Saturday, June 17, 2017

Looking Back on the June 13th Chapter Meeting and 69th Anniversary
Besides being an important rehearsal, this week we celebrated our 69th anniversary as a chapter.

The chapter was chartered in June 1948 – the charter is dated June 19th and the charter night gathering was June 29th in Alexandria’s Cameron Street Recreation Center.  All 10 men who signed the charter were present. We were the 522nd chapter chartered in SPEBSQSA, Inc. The Washington DC Chapter was our sponsoring chapter.  Their current director Bill Colosimo was present to bring greetings from their chapter and salute the Harmonizers.

Stories were shared about how our co-founders, Dean Snyder and Gene Barnwell, met. Current director Joe Cerutti spoke about the legacy that earlier generations of Harmonizers have passed on to us today. Our Harmonizer name came from an Alexandria Gazette article calling us the local harmonizers. Al Hanenbaum spoke to present Joe one of the Harmonizer watches (Al says he found it in his dresser and had forgotten it but the battery was still good!). Plus Al held up a bag of all of his chorus medals and witnessed that being a Harmonizer all these years were an important part of his life! 

Milestones mentioned include the invention of the term “barbershop craft” and the formal leadership training for chapter officers (then called Chapter Officer Training COTS).

Chorus directors from our chapter include Gene Barnwell – 1948-1950; Werner Paul - 1950-1951; Bud Arberg - 1951-1962; Oz Newgard – 1962-1970; Scott Werner – 1970-1080; John Hohl – 1980-1983; Scott Werner – 1984- 2002; Richard Lewellen – 2003-2006; Joe Cerutti – 2007-present.

Thanks to Martin Banks for a terrific historical display for all to enjoy with our original chapter charter on display; to Clark Chesser for getting the anniversary cake; and to all those who helped haul in supplies for the evening in the music suite at First Baptist, those who helped serve and those who helped clean up. Phil Ashford was official photographer and recorded the historical events.  The chapter informal history committee was recognized too – Blair, Rhome, Banks, Pitzer.  President Randall Eliason planted the seed in announcing major plans for next year’s show in honor of our 70 years of Harmony in Alexandria.

Many former Harmonizer family members were present too including Terry Jordan, Doug Smith, JT Price, and new baby Riley Havens at her first Harmonizer meeting,

The regular chapter meeting was a hard working session on music and other matters.  The chapter board met before 7.  An octet practiced for their appearance at National Cathedral on Friday in a special International event – they were to sing both “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The Queen” anthems.

Associate director Tony Colosimo lead a tag sing in the foyer before the meeting too.  Then he did the vocal warm ups for the chorus. When director Joe Cerutti took the helm, he reminded all of the singers that our work on the “Chicago” medley is important in that we will feature it in an appearance at Harmony U.  There were sectional break outs too.

Executive director Terry Reynolds saluted the three chapter quartets that made the cut to sing in the fall M-AD contest – CAPITAL CITY CLOSE HARMONY COMPANY, SILVER ALERT and  NAUTRAL SEGUE.  Congrats guys.

Upcoming rehearsal locations – June 20th back at Durant; Saturday sectionals at First Baptist June 24th  from 9-12; no meeting on July 4th.

There will be a softball game on Saturday Aug. 26th with the Harmonizers and Parkside Harmony guys.  Stay tuned for details!!

Thanks to our a cappella group TBD for doing the flash mob gig at the Jefferson Memorial recently.  And thanks to the quartet of Tony, Rusty, Steve and Derrick for singing at the poetry contest recently.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Casey Belzer for 2 years; Tom Jackson for 22 years, and Martin Banks for 34 years.

Before adjourning for the nite we sang farewell and “There Will Always Be a Place on the Risers for You” to Rusty Orvik who is moving to Arizona now that he has retired from the military. 

In other recent Harmonizer news:

Executive director Terry Reynolds and AH Inc. Chapter president Liz Birnbaum represented the chapter at the Greater Washington DC Area Choralis Ovation Awards gala Tuesday nite at 6:30 pm. The Harmonizers were selected from 140 performing groups in the DC metro area and nominated for the Best Specialty Chorus – Barbershop award. The Alexandria Singers, directed by Harmonizer Bill Colosimo, also were honored

On June 7th, about 20 members sang at Alexandria’s George Washington Middle School “Clash Of Chords” for the student contestant groups and their parents and friends who all got into the sing-along with “All You Need Is Love.” Assistant director Terry Reynolds was maestro for the nite.  This event was organized by chapter member Casey Belzer who is the music educator there.      

Members of the chapter were invited by The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington (GMCW) artistic director Dr. Thea Kano to join a festival chorus to sing as part of the Gay Pride "Equality March" on Sunday, June 11. Several members attended a rehearsal Sunday morning and then walked to the National Mall to participate in the march with the other singers – about 400 were expected/.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Looking Back on the June 6th Chapter Meeting
(Many thanks to reporter Don Harrington for taking notes this week while YeEd recovered from hand surgery.)
Rehearsal was at the First Baptist Church this week; next week, too, when we will be celebrating our 69th birthday. Please take note. Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm up. Maestro Joe Cerutti welcomed everyone, especially Rich Peyton, Larry Dennis and Rick Wagner who were back on the risers. He encouraged folks to read the announcements, especially Dave Branstetter's weekly email, and use it to help make best use of our rehearsal time. He also expressed confidence in the chorus's ability to learn the three new songs for Harmony University. Coaching is expected to bring about changes in the music, so our goal is to arrive singing notes and words accurately and singing artistically, but not perfection. Joe asked each guy to commit to a date when he will be solid on each song and gave us a paper form to record it.

