causes the committee to purchase new shelving for the history storage unit on Dove Street in Alexandria.  They are also working to update the info in Documents on Groupanizer such as the Memorial Roll of men who died while members of our chapter. If you have materials that would help tell the history of the chapter, contact Jack.

 

There were two electives to wrap up this week’s meeting.  The first was part two of Alexander Koller’s recorded session on “Embellishments” He is a member of Barbershop in Germany and a music judge candidate for BHS.

 

The second elective was “Community Outreach” presented by Joe Cerutti. It was a thorough look at how a chapter can provide specific services to a community without expecting anything in return. Joe was able to use a ton of examples from our chapter to show how it can work.  A few examples included our variation on the Singing Valentines idea with us presenting them for free to community audiences, our collaboration with Alfred Street Baptist Men’s Choir for choral fellowship, and adding inner city school music groups to our holiday show.

 

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm. Watch for email details. The individual break out session will be a time for members to share “Describe an ideal afterglow on a chapter meeting night after we start meeting in person again?”

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. _ YeEd)

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Looking Back on the Oct. 6th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

Looking Back on the Oct. 6th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

This week’s Alexandria Harmonizers Zoom event was full of laughs and plenty of learning opportunities.

Director Joe Cerutti kicked things off right at 7 pm and he welcomed out-of-towners on the call including Bob Wilson and Scott Kahler.

Even before Joe started things, there was chatter about the terrific YouTube recovery of our chorus singing at Disneyland with Dick Van Dyke and the Dapper Dans of Disneyland. It was a great trip down memory lane for those of us who were there singing, and a great glimpse of one of the terrific performances of the Alexandria chorus from the past.  It was in 1999 and it was our swan song year after having won the gold the year before.  Thanks to Brian Lynch who found it and shared it with the chapter and to Mike Kelly who got it ready for our viewing.

Work by music team and the chorus continues on our virtual Holiday Show that is set for Dec. 20th in conjunction with Northwest Sound Chorus from Bellevue, WA.  Joe thanked the chorus members for their patience during the learning experience; and he stressed that anyone who wants to be in the show can be.  If you are having difficulty with the technology, contact Joe, Tony or Terry ASAP.

Be mindful of the deadlines for submissions. Also note that recordings should be made with the track labeled “reference” on Groupanizer. And finally, also note the suggested attire for the visual recordings you are to submit that have been announced via email.

Our special guest this week to lead us in warm ups was Alex Morris from Australia.  He was with us from his home at 10 am on Wednesday there!

Alex was host for the recent Awards Gala for BHS, is a judge, a frequent emcee for BHS events and has visited our chapter.  He was proud to show us his copy of “Breathless Moments” he received during that visit.

He took the singers through a lot of exercises and ended with a karaoke sing at the end.  It was all fun to have him with us.

Alex will be on the panel for the first session of a BHS series on “Inclusion in Barbershop.”  This session, “Gender Identity LGBTQ+ and Barbershop” will be moderated by Terry Reynolds and other panelists will be Mo Field, Steve Scott and Mia Baz.  It will be Oct. 11th at 7 pm Eastern – register to attend the session on the BHS website.

Following the warm ups, Joe invited everyone to attend sectionals to work on some of the holiday music. 

Alan Wile hosted another interview with a Harmonizer Hero from Groupanizer – Ken Rub. Ken joined the Society in 1991 at age 23.  For a long time he was one of the youngest Harmonizers on the risers!

His musical background was rooted with his family in church music.  Ken was pianist at age 10 at church and sang with the Rub Family Singers. In high school he was pianist in the jazz band, sang in two musicals, and played the baritone horn. 

At age 17 he joined the Army  and after an overseas tour was assigned to the White House Communications office. His professional career after the Army started in banking and eventually moved over to real estate where he is a successful realtor today for commercial and personal sales.

He discovered barbershop music here in Alexandria and has been on the front row all these years. He has been in several quartets including BACHELOR PARTY that was successful in the M-AD contests and ended their run as the quartet in a “Music Man” performance at the Atlas Theater.

