Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Looking Back on the 2010 Fall District Contest, Lancaster

The Alexandria Harmonizers won their 23rd M-AD championship this past weekend in Lancaster, PA.

And our quartets took 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 13th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 23rd.

As is often the case, there was evidence of our chapter around every corner. At the first event of the weekend, Dennis Ritchey was emcee for the semi-finals round of the quartet contest.

Nine quartets with Harmonizer members sang in that first round: and four made it to the finals:

TOUCHSTONE with Steve White won first
CRUNCH TIME with Eric Wallen took second
TRIBUTE with Ryan Griffith and Tony Colosimo was third
DOWN A FOURTH! with Joe Cerutti, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams and Troy Hillier got seventh

YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen was 13th
ON THE ROAD with John Reece and Chris Yates was 17th
DOWNTOWN with Drew Fuller, Frank Fedarko and Arthur Louis was 18th
FRiDAYS! with Bob Caldwell, Ken Ives and Steve Murane was 19th
BELTWAY BLUES with Kevin Roth was 23rd

TOUCHSTONE made an amazing rebound after coming in fourth in the first round and moved up to first during the finals Saturday nite. Steve sings with three other guys from around the district who also have been district champs before – Rob Seay, Rich Gray and Jay Butterfield. This is Steve’s fourth time to be in a district champ quartet.

And YeEd is proud to report that Steve was named to the Mid Atlantic District Hall of Honor earlier Saturday afternoon following the chorus contest! He is welcomed to that group by 16 other Harmonizers who have been so honored. Tony’s Dad, Bill Colosimo, was also named to the Hall of Honor.

Some “fun” moments in the quartet contests: people barking like dogs whenever FRANK THE DOG quartet appeared; when the fire alarm went off and we had to empty the hall, come back in after just a few minutes and have the quartet start their set again; DOWN A FOURTH and their Chinese food set sung while in inflated Sumo wrestler outfits (and the point when one of the suits seemed to deflate!); having Ryan Griffith get to sing with his Dad in TRIBUTE; CRUNCH TIME leading the pack after the first round but ending with their second, 2nd place at district; and HIT PARADE, who ended up being the first place senior’s quartet, singing “End of the Road” – an original song by John Hohl and Scott Werner about a guy ending his career as a singer.

After the Friday nite quartet round ended and while the judges were doing the paperwork to report who would sing in the finals Saturday, there was a tribute to the recently deceased Walter Latzko. His wife Marjorie was present during the visual and musical tribute. He was recognized as a life member of the Alexandria Chapter. Marjorie then came to the Harmonizer rehearsal on Saturday and thanked the members for their support and expressions and for the years of including them in our chapter events at International.

For the Saturday International prelims chorus contest and simultaneous district chorus contest, the Harmonizers sang 10th in order of appearance. Alexandria was the largest chorus with 88 singers. Our score was just a point or two lower than Philly but we were really pleased with the high numbers were earned in the singing category. The work paid off!

Hamilton Square, NJ, Brothers in Harmony was second place chorus and repeated their tribute to the 50,000 names on the Viet Nam Wall which they had done in Philly. Dundalk was third place with 81 singers and directed by our joint member Rick Taylor. Hell’s Kitchen, NY, was fourth. We had some of our current and former members singing in other choruses this weekend also such as DC, Dundalk, Richmond, and Fairfax.

The FRIENDS of Harmony came to the early rehearsal Saturday morning and gave each guy a memento to take on stage. YeEd noticed they brought ironing boards and helped get uniforms ready as needed. John Hohl brought a copy of the original sheet music of “I Get Along Without You Very Well – Of Course I Do” for Joe’s collection.

Tony Colosimo and Will Cox did warm ups before Director Joe started the review and reminder period. Joe welcomed Geri Geis (and Royall) who stayed with the chorus then to help prepare them for their presentation on stage.

Likely the chapter leaders will extend their appreciation and thanks to many guys who did behind the scenes work such as the riser crew who worked hard Friday eve, the truck drivers, and of course Bob Rhome who did so much of the admin work for registrations and housing. YeEd was proud to see our chapter banner hanging in the convention hall too!

Chuck Harner, in his capacity as contest vp, had the pleasure of reading the contest results after each session. Mike Kelly and Mary Ann were doing the video recording of contests and Dennis Ritchey also worked back stage.

After the chorus contest, all of the guys attended the contest evaluation session with one judge from each category. In the breaks between the evals, Joe thanked the guys for their work and recognized the 15 or so guys who had never won a district chorus contest with the chapter.

The Saturday show after the quartet finals ended was emceed by Gary Plaag. The top three choruses sang and Joe was able to thank the district attendees for their support this past summer and this weekend. The chorus is proud to represent the great M-AD at the International chorus contest next summer in Kansas City. He also recognized Majorie and Geri during his remarks. We sang the contest package and “Stars and Stripes Forever” and welcomed the standing ovation from the crowd.

The evening ended with the chorus of past district quartet champs, MADAQC, singing as the trophies were presented to the top three quartets. TOUCHSTONE guys each got a personal trophy and a quartet champ trophy that is about 5-ft. tall! (YeEd tried to get the names of all the Harmonizers on stage as past champs in MADAQC – Steve White, Mike Kelly, Gary Plaag, Rick Savage, Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams, Rick Taylor, Will Cox, and Mike Wallen. Chapter secretary Buechler offers more trivia – there have been 16 district champs from our chapter. They are listed in the back of the chapter directory.

Everyone adjourned to the many hospitality rooms around the hotel. We had all enjoyed some good food in restaurants around the hotel including goodies from the Amish market across the street.

Altho YeEd did not attend, he knows that chapter president Dick Newton was planning to attend the House of Delegates meeting on Sunday morning. That is a body with a representative of every chapter in the district. They make recommendations to the district board and carry out suggestions the board has for chapters. Several of our guys are officers of the district too: Gary Plaag is president, Bob Eckman is treasurer, Keith Jones is secretary, Dennis Ritchey is member-at-large, and Alan Wile is BHS Society representative (and was the official delegate from the BHS this weekend). Chuck Harner is district vp for contest and judging matters, Alan Wile is district vp for financial development, and Mike Kelly is chief information officer.

Just for fun – here are names of current and former Harmonizers seen during the weekend and not mentioned above who did not sing on the risers: Jim Herrick, Pete Frank, Dean Martin, Lew Klinge, Royall Geis, Steve Matuszewski, Bill Sowers, Scott Kahler, John Parkinson, Bob Wilson, Bob Wells, Paul Laurenz, Paul Lensch, Richard Lewellen, John Grant, Scott Disney, Fred Womer, Joe Eckert, Bob Hirsch, Michael Calhoun and Mike Geipel. [Anyone who can add to this list gets a free copy of coffee at the chapter meeting on Tuesday!]

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 with the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

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