Thursday, March 11, 2010

Looking Back on the March 9th Chapter Meeting

YeEd got to Durant a little after 6 and the place was almost totally set up – risers and chairs and tables and such. Mirrors were going up still.

Chuck McKeever’s class was well attended again – the stage was full. Good for you guys who are taking advantage of his enthusiastic training and help in learning moves and focals for the new uptune for Philly.

Funny thing – as warmer weather has come on, the tables around the hall are only half full since guys don’t have all the coats and winter gear. But still a lot of computer bags and briefcases.

Good to see Edris back from college tonite.

YeEd saw Ike Evans adding mug shots of 12 new guys on the photo board we put up in the hall each Tuesday nite. Thanks Ike. It is always good for new guys to be able to see pix of the other men in the chorus and learn the names. And this new feature by Ike helps the oldtimers get to know the name and bio of new guys.

Will Cox took on the vocal warm ups and worked the chorus hard. Then Director Joe continued some learning exercises (such as singing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” while going up and down the scale). Kudos for pitchman Dan O’Brien for holding the key during the whole exercise in one breath.

YeEd also noted that the FRIENDS OF HARMONY had their meeting tonite.

Early singing by the chorus was to review repertoire songs. Joe warned that if a song is listed in the Looking Ahead column Steve White sends out several days prior to each meeting, then everyone is expected to be able to sing it in an octet. New guys are allowed to use music, so be prepared and get the music for the songs you don’t know yet.

There was a buzz around the hall about the new hats for the front row!! Just a sneak preview for us. And a secret for the contest. Front row is getting practice hats soon.

Joe took a minute early to remind all that the uptune has five parts – an intro, three choruses and a tag. He expects guys to be able to start on any one of those five parts at any time. For some new singers, this was a great help and learning experience.

For the chunk of time designated to work on the uptune, Tony Colosimo directed and Joe coached, drilled, counted, pushed, helped, corrected, and cheered. It was a Harmonizer meeting nite at its best!

Also the chorus was tickled to see how the front row has continued to refine and own their routine for the uptune. Congrats.

Just before break time, Mark Klostermeyer suggested guys who wanted to get their tickets for the Westminster show should see Steve Murane. Steve stressed that he had some in hand tonite for those guys who were not comfortable in ordering online.

Vocal and visual evaluators were asked to meet during the break.

Secretary Buechler invited guys who wanted Harmo logo items such as shirts and jackets to see him.

Membership VP Dan O’Brien welcome two first time guests and welcomed back some others.

Break time was busy as guys got some coffee, took care of chapter business, make purchases, and visited a little. K12 also asked guys to consider bringing in some goodies to share as the cupboard is bare.

After break, quartet promotion chair, Eric Wallen, announced the chapter reps in quartets that are competing in Mid Atlantic District Prelims this weekend in Harrisburg, PA. Mike Kelly’s new quartet, ENTOURAGE, will sing. His lead is Chad St. John from the Cincinnati area. His bari is Ron Rogers, who lives in TX and is a former Harmonizer. His tenor is Justin Oxley, also from TX. Mike Wallen’s seniors quartet YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT will compete. And Eric himself will compete with CRUNCH TIME at the Johnny Appleseed District prelims.

Eric also offered to help any guys who are interested in finding a quartet – even if you are just one guy and wanna find three parts. Or if your new quartet wants some coaching. The chapter has tons of ways to help, so ask.

Next Ken Fess who is heading up the work for the Westminster show announced late breaking news that we have signed and added MASTERPIECE quartet to the show. They were in the top ten at Anaheim last year. He warmed again, “You better get your tickets for family and friends. Sales are on! Already sold about 500.

Past President Brad presented remaining awards that were reported in YeEd’s previous column that were not made at the recent award banquet.

Terry Reynolds stressed that guys dig in and use the new evaluation system online. He also reminded all: Geri comes next week to work on the ballad, and Cindy comes in three weeks to work on the uptune. Terry also thanked Jeremy Knobel and Brian Ammerman for their technical work on the eval system.