The guys worked hard on all three songs, focusing on the sections announced previously, then broke into sections and practiced those and other difficult sections further.
Executive director Terry Reynolds and AH Inc. Chapter president Liz Birnbaum represented the chapter at the Choralis Ovation Awards gala. The Harmonizers were selected from 140 performing groups in the DC metro area and nominated for the Best Specialty Chorus award. Congratulation to the Washington Revels Chorus, which took home the award. In Terry's absence, operations chairman Mike Edison made several announcements.

TBD, our a cappella group, was hired to perform this past weekend, singing "America" as a flash mob for a tour group at the Jefferson Memorial, earning $750 for the chapter. Way to go, guys!

Mark your calendar for the All Parts Sectional Rehearsal, Saturday, June 24 9:00 AM - 12:00 noon at the First Baptist Church in Alexandria. Also, don't forget to sign up for Personal Vocal Instruction with Vickie Dennis.

Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership cards to Kevin McKenzie (18 Years), Larry Dennis (21 years, Ken Rub (26 years ) and Dave Welter (41years).
Mark Klostermeyer introduced our guests and we sang for them before taking a break

We kicked off the second half by listening to our new up tune, “Blow Gabriel Blow.” The amount of toe tapping, clapping and body movements signals we can't wait to wade into this one.

We wrapped up the evening applying what we learned on the two new songs until Rick Wagner directed us in “Keep the Whole World Singing.”
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Friday, June 2, 2017

Looking Back on the May 30th Chapter Meeting
ALERT – the chapter will celebrate our 69th anniversary on Tuesday nite, June 13th!  All current and former members are welcome for the event.  Cake too!! Our sponsoring chapter, Washington DC, will have representatives too.  Also note, the chapter meetings on June 6 and June 13th will be at First Baptist Church, 2932 King St. in Alexandria, in the music suite.
This week the come-early-to-tag was at 6:50 with associate director Tony Colosimo teaching.  The crowd continues to be good for that event.
There was some clatter in the hall before our start time as we rented our risers to the DC Gay Men’s Chorus for an event and the risers came out from under the stage in Durant.
At start time, we formed a huge circle in the hall and Tony did the vocal warm ups before turning the chorus over to director Joe Cerutti. Joe was full of compliments and thank yous to the quartets that represented us so well at Southern Division and to the chorus for its work to earn the good score on Saturday, and also to the many men who stayed around for an impromptu rehearsal on our new music.  That session appeared to help many men when we got to those songs this week.
Joe thanked Johan Westberg for the idea to make the extra rehearsal open to all at the convention and reported he had gotten a nice note about it from other chorus leaders. This prompted Joe to revisit briefly the topic of inclusion and diversity and Joe spoke some about next steps, his promise to strive for more open communication, and his desire to create more dialog with members about the topic.
The musical workout sessions for this week concentrated on the “Chicago” medley and new songs for Harmony U. There is one more song to come – very soon.
Executive director Terry Reynolds conducted the meeting and expressed thanks to the chapter quartet, NATURAL SEQUE,  for filling a request from the American Legion to sing at Alexandria National Cemetery on Memorial Day.  Terry also announced an addition to the chapter calendar – an all-sectionals rehearsal on Saturday morning June 24th  in the music suigte at First Baptist.
Ops team chairman Mike Edison recognized and thanked Matt Doniger for his above-the-call-of-duty efforts on the weekend when our truck hauling risers for the contest had a blowout and had to be towed to Reston!!  Matt managed it all and got the risers there in time!!!
Terry encouraged all members to review and note the recent start of communications from events chairman Craig Kujawa for the fall district contest weekend in Reading PA.  See his first edition of “Magic City Countdown” (referring to the run to get to the International contest in Orlando in summer of 2018).
President Randall Eliason reported that Dick Hall is in a rehab facility (Restore Health Rehabilitation Center, 4615 Einstein Place, White Plains MD 29695, his cell 301-928-4379) and eager to hear from chapter members and that Bob Ulibarri is making progress on his heart health issues.
Randall presented another of his Presidential Valor Awards – this time to Jeff  Burkey for his great work on the chapter’s new website.  Congrats and thanks, Jeff.
Ike Evans was taking photos of members for the member photo board that hangs in the hall. All newer members are encouraged to get their mug up on the board!  And old timers who don’t look like their mug, should remake theirs!
Membership director Rich Hewitt introduced guests, and asked for volunteers to work at sending cards to members with health and family issues.
Private vocal lessons will continue to be available with Vicki Dennis on Tuesday nites.
The Chapter Nominating Committee is gearing up to consider individuals to serve on next year’s Board of Directors. To ensure the broadest possible coverage, your input is welcomed for (1) names of individuals you believe would serve the chapter best in a particular position, and/or (2) your own name for consideration. The nominating committee includes Brad Jones, Clark Chesser, Mark Klostermeyer and Todd Ryktarsyk with Alan Wile as chairman.
Everyone sends congratulations to Andrew Havens and his wife on the birth of their baby girl today! Greg Tepe was in the hall this week as was Jerry TePaske.  Great to have Ross Felker in town for a couple weeks from his home in Texas.  Also was fun to hang out with several guys at Southern Division we don’t get to see often like Larry Silva and Chuck BottsTerry Jordan was up and moving and was fun to share the weekend with him too.
No one can believe Will Cox won the 50/50 again this week! So Matt Doniger directed “Keep the Whole World Singing.”
Some new guys made it to the afterglow at LaPortas at 1600 Duke Street – short walk or drive from Durant. Also easy access to the Metro. Plenty of free parking.  Everyone is welcome.  You don’t have to stay late – come for a short stop before heading home.  Late singers manage to get in some tag singing tho.
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Looking Back on the May 26-27th Southern Division Contest
The Alexandria chapter was busy all weekend at the Reston Hyatt as participants and leaders for the 2017 Southern Division Contest as part of the Mid Atlantic District. 
Friday nite the quartet contest started at 5 pm and our seven quartets represented us well. 
First place was won by CAPITAL CITY CLOSE HARMONY CLUB with Mario Sengco; Jordan Haedtler, Chuck Hunter, Ken White.

