It was quite a day for the chorus. Many of us got up about 4 am Saturday in our homes around DC, met some other chorus members to form a carpool, and headed to Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD. The chorus warm up call was for 8:15 am.
The guys from Alexandria joined other student enrollees at the Harmony College East (HCE) weekend event for the daily warm up session led by a faculty member at the school. We were welcomed by dean of the weekend school, Ron Knickerbocker, gold medal bari of THE REGENTS. Some Harmonizers actually were already there in classes on Thursday and Friday including DA CAPO. Quartets that will be competing in the International contest in July were invited to come for coaching with prominent Society coaches.
The chorus then took the risers on the stage of Halloway Hall on campus. Will Cox extended the warm up in Harmo style including the physical moves. When he turned things over to Director Joe Cerutti, Joe introduced our morning vocal coach, Rik Johnson, from the Ambassadors of Harmony. He is also a singing judge in the Society.
M-AD leaders Scott Ward and Dick Powell also welcomed the chapter and thanked us for our support of the weekend and for coming to teach the Masters Class and appearing on the show. District President Dick presented chapter president, Steve Murane, a check for $1000 from the district to support our travel to KCMO. Director Joe also expressed how fortunate we are to have the support of our district.
Chapter music and performance vp, Terry Reynolds, was coordinator of the Harmonizer participation on Saturday. He reviewed the events for the day. And we were off to work singing.
BUT FIRST – a check of blue bandanas for the Class of 2011!
Rik complimented the quality warm up done by Will. Rik and Joe started working on the ballad until morning break time.
Afer the welcomed break, we went back to work on the uptune with Rik and Joe up front.
When Rik had to go coach another group just before lunch, Terry was up front again to explain how we would be conducting a Masters Class after lunch. This class was open for all HCE attendees with the purpose to help them gather ideas and suggestions on how another chapter manages music education, music administration, testing, music selection. Joe alerted our singers how he would be asking them to demonstrate techniques and Tony Colosimo reviewed how he would be asking the guys to demonstrate warm up techniques.
Since it was getting close to lunch, Terry issued meal tickets and explained how to get to the campus cafeteria. In good Harmo style, it didn’t take much explaining to get our guys over there to chow down. We had fun too, sitting with guys from other chapters all around the district.
(YeEd needs to report that late in the morning, Thom Faircloth left the risers, because he felt he was about to pass out. So the guys with some medical training got him stabilized while they waited for respondents to a 911 call. Scipio Garling rode in the ambulance with Thom to the local hospital. Scipio returned after a while with reports that Thom was OK but needed to stay in the hospital for a few more hours. Later in the afternoon we learned that Thom had been released and allowed to go home. He arrived home without incident and will let us know details he learns from his local doctor when we see Thom on Tuesday nite.)
After lunch, the Masters Class was held in the auditorium with the Harmonizers all in their teal shirts and casual uniforms. A couple guys passed out a terrific handout to all attendees. Terry prepared it with a good overview of the music and performance aspects of our chapter. He used a Frequently Asked Questions format. The handout also included statistics about some of our accomplishments in contests and major performances, a flow chart of how the chapter admin team is set up, samples of forms we use to monitor attendance and self evaluation programs. (Hopefully this good document will find its way onto our chapter website. YeEd.)
Speakers during the class besides Joe and Terry and Tony included Scipio, who covered the visual aspects of our performance goals. Chorus manager, Mark Klostermeyer, demonstrated how he keeps the program on schedule by signaling time left to instructors up front. Terry showed the audience the make-up of the chorus by asking for a show of hands for guys by age, by years of membership, by professional work field, by voice part, by visual quad.
At the end, we saved a big chunk of time for a Q&A session. Terry, Joe and President Steve fielded the questions. The chorus started the class with performance of “Great Day” and ended the class with “New York, New York.”
Before we wrapped up the class, we offered two-for-one tickets to our June 26th East Coast Harmony Show to those who attended our class. We made a few sales later in the lobby and passed out a bunch of color postcards.
After the class ended, the chorus took a little break and get ready for more riser work. Geri Geis was present for the rest of the day and used the afternoon to tidy up moves and facials and focals. She spent a huge amount of time with the guys on the risers not just the front row.
A couple times, Joe invited one of the rows to come out into the audience to watch and be ready to return to the risers and contribute more. And at break time, the whole chorus took seats so they could watch the front row perform. Guys got to see what goes on out front so they didn’t have to wonder and try to sneak a look! Then we added all the props handlers for a run thru so all could watch.
And then back to work. Joe kept up the energy and pushed the guys to keep their musical ears on while performing.
We all got to go to the cafeteria for dinner, then take a little time to relax before dressing in the contest uniform for the evening show.
The HCE Saturday nite show started at 7:30 and we were the second performing group. We did our full contest package with all the props and uniforms, including the new black suspenders which snapped in unison during the uptune!! The guys did a great job of singing and entertaining their fellow barbershoppers.
After our performance, a lot of the chorus members headed home. But some stayed for the rest of the show and to hang out with the HCE attendees to sing tags and mix and mingle.
There were some other Harmonizers involved with the HCE weekend – Gary Plaag worked with the Youth In Harmony (YIH) program, Keith Jones and Bob Wachter coached choruses and quartets, Alan Wile helped sell “opportunity tickets” which generated support for the district’s YIH work. Thanks to all the Harmonizers who made a “purchase” on their way to lunch and dinner. DA CAPO sang on the Friday nite show and also on the Saturday nite show.
Now it is back to Durant on Tuesday, June 21st.
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 with the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)