Friday, June 10, 2011

Looking Back on Yet Another Busy Harmo Weekend, the Supreme Court Show and the June 7 Chapter Meeting

Besides the hugely successful retreat weekend, chapter members were out there singing and spreading word about the hobby!

Western Division Contest
Friday nite, June 3, there were Alexandria guys performing and working at the Western Division contest in Camp Hill, PA.

Two Harmonizers, Steve White and Rick Taylor, are in a new quartet, MAD HATTERS that won the Western division contest and will sing at the fall district contest, The others in the quartet are former Harmonizer, Scott Disney, and Rob Seay from the Chorus of the Chesapeake.

This makes two division champ quartets that have Harmonizers singing in them – MAD HATTERS and MAYHEM.

Jay Butterfield was emcee for the Friday nite quartet contest. He had the unusual duty of introducing himself and TOUCHSTONE with Steve White, Rich Gray and Rob Seay. Their quartet is the outgoing Western Division Champs and current M-AD Quartet Champs. This was their Division swan song.

WHEELHOUSE was the mic tester quartet for the contest.

Rick Taylor is director of Dundalk, MD, chapter who won the Western Division chorus contest.

YeEd noted that Dennis Richey and Mike Kelley had to leave retreat to go back to the division event on Saturday nite. They both are critical to the operation of division contests.

World War II Honoree Flight
Also squeezed into this week was the gathering of barbershoppers at Dulles Airport to welcome a World War II Honoree flight. There were 16 Harmonizers who made it out to the airport by 8:30 am, Monday, June 6th, to join guys from the Fairfax Chapter and the Harmony Heritage Singers, and some guys from other local chapters. Bob Wachter coordinated a crowd of barbershop singers to help welcome honoree well-known barbershopper, Jim Miller from Louisville, KY. He directed the Louisville Thoroughbreds to 7 gold chorus medals and Cincinnati Western Hills to 1 gold.

There were some delays and flight changes, tho, and some of us had to head back to work.
But Jim’s flight did arrive about 2 pm and he, and all the Veterans, were thrilled. Jim even set aside his walker and directed his barbershopper fans in singing “God Bless America.” Our guys who stayed said it was an amazing experience. Pete Frank, who stayed in VA after the retreat so he could be here for Tuesday’s rehearsal, attended and confessed it was a really moving barbershop moment.

The WWII Honors program brings veterans of that era to DC to see the new memorial. During the morning, CLICHÉ sang “God Bless The USA” and we all joined in with Joe Cerutti directing. The quartet includes Harmonizers Bob Wachter, Rob Nutt and Lou Manfre who sing with Jerry Eiler who, altho not a Harmonizer, is one of the top White Ornament salesmen every year for us.)

Supreme Court Show
Monday nite, the chorus sang again for the Supreme Court Historical Society in the great Supreme Court building. It was an exciting event starting with finding parking or riding the Metro with a chorus uniform bag, then going thru the tight security. Everyone’s Social Security number had to be submitted by the chapter secretary.

Here is reporter Alan Wile’s copy about the experience.

Don Dillingham, Mike Gilmore, Victor Hills, Carl Kauffmann, Nick Leiserson, Ken Rub, Greg Tepe and Alan Wile met at the Supreme Court “Lawyers Lounge” and enjoyed box lunches while awaiting the arrival of Bob Blair … and permission to bring the Harmovan down to the loading dock area. All were issued “contractor” badges (after security screening).

“Eventually, Bob was cleared to back the Harmovan down the ramp … and did a commendable job. Boxes, risers, and all manner of Harmo-paraphernalia was removed. Some was set aside while the rest was rolled and carried to the elevator … which we had to share with the caterers. Once all the necessary items were unloaded the boxes had to be put back in the truck … and the truck removed until it would return to reverse the process.

“Our riser crew put up six sets of risers (three regular and three reverse sections) in front of the huge American flag at the end of the hall. When in place the risers nearly ran across the entire end of the hall. All this was observed by security and other Supreme Court personnel. Once done, we departed. We received excellent cooperation from the Court Marshals, security personnel, Historical Society personnel, the caterer supervisor, and escorts.

“As it happened, however, after we’d left, it was determined that our risers blocked the route the SWAT Team would have to take (if needed). So “they” removed one riser section and adjusted the remaining sections. With 80 guys expected, we adjusted to the crowded risers, and managed.

“Harmonizers began to arrive about 6 p.m. and were directed to the cafeteria as the staging area for dressing and rehearsing. Terry Reynolds distributed paper copies of all the musical changes to our contest set made at the retreat … and we were informed that the uptune would not be on the evening’s program. Meanwhile, we helped ourselves to water and milled around until 7:30, when chorus manager, Mark Klostermeyer, called us to line up.

