Looking Back on Hershey Show and March 24th Chapter Meeting
(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 with Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter members. —Ye Ed.)
I have to thank Alan Wile again for turning in a good report of the chapter’s out of town show in Hershey, PA. Fifty plus guys made the trek by car and van to the Hershey Lodge on Sunday afternoon, March 22nd, to serenade a convention of Borough managers (not sure I have this even close to the actual title of the group). As luck would have it, the Harmo-truck blew a tire just south of Harrisburg but managed to limp along at 25 mph or so and arrived at the Hershey Lodge right on time (4:00 p.m.). It didn't take long for Bob Blair and Bill DePuy (our fearless truck driving crew) to determine where they had to go to unload their precious cargo of risers, etc. And soon about a dozen or so guys (including Carl Kauffmann's grandson, Ryan) were there to help unload and set up. The room was spacious and filled with round tables. Scott Kahler was already at work setting up the sound equipment.
Our show contact, Lisa, was extremely helpful, as she found a place that was open, had the right size tire, and agreed to mount it on the truck. She escorted the truck to the garage and waited while the deed was done and then brought the guys and "re-tired" truck back to the Lodge. Big kudos for all her help!
Early arrivals then had a chance to grab some food at the Lodge or out on the town. At 6:00 p.m. we gathered on the risers for a bit of badly needed rehearsing of songs we hadn't worked for some time (and some we had). Counting noses it soon became apparent that there were only four front row guys ... so Tom Kraus and Tony Colosimo were stationed at either end, to expand the look.
As usual, Tony warmed us up and then MASTER Director Joe rehearsed all/parts of most of the songs on the program – CAMERON STATION, too. Shortly after 7:00 p.m. we were released to the lower level for lead and bass sectionals. Then to the dressing room and a follow-on chorus rehearsal (where VP Ops/Chorus Manager Mark "K-12" Klostermeyer got us into windows) before "going on" at 9:00 p.m.
The room was not filled to capacity when we arrived ... nor did it fill up entirely while we performed ... however, a number of convention-goers were seated at tables throughout and showed a modicum of interest in our program. Unfortunately, we had to compete with a group engaged in rather loud conversations being held at one end of the room but, true to form, we never wavered.
(Producer Ken Rub and sound man Scott Kahler tried to get CAMERON STATION to crowd the mic during their second set but it wasn't until MASTER Director Joe joined the group from behind with outstretched arms that kept these cool cats up close and personal with the mic -- a hoot to watch from the risers!)
While the audience applauded politely after each song, we actually got a standing "O" from some of them at the conclusion of our final number (Great Day). Scipio Garling talked with some of those in the audience afterwards and reported that they were very pleased with our performance and apologized for those who were less than attentive. Bruce Lauther spoke with the woman who booked the show for us who was very complimentary -- a very good sign!
After changing, we quietly struck the risers and loaded all back into the truck (and Scott Kahler's car) and headed for home.
MASTER Director Joe thanked the guys often during the afternoon/evening for making the trip and doing the show. He singled out Bruce Lauther for having gotten this gig for us and noted that the professional booking agent responsible for this show had offered us a number of opportunities in the past but this was the first one we were able to take on. The up-shot may be more convention shows ... and more money in the coffers. Also receiving great applause and appreciation from Joe, et al, were Bill DePuy and Bob Blair (for their intrepid truck driving and repair), show producer Ken Rub, sound guru Scott Kahler, show (and tire) contact Lois, and the guys on the show.
Thanks to good thinking on the part of Bob Rhome, some of us remembered to take some Hershey candy home for those whom we left behind and made us heroes in our own minds.
Chapter leaders decided to cancel the previously scheduled recording session for March 24th and scheduled a regular chapter meeting and rehearsal at Durant. We need the time to prepare for the Spring Tonic coming up soon!!
And that is just what happened. Altho many guys looked pretty much exhausted when they arrived at Durant on the 24th, they got into their music and performance work. It was the usual – get all set up, greet guests.
After warm up, Director Joe got right to work on show stuff. Ken Fess and Mick Stamps, co-producers, helped explain who would do what and how the stage would look. Some speaking parts did their thing in conjunction with the chorus singing and responding.
When it was about break time, K-12 reviewed the chapter calendar. Secretary Buechler presented membership renewal cards to the following men: for six years, Bill Stewart, 11 years Tom Kern, 17 years for Chris Huber, Dennis Ritchey and Brad Jones, 28 years for Rick Wagner, and 31 years for Will Cox. Michael Calhoun was presented his 40-year membership renewal card and a lapel pin. Congrats.
Dan O introduced a line of guests.
After the break and snacks and tag singing, there were announcements by (1)Tom Kern regarding uniforms, (2) Minute of Harmo History by Pitzer, (3) Alert from Carl Kauffmann that Southern Division is coming up May 22-23 where we are the host chapter, where we will sing for the audience there, where we will need helpers, where a lot of quartets from our chapter will compete, in Reston at the Hyatt there, (4) Dangel had copies of a new song to issue to all for the Tonic.
Director Joe had heartfelt thanks to all who made it to Hershey, a cheer for Scott who did sound again, K-12 as chorus manager, Ken Rub as producer, Bruce Lauther as salesman, and Blair and DePuy who drove the truck and fought the tire issues!!
Joe had other big news – on April 2nd, the chapter will conduct a workshop for the 9th grade singers at T.C. Williams Hi School (thanks to Jim Lucey for this one). And then later that day, another workshop for the singers at Annandale Hi School (thanks to Dean Rust for this one). Sign up asap – online.
President Brad asked all to be on the lookout for a list of tasks he needs help with for the Youth Harmony Festival coming up on Sat. April 18th at Durant – all day.
Brad also gave out two more “You Make A Difference” pins – one to Bruce Lauther for arranging busses for NYC show and Chuck McKeever for his dedication on pushing all of us to learn our stage presence and moves.
After the meeting it was back to work singing for the show. And then a solid session on the contest songs including a time to tape and a review of the moves for the up tune.
I noticed Harmo picture board manager, Ike Evans, has posted bio pieces of the very newest members. Thanks Ike. I hear Howard Nestlerode hurt his knee or leg and had an operation today. And as some may know, Steve White is happy he started working out a few months ago, noticed some pain and numbness in his left arm, went to the doctor and they found out he had severe blockage from his heart. They fixed him up and he is getting around pretty well – but must take it easy. He was a trooper and on the risers a little Tuesday nite.
Bob Caldwell was on hand tonite and directed KTHWWS.
Until next time – editorjack!