The first place senior quartet and fifth place overall was SILVER ALERT with Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, Steve Murane.

Sixth place quartet was NATURAL SEGUE with Scipio Garling, Noah Van Gilder, Jeff Burkey, Terry Reynolds.

Seventh place was YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpey, Hardman Jones, Vic Owen Jr. Seventeenth place was MISFIRE with Jay Sorenson, Brian Ammerman, Litic Murali, Matt Doniger. Eighteenth place was OLD TOWN SOUND with Carl Kauffmann, Randall Eliason, Bob Mattes, Dave Welter. Twentieth place was FOUR IN THE MORNING with Mike Geipel, Ron Nichols, Gene Thompson, Emmitt Totty.

Emcee for that event was our own Shawn Tallant and three Harmonizers were on the judging panel for the quartet contest – Chris Buechler, Alan Lamson and Tony Colosimo. Mic tester quartet was SERENDIPITY, the recently crowned mixed quartet champs in M-AD with Sheryl Berlin, Anne Bureau, Bill Colosimo and Ig Jakovac.

The chorus contest was Saturday morning in the Hyatt ballroom at 10:30 am. With eleven chorus entries, Alexandria sang fifth.  Mic tester for the chorus contest was our friends in the Mount Vernon VA Harmony Heritage Singers.
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The Alexandria 73-man chorus placed first with an 87.8 score. We sang “Summertime” and “I’ll Be Seeing You” from our repertoire. We wore black suits and the thin ties. This was the first contest performance for several guys – Johan Westberg, Rob Barnovsky, Jerry Foil, and Mickey Robertson.

We began the day with warm ups at 9 am with director Joe Cerutti, who also congratulated all of our quartets for their work in representing the chapter.  Most of us arrived in our uniforms for the day. \

District executive vice president Bob Eckman was emcee for the chorus contest and Chris and Alan were on the panel. After the contest ended, folks took a break for lunch in the Reston TownCenter area or rested or went home to come back for the jamboree appearance Saturday nite.

There was an informal chorus rehearsal on our new songs to take to Harmony University and the “Chicago” medley. Joe had the 40 or so guys form a circle for this session For the jamboree we sang one of our new spiritual songs, “There Will Be a City” and “All You Need Is Love” which included a fun audience sing-along.

The jamboree included quartets who will be going to International this summer, top placers in the quartet and chorus contest from the weekend. Harmonizer Rick Taylor spoke during the weekend to encourage more folks to join and support Harmony Foundation. District president Dennis Ritchey was working all weekend to help make things run smoothly and was emcee for the jamboree.

As is often  the case at contests, our guys participated with several other choruses too. 

The mic tester chours, Harmony Heritage Singers, is directed by Drew Fuller with Mike Everard, Jim Kirkland, Lou Manfre, Bruce Minnick, Howard Nestlerode and Bob Wachter singing on the risers. The DC Singing Capital Chorus was directed by Bill Colosimo and Al Hanenbaum sang with them. Mike Wallen directed the Richmond chorus and Mike Geipel sang with them. Also Drew Fuller, Sam McFarland, Art Medici and Bruce Minnick sang with Fairfax.

We wrapped up the weekend with “Keep The Whole World Singing” directed by Joe with our chorus on the stage.

President Randall Eliason hosted an impromptu Harmo room in the hotel both Friday and Saturday nites. Fun for all.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Friday, May 26, 2017

Looking Back on the May 23rd Chapter Meeting
The chorus arrived ready for hard work on the contest music and other new songs we have in our repertoire to learn for Harmony University. (Interesting what a large crowd of Harmonizers had dinner at Hard Times Café this week – there is always at least one booth of guys there at 5 pm.  Come join in the fun.)
The weekly “tag sing” at ten minutes before chapter meeting drew a big crowd with associate director Tony Colosimo.  Then when we all took the risers at 7 pm, Tony continued to do the vocal warm ups.
Director Joe Cerutti introduced special guests with us for the evening from the Harmony Foundation.  Harmonizer and HF staffer Rick Taylor and his wife Sue were with us as was new staffer Janet Wiley and relatively new CEO Dr. Perry White. Dr. White spoke to the chapter to thank them for their support of the Foundation and for their support of the goal to build singing opportunities in our nation. He expressed his appreciation to visit our chapter and get to see some chapters in action during these first few months of his tenure.
The musical work for the nite included solid reviews on the two contest songs for Southern Division this weekend in Reston. Bari section leader Chuck Hunter coached us again on reconnecting with the messages of the songs in new and fresh ways. Some experienced members worked with new guys to help them too.
We did the contest set several times after break as well and revised riser placements a little to incorporate the new contest singers with us.
Chapter executive director Terry Reynolds conducted the chapter meeting.  Main topic was the contest weekend.  Call time is 9 am – arrive dressed in black suit, white button cover shirt, thin black tie, and black shoes.  We sing about 11 am.  Singers need to get a contest ticket too when they arrive at the Reston Hyatt. Word is that the non-hotel parking garage is now a pay lot on week days but free on Saturday.
Singers should note that if the chorus wins the contest, we will sing on the Saturday nite Jamboree and sing “Rock My Soul” and “All You Need is Love” for the contest audience. We will assemble about 6:15 Saturday evening.
Chapter leaders are seeking responses via Groupanizer as to who will be available for singing at George Washington Middle School where Harmonizer Casey Belzer has organized an event for June 7th.
Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Rob Barnovsky for 8 years and Kellen Hertz for 9 years. President Randall Eliason reported that Dick Hall has had a little set back and is still in the hospital but expecting to be moved to a rehab facility soon.
Randall also thanked Mick Stamps and Todd Ryktarsyk for their extra efforts and hard work in making the past weekend GospelFest and Armed Forces shows with THE FAIRFIELD FOUR such a success.
Randall will also host a hospitality room at the Hyatt this weekend for those staying around.
After the break for refreshments, the meeting resumed and we were entertained by a new foursome that will début at the contest as a senior quartet: SILVER ALERT. Everyone is urged to go out Friday nite for the quartet contest that starts at 4:57 pm at the Reston Hyatt and cheer for the seven quartets with at least one representative from the chapter.
Randall presented checks of financial support to representatives of each of our seven quartet entries contest (in their singing order listed as tenor, lead, bari, bass):
Singing 4th
CAPITAL CITY CLOSE HARMONY CLUB
Mario Sengco; Jordan Haedtler, Chuck Hunter, Ken White

