(Thanks again to Alan Wile for preparing this copy while YeEd was out of town.)
Prior to the meeting Chuck McKeever was on the stage reviewing contest uptune choreo; risers were set up; truck was positioned to take the risers at the end of the evening (for Thursday at Jeff-Houston and beyond); tables were set up in the usual places and on the back of the stage; Bob Rhome had convention packets at the ready; etc.
K-12 called the Harmonizers to the risers just before 7:00 p.m. Will conducted the warm-up before turning the chorus over to director Joe Cerutti. Initially Joe continued to work warm-up elements and then introduced coach Geri Geis. All three emphasized the Harmonizer press. Geri reminded us of the effect when the chorus repeatedly presses. She asked that each man be prepared to do each and every run-through by internalizing his "story" before we sing; that there be contrast in every lyric line; what needs to be done to capture the judges' attention ... to get them to look up from the papers in front of them; to lighten up on each "except" phrase (when we're talking to ourselves and being honest ...unlike the rest of the song when we're trying to convince ourselves that we're OK); and to contrast those portions with the "But I get along without you" lines when we're trying to convince ourselves "I don't need you"; and that, after all, no one (NO one) ever says "no" to us!
Joe drilled parts of both songs. Geri helped with reminders and additional artistry. Joe noted that every chorus will sing loud -- "The audience expects it and it's what we do." But it's the softs with "white fire" presence that make the Harmonizers great.
Throughout the rehearsal a professional photographer ("Joe") was at work. Evidently he will be taking pictures during the Sunday show and was getting acquainted with us and our contest package.
K-12 announced this week's birthday boys -- Mick Stamps and Max Keiba. Joe jumped in and called them up together with Craig Kujawa's niece Michelle Bash whose 15th birthday was tonight ... and then directed as the chorus serenaded all three appropriately.
Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership cards to Matt Barnes (6 years), Dave Welter (34 years), and Craig Odell (41 years). He also presented Dean Martin with his first Man of Note award for bringing Steve Matuszewski back into the chapter (after a prolonged absence from the Society).
Membership VP Dan O'Brien announced this would be his "swan song appearance" in this position. This announcement resulted in rousing applause in appreciation for his wonderful work over the last year and one-half. He then introduced the guests: Chris Clark -- a new applicant; Michelle Bash; Stephen Haynes from the Ambassadors of Harmony; Trevor Doney -- a friend of Steve Lingo and Lise Lingo (Steve's wife).
After a brief break, K-12 announced that all the missing uniform parts have arrived and would be distributed at the end of the night. Rick Wagner addressed housing for our guests this weekend and provided tips for hosts and greeters. Those guests desiring to do group sight-seeing are to meet Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the Smithsonian Metro station (mall exit). The Westminster chorus will be here until Tuesday and need to be dropped off at the Kena Temple by 9:30 a.m. to catch the bus to Philly. Questions should be addressed to Rick.
Ken Fess announced that 1,624 tickets have been sold for the Choir of the World show on Sunday! He is in need of a riser crew at 1:00 p.m. on Friday; someone to help replenish food/drink back stage; sightseeing questions should be addressed to Noah Van Gilder; handouts were available with show details; parking is free in Lot K and for $5 in the parking garage; the show and the aftershow will both be webcast and be available until July 27th; bus tickets to Philly are still available; two invited guests are John Glenn and Harry Reid (but we've not heard yet whether either will attend); AND upon arrival at the performance venue, chorus members should go to room 327C to drop their uniforms (but we'll dress and make up later, after rehearsing).
M&P VP Terry Reynolds announced that we'll be singing at the Inova Alexandria Hospital on Tuesday, July 6. There will be a regular chapter meeting on Tuesday, July 13th ... to prepare for our show at Fort Ward on Thursday, July 15th. But the next three Tuesdays will be chapter meetings with a number of innovative events and activities.
Director Joe announced sadly that Phil Ferguson's 19 year old brother in law was killed in Afghanistan and asked that Phil and the family be held close. Then he asked for volunteers to provide laptops and TVs (and cabling) to provide show coverage backstage. Then he worked some of the show tunes: “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Summertime,” and “There's a Meetin' Here Tonight.” Joe said he is "psyched" over our mastery of TS&SF and congratulated the chorus on what it has accomplished with this song. Thirty-seven men volunteered to sing TS&SF on Sunday morning. Joe had them come off the risers and sing while he wandered through a maze of singers to hear them. At the end he took a picture of the group (with the tenors in back and pretty much out of sight) and hoped he can secure permission for all to participate. If not, he'll randomly pick 25 guys.
As risers were put on the truck, uniform parts were distributed on the stage. Hopefully, everyone has all the necessary parts for Sunday and for our time in Philly.
For the record, Alan also reported on the Harmonizers who attended the recent Mid Atlantic District Harmony College East weekend. As usual the chapter supported the event in many ways: judges, coaches, administrators, tag singers, joke tellers and guys who went to learn and expand their knowledge about our hobby. Here are the guys who attended:
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.)