Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking Back on June 2nd Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on June 2nd 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.)

Many thanks to special reporter this week, Jim Lucey, who offers this report. Thanks Jim!

The evening started with a nice “buzz” from our very successful performance at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night. Assistant Director Tony Colosimo led us in warm-up exercises with emphasis on pitch accuracy. As Tony indicated, pitch accuracy is fundamental to success in contest (and performance), and the Harmonizers need to improve if we want back in the “medals.”

Director Joe then began a very intense session on the “up-tune” (“Clap YoHands”). He drilled us on the last third of the song which appears to be the weakest area with respect to tempo / rhythm and note accuracy. We broke for Sectional rehearsal on all three elements and then went back on the risers. Joe placed the chorus members in their new contest positions and we continued to drill “Clap”. When we were done, all appeared to realize that we were making progress in lifting the up-tune to a better singing level.

The chapter meeting began with Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler presenting a 25-Year Pin to Bob Eckman. Bob has served the Harmonizers for many years as our chapter treasurer and is now the Mid-Atlantic District Treasurer. Craig O’Dell was then honored for his 40 years of service to barbershop! Craig has been a “complete” barbershopper: singing with Harmonizer champion choruses and quartets; serving as a Society Presentation Judge; and as our bass section leader. Well done to both Bob and Craig!

Our Chapter VP for Operations, K-12, then formally introduced the Harmonizers’ Class of 2009. Phil Ayoub, Josh Roots, Ryan Griffith, Phil Ferguson, and Bob Mattes were each given the “traditional” class bandana (blue this year) with appropriate instructions as to the carrying/wearing of the coveted symbol…… and the penalties (?) for failing to do so.

Dan O’Brien, our VP for Chapter Development, then introduced a great group of Guests:
Phil Ashford, Edris Qarghah, Kellen Hertz, Chris Yates, Jeremy Richardson, Robb Topolski, Andrew Gipe, Mario Sengco, Frank Fedarko, Michael Plenty, Jack Worrow.

Note that among our guests were two former Harmonizers, Chris Yates and Jeremy Richardson. Always good to have them back.

Max Kieba announced that he is coordinating the Harmonizers’ annual scholarship program for Harmony University (HU). The 2009 HU is again being held on the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, MO from July 26 to August 2, 2009. HU is arguably the best barbershop experience available in the Society. The Harmonizers’ are offering three scholarships (for tuition / room / board) to HU this year. If you’d like more information, see the BHS web site or talk with Harmonizers like Joe Cerutti, Tony Colosimo, Eric Wallen, Chris Buechler, Jim Lucey, or Joel Golden who have all attended in recent years. Max asks that Harmonizers, who would like to apply for a scholarship, please contact him by next week.

The FRIEND IN HARMONY are now offering a Harmonizer “booster button” for sale as a fund-raiser for our Anaheim trip. See Linda O’Dell if you’d like to obtain some for your family and friends.

President Brad Jones announced that Mary Kay Bender, wife of our former President Bede Bender and a great friend to the Harmonizers, has been hospitalized. She would welcome notes and calls from all of us.

Brad also awarded a “You Make A Difference” Star to Dick Newton and Keith Jones for quickly volunteering to step-in for Carl Kauffmann and co-chair the Anaheim Convention Committee for the Chapter. Carl is still recovering from his surgery and would also welcome calls and cards from his friends.

Ron Nelson offered a big thank-you to our own MERCURY QUARTET for singing at the Pentagon for his retirement ceremony this past Friday. Ron is retiring from the United States Air Force and moving back to Washington State this month. Congratulations, Ron, and thank you for your great service to the Air Force and our Country.

After the Chapter Meeting and Break, we resumed rehearsal. Joe took us through a quick run-through of the new Peter Pan Package. After singing both songs, we all agreed that we’re a bit rusty and need to keep current on these new songs so that we are ready with them after Anaheim!

We then continued to drill the Anaheim contest songs and fine-tune the interpretation. We worked the ballad very hard and Joe even introduced us to his own version of the “Harmonizer Square Dance!” He then took us through the entire package. After a strong rehearsal we are all looking forward to this weekend’s Harmo-Retreat with Coach David Wright at McDaniel College in Maryland.

A very busy and productive evening then closed with the 50/50 being won by Ian Poulin who then took us out with “Keep The Whole World Singing.”

Until next time – editorjack!

Looking Back on Supreme Court Performance June 1, 2009

Looking Back on Supreme Court Performance June 1, 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 Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter members. —Ye Ed.)

Thanks to Lew Klinge who served as reporter for this event!!

Here are his notes:

Not sure what to report, as other than the venue, it was routine all the way....

First: Don't over-sing, dammit!

The North entrance seemed to be under re-construction so it was a long walk to get to the door and hit security. The busier it got, the less security there was.

Once inside we were ushered to the cafeteria for changing/warming up. There were 76 of us, including Joe.

Don't over-sing, Dammit! (from what I hear this was stressed a lot during warm up as chorus prepared to sing in the marble hall.)

Will Cox warmed us up and then Joe began to run the order, from last to first.

Don't over-sing, Dammit

About 8:30 we were escorted to a beautiful meeting room for dainty desserts, coffee, tea and assorted soft drinks. In the rush to get at the food, Joe almost lost his hand! It was a beautiful evening and since the doors to the courtyard were open we could enjoy the nite.

Because of the close proximity to the banquet hall, we couldn't sing in the conference room, but we were able to "whisper" through some of the songs before filing into the banquet room which was actually the grand foyer of the Supreme Court building. We were crammed up on risers with Joe about 1.5 feet in front of us. There were probably 40 tables of 10 people in the room with two tables about 2 feet in front of the front row.

Joe gave us a "thumbs up" indicating that he wanted abbreviated choreography ("Great Day" and "NY, NY") and VERY abbreviated choreo for "Clap Yo Hands"). No injuries occurred.

There were four justices in the audience...Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy. I spotted Roberts and Alito but not the other two. (Actually Ye Ed heard later there were six there.)

Lots of current or ex-military folks in the audience with most having served in the Army, who stood at our invitation during the "Armed Forces Medley. I didn't see any Coast Guard folks but couldn't exactly see everyone.

We received a standing ovation but it wasn't initiated by the Chief Justice. He rose about 10 seconds after some guy 1/3 of the way to the back stood up and got it started.

Probably got the standing ovation because we DIDN'T oversing!

(And those of you who know Lew very well realize that I had to leave out a few items he wrote about!!! Thanks Lew.)

Until next time -- editorjack!