Thursday, October 29, 2009

Looking Back on the October 27th Chapter Meeting

As is the case these days on a Harmonizer meeting nite, Durant was hoppin with action from 6 pm on. A good crowd on stage for SP review. The front row diggin in to polish their SP. Guests pouring in – many from the last couple weeks. There was even a “Where’s Waldo” character who came (actually a returning guest).

It was a rainy nite in Virginia and that combined with the usual rush hour mess caused a lot of guys to be late. (Everyone needs to make the effort to leave earlier for Tuesday nite rehearsal – especially when the weather is nasty.)

After a good musical warm up, Director Joe thanked the good number of guys who made it to the joint rehearsal last nite. (The following paragraph was prepared by Alan Wile to report on the joint rehearsal with the Pride of Baltimore chorus on Monday, Oct. 26th. YeEd.)The Harmonizers showed up in force at Pride of Baltimore's meeting venue in Baltimore, despite the competition with heavy commuter traffic (compounded by those hustling to get to the Redskins game). Initially, we gathered in the church social hall ... where a very large number of risers were set up. We talked with friends and made a few new ones while we waited for others to arrive. By 7:20 or so, we were dismissed to the other end of the building where Assistant Director Mike Kelly warmed us up. Precisely at 8:00 p.m. we joined 80 or so Pride of Baltimore members as they finished their warm-up. Director Joe asked us to take our normal positions on the stage left end of the risers. And then the fun began. We rehearsed each of the three joint songs, bit by bit, as Joe worked sound, vocal production, interpretation, and other issues. Before concluding we sang all three songs in succession, from start to finish. Joe announced that at our next joint rehearsal (on the Saturday before the show) the two choruses will be co-mingled and he'll decide which arrangement produces the best product out front. After the joint rehearsal was over, most Harmonizers headed home but a few remained behind to watch the balance of the Pride of Baltimore Chorus rehearsal (and to join them for the afterglow). They sang and performed five (or so) songs, all but one of which had some pretty energetic choreography. They are going to be fabulous on our show -- the audience will love 'em! And we have our work cut out for us!!

Joe also told us during the Tuesday nite meeting that the chorus is ranking 8th for the contest next summer in Philly based on the scores choruses earned in the International Preliminary Chorus Contests (which is what they officially call the contest we sang in up at Lancaster). Joe says we are within a point or less from 3rd or 4th – that is how close the scores are. So – his point was that we gotta start working and preparing now to make a major run for it in July, 2010.

During this first part of the singing nite, Joe worked with the guys to bring holiday show songs back up to par. He and his team also worked to remind guys of the simple SP things for these songs. Also during the nite, Joe helped the singers know more about using their vocal instruments for better quality and ensemble sound.

The next big singing period was used to continue the work on songs that we will sing with ladies from Pride of Baltimore on our fall show in MD. This week he invited two guys (usually a section leader and one other singer) for comments and suggestions on what needs work.

And then we went to work on review and polish of “Meeting Here Tonight” as our new show opener. Joe stressed the importance of the first notes since it will kick off our fall show; and be the first sounds the many viewers from around the world will hear when they tune in via web cast. (It costs $25 for the viewer and can be ordered via our website, YeEd was told.)

During this work period, the operations team raised the screen we had used for looking at holiday music, so the men could see the wall of mirrors to improve precision of their moves.

Before break, Mark Klostermeyer announced birthdays this week. Secretary Buechler presented a 25-year pin and card to John Pence. Dan O’Brien welcomed another long line of guests and told us of several who had filled out applications.

After the break, there were announcements – as usual. Everyone should know that next week we meet in Jeff Houston School which is adjacent to Durant. (For guests and new guys, drive around to the back of Durant and you will see the entrance to the school cafeteria.)

Jeremy Knobel asked guys to start working on getting out (or for the many new singers – find or make) your costumes for the Holiday show. Elves, toys, or similar characters. Also be looking for items you can contribute to the silent auction – small appliances, tickets to sports or concert events, hotel or resort accommodations, services like a meal prepared by you or a quartet gig or lawn care for a day or car wax. Also each guy is asked to wrap two good sized boxes with bright holiday wrap. They will be needed prior to the show, so get ready to buy the paper and locate the boxes you are gonna bring.

Gary Plaag announced that he is dropping back as visual chairman for the chorus. He has held the position for about 7 years and wants time to be a guy-on-the-risers (and to allow himself more time to concentrate on his business and many other barbershop duties including M-AD president). The chorus acknowledged his support with applause and thanks.

Carl Kauffmann has agreed to be chair for Harmonizer activities in Philly next July. He took a straw poll and determined there was strong interest in having the chapter place an order for convention tickets now, while the price is lower. We will all need to pay for them as soon as they arrive. Everyone was glad to also hear that Bob Rhome will honcho the reservation process for us.

Music VP Reynolds told the guys to be on the lookout for “The Chipmunk Song” to be released to the chorus. The goal is to learn it for the show, YeEd thinks.

President Brad thanked Mick Stamps for donating four Redskins tickets to the chapter which we sold and the money will go to support our musical program.

Brad also showed the nice Harmonizer coffee mugs that each guest will receive at the dessert show on Saturday nite of the Holiday show weekend.

Next Brad honored two guys with You Make a Difference pins – Austin Cotton for his faithful work in packaging and selling CDs at show and events; and Mark Klostermeyer for his many years of service as chorus manager as well as operations vice president and our resident picture or certificate framer.

Back to singing, Joe thanked the guys for accepting the challenge of riser discipline and he remarked how quiet it was when everyone worked at it. He also suggested we don’t all need to be funny and do a comedy routine every time someone up front says something that brings a laugh.

He worked with the chorus to revive our 2009 contest package and then a solid work out on the last song for the fall show. We worked right up til 10:05 pm so everyone had to help load the truck with risers and equipment for use at the school next week.

Until next time – editorjack!

(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.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Looking Back on the October 20th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on the October 20th 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.)

One thing that was different about this week’s meeting was guests kept rolling in. Director Joe was thinking we might need to buy more risers!! And membership vp Dan was really busy signing in, making name tags, issuing guest books and blowing the pitch pipe when needed.

Director Joe thanked him for his good job as pitch man too.

Joe seemed back to good health and was ready for a good workout and rehearsal. It was that and more. He was happy to remind us all that we will have web casting for the fall show. He asked the guys to be sure to plan to attend the joint rehearsal next Monday nite in Baltimore with the ladies of POB. And finally he told the men on the risers that if they were not a guest, zip the lip and be ready to sing, not talk.

First work session after warm ups was for the Holiday show. Good to hear some of those annual songs again and to hear guys step up to do the various solos in the holiday show.

Then it was work on the songs for the join show in Nov. Joe announced we will drop “Summertime” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing” for that show but will do “Meetin Here Tonight” with the new visual plan. So the troops worked for about 35 minutes on that number. Front row worked in the lobby on their part of the plan. (They even planned a prank on Joe when they came in and added a crazy move near the tag.)

Before break during membership time, Secretary Buechler presented a six year renewal card to Dean Martin, and a 35-year pin and card to Randy Lazear.

Membership Dan O introduced all the guests and K12 helped him pass out the many First Time Guest pins.

YeEd was blown away by the birthday surprise for break. Thanks.

During the break there was a plug for all the usual sales. As a reminder, we should all plan ahead to use Script cards for holiday purchases like Honey Baked Hams, Book Stores, Bed Bath and Beyond, or gift cards for stocking stuffers.

Announcements included word that the M&P Committee was cancelled for Wednesday; the board retreat is this weekend; don’t forget to plan ahead and arrange to car pool for the joint rehearsal on Nov. 26th in Baltimore.

President Brad reported that former director Scott Werner was the first one to sign up for the web cast of the fall show. He then presented You Make a Difference pins to Jim Lucey for his dedication and years of service on our behalf in developing and supporting relationships with the Arts community in Alexandria; and to Terry Jordan for his coaching and support of chapter leaders.

Then it was back to work on the music for the fall show especially in preparation for the joint rehearsal.

Joe pleaded for a good crowd next Monday nite!

Until next time – editorjack!