Looking Back on the 2013 Holiday Dinner Shows, Dec. 6 -7
This year’s Harmonizer holiday dinner shows Friday nite, Saturday afternoon and Saturday nite, were sold out weeks in advance. The music was better than any holiday show in years, maybe ever. We had some new songs the guys liked singing like “Little Saint Nick,” “Fa La La La La,” and “Feliz Navidad” with its own calypso band. There were so many guys singing in the show, the stage was packed! The audiences laughed and awarded us standing ovations over and over. So many new guys raised their hands when director Joe Cerutti asked, “Who is singing in their first show with the Harmonizers?” that YeEd couldn’t write all the names fast enough.
The new auction launched this year by Brad Jones and Randall Eliason was fun for the audiences and brought in significant extra income for the chapter. And those sales set the mood for guests to buy ahead for next year’s show.
We were honored to have as guests on Friday nite’s show, The American Boychoir, from Princeton, NJ. Former member Myles Glancey contacted us when their concert in the DC area was canceled, to see if the Boychoir might sing on our show. What fun.
Costumes were great and reflected some effort by producers to get good toy examples or elves. The new members caught the spirit just fine.
All the soloists for the chorus songs were terrific – Tony Colosimo, Josh DesPortes, Peter Hubbard, Jack Cameron, Rich Hewitt, Drew Fuller, Don Dillingham, Mike Kelly, Noah Van Gilder.
Jack-in-the-Box Terry Reynolds made the show flow along with several other members doing character parts in the first two acts that were scripted – a theme that was based around word that Santa gave his elves a cruise, the cruise ship was captured by pirates, but Jack got them to quit their life of crime to be Monks, and all the while the singers shoe-horned in all kinds of songs we knew. The third act was a more formal holiday concert with a mix of barbershop and choral music and sacred music such as the famous Chanticleer arrangement of “Ava Maria.” Our chapter a cappella group, TBD, and quartet ACME CHORD COMPANY (Dan O’Brien, Chris Susalka, Paul Grimes, Eric Wallen) sang on the show too. Both groups played parts in the scripted portion – with TBD being the pirates. Will Cox was pirate king and also entertained the crowds with his very funny recitation of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Many Friends in Harmony and family members helped us staff the show such as stage management, do the “monks” cue cards, decorate the hall to make it into Santa’s workshop, and to operate the house and sales efforts. Assistant director Terry Reynolds was coach coordinator for the “monks” group.
The tech crew with Mike Kelly at the helm worked hard to make things go smoothly for lights and sound, prerecorded messages including messages from the “parrot” played by Ken Fess, who followed the pirate king all over the stage! Dixie Kennett did her usual fine job with lights, making everyone look as good as possible.
It takes a lot of little details to make it all work: Archie the staffer at First Baptist was a gem to help us get tables or plugs or wires or such; the kitchen staff worked hard to prepare the foods we purchased and hauled in (we served about 400 people at each of the three shows the lasagna, salad, bread, green beans); everyone brought great holiday cookies to add to the brownies the cooks made; Roger Day and his crew made the hall sparkle especially with all the wrapped boxes from the chorus members; Bruce Minnick made kids happy who wanted to talk to Santa Claus; Steve White brought his handmade sleigh bells for some of our songs; Nellie Crusenberry spent Friday rebuilding uniforms for TBD; Ike Evans tuned the piano in the hall so the Boychoir could have a well-tuned instrument for Friday nite; Nick Leiserson made it possible for the youth choir to have a tour of the Nation’s Capital; many members who don’t sing currently helped with major jobs too like Joe (and Janet) Cerutti Sr. in the sound booth, and Gary Plaag, Dennis Ritchey and Bob Eckman in the kitchen; several father/son combinations were on the stage – Todd and Luke Ryktarsyk, Tommy and Garrett Garner, and Joshua and David DesPortes, plus Joe and Joe Sr.; guys out did themselves in getting the audiences to sing crazy responses for the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” several guys formed quartets to do the first and fifth day responses, a crew of guys worked Friday morning to haul in all the decorations and all the boxes of food for the kitchen crew into the hall – sure seems like Bob Blair and Bob Rhome were on hand at every call for those tasks, and it all got put away Saturday nite in our storage units thanks to all the men who helped load the Harmo truck after the show.
Before each show, the music team did warm ups and some run-throughs of the songs. Show management seemed to have it all together with chorus manager Mark Klostermeyer on duty, dining room or house manager Jeremy Knobel, overall show manager Nick Leiserson, and script writers Josh Roots and Scipio Garling.
Hopefully YeEd has gotten all the credits of members who had significant tasks, since there was no reference or printed program for the event. If you were missed, sorry. Let YeEd know for the record. Thanks.
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 during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)