Thursday, February 12, 2009

Looking Back on Feb. 10th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on Feb. 10th 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.)

Wow – last nite was a historic chapter meeting. Some of us old timers don’t think we EVER had so many guests in one nite at an Alexandria Chapter meeting. Word is that we had 46 men there to check us out as possible singers.

There were also current members who have been away, who came out for the nite to reconnect: Jeremy Richardson, Tom Griffith, Jim Shoenhard, Goeff Berman, Ross Johnson, Ed Cazenas, and Nick Aiuto. Jed and Jane Casey were also there and Jed thanked all for the many expressions of sympathy for the recent family loss.

Membership guy Dan O’Brien was mighty busy with the making introductions. Scipio helped pass out the first-timer badges. Honestly, it was a whole chorus of men!!!

Before we introduced the guests, Dan introduced the three newest members to come into the chapter – Drew Dias, Matt Barnes and Chris Cunningham. As part of the recognition of members, secretary Buechler presented membership renewal cards for several gents – Eric Hughes for two years, Ken White for 10, Brian Ammerman for 15, Troy Hillier for 18, and Bob Sutton for 25 years. Bob was also presented his 25-year pin from the chapter.

You can just imagine how full the Durant meeting hall was last nite. The risers were set up against the stage with a lot of chairs facing them. (Even then, those chairs were mostly filled with other non-singing guests and friends of the chapter. The FRIENDS group was present too and had their regular meeting in one of the other meeting rooms.

Guests were pouring in and many members were getting to know them and Dan’s helpers were making sure everyone was included. Roger Day and Steve Murane helped with registration details, name tags, and guest book distribution. Dan brought a huge box of extras and ran out before it was all over. There was a lot of sharing.

(I hope we will hear more later about all those who helped promote guest nite via a lot of new message delivery systems such as Facebook, posters on college campus bulletin boards, ads in DC metro papers, etc. And of course gotta say, the troops really did their part this time to bring friends and coworkers and gym buddies and neighbors and relatives as their own guest.)

Goodies came pouring in too from members, including some mighty fancy decorated cookies Tom Hutton got from his sister who has started a new cookie business. They had the Harmo logo in color on them and others had the Barbershop Harmony Society logo.

Other folks helping make the nite run smoothly were Mike Kelly, Chris Cunningham and Ike Evans who did photography, Martin Banks who prepared a display of Harmo History, Dick and Carolyn Hall who sold 50/50 raffle tickets with the new surprise feature.

Musically it was a busy nite too. Right off all 120-plus singers were taken thru musical warm up chores with Tony Colosimo, and physical warm ups with Gary Plaag.

Then Director Joe had all sing some of the new songs coming into the repertoire; and he invited the stage presence guys to teach the guests and review with the members the new plan for “From This Moment On” that was introduced last week.

I did find out who created that visual plan – it was Gary Plaag, Dennis Ritchey, Scipio Garling and Steve White. Great work, men.

But Director Joe was in his glory teaching and coaching and offering advice from up front to help the new singers not used to barbershop techniques.

Joe also announced that Mike Kelly is a new assistant chorus director for the Harmonizers. He was presented an appropriate name badge.

Then the crowds attacked the table for coffee, sodas and goodies; and there was singing and getting better acquainted.

After the break, everyone assembled on the risers for announcements. President Brad Jones alerted all that there would NOT be an extra rehearsal on Thurs. Feb. 19th. He also covered a lot of details for the guys who will be in the audition group for America’s Got Talent.

Dennis Ritchey covered housing details for the NY City show. And Joe added details about the schedule for that weekend.

Josh Roots covered important details for the Singing Valentine operation also this weekend. It appears there will be a big demand for the product and thus a serious need for quartets to cover the jobs. Especially basses are needed. Valentine headquarters is at Pitzer’s office at 6277 Franconia Rd., Alexandria, VA 22310.

The guests were invited to go with Tony Colosimo and Chuck Hunter to learn some music on their own. And they returned with two great tags and some prize winning results. Then they took seats or stood along the walls and the chorus did a mini show for them starting with “Great Day” and all of its excitement.

Then CAMERON STATION did two songs with their new chorography. Very entertaining.

Chorus on again with “Music of the Night” and then FULLTILT sang (Ed Cazenas, Nick Aiuto, Pete Frank, Steve White).

The chorus wrapped up the show period with “Clap Your Hands.”

Guests and chorus members filled the risers again and Joe explained the chorus contest process we are getting into. Then all sang the up tune and ballad for Anaheim. There was also a chance for guys to make learning tapes as part of the self improvement process.

The evening ended with one more chance to all sing the “Great Day” tag.

Ken Fess won the 50/50 again this week plus the surprise bonus of a Singing Valentine. Another winning ticket was pulled for a free picture framing job donated by Design Frames for Tom Griffith.

Jed Casey was invited by Program coordinator Klostermeyer (we call him K12 to save time!) to direct “Keep the Whole World Singing” as the final event of this great nite. Jed was an important leader n the chapter and society as a judge and coach and guy who helped us all enjoy the hobby more.

For Society history buffs, here is a report of all the Harmonizers that were at the Midwinter convention in Pasadena in January. Rick Taylor performed with his quartet , OLD SCHOOL, on the show. They are current M-AD champs. Richard Lewellen directed one of the youth choruses that competed there. Mike Wallen sang with his senior’s quartet, YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT, that competed there and represented our district. Alan Wile is a member of the International board and Chris Buechler is the board’s parliamentarian. That group met during the convention too. Joe Cerutti is chairman of a major Society committee and was there for those meetings.

Others present in Pasadena just for the fun of it all were members Chuck Hunter, Ross Johnson, Tom Gannon, Keith Jones, Sam McFarland, Chuck Harner; and former members Will Winder, Steve Matuzewski, Ray Johnson and Mike Louque who was a judge for the youth contest.

Until next time – editorjack!