Sunday, January 17, 2021

 Looking Back on the 2020 Harmonizer Events and Milestones

We began our 2020 year with the Presidents’ Award Banquet and board installation on February 1st  at Lee Center in Alexandria.   The banquet was the 46th such event. Over 120 of the Harmonizer family attended the tasty buffet banquet catered by Maggiano’s.   

 

The 2019 chapter president Shawn Tallant served as master of ceremonies for the annual event to celebrate achievements for the past year, honor some of those who helped make them possible, and install the 2020 officers and board. 

 

To continue a tradition begun at the first banquet, each member presented a rose to his significant other as we sang “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”

 

The chapter invited Bob Eckman, M-AD president and his wife Maggie, to install a 2020 board: president – Stan Quick, secretary – Chris Buechler, treasurer – Al Herman, members-at-large – Clyde Crusenberry, Ben Watsky, and Frank Shipp, and immediate past president – Shawn Tallant.

 

Leaders of the sister corporation, AH Inc, were also introduced at the banquet including president –  Bruce Roehm; secretary – Bob Faherty; treasurer –  Terry Reynolds;  board members – Chuck HunterDave Kohls, and Marie Muscella


Currently the day-to-day operation of the chapter has been moved from the duties of the BHS Chapter Board of Directors and given to an operations team composed of directors with various responsibilities.  The “Ops Team” for 2020 was recognized:


Executive Director: Randall Eliason, Music/Artistic Director: Joe Cerutti, Jr., Finance Director AH Inc: Carl Kauffmann, Finance Director BHS: Dave Welter, Volunteers Director:  Robyn Murane, Communications Director:     Steve Murane, Contest Director: Nick Murane, Education Director: Sheryl Berlin, Development Director: Nick Leiserson,  Membership Director: Jacob Broude,  Shows Director: Joe Cerutti, Sr., Operations Director: Gary Cregan, and Historian: Jack Pitzer.


Musical leaders are Joe Cerutti, artist director; Tony Colosimo, associate director; Terry Reynolds, Mike Kelly, andChuck Hunter, assistant directors; plus section leaders, Brian Ammerman for tenors, Reed Livergood for leads, Jason Lee for baritones, and Ryan Mextorf for basses. 


Midwinter

 

Two Harmonizer quartets competed in the senior quartet contest at the 2020 BHS Midwinter Convention in Jacksonville, FL. SILVER ALERT with Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox and Steve Murane and PERSUASION with Mike Kelly represented our chapter.  Ross Johnson and his wife Susan Williams were one of the sponsors for the NextGen Youth Chorus Contest at that event. 

 

Whiffenpoofs 

 

On Friday, February 7th, the chapter presented The Yale Whiffenpoofs – nationally known as the oldest collegiate a cappella group.  The chorus sang several songs before the guests sang. The show was in the auditorium of George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria and the audience filled the hall.

 

Singing Valentines 

 

The Singing Valentines program continued the practice of sending quartets to make free Valentine appearances in Alexandria, in the Del Ray region, and in other Northern Virginia locations such as at senior centers, adult recreation centers, and restaurants, as well as for the Mayor of Alexandria. Three quartets made appearances as assigned by the chapter for public relations and community relations efforts.


Covid 19 Hit the Chapter


March 10th was our last face-to-face chapter meeting at the Scottish Rite Temple after the government declared changes needed to be made for groups.  


Covid took two of our members – Brian Miller, an early DC area resident to die from the virus, and Bob Wachter, a long-time barbershopper in the DC area. 


We began to use Zoom for our chapter meetings on Tuesday nights and were having well over 60 attendees for the first few months.  Attendance leveled off to about 50 as the virus continued to force us to meet virtually.  The chapter board of directors also met via Zoom as did other chapter committees and the very active music team. 


Over the months we had many guests from throughout the world-wide barbershop community including Kevin Keller, David Wright, Cy Wood, Scott Werner, Marty Monson, Tim Waurick, Darryl Flinn, Tony DeRosa, Clay Hine, Chad Bennett, Sheryl Berlin, Cindy Hansen Ellis, Steve Tramack, Charlotte Murray, Alexander Koller, Steve Armstrong, Mark Kettner, Alan Gordon, Dusty Schleier, Brian Lynch, Mo Field, Amelia Charnock, Dustin Guyton, Cay Outerbridge, Quincie Snook, Drew Wheaton, and Alex Morris. We interviewed them; asked them to teach or coach; had them conduct warm ups; asked them to explain a judging category or to teach choreo; or we invited them to share a project they were working on. Several quartet guests visited the chapter too including  VINTAGE MIX, Dr. Tim  Workman and the WORKMAN FAMILY SINGERS, the VON TRAMACK FAMILY SINGERS