President Newton reported on the recent cuts by our state to cut the financial support for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The state budget for 2011 will not include funding for the arts!!! Members are welcome to speak up for changing this decision.

Dick also reported some huge shows coming for the chapter in the months ahead including the June show with Westminster. Then a show in Bowie at a new art center there. And a 9th time show in St. Mary’s County, MD, for us. Then the big news – the Harmonizers go back to Carnegie Hall in NYC (for our second appearance there) in spring of 2011. Also word is out that we will be getting Lisner Auditorium for our show in fall 2010.

Finally Dick shared with us that the chapter had turned down two offers to come sing outside the USA. Both gigs did not include payment. But interesting to be asked. Thanks to Bruce Lauther for his work on getting some of these gig lined up and for those members who have signed on to be producer!

Singing for the second half of the meeting/rehearsal was all on the ballad. Like old times, Terry Reynolds was using the projector to show the ballad emotion words while the guys sang. Joe was coaching the chorus to emote musically and vocally. Great learning technique.

The rehearsal was vibrant and excitement high, but we had to quit and put things away at 10. A good crowd came to the 815 for an afterglow too.

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.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Looking Back on Feb. 28th, 2010 Presidents’ Ball

The 37th annual Presidents’ Ball was held Sunday nite, Feb. 28th at the Durant Center for the Arts on Cameron Street. A large crowd, nearly 130, attended this event hosted by Immediate Past President Brad Jones, and all previous past chapter presidents.

This was a good crowd considering that the early February snows caused us to have
to change the date.This event is a long standing tradition.

The first ball was held in a bank with fried chicken, potato salad and baked beans catered, and highlighted the swearing in of the new board. Over the years the Presidents’ Ball has been held in a church, a temple, a sailing club, and various military clubs; and has covered the gamut from pot luck dinners to buffet style, to formal plated dinners.The event evolved to include some dancing and we added the presentation of the chapter’s major awards, making the overall theme the recognition of the successes of the past year and the launch of the new board into its upcoming endeavors. It became traditional for a period of time to have a well-known barbershopper to present a keynote address and swear in the board. The formality of the event ebbed and flowed (at least once tuxes were worn), and there have been periods of having some barbershop entertainment.This year’s Ball was a return to some of those traditional beginnings and the feelings of growth and pride for an exciting new year for a great chapter.

Thanks for sure to Brad Jones for all of his detailed work to make it all happen. And to Bob Rhome who checked with city officials (after Jim Lucey learned we could indeed have a bar and reception at the Center), picked up the license not once, but twice coordinating the snow date change, and did his usual great job of making arrangements with the city Rec Dept.

So the night began with a reception in the lobby at Durant, with a cash bar (with special “pre-mixed” Martini’s and Cosmos by Lew Klinge), and hors d’oeuvres brought by some of the members. Bob Eckman staffed the table to help all guests find their tables – like you might have done at a wedding reception.At 6:30, guests were welcomed into the main hall at Durant to be seated for dinner.

A yearly photo summary created by Scipio Garling was shown in the front of the hall while folks got settled.

The tables were decorated in black table cloths with mirrored floating candles, and star centerpieces and confetti to carry on the You Make The Difference star theme from Immediate Past President Brad’s year. After a brief welcome, Lew Klinge invited each table to the buffet line (the main course was catered and the sides and salads and desserts brought by the members).

Keynote speaker for this year’s Ball was Mark Hale, director of the gold-medal Masters of Harmony in California. After everyone had obtained their meal, Brad welcomed everyone and introduced Mark Hale. Mark spoke about the successes of the chapter and the challenges a chapter and chorus must face in order to continue to succeed in competition, in chapter growth, in maintaining its traditions and in being a leader for the whole barbershop world.

Current president Dick Newton was then called up and he introduced the 2010 board. Mark Hale issued the oath and officially declared them installed to serve the chapter. President, Dick Newton; Immediate Past President, Brad Jones; Vice President for Chapter Development, Dan O’Brien; VP for Marketing and Public Relations, Scipio Garling; VP for Music and Performance, Terry Reynolds; VP for Operations, Mark Klostermeyer; VP for Shows, Ken Rub; Secretary, Chris Buechler; Treasurer, Howard Nestlerode; Members at Large, Bob Blair, Scott Kahler, Phil Ferguson, Noah Van Gilder.

Incoming president Dick recognized outgoing president Brad Jones with his past president’s pin and a thank you plaque with gavel.

MC for the evening, Brad, introduced the VIP guests Royall and Geri Geis; and Jerry Eiler, who tho not a member of the chapter, is a leading White House Ornament salesman. Brad next called Sandy Stamps up who introduced the officers of the Friends In Harmony and Brad presented them with a silver star You Make The Difference pin as he has done to many members during the past year. This years officers are: Sandy Stamps, president; Jean Stewart, past president; Carol Dangel, secretary; Ina Berkey, assistant secretary; Sandy Stamps, treasurer; Linda Odell, art director; Carolyn Hall, Sunshine chair; and Kitty Curtis, communications and usher chair.

First awards given out were to the Riser Rats as we call them (started a few years ago by then-president Gary Plaag). They each received a coupon for Blockbusters, and a box of candy as just a small token of thanks for helping every Tuesday nite with the set up of risers and sound equipment. The riser rat awards this year go to: Tom Berky, Bob Blair, Bill Depuy Len Dornberger, Scott Kahler, Howard Nestlerode, Jack Pitzer, Bob Rhome, Dennis Ritchey, Dean Rust. Those not present will be getting their riser rat awards at chapter meetings.

In a slight change to tradition, instead of Meritorious Service Plaques, Brad presented Special Star Shaped Presidential You Make The Difference awards. His presentation for those that were at the Ball were as follows:

Bob RhomeBob is that steadfast person that takes care of so many details that can be missed or often have to be done at the last minute. Always offering to help, he arranges for rehearsal and meeting space, helps on the Youth festival, makes sure such things such as props and projectors are remembered for rehearsals and shows. And as mentioned
earlier, obtained liquor licenses for planned and snow dates for the Balls.

Mark Klostermeyer – If Joe Cerutti is our general, Mark is our drill sergeant. He gets us where we need to be for every show and contest. He monitors time for rehearsals and keeps us where we need to be to accomplish what we have to each week. He regularly provides help to us in framing items for coaches and guest quartets, and he supports all our raffle and auction activities.

Steve WhiteSteve is one of the steadfast members of the chapter who quietly helps us continually move in the right direction. We all know that he has performance skills we aspire to achieve. His stepping in to provide our electronic rehearsal plans available early in the week so we can prepare for rehearsals and so we know key dates is another piece of what allows us to continue on the path of improvement. It is an immense help to the music vp or chapter president to know you don’t have to specifically remember to remind someone to send out reminders to the chapter about new dates and assignments…because Steve routinely takes care of the electronic notice of those items.

Terry Jordan – (Presented at the following Tuesday rehearsal, March 2nd ) When I became president one of the challenges for me was to try to find the things that worked in the past that we had forgotten and either bring them back or update them to keep feeding the energy in the chapter. Terry Jordan steadfastly comes to rehearsals and provides reminders to me of courtesies, practices and traditions of the chapter that have their root in the family feeling and successes of this chapter. He is aware of the demonstrated benefits of these traditions…but also is aware of why certain ideas should not be pursued because they have been tried and found wanting by the chapter over the years. I receive written material and reminders from Terry that include good information that could be lost in our electronically focused world. For helping me avoid errors and in helping make me be more effective he deserves to be recognized as someone who Makes The Difference.

Jerry Eiler – We have for some years now had a very successful fundraiser for the Harmonizers. Our White House ornament sales have been important to the financial health of this chapter. We have some top sellers from this fundraiser that are recognized in your program. One person on that list has continually been there over the years, but frequently has missed hearing our accolades to the top salesmen because he helps this chapter on this fundraiser although he is not a Harmonizer. We should thank Jerry for representing the spirit of our entire barbershop world with his unselfish support of this chapter. For his long-term support of this chapter and its efforts, I am very pleased to present the You Make The Difference award to Jerry Eiler.

