Looking Back on the June 13th Chapter Meeting and 69th Anniversary
Besides being an important rehearsal, this week we celebrated our 69th anniversary as a chapter.
The chapter was chartered in June 1948 – the charter is dated June 19th and the charter night gathering was June 29th in Alexandria’s Cameron Street Recreation Center. All 10 men who signed the charter were present. We were the 522nd chapter chartered in SPEBSQSA, Inc. The Washington DC Chapter was our sponsoring chapter. Their current director Bill Colosimo was present to bring greetings from their chapter and salute the Harmonizers.
Stories were shared about how our co-founders, Dean Snyder and Gene Barnwell, met. Current director Joe Cerutti spoke about the legacy that earlier generations of Harmonizers have passed on to us today. Our Harmonizer name came from an Alexandria Gazette article calling us the local harmonizers. Al Hanenbaum spoke to present Joe one of the Harmonizer watches (Al says he found it in his dresser and had forgotten it but the battery was still good!). Plus Al held up a bag of all of his chorus medals and witnessed that being a Harmonizer all these years were an important part of his life!
Milestones mentioned include the invention of the term “barbershop craft” and the formal leadership training for chapter officers (then called Chapter Officer Training COTS).
Chorus directors from our chapter include Gene Barnwell – 1948-1950; Werner Paul - 1950-1951; Bud Arberg - 1951-1962; Oz Newgard – 1962-1970; Scott Werner – 1970-1080; John Hohl – 1980-1983; Scott Werner – 1984- 2002; Richard Lewellen – 2003-2006; Joe Cerutti – 2007-present.
Thanks to Martin Banks for a terrific historical display for all to enjoy with our original chapter charter on display; to Clark Chesser for getting the anniversary cake; and to all those who helped haul in supplies for the evening in the music suite at First Baptist, those who helped serve and those who helped clean up. Phil Ashford was official photographer and recorded the historical events. The chapter informal history committee was recognized too – Blair, Rhome, Banks, Pitzer. President Randall Eliason planted the seed in announcing major plans for next year’s show in honor of our 70 years of Harmony in Alexandria.
Many former Harmonizer family members were present too including Terry Jordan, Doug Smith, JT Price, and new baby Riley Havens at her first Harmonizer meeting,
The regular chapter meeting was a hard working session on music and other matters. The chapter board met before 7. An octet practiced for their appearance at National Cathedral on Friday in a special International event – they were to sing both “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The Queen” anthems.
Associate director Tony Colosimo lead a tag sing in the foyer before the meeting too. Then he did the vocal warm ups for the chorus. When director Joe Cerutti took the helm, he reminded all of the singers that our work on the “Chicago” medley is important in that we will feature it in an appearance at Harmony U. There were sectional break outs too.
Executive director Terry Reynolds saluted the three chapter quartets that made the cut to sing in the fall M-AD contest – CAPITAL CITY CLOSE HARMONY COMPANY, SILVER ALERT and NAUTRAL SEGUE. Congrats guys.
Upcoming rehearsal locations – June 20th back at Durant; Saturday sectionals at First Baptist June 24th from 9-12; no meeting on July 4th.
There will be a softball game on Saturday Aug. 26th with the Harmonizers and Parkside Harmony guys. Stay tuned for details!!
Thanks to our a cappella group TBD for doing the flash mob gig at the Jefferson Memorial recently. And thanks to the quartet of Tony, Rusty, Steve and Derrick for singing at the poetry contest recently.
Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Casey Belzer for 2 years; Tom Jackson for 22 years, and Martin Banks for 34 years.
Before adjourning for the nite we sang farewell and “There Will Always Be a Place on the Risers for You” to Rusty Orvik who is moving to Arizona now that he has retired from the military.
In other recent Harmonizer news:
Executive director Terry Reynolds and AH Inc. Chapter president Liz Birnbaum represented the chapter at the Greater Washington DC Area Choralis Ovation Awards gala Tuesday nite at 6:30 pm. The Harmonizers were selected from 140 performing groups in the DC metro area and nominated for the Best Specialty Chorus – Barbershop award. The Alexandria Singers, directed by Harmonizer Bill Colosimo, also were honored
On June 7th, about 20 members sang at Alexandria’s George Washington Middle School “Clash Of Chords” for the student contestant groups and their parents and friends who all got into the sing-along with “All You Need Is Love.” Assistant director Terry Reynolds was maestro for the nite. This event was organized by chapter member Casey Belzer who is the music educator there.
Members of the chapter were invited by The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington (GMCW) artistic director Dr. Thea Kano to join a festival chorus to sing as part of the Gay Pride "Equality March" on Sunday, June 11. Several members attended a rehearsal Sunday morning and then walked to the National Mall to participate in the march with the other singers – about 400 were expected/.
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd