This week’s column starts off with a report from the Southern Division contest where quartets and choruses via for the chance to compete at the district convention in the fall. It was in Roanoke, VA, in the newly refurbished Hotel Roanoke and convention center.
Tho the Harmonizers did not sing at our division this year, we were all over the place all weekend. Many guys wore Harmo shirts and logos – it gave us a chance to talk about the chapter and especially our hugely popular June 27th show with Westminster.
There were Alexandria guys in 8 of the 13 quartet contestants. YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT (with Mike Wallen) won with a solid hit. (They were also competing for senior quartet recognition.)
Second place was our own DOWNTOWN who came out with a solid package and new bass, Arthur Louis along with Drew Fuller, Frank Fedarko.
The other Harmonizer quartets included BELTWAY BLUES in 4th (with Kevin Roth); FRiDAYS! in 5th (with Bob Caldwell, Ken Ives, Steve Murane); FOUR MAN VOCAL BAND in 6th (with Randy Lazear, Bob Bates, Larry Walker, Dave Cureton); RING OF GOLD in 8th (with Don Thompson); SURPRISE! in 9th (with John Grant, Bob Hirsh, Bruce Minnick) and FOUR IN THE MORNING in 10th (with Mike Geipel). FOUR MAN VOCAL BAND and FRiDAYS! were also competing as seniors quartets.
Besides the guys on stage, Director Joe was a judge, Chuck Harner was in charge of the contests, Joe Sawyer and Dennis Ritchey served as MCs during the weekend, and as usual several of our guys are board members for the district or serve on the operations team that makes sure the contest runs smoothly. Several of our guys also volunteered as mic testers for the quartet contest Fri. eve and the chorus contest Sat. morning.
There were a number of Harmonizers and former Harmonizers on stage with other choruses Saturday: Bob Wilson and Paul Laurenz in first place chorus, James River; Mike Calhoun, Alan Durick and Dewey Feuerhelm in the new Harrisonburg chorus that was named Most Improved Chorus.
Mike Wallen directed the Richmond chorus which included Mike Geipel and Paul Lensch. They came in second.
Singing in the DC chorus were Bob Hirsh, Bob Wells, Don Dillingham and Torsten Wezel. They came in third. Tony’s Dad, Bill, was excited about their success.
Southern Division will send 6 choruses to the fall contest in Lancaster in Oct. – James River, Richmond, DC, Germantown, Fairfax, and Roanoke.
Others YeEd saw in the audience: Frank Beahm, who belongs to Smith Mountain Lake; Ian Poulin, Alan Wile, Keith Jones, Sam McFarland, Mike Kelly who operated the video filming operation; Ben Smith, and Gary Plaag who is district president.
Tuesday nite, June 1st was another hard working nite for the Harmonizers. But for sure a very productive one. (Some guys were joking as to what kinda surprises Joe would pull off this week – and he had a few!!)
The big one was to announce that since we have almost reached our goal of 80% sales, we are gonna webcast the big June show. Subscribers can check it out and pay online.
Joe was especially proud to report the success of consignment ticket sales and the number of guys who had sold 10 or more. He announced the names of all of those guys and then he gave a gift card (thanks to the Harmonizer supporter for providing the cards) to the top salesman, Rick Wagner at 20 tickets. (Well actually, Director Joe has sold 45 and Ken Fess has sold 54 – but they work together so we didn’t make them top!!!) (Then again, who ever heard of a chorus director selling a lot of tickets and the show producer? Thanks guys.)
The musical warm up included some physical stretching and moves also tonite with Tony Colosimo doing the honors. He also stressed proper breathing!
Joe welcomed back Mark Klostermeyer who keeps the chapter meeting and chorus rehearsal flowing. Then he thought of another ticket matter – who is covering and selling to all the local barbershop chapters both male and female in the DC area? We found out a bunch of guys have them covered, and other guys volunteered to go after the rest.
After all that, Joe decided it was important to go into sectionals for “Stars and Stripes” to finish the hard work started in previous weeks. When the chorus reassembled, he had them stand in sections on the risers. Wow – what a sound when he had them sing as if in a choral or church choir singing Bach.
Then another surprise: Joe received a request for the chorus to sing on July 4th at the Philadelphia Liberty Bell Independence Hall ceremony. They need 25 to be on mic for the TV special at 7:30 am. Guys are to think it over and Joe will follow up. What a great way to use “Stars and Stripes” after all this work.
The music team also worked on “Meeting Here Tonight” and “ObLiDi/ObLiDa” for shows coming up. If you weren’t at rehearsal this week, ask one of the singers about the “non-scooping xylophone” example.
Joe then explained the plan for using “Great Day” as the opener with Westminster and also for the closing on that show. MC for the show will be Ev Nau, with the Harmony Foundation in Nashville.
When Joe asked how many on the risers had been to a vocal studio, YeEd noted about 99% of the hands went up. That is great. And we all thank Joe, Tony, Terry Reynolds and others for the extra effort in arranging for them.
Michael Gellert was in the house again this week and Terry orchestrated those taking vocal coaching sessions with him during the evening.
Before starting on the ballad, Director Joe remarked that he will never forget as long as he lives last week’s surprise visit by former director, Scott Werner.
A huge chunk of time was used to work, coach and repeat the ballad.
Then over to the uptune, the presentation team announced some major, but not difficult, changes to the visual plan. Coach Hansen had worked long distance with our guys to plan it and help them prepare to teach the chorus. Good work all. The chorus members were good sports in trying, listening to instructions and making it work.
The pre-break events included the usual birthday reminders. The chorus manager K12 called out the 17 men in the Class of 2010:
This is the third largest freshman class in chapter history, according to Mark K. He presented them purple bandanas this year and gave them the usual admonishment to wear them at ALL TIMES and be ready to present them whenever asked. (Hope they won’t forget them for the retreat this weekend!)
Secretary Buechler presented Big Ten Awards to Jack Pitzer and Chuck Harner for bringing 10 men into the BHS and our chapter. He and president Dick Newton presented 35 year pins to Austin Cotton and Howard Nestlerode. Dick then presented Chris his 25 year pin. Other recipients of renewal cards were Craig Kujawa, 7 years; Tony Colosimo, 17 years; Ken Rub, 19 years; Ike Evans, 23 years; Bob Eckman, 26 years; Martin Banks, 27 years; and Dick Hall, 46 years.
Glad to have pitch man and membership vp back tonite. Dan O’Brien welcomed guest and applicant Jack Stonesifer.
Then a fast break time since there was much musical work to do. (Even tho it was short, the guys ate the cupboard bare – so some of you chow hounds bring in some goodies like cookies or chips or pretzels to share. Thanks.)
After guys grabbed a bite or soda from the FRIENDS or a coffee, bought tickets or grabbed uniform parts, it was back to some chapter meeting matters.
Jack Cameron started his plugging about ordering chorus pixs from Philly.
Chuck McKeever, dean of our retreat weekend, asked everyone to help Bob Blair load things on the truck to take to Westminster, MD, this weekend. Guys were reminded to be there by 7:30 or 8 to check in and be ready to sing. Coffee will be served. Anyone who wants to go up Friday nite should contact Chuck McKeever. It is $24.50 in addition to the $50 guys need to pay, if they have not already done so. Sounds like there will be some fun on Saturday nite too.
For the retreat, don’t forget to bring towels, pillow, sheets, your tearaways (and bandanas if you are in the freshman class).
Two quartets with Harmonizers (Steve White in TOUCHSTONE, and John Reece ON THE ROAD) will compete at the Western Division contest in PA Friday nite and those guys will drive over to check in for retreat.
Steve White announced results of the Southern Division contest as reported above.
Someone announced a reminder that there will be special rehearsals on Thurs. June 10 and June 24. Mark your calendars. These are mandatory.
President Newton welcomed Chris Buechler back after some heart health work since our last meeting. And asked the chapter to keep Chuck Powell in their thoughts as he is having some kidney stone issues again.
Dick received a Harmony Foundation Award for our chapter contributions at the Gold level of $188.27 per member.
The rest of the nite was work, work, work on the uptune. Then for a while, Phil Ferguson recorded the ballad and Joe and Scipio coached while Tony directed. All thought it was a great learning tool for the chorus (and reminded us of when Hohl and Werner did this sort of thing in prep for previous contest successes).
We worked til after 10 and then hustled to get things loaded on the truck and put away. Some auditions were held. Some chapter ensembles practiced. And still we all got to the afterglow.
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.)