Thursday, June 25, 2009

Looking Back on International Sendoff Chapter Meeting June 23rd, 2009

Looking Back on International Sendoff Chapter Meeting June 23rd, 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 at an Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter meeting. —Ye Ed.)

This year’s International send off was held at Durant on Tuesday nite. The crowd grew to over 270 and we used every chair we could find in the Rec Center.

There were 29 guys who came up from the Richmond Chapter. There were also guys there from the DC Chapter, Dundalk Chapter and a few individuals from other chapters around the area.

Ye Ed counted 35 former or current members in the audience in addition to the nearly 80 guys on the risers. The room was hot enough during this summer season, but the huge crowd warmed up the hall.

The Harmonizers really can turn on the charm with a crowd is cheering and screaming.

Musically there was the usual warm up and then exercises to recapture lessons and instructions from last week. Director Joe took the chorus thru the songs and then sets of the contest package. Then the chorus went out into the lobby to prepare for a contest entrance and performance for the audience.

Terry Jordan did the announcer duties and the chorus did their set. The audience responded with a Standing O.

The chapter was honored to have three judges observe the performance – Steve Tramack from NH and former member or our chapter, Tim Brooks from Georgia and lead in a medalist quartet competing in Anaheim, STATE LINE GROCERY, and Gary Plaag.

The chorus took a break and the audience was invited to enjoy a spread of refreshments provided by the Jordans. After the break, the judges gave comments to the chorus (and the audience could hear them too).

Joe also expressed his thank you to a long list of administrative, musical and motivational leaders. The chapter’s FRIENDS OF HARMONY gave the chapter a monetary guift as well as checks to our two quartets going to Anaheim, FULL TILT and CRUNCH TIME. Representatives of the Dundalk Chapter and the Potomac Harmony Sweet Adeline Chapter also presented gifts to President Brad Jones wishing the chorus well in competition.

Announcement included the distribution of convention packets by Bob Rhome (the actual books were prepared by Dixie Kennett with help from Chris Buechler).

Secretary Chris gave membership renewal cards to Craig Kujawa for 6 years and Ken Rub for 18 years. New members were introduced – Kellen Hertz, Edris Qarghah, Frank Fedarko and Phil Ashford (reinstated in chapter after 25 year absence). They are all going to Anaheim too.

Ye Ed asked for anyone going to Anaheim to send him stories or info or details about the week to use in prep of the next Looking Back column. Get them to him by Thurs. July 9th via email. Thanks.

The evening ended with Tom Kraus doing a personal story of young romance that fits the scenario we have for the ballad. Then the chorus did one of its closed eye drills. And ended with another run thru of the whole set.

The hall was emptied about 10:20 and the truck loaded so we could set up for the extra rehearsal on Thurs nite June 25th in the school next door.

For those who need a reminder, the first rehearsal in Anaheim is Tues evening, June 30th, 7 – 8:30 pm in the Marriott – Marquis North (note that is not our hotel – and note the various locations of our rehearsals all week in CA).

Until next time – editorjack!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Looking Back on Harmonizer Activity at Harmony College East, June 2009

Looking Back on Harmonizer Activity at Harmony College East, June 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.)

Here is a wrap up of Harmonizer activity at the Harmony College East (HCE) event in Salisbury, MD, June 18-21, 2009. The weekend also included the Mid Atlantic District Youth Camp. (We are part of the Mid Atlantic District – one of 16 in the Society. As a sub part of that district, we are part of the Southern Division.)

Harmony College East gets it name from the Society-wide Harmony University that used to be called Harmony College. And because the M-AD weekend school has always been darn near as good as HU, they just added the “EAST” to the name. It is a weekend of coaching for quartets and choruses who sign up; and a weekend of classes for any member who registers or director or coach or judge who registers. The faculty is huge and is brought in from all over the nation to provide education, coaching and training for our district’s ensembles.

Our own Gary Plaag, who is M-AD president now, and his staff conducted the weekend school. Bill Colosimo is music vp for M-AD. The deans for the school were Ron Knickerbocker and Scott Ward.

This report was prepared by Terry Jordan, Alan Wile, Bob Eckman from our chapter, and Jere Richardson, district vp for the southern division.

Thursday, June 18, 2009. With Alan Wile behind the wheel and Bob, Terry, and Jere on board, we headed off to HCE at Salisbury University in Salisbury Maryland. After arrival and checking in to our dorm rooms it was time to go out for supper. We stopped at an Italian place and it was very good. Then it was back to campus for the Thursday evening short courses such as tag singing, quartetting as a business or sight singing. Afterwards we hung out in the staff/faculty lounge until after midnight.

Friday, June 19, 2009. Breakfast was in the campus dinning hall – which is not your average state school eatery. It was a really a huge room with many stations of food at each meal.

For class time, you chose either half day sessions or all day sessions for individuals. A sample of some of the classes you could take include emceeing, Tune It or Die!, marketing your quartet or chorus, or a beginning arranging class.

Choruses and quartets were in coaching sessions all day Friday and Saturday with two to four coaching sessions each day from different coaches. The youth quartets, boys and girls, were also being coached all day on Friday and Saturday. Lunch and supper each day in the dinning hall was really something – ask anyone of our guys about this eating experience.

