Friday, May 2, 2014

  Looking Back on the April 29th Chapter Meeting

The guys had to find parking and run thru hard rain and jump over flooding streets and curbs this week. But the risers were crowded even before the 7pm start time.  The music team and chorus manager Mark Klostermeyer did some shifting of guys to spread out clumps of basses and to even out the number of guys in rows (mostly moved from second and third up to fourth and fifth).  Thanks to all the guys who are making the changes and relearning the stage presence.

No doubt next week’s review of stage presence at 6pm will attract another big crowd to work with riser coach Chuck McKeever.

Our special coach and friend, Cindy Hansen, was with us for the evening and we worked hard to take advantage of her time to add soooooo much detail and performance “enHansenments” to our already good stage plan.  She worked with director Joe Cerutti on almost all of the songs for our trip to France.

After a welcome-to-the-risers with the Harmonizer recording of the “Summertime” performance which Cindy had helped us choreograph in 2004; and then assistant director Will Cox did the warm ups.

The organizing team for Normandy, Ken Fess and Mick Stamps, was busy too before chapter – a long line of members making their final payments for the trip, and/or ordering a trip shirt from Peter Hubbard.

To set the mood for our work in Normandy, Mick and Joe told the story of Billie D. Harris who was shot down in France, and his widow, Peggy, who has frequently paid tribute to her soldier husband by visiting his grave and sending flowers.  It turns out we will meet her in Les Ventes, France, where the mayor has invited us to sing in honor of the man they consider their hero for having turned his plane away from the town before he crashed and was killed.  Chris Huber, who discovered this story, spoke to the widow and the local town leaders and learned that a 12-year old boy got to the plane crash in time to see the name tag on the pilot.  He had to run away tho, because the Germans were coming.  He is also still living. Ken Fess and Chris have worked to make this extra stop happen for us.  Can you imagine singing “Bring Him Home” there?

Joe and Cindy worked as a team to add another layer of performance to the songs along with inputs from choreographer Carlos Barillo.

Early in the evening while the chorus worked, associate director Tony Colosimo auditioned men who wished to try out for solos in some of the songs for France.

Operations vp Bob Blair conducted the chapter meeting and found Chris Huber without his name badge, so he was awarded the huge “Ooops I Forgot My Badge.”

Ken Fess, also chairman of this fall’s Harmony on the Harbor show prior to the SAI convention, reported that whole sections of the hall are sold out.  Be sure to get your friends and family their tickets. 

Bob reported that all of the chapter’s uniforms and materials normally stored in the back at Durant were moved to a chapter storage unit on Saturday.  Nathan Ritter helped Bob coordinate the work. This temporary relocation will be for several months while the City of Alexandria works on refurbishing the building (where our chapter was founded 66 years ago).

President Terry Reynolds reported that Rick Wagner is home now and making progress. Yeah! Sandy Stamps reported that Rick is facing a lot of physical therapy – fortunately at their home. Before the evening ended, Joe had the chorus sing a Get Well message for Rick – thanks for help to do that from Mike Kelly.

Terry also reported that John Thompson’s wife, Sara, was still in Mt. Vernon Hospital.  Bob Wachter seemed to be up-to-date on her status.

And Terry announced that next week, the WORD OF MOUTH group that won our recent Aca Challenge will be at our chapter meeting to sing for us and we to sing for them.

Terry stressed that all of us should be making travel plans and clear the calendar for the chorus retreat on Saturday, May 17th, at First Baptist Church, 2932 King St., Alexandria 22302. We will set up on Fri nite and some guys will be needed to help.  Then Saturday at 9am we start – with coffee and DONUTs  available too! Chuck McKeever is retreat master.

In the afternoon we will have our World War II tribute show with local dignitaries, several WWII vets and other military and senior citizen groups.  Families and friends are welcome too for the 3pm send-off show.  The chorus will debut our songs for France.  There will be refreshments too – each chorus member is asked to bring two dozen cookies to go with the coffee and lemonade we will serve our guests. Randall Eliason heads up the committee of guys working on this event, along with Sandy Stamps and the FRIENDS IN HARMONY members. NOTICE: first, the retreat will resume after the tribute until 9pm, and second, new guys or SPECIAL FORCES guys need to plan ahead for transportation from a Metro station to the church.  It is really too far to walk and bus service might be really slow.  Ask someone to pick you up his way to the church.

Terry suggests having members organize events like this are another reason why “It Is Great to Be a Harmonizer!”

Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Dean Sherick for two years; Rich Hewitt for three years; Ken Henderson for 10 years; Joe Cerutti Jr. for 13 years; Tom Berkey for 17 years; and Chris Huber for 22 years. Dick Newton got a card for his 30 years and membership lapel pin. Jim Gammon got a card for 40 years and a lapel pin. Our chapter buys lapel pins for members’ milestone years of membership.

Rich Hewitt filled in for membership vp Jeremy Richardson, who was on travel, and introduced our guests for the evening including several first timers.

We had a good break and then it was back on the risers.

First thing we did was sing our traditional farewell song, “A Place on the Risers for You” to Tony LaRosa who has only gotten to be a Harmonizer for a few months.  His job is taking him to TN.   Darn!!

Cindy met with the musical leadership and visual team while Joe worked with the chorus.

At the end of the nite, high-schooler member Tommy Garner won the 50/50 again and directed “Keep the Whole World Singing” for the chorus.

The crews put things away and emptied the room for the Rec Department.  Joe and Cindy joined the big crowd at the afterglow.

Bob Rhome has encouraged all members of the Harmo family to begin making housing arrangements and purchase convention registration tickets for the M-AD Fall Convention and Contest in Wildwood, NJ (October 24-26). Many of the hotel/motels are already fully booked or reserved, so don’t delay. There are condos available near the Convention Center at very reasonable prices. Please go to Groupanizer to note your intentions (30 men have already done so, thanks). Let’s set a goal of over 120 men. This will be the next step in our run towards the Pittsburgh International Convention in July 2015. The current plan for district is to perform “Anything Goes” and our “new ballad” which will be introduced in the coming weeks. For International next year, there will be terrific new uptune with crazy-fun front row choreography.

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 66th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

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