He is proud to share his story about how he talked the chapter into hosted ROCKAPELLA on a chapter show. It was a huge success, and opened our performances to a whole new audience segment.

Finally Ken was willing to share that he has just a few weeks ago found he birth father and actually talked to him in person (waiting til post Covid to meet in person).

Ken teaches yoga and he and his partner Will are raising a service puppy.

Our chapter business meeting was conducted by communications director Matt Doniger. 

 

President Stan Quick conducted the annual election of the board of directors of our BHS chapter.  Outgoing secretary Chris Buechler declared there was a quorum for the election.  The nominating committee offered  the following slate of candidates which was elected by acclamation:

 

President - Stan Quick
Secretary - David DesPortes
Treasurer - Al Herman
Member-at-Large - Clyde Crusenberry
Member-at-Large - Frank Shipp
Member-at-Large - Devin Gerzof  

 

Many thanks to the nominating committee - Brian Ammerman (chair), Clyde Crusenberry, and Ben Watsky - for their work in creating this list of willing candidates.  Several members lead the thanks to Chris for his 25+ years as secretary for our chapter.  He replied, “I’m looking forward to getting in more singing!”

 

 

Membership director Jacob Broude reported that two men had reinstated their membership – Scott Kahler and Rusty Orvik. Welcome back!

 

The breakout session this week asked the question – “what does it mean to you to be a Harmonizer if we can’t be in the same room to sing together?”

In the reports from the 11 small groups, there were lots of duplicated words: family, brotherhood, fraternity, team work, friendship, “this is my extended family,” it’s continuity for our lives, pride, and finally – this is just a blip in the 75 years of our great chapter.

There were two electives to wrap up this week’s meeting.

One was presented by Alexander Koller, a music judge candidate from Barbershop in Germany (BING) and a friend of Joe’s.  Alexander first did his presentation on Saturday, then the chapter replayed one part of it this week.  His topic was “Identifying Embellishments.”.  Two more parts will be offered in later weeks for the chapter.

The other elective was presented by Mike Fasano from his home in DE.  His topic was “Collecting Barber Shop Bottles.”  He has a large collection and  shared photos of some various kinds, explained how they were made, and how they were used by barbers in the 1870s-1920s for  witch hazel, bay rum, tonic water, and such.  They are beautiful and who knew!!!  Steve White joined in the fun as he too has a collection of the barber bottles.

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. The individual break out session will be a time for you to share: “What is the most useful non-musical app on your phone?”

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

 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 29th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

Looking Back on the Sept. 29th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

This week’s meeting for the Alexandria Harmonizers via Zoom was a busy one again with music work, report on news for the chapter, interviews, and even some fun.

Director Joe Cerutti welcomed out-of-towners on the call.

Then he reported our chapter’s opportunity to participate in a virtual fund raiser for arts groups in Alexandria.  There will be performances live streamed on Sat. Oct. 24th.  We are members of the Alexandria Arts Alliance that is organizing the event. The plan is for all member groups of the Alliance to share equally in the funds collected. Thanks to Dean Rust and Mike Kelly for making contact on this and submitting performance ready material from us for the event.

Work by music team and the chorus continues on our virtual Holiday Show that is set for Dec. 20th in conjunction with Northwest Sound Chorus from Bellevue, WA.  Joe solicited input from our members for ideas of special groups to be on the show. He also reports a terrific list of quartets that have accepted and pledged to be on the show from gold medalist to chapter quartets.

Both Joe and associate director Tony Colosimo were happy with the number of guys who had submitted both vocal recordings and visual recordings in a dry run at creating a virtual chorus singing the intro of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” Any Harmonizer, current or former or friend of, is welcome to be a part of the show.  Check in with Terry Reynolds for more details.  We did get to see an early version of the virtual sing thanks to Mike Kelly and Joel Golden.

Next comes a series of deadlines for submission of the actual music for the songs.  Watch for the details and deadlines from Terry, but in short there are specific deadlines every Sunday in Oct. and on Nov. 1.