Will Cox conducted clapping sequences and warm-up drills. Joe rehearsed us on the evenings’ songs and had us turn toward the center and squeeze together to get the feel of what we might experience once on the risers. Although choreography was to be performed (to the extent possible), our focal was to be on Joe for each song.

“Eventually we moved to the ready room where we enjoyed some sweets and more water. Called to line up (in flat lines, a la the riser setup), Joe rehearsed us a bit until it was time to head for the dinner venue and our performance.

“We opened with “Great Day,” followed by “Ob La Di, Drunken Sailor, Summertime, NY-NY,” and ended with the “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Joe was “out front” but because of the closeness of the dinner guests, was restricted to a spot about 24 inches from the front row. So that he could be seen, he directed with his hands held high.

Scipio Garling handled emcee duties for two of the songs. Scott Kahler handled the sound work. We were well-received and every song resulted in enthusiastic applause.

“Our final number and departure from the risers marked the end of the dinner. After changing, a goodly number helped to strike the set and take it all down to the loading area. Although the Harmovan was allowed to come down the ramp to the loading area, it was not permitted to remain longer than it took to load up. As a result, all our equipment had to be staged and readied for loading. Bob Blair did yeoman work at every stage – it couldn’t have been done as well without him. Kudos to the guys who stayed with him to finish the job.

YeEd has not gotten a confirmed or final list of Justices that were present, but several guys said they saw four.

Tuesday Rehearsal June 7th
This was a crucial rehearsal and chapter meeting and it was a success on all points. After the great retreat weekend, the guys on the risers accepted the challenge of incorporating changes and suggested improvements. The handout prepared by music vp, Terry Reynolds, which summarized the study points, helped the guys be prepared.

The chapter admin team did their usual good job of having the meeting hall ready – risers, guest chairs, coffee on to brew, sound and av equipment set, guest welcome station in place, and a row of admin tables for all the stations where guys needed to take care of the many details for the trip to Kansas City. Getting all the contest props into the hall is a big job each week. Several guys tried their skill on the trampolines as part of the contest set.

Will Cox did the warm up and stimulated a lot of energy on the risers.

Director Joe was ready to lead the work sessions. He has more gift cards to present to hard workers and gave one to Bob Rhome for all the contribution he makes each week. Joe wanted to sing and work. He remarked, “The retreat was awesome. Let’s relive it!”

And that is what happened.

The front row went to the lobby to work with visual coach, Geri Geis.

Joe and the visual team taught guys on the four riser rows the moves that replace the moves needed to handle the sunglasses – which won’t be used on the risers.

The music and visual teams led the chorus thru a solid review with lots of reps. Jim Lake was pitch man this week.

Mid way in the evening, there was a chapter meeting session full of announcements guys needed to hear in prep for the contest and other events the chapter is involved in this month.

Ian Poulin has afterglow tickets for the June 2th East Coast Harmony Show. $20 each. Get yours.

Secretary, Chris Buechler, presented membership renewal cards to Nick Murane for 6 years, and to Ike Evans for 24 years.

Jack Cameron is eager to get everyone’s contest photo order form.

Brad Jones offered consignment tickets for the big show on the 26th.

Steve Lingo welcomed guests including Kevin Lynch from Hilltop, MN, and Jeff Waggett, from McLean, nephew of Ev Nau, who was also a guest this week. Welcome all.

After the coffee break, Joe stressed the need for guys to sell tickets for the June show!!! If you don’t have a customer, he makes his usual offer. Buy 4 or 5 tickets and give them to him to issue to college or hi school guys who would benefit from seeing the show.

Then it was back to work. It was really hot outside and so when the air conditioning was shut off by the city at 9 pm, the temp jumped to 80 degrees in the hall. But the guys didn’t let up. Director Joe apologized to the men for the heat and they all were appreciative and willing to keep going. The repeated drills and reps were a workout for all.

The drills continued til a little after 10 pm and then it was more work to reload the boxes onto the truck.

Other Harmonizer Family News
Dick Hall
reported that Carolyn had fallen and broken her leg again. She is at Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Room 435, 7502 Surratts Rd., Clinton, MD 20735. Dick thinks she will be moving from the hospital to another location for therapy. Good luck Carolyn.

Myles Glancy was at Durant to see the contest set and visit with all. He departs soon for graduate studies in music in New England. Good luck. Come see us when you can.

Bruce Roehm is headed to Great Falls, MT, this week for his next military assignment. He has been busy supervising the truck loading process. But he will be with the front row in Kansas City. Hurray!

We closed the meeting with guest, Ev Nau from the BHS Foundation staff in Nashville, TN, directing “Keep The Whole World Singing.” He mentioned that he had been getting a lot of phone calls from someone named Lew Klinge. (Too bad Lew was not there for a face-to-face meeting!)

Everyone was headed home and bidding farewell with a chuckle that we don’t have a Harmonizer event for a whole week!

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. —YeEd.)

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