Several chapter members, in addition to Joe and Tony, made presentations (we called them electives) during the year to include Steve White, Rick Savage, Jack Pitzer, Adam Afifi, Chris Huber, Joel Golden, Noah Van Gilder, Bruce Roehm, Devin Gerzof, Jason Lee, Randall Eliason, Mike Edison, Ben Watsky, Mike Fasano, Mark Klostermeyer, Tessa Walker, John Sifuentes, Chuck Hunter, Ken Ives, and Rusty Orvick


Some examples of those electives include: “Understanding White Collar Crime,” “Building a Race Car,” “Collecting Barber Shop Bottles,” or “Star Wars the Expanded Universe!” The chapter’s history team did a couple electives sharing the recent collections of historical materials from members and former members. 


One fun activity during each of the weekly Zoom meetings was the different discussion topic.  We were automatically assigned to small groups of five or so where we checked in on each other and then offered our “two-cents” on the topic of the week.  Then each small group reported to the whole chapter. Examples of the topics include: “your favorite Harmonizer memory;” “what’s your go-to barbershop music to listen to;” “what annoys you most;”  “if the chapter was given a million dollars, what should we do with it;” or “describe an ideal rehearsal afterglow.”


During the months of virtual meetings, Alan Wile conducted 15 interviews of members who have filled out a Harmo Hero form for posting on Groupanizer.  These interviews helped us all get to know more about the man who sings with us in the chorus: Chuck Hunter, Frank Shipp, Don Harrington, Alan Wile interviewed by Terry Reynolds, Reed Livergood, Noah Van Gilder, Casey Belzer, Antony Takahashi, Steve White, Sam McFarland, Ken Rub, Ben Watsky, Mick Stamps, Bob Rhome, and Ike Evans.


The chapter joined 30 other choral groups in the DC area to raise monies for the Capital Area Food Bank that was so severely challenged during the Covid. 


Events Cancelled


The following traditional important events for the chapter were cancelled for this year: our Youth Harmony Festival; M-AD Prelims; Southern Division Contest; International Convention in Los Angeles; Fall M-AD Convention; Choral Fellowship in Alexandria; Harmony University in Nashville. 


Spring2ACTion


The Harmonizers participated in the City of Alexandria’s Spring2ACTion in 2020 and netted over $33,000 from fans, family, members, and supporters. Major thanks go to chapter executive director Randall Eliason who made it easy for chapter members and their supporters to donate during that day.  A contest among the chorus sections helped boost sales too and created a lot of fun for the members who stimulated the donations.


Dog Days 


In August, the Harmonizers co-hosted (with the Prince William County Chapter) the annual sing with other local chapters for the 40th annual Dog Days. Each chapter had a representative to share what they had been doing this year. Special guests on the virtual Zoom event included BHS CEO Marty Monson; DOUBLE DATE mixed quartet champs; and the Tramack family quartet from their home in NH. 


Ensembles


Prior to March, our a cappella group, TBD, made several appearances on behalf of the chapter in the DC Metro area.


Holiday Sings 


The Harmonizers were proud to have been chosen along with 14 other choral groups to be on the WETA PBS “Songs of the Season” hour-long show that was aired various times in December.  The 2019 performance of “Gloria” by the Harmonizers was chosen for the show. 


BHS Legacy Quartet Contest


The Society organized a virtual quartet contest among 25 popular quartets that never won the gold medal but everyone thought they should have.


Several quartets had Harmonizers in them: BSQ with Rick Taylor; CENTER STAGE with Lee Hanson; RIPTIDE with Rick Taylor and Richard Lewellen; and VAUDEVILLE with John Casey, Scott Werner, John Hohl, and Bill Cody


Top five placements after two rounds of voting by the audience were 139TH STREET in first; RIPTIDE in second; METROPOLIS in third; CENTER STAGE in fourth; and HARRINGTON BROTHERS in fifth.  


BHS Awards Gala 


The chapter was proud to have been named a finalist is the first-ever BHS Awards Gala that was set to be held at the 2020 International in Los Angeles. The chapter was named a finalist in the Ensemble of the Year category and in the Ambassador of the Year category.  Also named finalist in the Ambassador category was Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria.  In the end, the Alexandria Harmonizers Chorus was named Ensemble of the Year!


