Friday, April 16, 2010

Looking Back on the April 13th Chapter Meeting

Wow – YeEd got to Durant at about 6 pm and found the risers up, screen, tables and a lot of the troops onhand for stage presence review on the stage, some tag singing, some pizza eating, front row drills, and taking care of the usual paper work. And picking up their new chorus uniform parts.

Also guys were so glad to see Chuck Hunter back from Damascus for a little visit and some training classes in the DC area.

Will Cox did the vocal warm ups and Director Joe jumped in to expand the lessons during the warm up period.

Joe led a big cheer and congrats for Eric Wallen who competed with his quartet CRUNCH TIME this weekend at the Johnny Appleseed District prelims and qualified to sing at the International quartet contest in Philly this summer!

Then the chorus singing got serious with a work session on “ObLaDi/ObLaDa” and a lead break out session to shore up their part on it.

And then to work on the contest songs. Geri Geis (as well her husband, past Harmo president, Royall) was here to work with the chorus. For a while, she worked with the front row outside the main hall. Then she joined Joe upfront to coach the chorus even deeper into the plan and emotion of the ballad. It was so good to see the difference as guys let themselves go and share the story. The chorus was enthusiastic about a couple musical changes that came out of this session too – things that were needed to tell the same story visually and musically.

Before break time, operations VP Klostermeyer honored the week’s birthdays. Secretary Buechler presented membership renewal cards to several: Steve Lingo, 2 years; Chris Huber, 18 years; Brad Jones, 18 years; Sam McFarland, 23 years; Rick Wagner, 29 years; Alan Kousen, 43 years; and Bob Wachter, 58 years!

Dan O’Brien welcomed guests – besides those mentioned above, Jon Abel was with us.

President Newton reminded board members of their upcoming meeting.

For break, guys finished off the pizza and wiped out a big pile of cookies and goodies, bought sodas and water from the FRIENDS group, and got ready to get back on the risers to the cheers led by Griff.

The music team had the guys sing several repertoire songs. Then do some of the needed run-throughs for making their self evaluation tapes.

Joe announced more big news – the chorus is gonna produce a CD as fast as possible for sale to our fans. He has assembled a team to help with it and the first couple songs were recorded tonite. Phil Ferguson is sound engineer and Mick Stamps is producer. Stay tuned for more details. (And the new CD project explains why it was getting warm in the hall – the AC unit will be off starting at 9 pm while we do the recordings.)

The chorus singing continued with coaching and suggestions right til 10. K12 reminded guys of the mandatory visual studios this weekend. And to pick up uniform parts.

Many hands got everything put away under the stage (YeEd heard some chatter that we might be having a painting crew put some paint on the doors that go under the stage as a help to the Rec Center).

And as is the case each week, a crowd of guys went to 815 South Washington for the afterglow.

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, April 12, 2010

Looking Back on the April 6th Chapter Meeting

There was much anticipation for the Pizza Man this week thanks to the new activity headed up by Steve Lingo. (Only the Harmonizers would have an email address just set up for ordering pizza on chapter meeting nite. But a darn good idea!) It was a good start and likely more guys will place an order next week.

Chuck McKeever’s class also was full this week as many guys are eager to have the stage presence “down pat” on the uptune. It makes it so much easier to respond to the musical coaching from Director Joe when you don’t have to think!

And of course there was a huge stir at 6:58 pm when Tom Griffith started his chants to load up the risers. Well we made it over the quota of 85 guys on the risers at 7 before Joe would tell us his secret news – thanks to a couple slugs and to some guys who came in the door and climbed up onto the risers before Joe took his count. We had 86!!!

And so – as promised, Joe shared that the Harmonizers and the Ambassadors of Harmony of St. Charles, MO, are working on final details for a joint show in Washington, DC, in 2011. That means we will be sharing the stage with last year’s chorus champs and have a great chance to meet and sing with some other terrific barbershoppers. And the show will include two gold medal quartet champs from their chapter, CROSSROADS and VOCAL SPECTRUM, as well. Our retreat coach David Wright, who is also a key in their chapter, is eager to get the two choruses together for a show. (Maybe there will be a wonderful David Wright arrangement created just for that show for the two choruses to sing together. That would be spectacular.)

Actually the big news came after Will Cox and Joe did some serious vocal warm ups for the singers. That was followed by sectionals for “ObLaDi/ObLaDa” and then an octet did it in front of the chorus. And then the chorus sang it over several times. Sounding great.

While this musical workout was underway, a crew of guys was taking measurements in the kitchen for a vest for contest. Chorus manager Klostermeyer invited guys to come off the risers, go get measured and back to singing. (YeEd noted that the cookie and snack supply went down fast last nite as almost every guy grabbed a little something on his way past the coffee and refreshment table. Fun to see!) The uniform crew included clothier Rick Savage, uniform chair Tom Kern and visual coordinator Scipio Garling.

Prior to chapter meeting, the board settled on final fiscal matters regarding the new uniforms, which are apparently in our hands and ready for the distribution to take place. There will also be a recall of old uniforms for the chorus to clean and resell to a smaller chapter that is in the market for good outfits. Harmonizer should watch for details about what to bring in and when – likely after the new uniforms are given out.

The front row worked on their uptune routine in the lobby while McKeever worked with the chorus to clarify and drill some of the “enHANSENments” from last week. Good work out for the chorus and, better still, a chance for the guys to get it integrated with their singing performance skills.

Then when the front row returned, Joe took the chorus thru several repeated drills of the songs. He got in a chunk of time to work on the ballad as well, including emphasis on creating the famous “Harmonizer softs” that we have been noted for in other years.

Before official break, K12 recognized this week’s birthdays. Secretary Buechler reminded guys the importance of submitting any change of address, phone number or email (as Tom Kraus had done when he moved recently. Guess Wayne Adams is next, as he and his family have moved to a new home in Centreville area.).

Dan OBrien welcomed the guests.

Then it was officially time for the coffee and goodies, taking care of sales matters such as the gift cards we sell and chatting with other guys in the chapter. There was some quartet singing in the hall as well.

Back to the risers for a brief chapter meeting period: a reminder of this Saturday’s All Sections rehearsal from 10-1. It will include work on the contest songs but ALSO work on songs for the June show with Westminster.

Guys were reminded to mark their calendars for the appearance at the Atlantic Division contest in DE, Saturday, May 15th. Also guys were alerted that we will have an early morning call and will sing as mic testers about 10:30 am up there. Then we will get evaluations from the judging panel after the contest in mid afternoon.

Another reminder from Music and Performance VP, Terry Reynolds, was about the mandatory rehearsals starting in May. If you will need to miss a Tuesday nite or one of the special times, you are required to turn in an absence form.

And another reminder from Terry was that a week from Thursday is the deadline for the self-evaluation process.

President Dick Newton announced some details about how the chapter will pay the $20,000 or so needed to get the new uniforms (which YeEd understands includes formal attire and casual outfits). Each singing member will pay $100 and the chapter will cover the other $100. Guys can start bringing in checks next week.

After the meeting, Griff started chants again to reload the risers and get back to work. And work it was.

Drills and starts and stops and recording and taping. It was getting better and better each time. And lest we be called a two-song chorus, Joe had the guys worked on a couple repertoire songs.

Then as is our custom these days, we sang right up til 10 pm. Everyone hustled to get things put away, helped guys who wanted to audition, touched base with fellow chapter members on projects underway, and gave it a wrap for another week.

A good crowd got over to the 815 S. Washington afterglow spot.

It was fun to see former member, Chuck Botts, visiting last nite. He reports he has rejoined the Society and is singing in the Westminster, MD, chapter and had formed a quartet. Eric Hughes had quite a leading role in the Easter pageant at Immanuel Baptist church recently. And YeEd got a warm note of appreciation from Phil Stern, one of our members who lives in FL, who appreciates a chance to connect with us via this column.

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.)