Friday, January 8, 2010

Looking Back on the January 5th Chapter Meeting

There was excitement in the air tonite!!

The stage was packed with guys trying to learn the stage moves for “Meeting Tonight” and YeEd hears that Chuck McKeever has a new Bose sound system for providing music to practice with during his stage presence review classes.

And before I forget about it, YeEd got an email from George Azzam in response to the Looking Back column we wrote after the recent Put Together contest. George wrote. “What a hoot! So glad to know I’m remembered and I am honored that an award has been created in my name. One of these years, I’ll come visit on the nite of the contest. Not sure I’ll be able to throw together enough quartets to win my own award, but it would be fun to try.”

YeEd also reports that he heard from John Hohl in FL that former director Scott Werner was in the hospital for six days during the holidays. Some sort of heart issue but he is out now and adjusting blood thinner meds and is at home.

Tuesday nite’s huge crowd was crammed on 9 risers cause the risers were set up facing the stage (so video cameras could be used to capture the who performance – there is work going on to make SP training tapes for new guys to learn sp for the songs). The usual 11 sections won’t fit across the hall, so only 9 were set.

And there were coats everywhere – it was freezing cold outside tonite.

YeEd also noticed new chapter music librarian, Bob Mattes, at work before the meeting getting more guests books ready as well as updating others.

First singing of the chorus was to rekindle interest in the Singing Valentine operation for the chapter. Director Joe plugged it hard and asked guys in all the recent put-together quartets to sign up to help. Chorus sang thru “Heart of My Heart” and did a quartet-push-out thing on “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”

Joe then launched a few remarks about the goals and kick off for 2010 and welcomed so many members, guests and former members. He was particularly proud of the big crowd of our guys who went to the Beer Blast in Dundalk.

Then he introduced and sincerely welcomed Geri and Royal Geis. Royal is a past chapter president and major chorus sales agent. Geri was artistic director. She will be our coach for the new ballad and used her first visit to rekindle attitude and skills of chorus members in delivering artistry on stage and in performances. She demonstrated and spoke and helped the newer generation of chorus members discover how things can work in the presentation arena.

When she had finished, the guys gave Geri a Harmonize cheer and thanked her for helping us. Joe used the moment to ask for the same rapt attention guys gave Geri at all of our meetings in 2010.

Mark Klostermeyer plugged the Heat Glo that is Sat. Jan. 9th at Jack and Pat Pitzer’s. 7:30 pm. Bring snacks to share. Bring significant other. Casual dress. (This is a continuation of a 40-plus year chapter tradition.)

Secretary Buechler gave a 21-year renewal card to Matt Kahn and announced that Skip Coburn had also earned a 21-year card.

Membership VP Dan O’Brien explained plans for the Jan. 19th guest nite that is coming up fast. He asked us all to use the flyers and invite cards he provided . (YeEd noticed that the supply was pretty much gone when we ended the nite!! Hurray.)

Another group of guests were on hand as well as several former members who were back to rejoin and get back involved with the chapter. Hurray again.

The break was busy as many guys wanted some warm coffee. And there were a lot of goodies that came in from guys who wanted to share leftovers from the Holidays.

After-break-announcements included details about the Presidents’ Ball on Feb. 6th. It will be a banquet with the chapter catering the main course and members bring sides, dessert or hors d’oeuvers. The event with start with a cash bar cocktail hour. DJ Pete Frank will be back to join us, and guest speaker, Mark Hale, director of the Masters of Harmony in CA, will install our officer team!!! This is the nite we give out the major chapter awards. Price is only $15 each and we are hoping for ALL members and their significant other to come. Stay tuned for sign up details and table reservations (table of 10). Big thanks to immediate past president Brad Jones who had done all the work on making this great event take on a new look.

Jack Cameron has fall contest pixs for those guys who ordered them.