Lew Klinge – Some members contribute by their organizational skills, others by their musical skills. Lew Klinge contributes with his spirit. A humorous MC for our put together contest, a host not only for our coaches (who all want to return to his wit and charm), taking care of the harmo suite at district, preparing the Martini’s and Cosmos you’ve been enjoying tonight because he knows so many of you enjoy them…the many things that help make this a Harmonizer family. Lew makes a very big difference to our chapter.

Josh Roots – (To be presented at a future chapter meeting.) Josh was a relatively new member of the chapter when, early in my year as president and without any experience in running such a program, he stepped forward to run the singing Valentine program in 2009. Never letting the challenges discourage him, he was able to work through to a successful program and he volunteered to carry forward to use his experience to head the Valentines program in 2010 when snow would provide other challenges. Josh made the difference for our chapter

Jack Pitzer – (Also to be presented at a future chapter meeting.) Jack could not attend the banquet. I want to recognize Jack for many things we see around the chapter each week – Harmonizer moments in History, coffee each week, assistance on Singing Valentines, a weekly report called Looking Back; and as a former presentation judge, he offers critique and help each week to Joe and our presentation team, I’ve mentioned earlier his valuable assistance in preparing for this Presidents’ ball. Jack Pitzer truly makes a difference!

Then Brad presented the standing chapter awards:

Harmonizer Memorial Award – The Harmonizer Memorial Award is given in memory of the men who have died while members of the chapter. It is the highest honor the chapter can bestow, recognizing Harmonizers who, during the entire period of chapter membership, have unselfishly devoted themselves to outstanding service to the chapter. While it is traditional to wait until the individual is present to reveal the award winner, our rescheduling means it may be a while till that can happen. I also think that it is appropriate that the many of you here have the opportunity to recognize this individual. I am very proud to announce that the Harmonizer Memorial Award goes to John Hohl.

John’s contributions and roles in the world of barbershop and this chapter are as varied as you can imagine. What role has John not taken both within this chapter and in the society generally? He’s achieved acclaimed success as a director (of at least seven choruses that I know of, including the Harmonizers), an arranger whose arrangements of songs (numbering more than 200) have graced performances for show audiences and on the international competitive stage. The Harmonizers will be forever grateful for his giving us a single tune “There Will Always be a Place On the Risers for You” that in a short musical poem says so much about what makes this chapter great. He’s been an international level quartet member representing the chapter and making us proud with seven international quartet medals, including a silver medal second place finish, with the legendary NOVA CHORDS and VAUDEVILLE. He achieved a bronze medal in the international senior’s quartet contest with the quartet AULD LANG SYNE. He’s been a judge, a coach to quartets and choruses too numerous to count, a teacher promoting the development of new directors within our district and society, a consultant helping our music team evaluate and improve contest vehicles, a willing source of thoughts and ideas to me over the last few years giving me the benefit of his experiences. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the many roles and contributions he has made to the chapter and society. It gives me great pleasure personally and on behalf of the Alexandria Harmonizer to award the Harmonizers highest honor, the Harmonizer Memorial Award, to John Hohl.

Oz Newgard Memorial Award – The Oz Newgard Memorial Award is presented in memory of Oz Newgard, the chapter musical director from 1962 – 1970. It is given to the Harmonizer who has made a significant contribution to the chapter’s music program during the year. This year’s recipient came to the chapter several years ago and began immediately to work to help each of us grow in our knowledge and skills concerning our singing passion. He had some definitive views at what had made us unique over our history, even though he hadn’t been with us at the time. He set out to understand what we needed not just as a chorus, but as a chapter. He thoughtfully listened, applied sound judgment in sifting the ideas of both chapter members and coaches to push what we could do and move us always to a higher level of performance. He not only supported our goals of entertaining audiences and competition at an international level, he did whatever was asked of him that might help us achieve our goals. He coached individuals and worked countless hours behind the scenes to make sure every impediment to our success was removed if it was within his power. He showed us that taking a difficult eight part arrangement and challenging ourselves in a joint performance with the Pride of Baltimore Chorus can lead and improvement in our skills and to another of the Harmonizer Breathless Moments. He is well on his way to becoming a legend in the barbershop world despite his tender years…The Oz Newgard award is presented this year to our Musical Director, Joe Cerutti.

