In addition to the usual warm up to start this week’s meeting and rehearsal, associate director Tony Colosimo taught the “Back In My Hometown” tag. Then he had the six or seven tenor’s step off the risers and had all the rest of the chorus divided up around a tenor and those small groups worked on the tag and ways to make their execution of it better.
When director Joe Cerutti took the helm, he was fired up and excited about the evening’s work plan. He thanked the guys who did the Singing Valentine and asked for fun stories from those guys. Four quartets made appearances as assigned by the chapter for public relations and community relations efforts as determined by the chapter. Quartets 1 and 2 sang during the noon time period at the Mayor’s office in Alexandria, at several retirement places and at major recreation centers in town. Quartets and 3 and 4 sang in the early evening at several spots in the Del Ray region of town, and at some popular spots in Old Town such as Virtue Feed & Grain, Chadwicks, and Hard Times..
Quartets who went out for the chapter included the following members (yes – some guys sang twice!
1. Rob Barnovsky, Brian Ammerman, Don Thompson, and Dean Rust
2. Carl Kauffmann, Randall Eliason, Steve Szyszka, and Matt Doniger
3. Aaron Simoneau, Frank Fedarko, Johan Westburg, and Matt Doniger
4. Brian Ammerman, Brian Miller, Jeff Burkey, and Connor Goss
Then Joe announced the exciting news that our chorus has been invited to do a show as part of the Strathmore holiday concert series on Sat. Nov. 30th. The venue will market the 4 pm show as part of their series of events. Since it is the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, Joe asks all members to get onto Groupanizer before next Tuesday to indicate they can sing the show – yes or no. He is hoping for at least 60 singers and of course more would be better. The show will be our music as planned by our music team. Chapter leadership has invited gold medal quartet champs VOCAL SPECTRUM to join us for this huge opportunity.
The next big item from Joe was word that we would sing two extra songs as part of the finale with the Alexandria Singers and the Vocal Collective from NZ on March. 20th. Music for the two songs will be released soon. Both are relatively simple for us to learn and prepare. As a reminder, we all need to push tickets sales – they are only $10 per person. The show is at George Washington National Memorial in Alexandria at 7 pm.
Finally, Joe explained that over the last few months a task force of members (new guys, long time members, music leaders, quartet guys, all parts) has been meeting to discuss how to rekindle the successful culture of our chapter – or at least strengthen it. So – each member was given 6 color dot stickers and invited to place them on one of the ten boards which represented the task force’s consolidation of actions likely needed. Those ten items were 1. Sing in Small Groups; 2. Embrace Practicing Performance; 3. Better Guest/Member Follow Up; 4. New Member Orientation; 5. Prioritize Recruitment and Retention; 6. Weekly Goals and Expectations; 7. Enhance Learning Expectations; 8. Create New Craft Maxims; 9. Sing to the Audience Not the Director; and 10. Identify the Purpose of Each Song.
Joe collected the boards full of colored dots for the task force to study and review. We will look for action in the weeks and months ahead.
Then it was on to singing with work on “Anything Goes” and “Empty Tables.” Tony is eager to have members audition with him for that solo. He sang it this week with the chorus singing tenor, bari or bass.
Throughout the nite, Joe and Tony gave emphasis on the pre-assigned measures of the songs that guys were to work on at home.
At the start of the chapter meeting part of the nite, Joe offered a big challenge to the members. He announced he’d sing in two quartets at the Southern Division with any guys who sign up on the chart on the wall. He had already chosen the songs. (YeEd can report there was a big rush to sign up! And some of our newest members got their names on the list first!!) Hopefully there will be other challengers to form quartets to sing at the May 31st contest in Baltimore.
The pending winter weather means the Wednesday one-on-one interviews will be cancelled. Time and place for the interviews on Thursday and Friday will be released via email.
To clarify any doubts – the chorus WILL sing at our Youth Harmony Festival on Fri. nite April 5th. It will be at Scottish Rite Temple. Some of us will be needed during the day to help host, serve food, sing tags with the students, welcome parents and music educators, set up and take down. Watch for sign up opportunities including bringing snacks, sodas and waters.
President Shawn Tallant reports that Mick Stamps is doing well after his heart surgery and taking calls and such.
Also Shawn remind all that he is accepting contributions for the Angel Fund that he can use to assist any member who is in a financial bind for dues or other fees. This is especially important after the recent government shut down.
Shawn also thanked everyone for the great Presidents’ Banquet last weekend, and especially Clyde Crusenberry, BETTER TOGETHER quartet, and Riptide band. A complete report from that event will be released but in summary the recipients of the chapter’s major awards were Connor Goss – the New Note Award; Matt Doniger – the Honor Award; Chuck Hunter – the Oz Newgard Award; Jack and Pat Pitzer – the Ibbianne & Wilbur Sparks Award; and Al Herman – the Memorial Award.
Chapter secretary Chris Buecher presented membership renewal cards to Brad Jones for 27 years, and Rick Savage for 45 years.
Calvin Schnure welcomed our two singing guests this week – Turner and Ryan.
After a break, it was back on the risers for more work on our music for 2019. For the newest of the songs, “Brotherhood of Man,” there were sectionals in various parts of the building. Joe reminded the chorus that this song will also become a major show number with a major visual plan to work on.
Joe and Tony were on hand too for the afterglow at Ramparts. Everyone is welcome 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 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd