Looking Back on the November 5th Chapter Meeting (as reported by Assistant Scribe, Dave Branstetter)
The Harmonizers met in the Music Room of First Baptist Church due to Durant Center being used as a polling site. Any inconvenience was more than outweighed by the knowledge that we will finally get a respite from the campaign TV ads!! Sandy Stamps staked out a spot for herself and the White House Christmas Ornaments.
Assistant director Will Cox conducted the warm up session, which led to chorus work on “O Holy Night”. The chorus then split up for 25 minutes worth of sectional rehearsals, giving us all a chance to fine tune some of the holiday music. As a side note, I must say the “Women’s Robing Room” might not have been terribly conducive to rehearsing, but its amenities rivaled those of any Country Club locker room I’ve seen!
The chorus reconvened in the Music Room, with Associate director Tony Colosimo leading. Director Joe Cerutti is in Hawaii this week with his Sweet Adeline’s chorus, The Pride of Baltimore, for their International Convention. As they say, good work if you can find it!! Best wishes to them and all the competitors (including quartet Shades of Jade who have their own ties to the Harmonizers). Tony started off with “Drunken Sailor”, urging the chorus to be mindful of the dynamic markings for the different sections of the piece – they’re not all the same! We then ran through “Little Drummer Boy”; basses and baris have to remember to apply the “pitch revisitation principle” for their parts. Tony wrapped up the first portion of rehearsal by working “Fa La La”, focusing on contrasting the different sections of the piece by changing our “vocal color”, not the volume, all while not sacrificing quality. He also hammered on the visual presentation plan for the song, both scripted choreography and facial expression (including the introduction of the “scared Dachshund” face – see Tony for a demonstration if you missed it!)
Membership VP Mark Klostermeyer started off the business meeting, filling in for Operations VP Bob Rhome. He referred the chorus to Greg Tepe’s email regarding the Nov 11th performance at Oakton Elementary School. Chorus call is at 8:30 and active duty or retired military may wear their uniform if they choose, suit/sport coat and tie for all others. He announced that Tony would be conducting auditions for the “Ave Maria” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” solos tonight and on Nov 12th. Mark noted there would also be a rehearsal for “the Monks” on Nov 12th and closed by reminding the chorus that assistant director Terry Reynolds would be leading an informal rehearsal on Thursday, Nov 7th, from 7:00-9:00pm at Durant.
Josh Roots took a moment to introduce Jeremy Knobel, who will be serving as the House Manager for the Holiday Shows.
Chapter President Alan Wile provided updates on several current and former Harmonizers and spouses. He also noted the Sweet Adeline’s International convention was available for viewing via webcast (there is no charge, although viewers are asked to make a donation). Alan reminded everyone of the upcoming President’s Awards Banquet to be held on Jan 25th at Durant and asked everyone to get their RSVP to Steve Murane as soon as possible to ensure everyone has a seat!
Calvin Schnure reported that Harmonizer Chuck Hunter is settled and doing well in his new posting in Turkey.
Rich Hewitt introduced the evening’s lone guest – an applicant (aaaaaahhhh!!!), and mentioned that this is a great time of the year to invite others to rehearsals (hint, hint).
After a 15-minute break, Tony led an excellent craft session focused on a deeper understanding and application of the maxim, “Champions are made at the ends of phrases”. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting louder, it means the end of a phrase leads into the next phrase without “dead space”. Tony mentioned a few ways we can bring excitement to sustained notes – lifting the pitch, spin (increased air flow through a lifted soft palate), and by swelling and/or receding in volume – all of which require breath! He had the chorus work on using the breath in as a way of cutting the note off, which improves synchronization and prepares us for the next phrase. Great session!!
Tony then turned the chorus over to assistant director Mike Kelly, while he took candidates for the holiday show solos off for auditioning. Mike led the chorus through “Jingle Bells”, with the modified road map to allow for the added verse TBD will be singing. He also led us through “Feliz Navidad” and “Little Saint Nick”, reminding us to emphasize the “push” beats while giving the notes their full value. Terry Reynolds took over to direct “Ave Maria” and wrapped up the rehearsal by running through the three pieces the chorus will be performing at Oakton Elementary School on Nov 11th – “Stars and Stripes Forever”, “God Bless America” and “The Armed Forces Medley”.
With that, I end my two-week tenure as Assistant Scribe and return my pen and paper to Jack Pitzer!! - Dave