Ibbianne & Wilbur Sparks Award – The Ibbiane and Wilbur Sparks Award recognizes the contributions of our extended Harmonizer “Family” to the success and well-being of the chapter. Given to a Harmonizer family in the broad sense of the word for outstanding service over a period of time. This year’s recipients have worked tirelessly and consistently over a very extended period to time to support almost every facet of our chapter activities. He assures we take care of the required processes to get new members in place, recognize renewals, have met requirements for contest registration, have the paperwork that backs up our activities, and have up-to-date rosters and email contacts so that the incredible flow of information required to run the chapter reaches each of you. This just touches the surface of the many things he has done for the chapter and the Society this year and over the years.She keeps attendance each week and assures we know who participates in each performance. She provides experienced advice on colors and fabric impacts under stage lighting. She handles the lighting for our shows and adds one more measure of what makes this chapter look a little more professional in every performance.They both together were key in helping the New York show be a success, lending their knowledge and talent to the Manhattan Chapter. This year’s recipients of the Ibbianne and Wilber Sparks Award are Dixie Kennett and Chris Buechler.

New Note of the Year Award – The New Note of the Year Award is given to the member of the chapter who has contributed outstanding service to the chapter during his first year of membership. This years recipient was barely in the door when his smile and clear sense of humor quickly led to a request that he help with the scripting of the holiday show at the end of 2008…resulting in an audience pleasing story of Terry in the Box. Continuing the contributions into 2009 during his first year, he helped conceptualize updates to the chapter web page, participated in quarteting promotions, joined and competed with a college quartet, and assisted our marketing vp with marketing efforts. A very full first year as a barbershop makes the 2009 New Note of the Year Award recipient Noah Van Gilder.

Spirit of Harmony Award – The Spirit of Harmony Award is presented to the Harmonizer who during the year best exemplified the fundamental Society qualities of congeniality and good character and who worked hardest to encourage participation in vocal harmony by the chapter visitors and members. This year’s recipient has worked tirelessly to see that visitors and both new and veteran members of the chapter are considered in every decision made by the board or music team. He always makes our guests feel welcomed. He assures we follow up with our guests. He searches the practices of the entire society for ideas and techniques that can help us achieve growth and retention of members. He has planned and run a series of extremely successful guest nights. He is a key component of the efforts that have the chapter performing chorus solidly back into triple figures and he continues to work to push us past the 120 performing members before Philadelphia. The recipient of this years Spirit of Harmony award is Dan O’Brien.

Harmonizer Honor Award – (Presented at Chapter Meeting on Tuesday, March 2nd) – The Harmonizer Honor Award is presented to a Harmonizer who has contributed during the year above and beyond the usual expected of members. This year’s recipient, after only a short time as a barbershopper, stepped willingly into a major role in producing one of our major shows. He helped organize three performing groups plus the Harmonizers. He worked with never a complaint to add new twists and ideas that were suggested to him to the Holiday show. He kept informed and involved in everything from food service developments to script writing, decorations, props, and setup of auction and speed painting raffles. With his significant help we had a crowd pleasing success that was the most financially successful holiday show so far! The recipient of the 2009 Harmonizer Honor Award is Jeremy Knobel.

After the award ceremonies and formal program, DJ Pete Frank, who had come down from Erie, PA, provided great music for dancing.

Other thank yous go to Scott Kahler and Dennis Ritchey for help with sound set up; and the others who helped set up crew on Sunday afternoon - Bob Rhome, Bob Eckman, Chris Buechler, Lew Klinge, Stephan Germer (Lew’s guest), Dean Rust, Sam McFarland, Drew Fuller...and Adele Jones.

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 that are held during the year by the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —Ye Ed.)