Tony conducted a warm up session this week for the singers on the call.  He invited all to stand for body alignment and getting into it.

Following the warm ups, Joe invited everyone to attend sectionals to work on some of the show music.  It was confirmed that the new music for the show is on Groupanizer. Joe explained that the “Caroling Medley” will feature both choruses for some parts, each chorus does a part on their own, and combines again for the tag.  He also stressed that all recordings should match the learning track in every way.

The breakout session this week was fun – “wear your favorite or funny hat and tell us why it is your favorite.”  There were many from barbershop events or contests or quartets.  Drew Fuller wore a cap with the name “Fullers Brewery” – he saw the brewery during our trip to Scotland, so when he got home he ordered the hat. There were some crazy hats, some colorful, some from front row routines, several golfing hats, and one to mark the start of the current BHS logo.

Our chapter business meeting was conducted by communications director Matt Doniger.  President Stan Quick reminded members that during the business meeting part of our October 6 rehearsal, we will be holding elections for the board of directors of our BHS chapter.  We need a quorum of at least 54 members, so please make every effort to join us. The nominating committee has put together the following slate of candidates:

 

President - Stan Quick
Secretary - David DesPortes
Treasurer - Al Herman
Member-at-Large - Clyde Crusenberry
Member-at-Large - Frank Shipp
Member-at-Large - Devin Gerzof  

 

The election will use the electronic polling available within Zoom per the BHS bylaws.

 

Many thanks to the nominating committee - Brian Ammerman (chair), Clyde Crusenberry, and Ben Watsky - for their work in creating this list of willing candidates. 

 

Membership director Jacob Broude reminded everyone to submit any address or contact info changes.

 

Our special guest this week was Charlotte Murray, co-founder and director of Vocal FX Chorus in Wellington, New Zealand.  She is one of the first female judges in BHS and is often called upon as educator for Harmony University. Her chorus has been a strong competitor at International contests. She teaches music at the high school level (at the same school she attended where her mother was her music teacher).  Barbershop quartet singing is a popular aspect of the public school curriculum in her country.  Charlotte worked with her students to form quartets and she is proud to have been the mentor and coach for THE MUSICAL ISLAND BOYS who won the gold in 2014 after having been in her school program.

Vocal FX was an outgrowth of her realization that the young men wanted to keep singing after they left the school.

A major part of her visit with the Harmonizers this week was about the challenges brought on by the Covid virus.  In New Zealand, they were “locked down” for a number of weeks, but they are starting to get back to singing.  He advice was to take it slow when we get the chance, and to be sure we know what each man is thinking and needs for his musical growth.

It was easy to catch Charlotte’s spirit and enthusiasm.  She said she loves seeing the sparkle in the eyes of her singers and helping them feel welcome to their chorus “a place where they can belong.”

It was interesting to note that she was visiting with us while it was already 2:30 pm on Wednesday!

 

 

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. The individual break out session will be a time for you to share: “What does it mean to you to be a Harmonizer even if we can’t sing together?”

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

 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 22nd, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

Looking Back on the Sept. 22nd, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The Alexandria Harmonizers came together for their Zoom meeting eager to begin working on music for the virtual holiday show.  Since the last meeting, a high percentage of the chorus has figured out the technology to record themselves vocally and visually as part of a dry run test in preparation for the holiday songs.

Director Joe Cerutti and associate director Tony Colosimo thanked and congratulated those who had submitted recordings.  Singers were encouraged to drop off this week’s call for a little while to make their recording, or join an “office hours” session with Tony during the electives period of the meeting to seek help.

Our chapter tech guy, Mike Kelly, and helper Joel Golden, had put a sample together using the recordings already submitted – so all could hear the chorus singing again.  It was terrific! The intro for “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” was used for this dry run test.

As members were gathering it was fun to say hello to some guys from out of town again including Bert Phillips from the Memphis TN area, and Julian LeFlore from QUIN-TONES.