Singing 5th
YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT (Senior)
Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpey, Hardman Jones, Vic Owen Jr.

Singing 6th (Senior)
OLD TOWN SOUND
Carl Kauffmann, Randall Eliason, Bob Mattes, Dave Welter

Singing 9th
NATURAL SEGUE
Scip Garling, Noah Van Gilder, Jeff Burkey, Terry Reynolds

Singing 13th
MISFIRE
Jay Sorenson, Brian Ammerman, Litic Murali, Matt Doniger

Singing 14th (Senior)
SILVER ALERT
Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, Steve Murane

Singing 21st (Senior)
FOUR IN THE MORNING
Mike Geipel, Ron Nichols, Gene Thompson, Emmitt Totty

Good luck to all our competing quartet members!
Alan Wile and Walt Page continued the push to get everyone in the 50/50 and they were successful as ever this week. Winner Matt Doniger didn’t get to do the usual directing of “Keep the Whole World Singing” tho because Joe thought we should sing one of our spirituals for our guests from HFI.  Matt gets another chance this weekend. We sang “There Must Be a City.”

YeED reports that the recent “Looking Back” for the GospelFest was in error about the source of the chapter’s grant for that event – it was actually received from the Barbershop Harmony Society.
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Looking Back on the May 20th  Chapter Armed Forces Show and GospelFest
The Harmonizers were busy in their community on the May 20th weekend at Durant Recreation Center.
Our chapter was co-organizer of the local GospelFest which started Friday nite May 19th at 6 pm. The theme for this two-show event was “Music Through the Ages: Gospel and Barbershop.” Staff from the Alexandria Office of the Arts and our chapter leaders met months ago to start the idea and planning and that meeting put the GospelFest in motion.  Thanks much to Cheryl Anne Colson for her leadership and to the staff at the Durant Center for set up (along with our usual riser crews and audio team).
Friday nite there were four groups who appeared: a student assemble from Jefferson Houston School Choir; girls chorus from George Washington Middle School Choir (directed by Harmonizer Casey Belzer); current and retired City of Alexandria Employee Choir; and My Father’s House Christian Church Praise Team made up of singers of all ages from their church.  Emcee for the evening was John T. Chapman, councilman for the City of Alexandria and owner of Manumission Tour Company.
We brought Nashville’s Grammy winning THE FAIRFIELD FOUR to town for the weekend as part of our current efforts to delve into our roots as barbershop singers – all as part of the grant received from the Barbershop Harmony Society.  On Friday morning the quartet made an appearance for students at the local Jefferson Houston School for the Arts next door to Durant. Then the quartet wrapped up the Friday nite show at Durant to a very enthusiastic crowd of musicians and local residents.  Many Harmonizers were there to watch and help as needed.  Mick Stamps was show organizer. Todd Ryktarsyk was sound guy (which was a busy job since each group had to use a number of mics and/or piano or other musical instruments). Special kudos to Mick and Todd for doing all of the substantial sound equipment set up on Friday nite.
The finale of the show was Anne D. Smith leading the audience in singing of “This Little Light of Mine.”  She is teacher at Jefferson Houston and author of “Good News: Innovators and Originators of Gospel Music” which was the spark for the city to host its first GospelFest. She was also the host of the quartet’s appearance at the school on Friday morning.
President Randall Eliason artistic director Joe Cerutti served the guest quartet’s travel hosts for the weekend such as driving them to and from their various appearances which included a private tour of the U.S. Capital (thanks to Liz Birnbaum).
Then on Saturday the GospelFest continued and the Harmonizers arrived for their 10 am call. Early on director Joe Cerutti introduced us to THE FAIRFIELD FOUR and we got to review singing some of our songs with them – and for them. What a treat for all of us – and the quartet seemed really tickled by having us sing their songs for and with them.
Another special treat was our reuniting with our new buddies in the Alfred Street Baptist Male Chorus during warm up time to review the songs we taught each other in a recent gathering. Fun that fellow Harmonizer John Oswald Greene sings with both groups.
The 11 am GospelFest session on Saturday May 20th included appearances from the longstanding Shiloh Baptist Church and Third Street Baptist Church choirs, and The Alfred Street Male Chorus. The combined Harmonizer and Alfred Street singers sang “Down By The Riverside” and “Rock My Soul.” The Harmonizers sang “Summertime,” “There Must Be a City” and “All You Need is Love.” This was the first time singing with the chorus for Adam Afifi, a new baritone with lots of barbershop quartet experience. Phil Ashford was official photographer for the weekend. Great to see Pookie Dingle and Stephanie who stopped in to see the show while they were in the area.
THE FAIRFIELD FOUR sang with the Harmonizers and did their own set on this session of the GospelFest.
The GospelFest event was also a Spring Food Drive for the City of Alexandria working with ALIVE! and Hunger Free Alexandria, with singers patrons bringing non-perishable items.
In the afternoon, the chapter hosted its fourth Armed Forces Show – also in the main hall at Durant. It began at 3 pm, so the chorus was able to great a quick lunch or eat the goodies they brought.  For the day, we wore black suit pants and the black camp shirt with the Harmo logo.
The chorus sang several patriotic songs for the nice sized audience including some former members and family members, several retired military folks and many folks who came back from having heard us at the GospelFest. We also invited THE FAIRFIELD FOUR to join us for one song.
Joe had invited formerly active members to join us for the “Armed Forces Medley” and “God Bless America” for this show and several attended including Joe Wagovich and Bob Wachter. It was great to have them on the risers with us.
The Sea Cadets from Alexandria posted the colors for the event.  President Randall Eliason was emcee. A member of the American Legion spoke in recognition of Armed Forces Day.  Several Harmonizers also spoke as formerly active military men – Shawn Tallant, Steve Murane, Bob Blair and Rusty Orvik.  
Director of shows Mick Stamps coordinated the afternoon show too and Todd Ryktarsyk did the sound for the event. Several chapter volunteers worked to pass out programs during the shows for the day.
Before the show on Saturday there was a breakfast reception at Durant for performers and other fans to meet THE FAIRFIELD FOUR.  The quartet had CDs for sale in the lobby after the shows on Saturday and were happy to autograph them.
It was a great treat for all of us to have THE FAIRFIELD FOUR here, to get to meet them and to hear them perform.  They had a great time as well, and we are all looking forward to more singing together such as when they return to Alexandria for our fall show.
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Friday, May 19, 2017

Looking Back on the May 16th Chapter Meeting
This week’s chapter meeting was a solid evening of rehearsal and music work on the risers. Several former members were present to work on the music for the Armed Forces show this coming weekend. Director Joe Cerutti did the warm ups using the National Anthem as a vehicle for the exercise.
Earlier this year, Joe announced that we would be working harder to find more singing opportunities for inactive Harmonizers. So he has invited all inactive Harmonizers to join us this week for the Armed Forces Show, Saturday, May 20th, when we will be presenting our annual Armed Forces Day Show at the Durant Center at 3pm. We will be ending the show with a performance of the “Armed Forces Medley” and “God Bless America.” He invited ALL Harmonizers, including our inactive brethren, to join us on the risers to close the 3 pm show.  Those who were interested and available attended the beginning of Tuesday's rehearsal, where we did warm-up and rehearsed those two songs.

After working on the Armed Forces songs, we worked on the spiritual songs we will do at the GospelFest we are co-hosting on Saturday too.  We are bringing THE FAIRFIELD FOUR to this event and we will sing with them on Saturday at the 11 am show.  Call time is 10 am. We will wear black suite pants and black camp shirt and black shoes. We will also join the Alfred Street Baptist Men’s choir on that show. Bring canned goods to contribute too for ALIVE.
Joe also suggests we might all enjoy coming on Friday nite to hear the quartet and some other groups in the first half GospelFest performance which includes Casey Belzer’s middle school chorus. It starts at 6 pm at Durant.  Tickets at the door are $10.
The last half of the nite we worked at polishing our two contest songs for the Southern Division contest in the Hyatt at Reston Town Center. We sing on Saturday morning. We will wear black suite with black tie and shirt with covered buttons and black shoes. Choreographer Carlos Barillo with assistance from Chuck McKeever reviewed visual plans and Chuck Hunter coached emotional singing for the two songs.
Chapter executive director Terry Reynolds reported that our a capella group, TBD, sang a gig at the Old Dominion Boat Club and represented the chapter.
Terry also reports that the chapter is looking for a new home in the coming months as the city has had to raise their rental rates significantly starting July 1.  Suggestions for places should go to operations team chairman Mike Edison or president Randall Eliason.
President Randall also announced that Dick Hall fell last weekend and broke his left hip.  He is in room 2612 at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center.  He has his cell phone with him if you might wish to call him – 301-928-4379.  He is awaiting surgery.
It was good to see Doug White at this week’s meeting who is in town from his post in Korea.
Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Art Medici for 7 years; Steve Murane for 15 years; Tom Berkey for 20 years; Joe Wagovich for 35 years.  Both Tom and Joe also were presented lapel pins.
Thanks to all those who remember to make a contribution for coffee break!  And to those who bring in goodies to share.
Membership director Rich Hewitt welcomed our guest for this week.
Will Cox won the large 50/50 again this week and has donated much of it back to the chapter. Many thanks. We sang Happy Birthday to him too.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Looking Back on the May 9th Chapter Meeting and Inclusion Workshop
This week’s chapter meeting was really unique in the history of the Alexandria Harmonizers.
After a tag-time at 6:50 pm and short warm up period lead by associate director Tony Colosimo, the members assembled in chairs in the main hall at Durant facing a screen.
Our guest presenter and facilitator was Dr. Sheila Peters from Fish University in Nashville.  She was introduced by director Joe Cerutti.  He spoke about her work with the BHS International board and a session with the BHS staff in Nashville.
This week’s session was actually a continuation of those events but at the chapter level. She stressed the tasks needed for  us to accept change, improve inclusion by the chapter and work on all phases of diversity. She noted that we would need to be intentional about how we move forward – as a group and as individuals.
We did take a few breaks and sang some barbershop for her, as well as some of our spiritual music.
Clearly there will be follow-up and further discussion based on the inputs given by the members as part of the exercise.
Executive director Terry Reynolds conducted a chapter meeting as part of the evening before break for drinks and snacks.
A major part of the announcements was word about the GospelFest at Durant – co-sponsored by the chapter and the Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities, City of Alexandria. We are also bringing Grammy-winning Fairfield Four to appear at this event.  They will sing on Friday nite with several groups including Casey Belzer’s middle school chorus (they sing first). The Friday nite show starts at 6 pm.  Joe encourages all of us to go and get a full measure of the quartet’s great skill. All attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to local food banks.
The Harmonizers will sing on Saturday – chorus call is 10 am, we sing 11-1 – for the GospelFest.  Communications chairman Steve Murane encouraged all members at the 5/9 meeting to open their phones and go into Facebook to spread the word.
Also the chapter will host an Armed Forces tribute event at Durant Saturday afternoon at 3 pm. Former members are encouraged to come to chapter meeting on May 13th to review a couple songs like “Armed Forces Medley” and sing with us for the tribute event.
Next Terry provided calendar reminders for the chorus appearance at the Southern Division at Reston Town Center on Saturday May 27.  We sing at 11:22 am with a chorus call at 9 am.  Watch for more details about uniform and such.  Also plan ahead to get there or get car pool rides.  Also Friday nite we will have 7 quartets in the contest that starts at 5 pm.
Terry reports that there will likely NOT be a bus going to Harmony U, and we have accepted the gig to sing at Carnegie Hall in Sept. (the same weekend as the fall M-AD contest).

