Friday, February 7, 2020

Looking Back on the Feb 4th, 2020 Chapter Meeting
This was the fourth week into the new Harmonizer rehearsal variation pilot plan – this week was labeled “Full Chorus Rehearsal.” We met at Scottish Rite Temple  and were able to use the entire building since heat system was working again.       
There was the usual warm up time with singers on the risers.  Then director Joe Cerutti welcomed special guest and former member, Sean Devine, who came down from Hershey PA, to see all his friends in the chapter and speak briefly about Harmony Foundation. 
Following that, Joe explained the plans for tonite (including that coach Cy Wood was unable to make the trip this week as previously announced).
The first major period of chorus time was on the risers to review visual performance plans for show songs.  The chorus was facing a screen where Mike Kelly was able to project videos of the songs in mirror image, as well as able to slow down the tempo so singers could see the moves better.  As they improved on the moves, he was able to increase back to normal temp.
It was a effective review technique and a great help for brand new members.  Joe first worked on “Circle of Life” – the African chant portion.  Then he moved on to “Heart and Music” and finally to “Brotherhood of Man.”  Following the mirror screen work, associate director Tony Colosimo directed the songs that will be sung by the chorus for the Whiffenpoofs show on Fri. Feb. 7th. Bob Blair added rhythm to “Heart and Music,” Jon Frank sang the solo in “For Good,” and Ben Roberts sang the solo for “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”
Joe also explained how members could use the new rehearsal plan to finish work on “42nd Street” or could move on to “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” Members have a variety of options in this regard. In the end, the chorus will not sing the two new songs until Feb. 25th and then only those approved by the music team will be invited to the risers for that run thru.  (In other words, singers should be working to get an approval with their listeners or at least know where they stand in that regard.)
Joe also confirmed the chapter’s plan to compete at the Southern Division contest in Baltimore (Crowne Plaza Inner Harbor).  The quartet contest is on Fri eve June 5th and the chorus contest is Sat morning, June 6th.  The plan is to sing “42nd Street” with choreo from Cy Wood, plus a surprise ballad.
Joe spoke about the Harmony University plans this summer so that guys could start finalizing their registration and travel to Nashville.
Finally he outlined the plans for the rest of this week’s meeting after the announcements.  The second half of the nite will be four optional sessions – each of them offered twice.  So guys could attend any they wanted – even go to the same one twice.
Options included (1) singing Polecat songs, (2) learning about Harmonizer history from videos of past performances, (3) technology and apps to use to be better singers, or (4) practicing with your quartet for the upcoming chapter quartet contest.
Communications director Steve Murane managed the announcement period for this week. He started with some details about the Whiffenpoof show for Friday.  The uniform will be the black casual camp shirt and jeans. Chorus call time is 6 pm.  A riser crew was solicited. Non members and guests are welcome to attend. Tickets are $30.
The 46th annual Put Together Quartet Contest will be held during the second half of the Feb 11th meeting.  A surprise judging team will chose winners of comedy quartets or regular quartets. Each quartet only sings one song.  There are some rules – mostly about singers who have won district  or such that must sing a different part. Matt Doniger is Dr. Put (as is the custom, he has put several men together that wanted to be in a quartet) and has the rules if you wanna know.  He tells YeEd that quartets who don’t provide a quartet name may be surprised! There will be refreshments that nite too!
Don Thompson met with guys who had requested shirts from the Scotland trip.
Sean Devine shared about some news about giving to the Harmony Foundation.  (Recently the Foundation released info that the Alexandria Chapter ranks 34th among all BHS chapters in the first quarter for our giving – 191 average members, 68 of them made contributions which is 36%.)
President Stan Quick announced that long-time member Jerry Kindred died a few weeks ago while in Home Hospice.  He most recently had been also singing with the Harmony Heritage Singers.
Stan also suggested that members of the chapter are encouraged to submit award applications for the BHS Gala Awards for outstanding member, outstanding ensemble, innovator, or ambassador. Any member may submit a form (available from BHS website).
Stan shared how he and past president Shawn Tallant told Craig Kujawa about his having been named winner of the Memorial Award at the banquet last Saturday.  The video made by Mike Kelly was sent to Craig on Sunday and he responded about his surprise and pride at having been considered for the award (our highest personal award given in the chapter).
Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Jon Frank for 4 years and Adam Afifi for 5 years.  Chris reports he also has mailed cards to Keith Jones for 42 years, Jorge Acevedo for 20 years, Kris Zinkievich for 20 years, and Dale Bird for 13 years. These member live outside the DC area.
Membership director Jacob Broude welcomed Michael Breckson for his second visit to the chorus.
Last week, Randall announced that BETTER TOGETHER, a mixed quartet with Tony and Elizabeth Colosimo and Andrew and Heather Havens, will be competing at the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweeps A Cappella Festival on Sat. Feb. 22 at the Birchmere starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets are going fast, and are available online now at Ticketmaster.  All seats are General Admission, first come-first seated.  The competition is always intense but having a house full of fans always makes a positive impression on the judges! Besides – those of us who have gone in other years will confess it is a fun nite for all who attend. The Birchmere is at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. in Alexandria 22315.
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 71st year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

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