Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Looking Back on the October 2-3, 2009 District Contest and Convention

Looking Back on the October 2-3, 2009 District Contest and Convention

(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 was another great weekend of success for the chapter up in Lancaster, PA. Steve White reports the chorus has won the M-AD contest ten times in a row and a total of 22 times. Wow! So the 114 point victory was a good one for the record books.

And then you gotta extend congrats to FULL TILT (Cazenas, Aiuto, Frank, S White) for their second place finish and CRUNCH TIME (M Wallen and E Wallen - note that Mike filled in for Brett Thomas who was on his honeymoon this past weekend) for their third place finish. We are proud of you guys for pushing the bar high in this year’s district quartet contest. ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT won that contest. (They are the quartet who helped with our spring youth festival.)

Our other chapter quartets did us proud too. DOWN A FOURTH (Sawyer, Cerutti, W Adams, Kelly) came in 11th and so they were named mic testers for the Saturday nite finals round. And if you weren’t there, you should have seen them test the mics!!! They scooted over to the podium, then grabbed the head set off the back stage guy, then went over to the riser area of the stage and focused their voices up toward the mics used for the chorus contest. It was a crazy bit “enhanced” by their outfits – a perfect copy of ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT clothes, such as the argyle sweater of the tenor, hat on the lead with a purple shirt, colorful golf cap on the bari, and shades on the bass [plus a crazy wig to add hair for our guy to sort of look like their guy].

FRiDAYS! came in 14th and DOWNTOWN came in 19th in the contest. YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT and SURPRISE! sang in the contest as senior quartets ranking second and fifth respectively in that concurrent contest. HIT PARADE with some long-time district quartet champ guys combined to take top seniors quartet and a right to go the mid winter in Tampa.

YeEd noticed the great cheering and support from the chapter members and FRIENDS for our quartets when they were about to go on stage.

This was the first time for the M-AD convention to be in Lancaster at the new convention center. It worked pretty well as a venue – always some little things to work on for next year. Thanks to our guys who are in leadership positions with the district for their hard work to make this change such as president Gary Plaag, treasurer Bob Eckman, secretary Keith Jones, board member Dennis Ritchey and their operations team.

MC for the quartet semi-finals was Sean Devine, lead of OC TIMES. Craig Odell had MC duties for the quartet finals round (taking over duties from daughter Erin who has been MC often at contests lately). Bill Colosimo, Tony’s Dad, was MC for the four hours of the chorus contest. The judging panel included former director Richard Lewellen as singing judge, and former member and a current coach Steve Tramack as music judge. Chuck Harner had many responsibilities as district vp for contest and judging matters. Dixie Kennett was lighting coordinator. Mike Kelly managed the video recording operation for the contest.

The Saturday chorus contest was a busy one for all. First story of the morning was that President Brad had forgotten the chorus contest trophy. So he woke up his wife back in Maryland and talked her into meeting him half way with the big wooden trophy box. Thanks Adele!! Guess we didn’t need to present it to ourselves but that might have been a little over confident; and the trophy is used in the chorus pixs!!!

The Harmonizers had their own bus to get us into town from Willow Valley Resort. Great idea and very helpful. Next year we will all know where the heck they will allow the bus to park and wait! Thanks to our chapter leaders, tho, for planning ahead. Bob Rhome was the logistics guy for the weekend and he did a ton of work that made it easy for all to “get into” this new convention location. He produced a great booklet full of info we all needed to navigate. Bill Depuy was Harmo truck driver!

YeEd noticed the Harmo banner up front by the stage! Good work guys!!!

The chorus contest started mighty early on Saturday – luckily the Harmonizers sang last at about 2 pm. It was great to see Kellen Hertz, Edris Qarghah and Pete Frank back on the risers to sing “Clap Yo Hands” and “You Tell Me Your Dream” with the chorus for the contest after their recent departures to college and new job. Also it was neat that the new venue included rehearsal space for all contestants and so our guys were plenty visible in the chapter’s teal blue shirts.

The first place finish in the district chorus contest means the Harmonizers will be the district representatives in the International chorus contest in Philly on July 4th, 2010. Second place chorus was Hamilton Square, NJ, (formerly Easton). Dundalk was third. Manhattan was fourth.

It is always fun to try to spot former members or even current members who sang with other choruses in the contest: Fred Womer in Harrisburg; John Knight with Westchester; Paul Lynch, Mike Geipel and David Wilt with Mike Wallen in Richmond; Paul Laurenz, Bob Wilson and Brian Chopp in James River; Steve Plumb and Joe’s Dad in Manhattan; and then McFarland, Yates, Griffith and Hirsh with Rick Taylor in Dundalk.

The chapter got a couple plugs for their upcoming shows from MCs during the weekend. And then Joe gave the July show with Westminster a plug when he spoke on Saturday nite during the show of champions. We also had some colorful flyers scattered all around the venue promoting our show line up for the months ahead. Again, good work by our chapter leaders.

During the show of champs, the chorus sang “Great Day” and “Ave Maria” and then ended with our classy production of “New York, New York.” Newest member Ken Henderson managed to slip onto stage for one song of the set. Congrats. Gary Plaag was MC for the show part of Saturday nite.

A major honor was bestowed one our guys this weekend. Chuck Harner was named to the M-AD Hall of Honor in recognition for his years of contribution to district matters. He is joined by 15 other of his brother Harmonizers on that list – see page 40 of the recent chapter directory.

Alan Wile, as chair of the district Endowment Fund drive, organized a dinner between Saturday events in the Freedom Center. Over four hundred dollars was collected. Attendees got to hear OLD SCHOOL, second place International quartet sing, as well as our chapter friends, FOUR ACES, back together to sing for us. Ed and Nick were in the contest of course and Richard was a judge. And Scott Risley made it back and they sounded great.

During the chorus evaluation session, all 80 of our guys were there relaxing on the risers to hear judge Joe Connelly say how thrilled he was to speak to men of the Society’s most prestigious chapter! How true!!

Until next time – editorjack!