Members were reminded to keep their contact info updated on Groupanizer. The chapter will no longer create a separate directory or roster.
President Randall Eliason stressed the importance of participation at the Armed Forces show. He also shared news the Bob Ulibarri is headed home after his hospital stay.
Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reminded us that we should also be sure we keep our contact info correct at BHS since it does not sync with Groupanizer.  Chris then presented membership renewal cards to John Oswald Greene for 6 years; Mike Edison for 26 years; Chris Buechler for 32 years; and Howard Nestlerode for 42 years.
We wrapped up the nite with the 50/50 drawing that was not claimed this week, and so the money was returned to the kitty for next week.  The work by Alan Wile and Walt Page is significantly building up our chapter contributions to the M-AD Endowment Fund (that is where half of the money goes each 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 during the 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Looking Back on the May 2nd Chapter Meeting and Sing with Alfred Street Choir on April 26th
Last week on Wed, April 26th, Harmonizers gathered with the men’s choir from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Old Town Alexandria for a sing and social nite.  The meeting was at Convergence on Quaker Lane.  Their choir warmed up in the sanctuary and we warmed up in a classroom. 
We sang first - “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Summertime” and one of our new spirituals, “There Must Be a City.”  Joe did the warm ups and directed. Then the choir sang with Melvin Bryant directing.  Their church music program director Joyce Garrett accompanied them.
After that we all sat together and Melvin taught us “Down By the Riverside” and Joe taught the combined group “Rock My Soul.”  This will yield a combined performance at the Alexandria GospelFest next month.
After lots of singing, we shared lemonade and a cake with “Singing Together” decoration. It was a fun evening for all.
Then on Tuesday May 2nd, it was back to hard work on our music at Durant.  Director Joe Cerutti did the warm ups using “The Star Spangled Banner” as our exercise – since we will be singing it for the Armed Forces Day event soon. We also worked on “Armed Forces Medley” for that event.
Then we embarked on contest preparation for the Southern Division which is coming up during the weekend May 26-27. Joe invited assistant director Chuck Hunter to coach the package.  It was a great session and we got some solid work time in on the songs – especially to help the many new members perform these Harmonizer standbys.
At the start of the chapter meeting session, Joe explained that we would be participating in a workshop next week about “inclusion” as part of our growth and development as a chapter.  Dr. Sheila Peters from Nashville TN will be the facilitator for the session.
Executive director Terry Reynolds began the important announcements:
The chapter is co-sponsor of Alexandria’s GospelFest which will be at Durant on the weekend of May 19-20.  We will sing on the Sat session from 11-1. The FAIRFIELD FOUR will be our guests and appear both on Fri and Sat.
Later on Sat afternoon, the chapter will have our Armed Forces Tribute event also at Durant from 3-4.
As a reminder, the chorus will be singing at the Southern Division contest on Sat. May 27th.  The chapter must qualify to go to the district contest in the fall.  The division contest is in Reston.  Another reminder – each man must be paid up on his dues, and must have a contest registration/ticket. They are $42 each and can be purchased on site or in advance on the district website – midatlanticdistrict.com. Hope many of the members will go on Friday nite to cheer for the seven quartets with Harmonizers singing in them. That contest session starts at 5 pm.
For those going to Harmony U in August, you need to reply to a survey request from conventions coordinator Craig Kujawa as to your travel plans to Nashville.
There is also an opportunity for members to help Craig plan and manage our chapter’s duties in hosting the fall contest in Reading PA. Speak with him if you can help.
President Randall Eliason presented a President’s Valor Award to Clyde Crusenberry for his successful work in getting together a theater party at Little Theater of Alexandria for the chapter.  Everyone had fun and we even sang for other show patrons.
Randall reported that Bob Ulibarri was having some heart issues and in the hospital.  More details to come.
The communications committee has produced a new chapter business card that members can carry with them for prospective members or gigs
The chapter has arranged with Vickie Dennis to provide private vocal instruction sessions on Tuesday nites during chapter meeting between 7:30-9 pm. There is a small fee.  
Secretary Chris Buechler presented a membership renewal card and lapel pin to Paul Grimes in recognition of his 30 years.
A task force met with operations chairman Mike Edison regarding replacing the Harmo truck during the break.
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Looking Back on the April 25th Chapter Meeting and Community Sing on April 19th
Last week on Wed, April 19th, over 70 Harmonizers and some family members joined in the fun community sing hosted in SE Washington DC by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell.  What fun.  Harmonizer Dave Branstetter reported the event this way: “The Community Sing was different – no written music, no precisely defined harmonies, no judges, and frankly no audience (we were ALL chorus and audience at the same time!). Taking those components out of the equation reminded us of something we might otherwise lose sight of – the pure, simple, unadulterated joy that comes from JUST SINGING! People of different backgrounds and different abilities coming together to experience the simple joy that comes from singing together.”
The Harmonizers wore their black camp shirt outfits and at the invitation of Dr. Barnwell, sang “Rock My Soul” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Joe was pleased and spoke briefly to the other 100 or so singers present explaining our current work project with the spiritual music.
This week’s meeting on April 25th  was a repeat of last week’s format – warm up, sitting in chairs around the keyboard with Joe working on new music.  We concentrated on the melody for “I Was There” and polished on “Roll Jordon Roll” and we worked hard on our “Chicago” medley.
Tag time at 6:50 pm was taught by Mike Kelly.  Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Dean Sherick for five years and Alan Kousen for 51 years!
The chapter guys had fun talking to Dick Hall when many of them called him on his 85th birthday on Saturday.  It was a small token of thanks for his having called every member on his birthday for many, many years.

Joe also reported the news Bob Austin died unexpectedly on Monday.  He was a former baritone in the chapter and in several important chapter quartets such as CAPITOL CHORD AUTHORITY and the original COPYRIGHT ’86 with Bill Colosimo, Mike Wallen and Steve White. His wife and daughter sing with Pride of Baltimore SAI chorus.

Joe thanked all the workers and singers for a successful and high energy Youth Harmony Festival.

Joe was excited to remind the chorus of another community sign event Wednesday, April 26th at Convergence. We will join the men’s choir from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Old Town Alexandria. Thanks to Dr. Joyce Garret for the invite. We will wear black camp shirt and jeans. Warm up at 6:30.

Saturday nite many members and family friends will attend the Little Theater of Alexandria performance of “The Fabulous Lipitones” as a group and organized by Clyde Crusenberry.

Here are other events on our calendar in the weeks ahead:

- Tues. May 9th with Dr. Sheila Peters working with us on an inclusion workshop.

- Southern Division contest for quartets and choruses will be May 26-27 in Reston. Our chorus will compete Saturday afternoon.  YeEd hears that several quartets are working to enter too.

- We will co-sponsor a Gospel Fest at Durant on May 19-20.

- And in middle of that event, we will have our Armed Forces Day salute show at 3 pm on Saturday.

- June 7 we will sing at Casey Belzer’s school where he is music teacher – George Washington Middle in Alexandria. About 7 pm as part of a fund raiser event.

Operations team directors met at Durant after our meeting ended this week. Executive director Terry Reynolds encouraged each many to carefully read Craig Kujawa’s newsletter about travel to Harmony U.  Make plans and respond as needed.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd
Looking Back on the April 22nd Youth Harmony Festival
This was the chapter’s 9th festival and we providing singing opportunity for about 50 students – 20  men and 30 women. The all-day event was at Durant beginning at 8:30 am.  There were students from seven schools.
Chapter director education Vickie Dennis was organizer for this year’s festival.  Joe Cerutti was dean of the school and brought opening remarks and welcome to the students, other faculty, guest quartets and school music educators. Tony Colosimo was clinician for the men and Hailey Parks was clinician for the women.  Two guest quartets came to help with the teaching, singing and working with the students: SIGNATURE from BHS coming up from FL (They have been in our area several times to help recruit students and music educators for this event and similar experiences); and CLASS RING from SAI coming from many states in this area including TN. Carlos Barillo was choreo instructor for the youth choruses.
Harmonizers helped with set up on Friday nite and many members brought in snacks, drinks, water, and dessert goodies for the students. On Saturday morning, more guys helped get things rolling, brought in ice to cool drinks, helped with registration, welcomed the students and other guests, and had the coffee on for early morning break. Members of the Vienna Falls SAI chorus also helped with morning set up and kick off.  Tony did the warm ups after the introductions and the two choruses worked on their songs for the Saturday nite show.
Just before dinner and after an exhausting day of hard work on music and choreo, the student’s energy level was getting low.  What better way to spark instant interest than a spontaneous judging event.  The student body was divided into three groups, each containing a mix of young men and women.  The music teachers attending became the judges and each group chose a name and decided what tag they had learned during the day to sing for the contest.  The three groups were vying for a guaranteed place at the front of the dinner buffet line. The competition was fierce for that prize.  After the announcement of the winning group, Joe had one more surprise to up keep up the interest level.  Each group had to meet one more time and decide three things they would do to improve their presentation and a spokesperson from each group reported the results to the audience.  After that, it was a race to get in line for the pizza feed at 6 pm.

During the dinner hour, Harmonizers began to trickle in, students gathered in the hallways to sing and go over choreo, and parents and guests arrived and got seated.  By 7 pm the hall was filled and buzzing.  Joe Cerutti was emcee for the evening’s show and welcomed the guests by describing the day’s events and the achievements the youth had made in the course of the day. 

Three guest quartets sang two songs apiece during the evening show: UP ALL NIGHT (1st place, region 14 competition, SAI) from Vienna Falls chapter; CLASS RING (5th. place SAI International); and SIGNATURE (4th. place BHS International).  The quartet presentations were interspersed with the chorus performances.  The Harmonizers sang “Rock My Soul,” “Summertime,” and “All You Need Is Love.”

