Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Looking Back on Southern Division Weekend May 22-23, 2009

Looking Back on Southern Division Weekend May 22-23, 2009

(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 with the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter members. —Ye Ed.)

The chapter hosted the Division contest weekend for the district. Carl Kauffmann was chair and coordinated his team of committee chairs.

Registrations – Bob Eckman
Judges Services – Bob Wachter/Audrey Shively
Staging Setup and Take Down – Dean Rust
Auditorium – Tom Berkey
Chorus and Quartet Escorts – Craig Kujawa
Signs – John Pence
Judges Transportation – Austin Cotton
Reproduction – Chris Buechler
Program Ads – Carl Kauffmann

These guys did a lot of the work in the weeks leading up to the contest so our guys could concentrate on the show and other musical activity in the chapter calendar. The members of the chapter then came forward to work on Friday and Saturday to make it all happen. District officials thanked us from the stage all weekend and as I understand it, we get a monetary sum for our services.

If you were there and took a minute to look at the printed program, you would have noticed the names of Harmonizers all over the place. First off, we had members in eight of the 17 quartets who competed in the quartet contest on Friday nite. (I have reported all those names in a couple recent columns.) And several former members were in other competing quartets such as Bob Wilson, Brian Chopp, Gene Thompson. The mic testing quartet was FULL TILT.

Third place quartet was DOWNTOWN with two Alexandria guys – Drew Fuller and Kevin Flynn. Actually the lead singer is a recent applicant at our chapter too.

Second place quartet was RING OF GOLD from neighboring Frederick Chapter.

First place Southern Division quartet was DOWN A FOURTH with Joe Sawyer as tenor, Joe Cerutti as lead, Wayne Adams as bari and Mike Kelly as bass. They brought the house down (or actually up out of their seats) with good singing and while obviously having a good time on stage. (The down-a-fourth gag worked for them with Mike hitting low notes they say are not even on a piano!)

As winners, they get to advance to the district contest in Lancaster in Oct. Other quartets may get to advance depending on the scores earned by all competitors at the four divisions – the next highest scoring groups get to advance til the district gets the total number of contestants they can have for that contest Oct. 2-3.

The chorus contest on Saturday started at 10 am. Alexandria sang after the contest officially ended while judges were still present. The judges offered input for us in preparation for Anaheim. Each of the three categories spent 20 minutes with us.

First place chorus was James River from Richmond. Second place was the Virginia Gentlemen from Roanoke Valley. They were directed by Erin Odell and were also the Most Improved Chorus in the division contest. Third place chorus was The Virginians from Richmond. Fourth place was the Fairfax Jubilaires. Those four choruses advance to the district contest in Oct. Alexandria also advances, with a bye, unless they win a gold medal in Anaheim!!!

There were a lot of former members in other choruses this weekend. There were two new chapters started in the division that competed. One, Harrisonburg Harmonizers, are particularly close to us with leaders there like Mike Organ, Alan Durick, Dewey Feuerhelm and Michael Calhoun. They even got their black slacks from us for uniforms. The other new chapter is in Germantown, MD.

Quite a lot of our guys also sang in the chorus contest such as all the guys in Mt. Vernon’s Harmony Heritage Singers directed by Bob Wachter; three or four guys in the DC Chorus; Mike Wallen directed Richmond with some of our dual members and former members on the risers; Sound Works, James River included several former members too.

For those who plan ahead, the 2010 Southern Division contest will be in Roanoke. The spring prelims quartet contest will be in Harrisburg to select the quartets from our district to advance to the International contest in Philly. And as mentioned above, the fall quartet and chorus contests will be in Lancaster. Our chapter is already preparing to attend and encouraging members to start planning. Even if we win a gold in July, we will take a large chorus to Mid Atlantic fall contest. That is part of the Harmonizer culture.

As mentioned above, we had a lot of our members in visible jobs all weekend. John Hohl was MC for the chorus contest. District leaders and events team staffers included a bunch of familiar names from our chapter including Kennett who was the lighting person. The judging panel included former member Larry Deters and current members Chuck Harner and Chris Buechler.

Director Joe and Mike Kelly presented a great video explaining Youth Harmony work being done in Alexandria and around the district. It was shown while the results were being calculated after the chorus contest.

Saturday nite there was a show of champions for all the winners to sing again. Immediately after it ended, the Harmonizers moved in to take down, pack and load the district truck and Harmo Van. It went fast with many hands – lots of new guys helped and even some of us old timers!

Until next time – editorjack

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