Craig Kujawa reported on the chapter’s weight loss program. Team B headed by Mark Klostermeyer is in third place. Team A headed by Joe Cerutti and Team D headed by Phil Ferguson are tied for second. Team C headed by Ken Fess is in first place.

Music VP Terry Reynolds reviewed the qualification process and asked all to watch for copy in the mail. A new aspect of the plan this year is for all to show improvement. Terry also suggested that the music team is hoping everyone can get rid of tapes and move over to newer methods.

Chapter President Dick Newton, in office at his first chapter meeting, supported the goals shared by Joe earlier. He reported that Jed Casey had a hip replacement today and is reportedly doing well. Dick also read a thank you note from Marjorie Beatley, wife of former Alexandria mayor, thanking us for the great holiday performance. Her husband was an avid fan and supporter of the chapter (YeEd thinks that would have been in the 70s).

Then it was back to work on the risers with a solid work session on the “Meeting Here Tonight” visual plan.

And finally we got to sing the new up tune!! Wow – what a great start and successful first-time thru. The chorus worked then for 15 minutes or so in sectionals to extend the learning curve. Then when everyone was back, Joe was able to drill and coach and instruct. It was fast and high energy and fun.

As he has done a few times before, Joe had the men sing though the melody of the ballad. But first he invited a member to read the lyrics and recite them as the member would feel the story. Scott Kahler was first to volunteer.

We sang right up until 10, plugged the Heat Glo one more time, and had the 50/50 drawings (a couple pounds of coffee were given first and then the cash). The other half of the cash goes to the Mid Atlantic District Endowment Fund.

Craig Kujawa is taking a temporary duty assignment out of the country for 8-12 weeks, so he was invited to take us out and direct “Whole World.”

The excitement and fun continued at the afterglow at 815 South Washington.

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, January 4, 2010

Looking Back on the Dec. 22nd Hospital Sing; Dec. 29th BLAST at Dundalk

The chorus did the annual sing at Alexandria Hospital on Dec. 22nd. We have done this for many, many years. In the old days the chorus was so small that the Alexandria Rec Dept. provided a bus and we went to several hospitals in the area to sing.

This year we had a decent crowd despite the awful weather conditions, street conditions and traffic. This was just a couple days after the 15-20 inch snow that hit the DC area. Director Joe helped us do our part to cheer up those who had to be in the hospital this time of year. After the sing, the troops adjourned to 815 Southside for an afterglow.

On Dec. 29th, a huge number of Alexandria guys went to the BLAST hosted by the Dundalk Chapter in Glen Bernie. We had 28 members present. And ten of them sang in the quartet contest that was for pick up groups as well as registered quartets. Tony Colosimo sang five times beating out Dean Martin, Joe Sawyer and Ryan Griffith who were in four groups. One of Tony’s quartets, SHOULD BE LEGAL, included Wayne Adams, Joe Sawyer plus Erin Odell singing tenor. She got a prize for being brave!!

After the 25 or so quartets were all done, some of our guys got prizes. Director Joe was in the second place quartet with guys from around the district. And the winning quartet was called LEADLESS with four of our guys – Ryan Griffith, Dean Martin, Joe Sawyer and Mike Kelly.

Other Harmonizers not mentioned above who got up and sang with three other guys included Sam McFarland, Chris Yates, and Bob Mattes. Several former members were on stage during the evening too. (YeEd is afraid to start that list in case we forgot someone!) It was fun to create the list of guys who were arriving from our chapter – some had driven a long way to be there.

Judges for the contest were the ladies from CAPRI who have been so helpful at our Youth Harmony events each spring. Rick Taylor, who is a Harmonizer, was MC. Ryan Griffith who is active in both Dundalk and Alexandria was credited for heading up the BLAST event which was well attended. They had to bring in extra tables. There were guys from NY, PA, NJ as well as VA, MD, DC.

The evening included lots of beer and soda and hot dogs and chips – all included in the small entry fee. The evening concluded with a performance by MAXX FACTOR, fresh back from their gig in Hollywood. Wow they are great.

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.)