Joe reported on a letter he had gotten from Brian Lynch, who works for BHS in communications.  Brian thanked us for the Covid Survival Kit.  Included with his letter was a collection of photos from our appearance at Disneyland with Dick Van Dyke in front of the chorus next to director Scott Werner.  Brian had also found a DVD of that performance from 1999 when we were in our swansong  year after winning our 1998 gold medals. He suggested these materials could go into the Harmonizer history collection.

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

In the way of announcements and planning, Joe explained that the music team has invited a number of former singers to join us for the virtual holiday show.  Thus we will continue to have guests with us on Tuesday nite Zoom calls.

New chapter communications leader, Matt Doniger and helpers have created a flyer and social media materials for the show – Alexandria Harmonizers and Northwest Sound present, “A Barbershop Family Christmas” on Sunday, Dec. 20th with two show times, 6 pm Eastern and 6 pm Pacific – Live Streaming Coast to Coast!

A number of quartets have agreed to appear on that show including SIGNATURE and QUIN-TONES. Harmonizer members are also invited so suggest other acts/performances/groups to carry out the family theme of the show – even if it is your own family. Contact Joe, Tony or Terry Reynolds by next Tuesday

Tony led the warm up session for the singers this week. Then there were sectionals to work on “Carol of the Bells.”

Alan Wile hosted another interview of a Harmonizer Hero based on the report that member has submitted and is posted on Groupanizer.  This week’s guest was Sam McFarland. Alan labeled him “a Barbershopper’s Barbershopper” – a man who has a legendary list of barbershop connections across the barbershop world including Sweet Adelines and Harmony Inc.  A Society member for nearly 33 years, he’s sung on the risers of nine choruses (most of them local), performed with a string of quartets, and held leadership positions at every Society level including presidency of the Ancient Harmonious Society of Woodshedders (AHSOW).  Sam has brought 26 people into barbershop over the years. His professional career included time with the US Army and assignments in the medical field at Howard University.

We did a breakout discussion for a fun topic this week – “if the Harmonizers received 1 million dollars, how should we spend or use it?” Joe says he has a list as long as your arm, but he heard some ideas that he didn’t have!  One that got a laugh – an endowment for snacks at our meetings! Frequent suggestions included funding staff for the chorus and chapter such as management, communications, marketing, or musical leadership for a youth chorus. Some wise men suggested investing a chunk of the money, and there were several suggestions such as offering free tickets to our shows for Harmonizer families or youth or seniors; or reduce costs of membership to singers. There were a number of ideas about buying property for meeting space, that might also be performance space, or space that is good for recordings, a space we could rent to other arts groups.

The chapter meeting time was conducted by Matt Doniger.  The date for the holiday show was announced again.  President Stan Quick announced that Ken Ives has been absent recently during cancer treatments, and Clyde Crusenberry was headed for major surgery at John Hopkins.

During the business meeting part of our October 6 rehearsal, we will be holding elections for the board of directors of our BHS chapter.  We need a quorum of at least 51 members, so please make every effort to join us. The nominating committee has put together the following slate of candidates:

 

President - Stan Quick
Secretary - David DesPortes
Treasurer - Al Herman
Member-at-Large - Clyde Crusenberry
Member-at-Large - Frank Shipp
Member-at-Large - Devin Gerzof  

 

The election will use the electronic polling available within Zoom per the BHS bylaws.

 

Many thanks to the nominating committee - Brian Ammerman (chair), Clyde Crusenberry, and Ben Watsky - for their work in creating this list of willing candidates.  Thanks to Ben also for serving as Member-at-Large this year. Also a big thanks to Chris Buechler who has served as secretary for over 25 years and will be helping Dave transition into the chapter secretary position.

 

There were two electives this week for those on the Zoom call: “Classic Rock and Roll Songs” was presented by Chris Huber and Joel Golden; and  “Phonetics of Singing” was presented by Ben Watsky.

 

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. The individual break out session will be a time for you to – “wear your favorite hat and to explain why is it your favorite?”

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