Friday, April 10, 2009

Looking Back on April 7th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on April 7th 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.)

Actually ye ed was not at the meeting this week. I was out in Manassas helping Prince William guys prepare for Southern Division. (Seems to me there are a lot of Harmonizers who help other chapters with music, stage presence, singing, administration coaching – Jordan, Wile, Pitzer, Plaag, Cerutti, Calhoun, Harner, Wachter. Who else should be added to this list? Let me know.)

Thanks tho to Terry Jordan who handled coffee duties this week. He reports to me that Ron and Ben Nelson brought choc chip cookies again this week!! What a treat.

And a big thanks to Dean Rust who wrote the following:

The usual activity preceded the start of the meeting. Both front row and men from rows two-thru-five were practicing the new moves for “Clap Your Hands” that Cindy Hansen gave us last week. Tonic Co-producers Ken Fess and Mick Stamps were taping the outline of the stage in front of the risers on the floor.

At 7:00, basses "warmed down" with Mike Kelly while Tony worked with the rest of the chorus -- emphasizing the importance of breath support. More air = more musical.

A recurring and touching sight the entire evening was that of Brad Jones and his baby grandson. Brad toured the hall doing his regular duties all night (except climbing on the risers) holding the baby. He stood on the outside of the risers singing along, but he did forego the usual choreography.

Joe led off by noting the success of the two school workshops done last Thursday by him and about a dozen other Harmonizers who demonstrated and performed. These were for the 9th grade at T.C. Williams H.S. (located at Minnie Howard school) and for the men's chorus at Annandale H.S. (location of Spring Tonic). Joe did observe that he was less than reliable as a pitch blower at Annandale; the small Harmonizer ensemble started down a minor third on its opening song.

Joe also lauded the achievement of CAMERON STATION, the smaller ensemble taken from the chorus, at the regional Acappella Harmony Sweepstakes last weekend at the Birchmere in Alexandria. The group took third place and was voted the audience favorite. Later, President Brad mentioned how proud we were of CS and awarded each of them "Atta Boy" pins for this performance. Tongue-in-cheek, CS coordinator Eric Wallen reassured everyone that he did not keep the $200 audience favorite award, and duly handed it over to chapter officers.

With that we dove into Spring Tonic preparation. The Ken White solo and chorus collaboration on “Mr. Cellophane” is a little tricky, and we spent quite bit of time on it. Terry Reynolds is understudying Ken for the Tonic, and stood in for him. Two scenes from this scripted show were worked in front of the chorus under the guidance of Ken Fess. It's clear that Chris Huber, Gary Mankin and Troy Hillier are having a ball in their major supporting roles. The other show songs rehearsed before the break were “Music of the Night,” “Bright Side of Life” (Tony directing) and “From This Moment On” (Mike Kelly directing).

The guests for the evening were introduced and Chris Buechler recognized a number of men who were present for renewing their membership, including the "old guys" for the evening each having 37 years - Chuck Hunter and Gary Mankin. It was good to welcome back Patrick Kim, who has rejoined after a brief sabbatical.

President Brad highlighted the upcoming April 18 Youth Festival at Durant, which is being run jointly by the Harmonziers and the Vienna-Falls Sweet Adeline chapter. He expects something on the order of 70-80 young men and women to attend and urged Harmonizers to sign up for various jobs for which he needs help. The chorus will sing that evening as part of the wrap up of the day. Former members and guys who are not able to sing regularly these days should consider coming to Durant for the show.

Ken Fess reviewed the status of ticket sales for the Tonic and urged the men to continue promoting the show and selling tickets. Reserved seats for the matinee have sold very well; but there are plenty of reserved seats left for both Friday and Saturday evenings. There are also a lot of general admission tickets left for all three shows; and these are available on consignment and are a very good deal ($18 on the floor, and $15 in the balcony).

After the break, we focused primarily on visual plans for several songs with the assistance of Gary Plaag and Chuck McKeever. The plan for “Summertime” (our international contest ballad in 2004-05) was reviewed; many guys remember it and the new men caught on real quick. The "long" (vice 90 sec) version of “New York-New York” was rehearsed (Will Cox directing), with the new guys seeing the entire visual plan for the first time.

Finally, the last 30 minutes were spent on “Clap Your Hands,” with the front row working on its own and Joe and Chuck refreshing Cindy's visual "enhansenments" from last week. These will add some new pizzazz to this uptune for the Tonic and the international stage at Anaheim in July.

We were able to work right up until 10 pm, as lights out at the facility has been moved to 11 pm instead of 10. It was great not to have to rush the take down, and to dwell a little with your friends for conversation and singing.

Until next time – editorjack!