Thursday, February 7, 2008

Looking Back on Feb. 5th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on Feb. 5th Chapter Meeting

(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 at an Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter meeting. —Ye Ed.)

Thanks again to Alan Wile who was this week’s reporter.

As usual, Will Cox warmed up the voices of those on the risers at 7 -- a number that grew steadily for the next 30 minutes or so. Then Craig Kujawa took over to warm up the rest of our body parts to some funky music that gave Joe a reason to smile.

Assistant Director Chuck worked on craft again tonite. He reminded us of two previous themes/exercises: singing with the whole instrument and what it feels like when imagining what a favorite childhood dish smells like. Then he worked a tag and then four repertoire songs all in the same key but presenting different vocal demands.

Joe wrapped up the first half working on “Ave Maria” to develop needed artistry and vocal presentation. Interestingly, the music coordinator for Stafford County, Shawn Thorpe, arrived during this time and was blown away by the beauty of the song and the chorus’s performance, even in rehearsal. He later told M&P VP Brad that he will send information on our youth harmony festival to each of his five high schools and encourage attendance.

Bob Blair, filling in for Ops VP Bob Rhome, orchestrated the break, at which
Ike Evans reminded the members about the need (and how) to get current pictures on the chapter picture board;
Sandra Stamps announced the finalists in the Valentine verse contest (for inclusion in the cards to be presented to next week’s recipients) and read those that took top honors -- all of which were great and showed great imagination and sense of the desired poetic message:
3rd = Dick Hall
2nd = Matt Kahn
1st = Ginger Jordan
President Mick reported that Bruce Minnick had come through his heart surgery with flying colors (double bypass and the insertion of a new heart valve), for which there was a big sigh of relief. Chuck McKeever added that he’d been rousted out of bed to do a “walk about” already.
Mick then gave a PowerPoint presentation on the State of the Chapter, subtitled the “Elephant in the Room.” He began by briefly reviewing the accomplishments of the previous year and then highlighted areas in need of continued attention. The “elephant” turned out to be the financial state of the chapter. With a 2008 budget of $283K, we have lots to do. Specifically, by selling 2/3 to 3/4 of our show houses. The message was clear!
VP M&P Brad described what was being done to populate a sufficient number of chapter quartets to fulfill our singing Valentine requirements. He also announced that the learning tracks for the new contest ballad will be posted on the members only website in the next few days. Once entered into Finale, the charts will follow.
Singing Valentine Coordinator Michael Calhoun (shamelessly sporting a cap and sweatshirt with NY Giants logos) announced the very small number of Valentines ordered to date and exhorted the members to sell, sell, and sell!
Secretary Chris asked Mick to present a Society “Music Director” lapel pin to Joe, and Chuck Harner with his 40 year membership pin (wow!) and Past President Alan to present Carl Kauffmann with a Society lapel pin recognizing him as the chapter’s Barbershopper of the Year.
VP Membership Roger reminded us about the Guest Night on February 19th and asked that the members bring refreshments (cookies!). Then he introduced our six guests: Kyle Blomgren, Rocky Ebener, former Harmonizer Rich Garodnick, John Simpson, Shawn Thorpe, and Noah VanGilder.

Joe brought us back on the risers by working on two of our Valentine songs: “Heart of My Heart” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” To make the first even more fun, he asked those men who joined the chapter within the last two years to sing their parts, those between two and seven years to sing any part other than the one they normally sing, and those who have been members more than seven years to sing any part other than lead. Interesting!

Part-specific breathing charts for “Clap Yo Hands” were distributed to all “hands” and drilled by Joe while we stood in sections. Joe made it clear that the learning tracks were good for learning notes and words but have now served their purpose and should not be used. Instead, the new chart needs to be followed, as the interpretation and breathing has changed and we have a contest to prepare for.

Finally the 50-50 ticket was pulled and was held by a jubilant Mrs. Ritchey (Dennis’ mom). When asked if she’d “take us out” she said “yes” with no hesitation … thinking she was being asked to take us out for a drink. Informed of the “chapter” meaning, she did a fine job directing “Keep the Whole World Singing” and brought the meeting to an appropriate close.

Until next time – editorjack!