2020 Virtual Holiday Show


This year’s Alexandria Harmonizer holiday show was a huge success.  Virtual and co-presented with Northwest Sound from Bellevue, WA, Chapter, the free event was broadcast on the BHS YouTube Channel and watched around the world. Theme for the show was “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”


The Harmonizers themselves had a watch party that started at 6 pm – about a half hour before the show went live at 6:30 pm EST on Dec. 20th 2020.


The Harmonizers encouraged viewers of the show to donate to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), a non-profit in VA that provides benefits for the families of service members who were killed in the line of duty.  Leaders of that organization joined us during the watch party too including founder Bonnie Carroll (who joined the call from Alaska). Before the show ended, nearly $5,000 was donated. The Northwest Sound Chapter encouraged donations to Hopelink. 


President Stan Quick shared in the show program that the first decision during the collaboration was that the show would be a gift. No group appearing would make any money. Rather, each chapter selected their charity to support. 


The show was also sponsored by both the Evergreen and the Mid Atlantic Districts of BHS. Evergreen president (former Harmonizer) John Rettenmayer and MAD president (and current Harmonizer) Bob Eckman both brought greetings during the show.


Much appreciation to those who made the show possible because of technology. Mike Kelly and Joel Golden get top billing for their hard work, long hours and technical expertise as Harmonizers.  Director Joe Cerutti, associate director Tony Colosimo, and assistant director Terry Reynolds provided significant musical and administrative leadership to get the chorus ready to do their recordings and to keep the communications flowing. Bruce Roehm, president of AH Inc., and Matt Doniger, chapter communications director, were also on the production team.  That team included an equal number of men from Northwest Sound including their director Ken Potter and their president and emcee on the show, Bill Hickman.  The BHS staff in Nashville provided major project management as well, including promotion to the family of singers we call barbershop.


The two-hour show was truly a holiday variety show with lots of great graphics, photos and videos and glimpses into homes and lives of fellow barbershop singers around the globe. There were youth quartets, mixed quartets, family groups, dads and their kids, small break-out groups from both chapters, top ranking quartets from all barbershop harmony organizations, some comedy with Will Cox doing his traditional “Night Before Christmas” routine, and a greeting from BHS CEO Marty Monson and his family on their front porch after a snow there. 


Our Alexandria chapter was well represented with several groups on the show in addition to the virtual chorus songs by themselves and with the Northwest Sound chorus.  Our own a cappella group, TBD, donned Santa hats, with black masks to film a number outside our chapter meeting place.   RIPTIDE – a rock band, which includes Joe Cerutti Sr., Chris Huber, Kellen Hertz and Joel Golden from the chorus – entertained on the show with “Santa Is Coming to Town.”  

 

Always great to hear BETTER TOGETHER sing for us – perfect for a family show with Tony and Elizabeth Colosimo, and Andrew and Heather Havens singing together. Tony and Andrew also appeared with their relatively new quartet, FIRST TAKE, with Drew Wheaton and Alex Corson


 SILVER ALERT modeled the epidemy of ugly Christmas sweaters and sang about it on the show!  This Harmo quartet includes Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, and Steve Murane


When word was out that this show was being planned, the task force was inundated with offers of assistance and ultimately there were 22 groups appearing on the show. Some of the groups have been part of the Harmonizer year of Zoom meetings, some been on our shows, some have come to help with our Youth Harmony event, and some welcomed us for shows in their world. No wonder it was called a “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”


For the history, here are the groups that sang a song on the show: ASTEL FAMILY, BETTER TOGETHER, DOUBLE DATE, FIRST TAKE, GQ, HALO QUARTET, HEAVY MEDAL, IMPACT, MITCHELL FAMILY SINGERS, MOMMA’S BOYS, NORTHWEST MIX, PRATT STREET POWER, THE QUINN-TONES, SILVER ALERT, TBD, VINTAGE MIX, VON TRAMACK FAMILY SINGERS, WORKMAN FAMILY, and SIGNATURE; plus the two men’s choruses – Northwest Sound and the Alexandria Harmonizers.


The Harmonizers couldn’t miss a chance to celebrate the successful virtual holiday show so they invited the men of Northwest Sound in Bellevue, WA, to join in an afterglow via Zoom on December 22nd. A good number of guys from both chapters were present. Both chapters shared responses they had gotten from friends, family and patrons.  Everyone rated the show Five Stars and off-the-chart!  There were folks in the viewing audience from around the world – for sure from Germany, New Zealand, England, and Ireland. As of the start of the afterglow, there had been 3900 views of the show. 


As has been the chapter’s tradition, the Alexandria patrons were given a change to support a Holiday Silent Auction. This year it was “live” online for two weeks prior to the show to start bidding on the 60+ items in the auction. Chaptermembers collected the items. Randall Eliason and Kristin Kelly managed the auction that raised several thousand dollars for the chapter. 


Finale 


In October, the annual election chose the following to serve as board members for the BHS Alexandria Chapter for 2021: president –  Stan Quick; secretary – David DesPortes; treasurer – Al Herman; and members-at-large –  Clyde CrusenberryFrank Shipp, and Devin Gerzof. No immediate past president was elected. Members recognized Chris Buechler for his 25+ years as secretary for the chapter.  


Membership at the end of the year was 173. Jerry Kindred, Brian Miller and Bob Wachter were added to the Memorial Roll this year.  Other former members who died during the year were Gary Smith and Michael Riordan.  


Until next time – editorjack!


(This message is prepared for your review as a historical record of the great things that happened during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Looking Back on the Jan. 12th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Jan. 12th  2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

It was great to get back together – even via Zoom – after our break for the holidays.

 

The last week has been a tough one for our DC Metro region.  Thus this message from Stan Quick, Harmonizer president, and Bruce Roehm, AH, Inc. president, was sent to all members on Jan. 6th, 2021.

 

Dear Harmonizers:

All of us are troubled by the events taking place today in our nation's capital.  As far as we know, all of our members and family who live or work in or near the affected areas are safe and sound.  If, however, you need any kind of help or support, or know of someone who may need assistance or is unaccounted for, please be sure to let us know.  The members of our Harmonizer family are here for each other during this difficult and unsettling time.

We look forward to happier and more peaceful days ahead.  Please be well, stay safe, and reach out if you need anything.

    In harmony,

      Stan and Bruce

 

For tonight’s meeting, Director Joe Cerutti called things to order at 7 pm.  Early guys who signed on were chatting about their week, the holidays, weather, and refreshments to have during this meeting! There were nearly 60 folks on the call. Great to see guys on the call we have missed include Tom Berkey from Williamsburg, Dick Dangel, and Jerry Jayjohn.

 

He was excited about sharing the plans for the coming year from the music team and eager to report the new lead section leaders for 2021 – Ben Watsky and Tessa Walker.  Thanks to Reed Livergood for his work as lead section leader, and before that as bari section leader! A more complete report for the plans for next year were presented at the end of the meeting. 

 

The music team goal is to help guys gets their voices back and for the chorus to work on some music so that when we get clearance, we can sing together and do a show. 

 

Joe also shared his excitement about the quality of our virtual holiday show and how proud he was of the work done by our Harmonizer singers. There were reports of follow up from the show that were great.  It’s still available on the BHS YouTube Channel.

 

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted a warm up session starting with stretching and moving and getting guys to stand who are able.

 

Next, Joe introduced a new song for us arranged by David Wright – “Something’s Coming.” He admitted it is not an easy arrangement but is a powerful number.  Joe reviewed his suggested steps in how to learn music:

 

1.     Listen to the song from other places, Broadway, shows, CDs, etc.

2.     Listen to the full mix over and over and take notes (since we do not have the printed music for “Something’s Coming,” you could make notes of tough spots, etc. like you would have done on the music)

3.     Listen to part-predominate tracks.  Sing with those tracks three times.  Sing without the track three times (Joesays this is the most important step of all).  You might also want to divide the song into smaller chunks.

 

Then he had Terry Reynolds, the admin guy for the music team, play the full mix tracks a couple times. And then Joeworked on some exercises to help guys discover the variances in rhythms.  

 

Next the music team conducted an experiment using Jamulus software. Joe, with lots of technical help from Tony, had worked to get things set up for a quartet of our guys to sing “With a Little Help from My Friends.” It was awesome to hear four-part harmony!!!  So Joe declared this is the first Jamulus Quartet in the chapter: Devin Gerzof, tenor; Tony Colosimo, lead; Jacob Broude, bari; and Turner Arndt, bass.  They did a great job and earned many kudos from the other guys on the call.

 

There will be lots more work on this idea and hopefully the chorus will get to a point of singing like this.  It will take some doing to get the technology out to all of the men, and it might take some donations from guys to help cover some of the hardware costs for men who need the financial assistance.

 

Moving on, the chorus sang “Never Fully Dressed” arranged by Clay Hine while Jason Lee sang the bari line.  Similarly, Tony sang the lead line for “Chorus Line Medley arranged by John Hohl.  Joe thanked them for providing great examples of how the song will be sung. 

 

The chapter business meeting was coordinated by communications director Matt Doniger.  It was reported that Aaron Simoneau’s father died on New Year’s Eve day.  Our thoughts go out to Aaron.

 

Chapter secretary Dave DesPortes reports he is working to adapt to the new member center operation at the BHS headquarters in Nashville.

 

The chapter’s operation team headed by executive director Randall Eliason held a Zoom meeting on Sun. Jan. 10th to touch base for the new year and get a “catch up report” from the various directors on the ops team. New directors added to the ops team are Nick Murane, conventions; Matt Doniger, communications; and Doug White, shows.  The development director position is open, so anyone interested or any suggestions for a candidate should go to Randall.

 

The music team roll out of plans for 2021 launches a plan to try some new ways of conducting the Zoom meetings, gets things moving toward a possible live show, and involves adjusting the rehearsal model.

 

As mentioned earlier, the new lead section leaders complete the list: Brian Ammerman, tenor; Ben Watsky and Tessa Walker, lead; Jason Lee with Jacob Broude, baritone; Ryan Mextorf, bass. 

 

Musical leaders continue efforts to collect feedback from members. Thus, Joe will personally interview, via Zoom, each member between Jan. 23- Feb. 13.  Terry manages the logistics of this operation and the first batch of interviewees has already gotten their times.  Anyone who has not submitted a survey and reported their availability should do so.  It’s not too late. Joe will do all the interviews this year but section leaders are welcome to join him.  Non-singers are also welcome to be interviewed as well.

 

Based on the desire to sing as a chorus as soon as possible, singers are encouraged to work on their music, get their voices in shape (and be ready to stand on the risers and be physically ready too), and prepare to submit recordings so leaders can do choir virtual ensembles.

 

Weekly meetings will have a few changes – more singing time each week, 4-part via Jamulus ASAP, alternating discussion topics with Harmo Hero interviews, and adjusting our work efforts based on what happens with the International in Cleveland in July.  

 

Planning had been done for our first in-person show.  It will be themed “A Beautiful Morning” designed to create good feelings for singers and the audience, with some sing-along and interactive experiences.  After this year of Covid confinements, we will sing songs about hope with messages to promote community and humanity. The goal is for the chorus to do two full sets on the show. We will add guest artists as is practical from those ensembles that are close to the chapter.

 

For those men who are well organized, here is the order that guys should learn and get the songs under their belts and ready to sing:

“Help from My Friends”

“Something’s Coming”

“Chorus Line Medley”

“Never Fully Dressed”

 

As mentioned earlier, the whole self-recording culture will be stressed.  These recordings will not be done for culling or cutting or dropping anyone. They will adopt the virtual choir audio recordings as the chorus did for the holiday show. Thanks to Joel Golden for his offer to work on this.  The first deadlines have been announced for those submission: Jan. 31st for “Help from My Friends,” and Feb. 14th for “Never Fully Dressed.”

 

Clearly 2021 will require participation by every member – not just as singers, but as committee members, helpers with listening to tapes, sponsoring technical tools for members who need help, and doing the organizational jobs that volunteers must do to keep a great chapter functioning and growing.

 

In other news, here is a message from current M-AD president Brian Schreiner about the district’s plans regarding spring contests: We feel it is just too soon for choruses to rehearse live, and to get ready for contests in the spring. With that being saidwe will not have any division chorus contests this spring. We are making plans for a huge open convention in Lancaster, PA, Oct 1-2, 2021. All will be welcome to attend/compete - no qualifications will be needed. Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming months. 

In the meantime, quartets still need to qualify for the International Convention in Cleveland. At this point we are looking at a possible "live" contest as well as video qualification, for those wishing to do so. We'll provide details soon. In the meantime, stay connected, stay safe, and keep singing! “

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Jan. 19th, 2021. Watch for email details. Alan Gordon, singing category specialist for BHS will speak.  He has been with us before.  Alan is currently interim director of the Masters of Harmony.

 

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)

 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Looking Back on the Dec. 22nd 2020 Virtual Afterglow and Wrap Up

 Looking Back on the Dec. 22nd 2020 Virtual Afterglow and Wrap Up

 

The Alexandria Harmonizers couldn’t miss a chance to celebrate the successful virtual holiday show held on Dec. 20th , “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!” So there was a virtual afterglow on Tues. Dec.22nd.  This is the last event of 2020 and the last edition of Looking Back as well.

 

The chapter invited the men of Northwest Sound in Bellevue, WA, to join in the afterglow celebration of the great show.  We started the Zoom call at 8 pm EST. A good number of guys from both chapters were present. 

 

Men from both chapters shared responses they had gotten from friends, family and patrons.  Everyone rated the show Five Stars and off-the-chart!  There were folks in the viewing audience from around the world – for sure from Germany, New Zealand, England, and Ireland. As of the start of the afterglow, there had been 3900 views of the show. 

 

As a reminder, the landing page will be in place a while longer, but the YouTube show will stay up for anyone to go back and relive the fun.

 

Harmonizer director Joe Cerutti, associate director Tony Colosimo and assistant director Terry 

Reynolds, communications director Matt Doniger, and AH Inc. president Bruce Roehm  had made some lasting new friends in working with leaders of the other chapter.  So there were lots of jokes and a good amount of teasing on the call.  And there were great accolades for Mike Kelly and Joel Golden from our chapter who did yeoman work to make the show happen.  The leaders of both chapters also saluted the cooperation of staff from BHS who hosted the show on their YouTube channel.

 

Joe reported that there were significant donations to the two charities chosen by the chapters – TAPS in Virginia received over $4700; and Hopelink in Washington received over $4000.

 

 Joe thanked all the men in the chapter who stepped up to participate in the show – he was proud of the number who made the effort and the quality of the singing.

 

The next meeting for the Harmonizers will be via Zoon at 7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.  

Watch for links and other info in advance of the kick off for the new year.

 

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, December 24, 2020

Looking Back on the Dec. 20th 2020 Virtual Holiday Show

 Looking Back on the Dec. 20th 2020 Virtual Holiday Show

 

This year’s Alexandria Harmonizer holiday show was a huge success.  Virtual and co-presented with Northwest Sound from Bellevue, WA, Chapter, the free event was broadcast on the BHS YouTube Channel and watched around the world. Theme for the show was “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”

 

The Harmonizers themselves had a watch party that started at 6 pm – about a half hour before the show went live at 6:30 pm EST on Dec. 20th 2020.

 

Director Joe Cerutti was at his home, with his parents Joe Sr. and Janet watching, and took a minute to kick off the watch party to explain how it all came to happen. He also shared how we happen to connect with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), a non-profit in VA that provides benefits for the families of service members who were killed in the line of duty.  Leaders of that organization joined us during the watch party too including founder Bonnie Carroll (who joined the call from Alaska). The Harmonizers encouraged viewers of the show to donate to TAPS and before the show ended, nearly $5,000 was donated. The Northwest Sound Chapter encouraged donations to Hopelink.

 

President Stan Quick shared in the show program that the first decision during the collaboration was that the show would be a gift. No group appearing would make any money. Rather, each chapter selected their charity to support. 

 

The show was also sponsored by both the Evergreen and the Mid Atlantic Districts of BHS. Evergreen president (former Harmonizer) John Rettenmayer and MAD president (and current Harmonizer) Bob Eckman both brought greetings during the show.

 

Much appreciation to those who made the show possible because of technology. Mike Kelly and Joel Golden get top billing for their hard work, long hours and technical expertise as Harmonizers.  Director Joe Cerutti, associate director Tony Colosimo, and assistant director Terry Reynolds provided significant musical and administrative leadership to get the chorus ready to do their recordings and to keep the communications flowing. Bruce Roehm, president of AH Inc., and Matt Doniger, chapter communications director, were also on the production team.  That team included an equal number of men from Northwest Sound including their director Ken Potter and their president and emcee on the show, Bill Hickman.  The BHS staff in Nashville provided major project management as well, including promotion to the family of singers we call barbershop.

 

Before the show launched on Sunday evening, Bruce dedicated the show to the three Harmonizers who died in the year from Covid as well to those Harmonizer families who have had health issues, job changes, weddings, funerals,  and new babies.  We yearn for more “Harmonizer Breathless Moments” in 2021.

 

The two-hour show was truthfully a holiday variety show with lots of great graphics, photos and videos and glimpses into homes and lives of fellow barbershop singers around the globe. There were youth quartets, mixed quartets, family groups, dads and their kids, small break-out groups from both chapters, top ranking quartets from all barbershop harmony organizations, some comedy with Will Cox doing his traditional “Night Before Christmas” routine, and a greeting from BHS CEO Marty Monson and his family on their front porch after a snow there. 

 

Our Alexandria chapter was well represented with several groups on the show in addition to the virtual chorus songs by themselves and with the Northwest Sound chorus.  Our own a cappella group, TBD, donned Santa hats, with black masks to film a number outside our chapter meeting place.  Great hit on “Here Comes Santa.”

 

RIPTIDE – a rock band, which includes Joe Cerutti Sr., Chris Huber, Kellen Hertz and Joel Golden from the chorus) entertained on the show with “Santa Is Coming to Town.”  They had some fun scenes too – one when Joe Jr. was given a gift box filled with lumps of coal.  The list for Santa to check twice include several Harmonizers as well, such as Sam McFarland who was on the “nice” list.

 

Always great to hear BETTER TOGETHER sing for us – perfect for a family show with Tony and Elizabeth Colosimo, and Andrew and Heather Havens singing together. 

 

Tony and Andrew also appeared with their relatively new quartet, FIRST TAKE, with Drew Wheaton and Alex Corson

 

Our guys in SILVER ALERT modeled the epidemy of ugly Christmas sweaters and sang about it on the show!  This Harmo quartet includes Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, and Steve Murane.

 

When word was out that this show was being planned, the task force was inundated with offers of assistance and ultimately there were 22 groups appearing on the show. Some of the groups have been part of the Harmonizer year of Zoom meetings, some been on our shows, some have come to help with our Youth Harmony event, and some welcomed us for shows in their world. No wonder it was called a “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”

 

For the history, here are the groups that did a song on the show:

ASTEL FAMILY 

BETTER TOGETHER

DOUBLE DATE

FIRST TAKE

GQ

HALO QUARTET

HEAVEY MEDAL

IMPACT

MITCHELL FAMILY SINGERS

MOMMA’S BOYS

NORTHWEST MIX

PRATT STREET POWER

THE QUINN-TONES

RIPTIDE

SILVER ALERT

TBD

VINTAGE MIX

VON TRAMACK FAMILY SINGERS

WORKMAN FAMILY

SIGNATURE

Plus the two men’s choruses – Northwest Sound and the Alexandria 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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Looking Back on the Dec. 15th 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Dec. 15th 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

In one way, we were glad not to have to drive to a meeting this week with the cold, rainy weather with snow in the forecast.

 

Director Joe Cerutti called things to order, had everyone muted,  and welcomed all those who made it onto the call during this holiday season for our last virtual meeting during 2020 and the pandemic.

 

He expressed how grateful he is to the chapter members for attending the weekly Zoom sessions. He reminded guys to enjoy this holiday break and be ready to return to Zoom sessions on Tues. Jan. 12th at 7 pm.  There will be no meetings on Dec. 29th nor on Jan. 5th.  However, on Tues, Dec. 22nd we will have a virtual “afterglow” event, instead of a virtual meeting, to celebrate our virtual holiday show.

 

Joe also shared his excitement about the quality of our virtual holiday show that starts at 6:30 pm EST on Sun. Dec. 20th. The theme of the show is “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”  We are co-presenting the show with Northwest Sound from Bellevue, WA.  Both choruses will sing and also do two songs together.  Plus there will be lots of other singing groups on the FREE variety show that will last about two hours.

 

This week we got a sneak preview to hear the Workman Family that will appear on the show from their home.  They sang for us on a chapter Zoom meeting a couple months ago.

 

The link to the show is barbershop.org/coasttocoast to watch the show on a device like lap top, computer or phone. 

 

The show will be streamed by BHS on their YouTube Channel at 6:30 pm Eastern Time, on Dec. 20th for those who might want to watch the show on a Smart TV.

 

If anyone has questions or problems getting in to the show, call Joe’s CeruttiTony Colosimo,  Terry Reynolds orMatt Doniger.

 

The Harmonizer watch-party on Zoom starts at 6 pm – using the usual Harmonizer Zoom link for a Zoom call.  When the show starts, you will want to open another device to see the show. 

 

We will be offering our VA patrons a chance to support TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), a non-profit in VA that provides benefits for the families of service members who were killed in the line of duty.  