Friday evening’s show featured performances by some of the men’s quartets, some of the youth quartets, and the chorus that was coached on Friday. Then it was time to relax; sing around the campus open spaces, in the rooms, in the lounge. Or for some it was time for bed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009. Breakfast, class or coaching, lunch, class or coaching, supper, and then another even better show Saturday evening with the rest of the men’s quartets, the rest of the youth quartets, the choruses that were coached on Saturday, and SURPRISE, BIG TIME, CRUNCH TIME, FULL TILT and OLD SCHOOL quaretets. (These quartets are all headed to the International quartet contest in Anaheim and were given top level coaching in preparation for that contest.) Plus, the “boys” chorus, the “girls” chorus and the combined youth chorus. And then more singing and relaxing. The Harmony Heritage Singers, our friends in the neighboring Mount Vernon Chapter and directed by Bob Wachter and Chris Buechler, attend HCE about every third year and they host an afterglow. The youth also have their own special afterglow in their dorm

Youth: Joe Cerutti was in charge of the HCE youth program throughout the entire weekend as the M-A District Vice President for Youth in Harmony. This year there were 50 youth involved in the weekend including seven girls quartets, four boys quartets. The faculty coaches for the youth included several Harmonizers.

Alan Wile and Howard Fetterolf (two of our past district presidents) kept busy both days from the start of breakfast until the end of supper hours selling “opportunity tickets.” Saturday evening near the end of the show tickets were drawn to win various opportunity prizes, the # 1 being a paid registration for HCE next year. The $1500 earned this year was used to support the Youth Camp program.

Sunday, June 21, 2009. Get up, check out, stop somewhere for breakfast, and hit the road for home. Most of the attendees were home by noon Father’s Day.

This year we counted 38 Harmonizers and former Harmonizers, and three Harmonizer family members also. Those we saw:
Nick Aiuto Jerry Kindred
Martin Banks Mike Louque
Chris Buechler Lou Manfre
Eddie Cazenas Bob Mattes
Joe Cerutti Bruce Minnick
Tony Colosimo Howard Nestlerode
Bob Eckman Rob Nutt
Mike Everard Gary Plaag
Darryl Flinn JT Price
Pete Frank Joe Sawyer
Scipio Garling Jim Stockton
Paul Greiner Rick Taylor
Ryan Griffith Bob Wachter
Paul Grimes Eric Wallen
Chuck Harner Mike Wallen
Bob Hirsh Steve White
Keith Jones Alan Wile
Terry Jordan Glenn Williamson
Mike Kelly Bob Wilson
And Nancy Banks, Tony Colosimo’s dad Bill, and Craig Odell’s daughter Erin.

Until next time – editorjack!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Looking Back on June 16th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on June 16th 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 again to Jim Lucey for taking notes and writing up this week’s column.

The evening began with Dr. Will (“Hark”) Cox conducting the warm-up. Then it was time for our Director to get down to serious preparations for the International Chorus Contest.
Joe showed the video of last year’s contest performance of the up-tune at Nashville. He used the video to highlight areas which need improvement to move the performance to a higher level in the singing category. This included reminders to sustain the singing energy throughout the entire song; the need to maintain discipline and control and not over-sing even though the excitement is high; the need to sing through every phrase and not clip-off the word sounds until the very last beat of the measure(s); and the need for a sustained, smooth sound even while maintaining the up-tune rhythms.
It was then time for the chorus to “drill” the songs, including a Sectional session to clean-up selected areas of the song.
Our Presentation Team also spent time fine-tuning the choreography of the chorus to improve the collective synchronization of our moves.

During our Chapter Meeting time, Secretary Chris Buechler presented several membership renewal cards:

Ron Nelson 2 Years
Nick Murane 4 Years
Ian Poulin 6 Years
Tom Berkey 12 Years
Joe Sawyer 14 Years
Tony Colosimo 16 Years
Jim Lucey 21 Years
Bruce Lauther 23 Years
Chris Buechler 24 Years
Martin Banks 26 Years
Jeff Berman 27 Years

Congratulations to all and thanks for being a Harmonizer!

Scipio Garling stood in for our Membership VP and introduced five guests including former Harmonizer, Chris Yates.

K-12 reminded us that next week’s rehearsal is our annual International Send-Off Evening. The chorus will have a full dress rehearsal and mini-performance for our guests. Members are encouraged to invite all friends and family members to come and enjoy the Send-Off.

Music & Performance VP, Chuck Hunter announced the scholarship winners for this year’s BHS Harmony University in St. Joseph, MO:

Tony Colosimo: Directors College
Phil Ferguson: Harmony College
Noah Van Gilder: Harmony College
Edris Qarghah: Harmony College

Congratulations to all, and enjoy the ice cream!! (Jim knows that one of the fun things to do at Harmony U is gather around the ice cream place on campus, eat and eat and sing and sing.)

It was then time to return to the contest songs. Director Joe again started the coaching by showing video clips of two different choruses competing last year in Nashville. The videos clearly demonstrated the impact an energized and involved chorus makes to an audience and judges when they truly live the song they are singing. The chorus that shows facial involvement / natural body and head movements easily is more interesting and exciting than the one that simply stands still and sings. Joe emphasized to us all through these videos the need to have the whole body and face involved in the lyric message of the ballad.
We then began working the ballad to evoke the best music and emotion from the song. Dick Hall stood to tell his personal story of meeting his future wife, Carolyn,
in 1953 upon his return from eighteen months in Korea as a United States Marine. At the conclusion of his sharing his wonderful love story, Joe asked the chorus to sing our ballad to Carolyn Hall. The emotion from the chorus was truly overwhelming.
The evening concluded with a fond farewell to Ron and Ben Nelson who are moving to Washington State. Ron and Ben were seated in the “Chair(s)” while the chorus sang our farewell song that our former Director John Hohl composed (with lyrics by Harmonizer Bob Bates) in 1984: “A Place On the Risers For You”. It was good to see John in the hall last night too.
Ron & Ben took us out with “Keep the Whole World Singing.”

Until next time – editorjack!