The youth women’s chorus and the youth men’s chorus each sang one song for the show. The wore their YHF tee shirts for the show. Before inviting the combined youth choruses to the stage to sing together for the finale, Joe acknowledged all of the people who made the event possible, especially Vicki Dennis, the Harmonizer director of education for all her work in organizing the event.

Harmonizers pitched in to clean up and put things away after the show.  (YeEd thanks Tom Berkey for taking notes for this report).

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Monday, April 24, 2017


Looking Back on the April 18th Chapter Meeting

This week’s meeting was more casual than normal, since the music leadership wanted members to attend the community sing on Wednesday with Dr. Barnwell. Wear black camp shirts. Causual. Director Joe Cerutti encouraged guys to bring family, partners, friends to join in the fun. Dr. Barnwell's Community Sing is 7-9pm @ Levine School DC Campus THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington DC (close to Southern Ave. Metro).

So Tuesday nite we sat in chairs around the keyboard with Joe up front and we worked hard on our “Chicago” medley and spent a chunk of time learning the melody for one of our new contest ballads. For warm up, Joe taught us two new tags that were fun to sing.

There were two guests with us who had been to the Aca Challenge and came to hear and meet us again.  Secretary Chris Buechler presented a membership renewal card and lapel pin to Brad Jones for his 25-years.

Education director Vicki Dennis reminded all guys about the needed items for the Youth Harmony Festival this weekend – especially snack packs, power bars, wrapped goodies and such. Volunteers will be setting up Friday nite at Durant and will be needed on Saturday.  The chorus will sing Saturday nite too – call time is 6 pm.  Wear black camp shirt, jeans, black shoes and sox. We will sing “All You Need is Love,” “Summertime,” and “Rock My Soul.”

President Randall Eliason reports that thanks to the very generous support provided by many Harmonizers and their families, the chapter recently received a check for $5,133 representing our Donor Choice proceeds for the six months ended last December. The Harmony Foundation offers a Donor Choice program for those who contribute to the Foundation. Donors have the option to designate up to 30 percent of their contributions to be returned to the chapter or district (or both) of their choice.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Looking Back on the April 5th Spring2ACTion and April 11th Chapter Meeting

Thanks to President Randall Eliason, the chapter earned nearly $19,000 as a participant in the Alexandria Spring2ACTion program on Wed. April 5th.  Spring2ACTion is an all day-fundraising event for Alexandria nonprofits. We were one of the community’s arts group participants.  Our fans and supporters were able to donate all day. We won a “power hour” with the most donors from 3-4 pm.  That earned us a bonus of $500.

A representative chorus of us gathered at Virtue Feed and Grain in Old Town to sing for patrons there, and to have fun. Randall came early to put up great posters and signage, and to set up his lap top so it could project onto a screen with up-to-the-minute results of donations. Thanks to Noah Van Gilder who created the terrific signs and posters.

Mayor Allison Silberberg stopped to see us, spoke well about our group and then was guest conductor for “Sweet Caroline” outside after visiting inside.  Matthew Stensrud, chairman of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts was present and sang along with us too. Dan ABH, community coordinator, for Convergence stopped by to see us too.

Impromptu quartet with Rusty Orvik, Tony Colosimo, Chuck Hunter and Steve White sang a song or two.  Tony was our musical leader for this event and he had us sing several times out in the restaurant area (the chorus, their families and special patrons were in a separate room on the top level). We also sang “Happy Birthday” a couple times to restaurant patrons.

The Harmo family had fun too.  We got their early to benefit from the happy hour prices.  The food was good and the wait staff managed the crunch well and with smiles!

Some guys (for sure Chuck McKeever and Alan Wile who parked at Durant) took the free trolley from King St. Metro down to Union and King.  Alan was carrying his usual plastic container for collecting donations – and a young girl on the trolley asked her mom if she could put in a donation!

Tuesday nite, April 11th was a hard working musical nite.  Riser crew and all the usual set up tasks were done.  Associate director Tony Colosimo did the tag sing at 6:50 pm and then he lead the warm up period too.  Director Joe Cerutti thanked Randall Eliason for his yeomen service on the Spring2ACTion event; and then went right to work on music and took the basses to another room to work on their major parts of “Roll Jordan Roll.”

During the nite there was work on the contest songs for Southern Division, a very thorough introduction of the form of one of the contest ballads we are learning for Harmony University, and work on the “Chicago” medley.

Before break there were breakout sessions for operations teams; then we regrouped for the chapter meeting period conducted by executive director Terry Reynolds.

Our a cappella group TBD was out for the part of the nite on a gig representing the chapter.

Joe and Terry stressed the importance of guys attending the community sing in DC on April 19th with Dr. Barnwell, and the sing with Alfred Street Baptist Men’s choir in Old Town on April 26th – even if you have to miss the Tues nite before it.  Tho there will be solid work on our music on both of those Tuesday nites with Joe.

Education director Vickie Dennis spoke about ways members can assist at our Youth Harmony Festival April 22nd at Durant.  First of all – the chorus will sing three songs that eve. But also Vickie had signup sheets posted on the wall for guys to sign up to assist during some time slots, and signup sheets on things to contribute like sodas and snacks. Medalist quartet SIGNATURE will assist with the boys chorus and appear on the show, and CLASS RING from SAI will assist with the girls chorus.

Then Joe announced a late breaking chorus opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall in Sept.  He wants a full chorus to attend and noted that it is the Sunday evening after we sing at M-AD contest in Reading PA. The same sponsors as before from Japan invited us to appear on this 9-11Tribute concert.  Stay tuned for details and be ready to respond that you can make the trip.

The 50/50 team of Walt Page and Alan Wile worked hard and there were lots of goodies to share at break, including some yummy fudge from Steve and Robyn Murane.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd