Monday, May 24, 2010

Looking Back on the May 18th Chapter Meeting and Mic Test at Atlantic Division

Here is a nice report by Alan Wile (thanks Alan - YeEd) regarding the Harmonizer appearance this past weekend in DE at the Atlantic Division contest. We were asked to be mic testers for the chorus contest on Saturday, May 15th.

“While most Harmonizers arrived at the Wilmington DoubleTree Hotel early Saturday morning, a fair number came up Friday afternoon, battling a variety of traffic delays, rain and hail storms.

The Friday night quartet contest began at 6:00 p.m. with Harmonizer (and District Board Member at Large) Dennis Ritchey as Master of Ceremonies. Quartets appearing on the contest stage included CRUCNH TIME (Eric Wallen) as the mic testing quartet. As this quartet will be competing at the international quartet contest in Philly, it performed here for score and evaluation, only). Other quartets with Harmonizer members included MUSIC THERAPY (Don Farrell, Dean Martin, Steve Mateuszewski, Chris Yates), TRIBUTE (Tony Colosimo, Ryan Griffith, former Harmonizer Joe Eckert, and Ryan's father, Steve), DOWN A FOURTH! (Joe Sawyer, Joe Cerutti, Troy Hillier, Wayne Adams). Unfortunately PHIL ‘N THE BLANKS (Rick Savage, Phil Ferguson, Joe Cerutti, Terry Reynolds) had a conflict and had to scratch. In all, 21 quartets crossed the stage before the contest concluded at 8:00 p.m.

TRIBUTE, with a score of 76.4%, won the contest and was named Atlantic Division Champion. Competing out-of-division, DOWN A FOURTH! wowed the audience with a great parody which "addressed" each judge by name and, feigning ignorance of his identity, identified the contest administrator simply as "that guy," and MUSIC THERAPY, which sang for us last Tuesday, gave a very creditable performance. Had they been ranked with the Atlantic Division quartets, these two quartets would have finished fourth and ninth, respectively. Well done to all the Harmonizer quartet singers!

By 8 am Saturday, the Harmonizers were on the stage for warms up with Tony Colosimo, rehearsal with Joe Cerutti, herding by K-12 (Mark Klostermeyer), and visual reminders by Chuck McKeever. We first worked the up-tune, took a break for another chorus to have some pre-arranged stage time, and then hit the ballad and both songs. We were reminded that "softs win contests" and Joe worked to get us to sing softer and softer. Much emphasis on attitude, energy, and focus. K-12 also explained how and when we would be leaving the stage following our performance.

The Harmonizers never left the stage until the start of the chorus contest at 10:00 a.m. As there was no curtain, we were asked to remain in our beginning poses while the audience filed in, took their seats, housekeeping announcements were made ... and we were announced. The package was performed nearly flawlessly (well, OK, that was my take). Once over, we left the stage and were on our own until the evaluation, which began at 1 pm. Those with registrations were permitted back into the auditorium to enjoy the rest of the chorus contest; those without were free to do ... whatever.

Following the contest, district vice president Dick Powell presented certificates to seven chapters in recognition of their financial contributions to Harmony Foundation. The Alexandria Chapter received a gold level certificate for an average contribution of $188.20 per member. If you'd like to know how this works (and about opportunities to support the Society ... and the chapter and/or district), see Alan Wile.

Our evaluations -- 20 minutes per judge -- were conducted in the auditorium and although we began sitting down, we quickly moved to the stage. First we heard from Music Judge Dylan Oxford (from the Dixie District (DIX)). Next, we heard from Singing Judge Larry Deters (also from DIX and a former Harmonizer) and candidate Mark Stock (from the Johnny Appleseed District (JAD)). Last, we heard from Presentation Judge Mike Louque (from Central States District (CSD) ... and a former Harmonizer) and Candidate Mark Kettner (from DIX). On average, we were scored a solid 85% (some higher; some lower). Specific comments and will be covered in more detail at a Tuesday night chapter meeting. However, we received a number of complimentary comments and, as expected and valued, several areas which, if addressed/mastered, will improve our performance even more.

By 2:10 p.m. we were released. While most headed home, some remained behind to take in the Show of Champions at 7pm with Harmonizer (and District President) Gary Plaag as Master of Ceremonies.

Tuesday nite, May 18th was a hard work out session. All the usual Tuesday nites aspects were in place – room set up and volunteers in place, Will Cox did the vocal warm-ups.

Director Joe welcomed Michael Gellert who was on hand to provide voice lessons for those who want them. He will be present now and then as needed. Some guys had individual sessions, other guys met with Michael as a small group of 5 or so.

And Joe announced the recent passing of Mark Klostermeyer’s father. Steve White filled in for Mark as program mc for the nite.

Dan O’Brien had to miss the meeting too for work, so Tony Colosimo was pitchman for the nite and YeEd welcomed the guests.

YeEd also noted Ike Evans working to post new member photos on the big Harmo picture board and he was trying hard to squeeze in the bios he posts there too for all the many new members we are adding.

When the singing got going, Joe and team worked more on “Stars and Stripes” and then he welcomed again our coach Brandon Guyton. Brandon worked hard on sound production and immediately made a huge difference and the guys were able to continue it thru out the nite.

Joe made a surprise gift certificate give away to a guy on the risers really going the extra mile to include emotion with the singing. Nick Aiuto was honored this week. The certificates are donated by a fan of the Harmonizers.

Ken Ives was proud to shout out that 100 % of his baritone section was present again this week!

The pre-break business session included reminders that guys could order a competitor t-shirt for Philly – see Cark Kauffmann; get your uniform parts from Tom Kern; watch for detailed emails about vocal studios in the coming days.

Secretary Buechler offered to take orders for Lands End clothing items with Harmo logos. He also presented membership renewal cards to Edris Qarghah for 2 years; Steve Murane for 8 years, Tom Berkey for 13 years, and Bruce Lauther for 24 years.

Speaking of Chris – you may not all know that he will be working as a contest administrator with the judges in Philly. Thus he can not sing with us.

YeEd and Director Joe welcomed our college students back for the summer – Kellen Hertz and Edris; Max Kieba back after becoming a new dad; and Craig Kujawa back from a several month temporary assignment in Europe. All three will be singing in Philly. There were several other singer guests present too. Al Hanenbaum, who we don’t see often, was in the hall too.

After break, the meeting time continued. (Thanks to those who have brought in goodies to share, we can always use them. And thanks to those who drop a buck or so in the container by the coffee!)

Ken Fess stressed ticket sales for the June 27th show with Westminster. Our director is out to break the record of number of tickets sold. We can’t let him take the lead!!!! But thanks for the enthusiastic sales effort, Joe.

Also it was announced that we do have some afterSHOW tickets left to sell. They are $28. See Steve Murane for these tickets as well as taking show tickets on consignment. Remember that money or tickets must be turned back in to Steve by end of the meeting on Tues. May 25th.

Craig Kujawa reported interim results of the 10for10 weight loss program. Some guys have made quite an effort to loose weight.

Then the chorus went back to work, right up til a little after 10 pm. The troops worked fast and hard to put all away, sing a tag, help new guys try out with a quartet and get guys to pay the $50 for their room and board for the chorus retreat (and $24.50 if they are coming up on Fri nite). Pay to YeEd on Tuesday nite. Give rooming requests to retreat master, Chuck McKeever. Retreat is June 5-6 at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, 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 of the great things going on each week at an Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter meeting. —Ye Ed.)

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