 

The Holiday Silent Auction is “live” now and you can start bidding on any and all of the 60+ items in the auction. It will end on Dec. 20th after our show at 5 pm.  Randall Eliason asks members to please help promote the auction by sharing the event with posts on social media and by telling friends and family about it. And check it out yourself - you could get your piano tuned by Ike Evans, get a voice lesson from Tony Colosimo, pick up gift cards from area restaurants at far below face value, and more! Here is link:  https://www.32auctions.com/Harmonizer2020

 

Planning for next year continues with the chapter, and Joe announced that he will be doing individual interviews with every member after Jan. 1st. Section leaders may be joining him for some.  Interviews will be scheduled with all members – especially singing members and those active members who are not singing but wish to join the process.  These interviews will be done via Zoom.

 

Joe also discussed the music team’s  approach to learning the coming new music.  Rather than doing “Ready to Rehearse” submissions to listeners for evaluation like we were doing at the beginning of 2020, we’re going to do audio virtual choirs on each of the songs.   Joe has already recording conducting videos and the music team will start putting the learning tracks to match.    

 

For those of you who are motivated to learn music over the holidays, the chapter will send out an initial  priority list for the order we plan to work on the songs in 2021.  As we are going to be learning more music, we are going to start spending a little more time on Tuesdays in rehearsal.  We will still hold discussion topics but probably not every week. We will allow some extra time in sectionals and small groups that can be some  “check-in” or social time.    

 

The chapter is proud that we have been accepted as one of the 14 performing groups to be part of WETA “Songs of the Season.” They chose our 2019 performance of “Gloria,” arranged by David Wright, to be used in their holiday presentations streamed online between Dec. 15th and the 25th pm on both WETA PBS and on WETA METRO channels. There were good reports from folks who watched the Dec. 15th show at 9 pm. 

 

WETA PBS

Wed Dec 23rd at 4 pm

Fri Dec 25th at 4 pm

 

WETA METRO

Sun Dec 20th at 1 pm

Tues Dec 22nd at 3 pm

Fri Dec 25th at 2 pm

 

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted a warm up session starting with stretching and moving and ending with our familiar exercise “we sing late at times – canned goods.”

 

Next,  we worked on  “Chorus Line Medley” originally arranged for the chapter by John Hohl. We had sectionals for some work and then an all-chorus sing period.

 

Alan Wile conducted the 15th interview of a Harmonizer who has submitted his Harmo Hero form for inclusion on Groupanizer.  This week’s interviewee was Ike Evans – a 32-year chapter member. He was born in NYC and that’s where he started playing tuba. – in the fourth grade. He was fortunate to study with a number of professional tube players. In eighth grade, Ike attended the National Music Camp at Interlocken, MI.  He did three summers there. His summers in MI led him to decide to go to college in MI where he majored in wind instrument performance and also some education courses. While on campus, Ike played in the symphony and the marching band.  Those gigs  took him to the Rose Bowl Parade in 1970 and his first Carnegie Hall appearance.

 

In March 1970 he auditioned  for the Marine Band, then after a few years in the band, Ike was chosen to be in the US Armed Forces Bicentennial Band and Chorus group.  He met his wife, Kay, while in that group as she was singing in the chorus. The group did 376 concerts in 256 cities for about 1.5 million people. In 1976 they were in Philly for a 500,000 audience. At the end of 1976, he migrated back into the Marine Band to complete a 28-year career with the band.

 

Ike found a second career as a piano tuner and he shared some of the fun experiences and locations where he has tuned an instrument.

 

He found barbershop and our chapter after attending the joint show with the Harmonizers and the Vocal Majority at Constitution Hall. He has been in a few quartets, was caretaker of the Harmo photo board for years, and is a member of the current history committee.

 

We do get to hear Ike from time to time as he plays tuba in the Virginia Grand Military Band four times a year at Schlesinger.

 

The chapter business meeting was coordinated by communications director Matt Doniger.  

 

President Stan Quick announced his launch of a “Double My Dues” drive again this year.  Members are encouraged to donate another $100 to double their dues.  This donation is tax deductible though.

 

He also reports that Dave Kohls is getting better at home and that Clyde Crusenberry is recovering now at home. Drew Fuller was back on the call after his scare with Covid. 

 

Membership director Jacob Broude gave a plug for guys to consider using Scrip purchases for gifts during the holidays or for special food items such as ham or standing rib roast. Contact Ken Ives if you need some Scrip. 

 

Our elective this week was provided by Jason Lee who provided very interesting and plentiful info about the Mathematical Aspect of the Coronavirus Pandemic – where we stand and what we know about Covid and its transmission. Jason works in this field and was able to explain charts and graphs and formulas.  It was interesting since we see so much in our local media that never quite tells the whole story.

 

Our next Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Jan. 12th, 2021. 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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)