Thursday, May 27, 2010

Looking Back on the May 25th Chapter Meeting

Director Joe said there was gonna be a BIG surprise at chapter meeting. And indeed it was!!

Scott Werner came up from Florida to coach a little, see all his friends, meet all the new guys he did not know and encourage our director.

To pull off the surprise, Joe started the guys working on the contest ballad first thing after warm up. And he invited Geri Geis, who was on hand for the evening, to make suggestions. After about 1 run thru, she said she wanted to do something different and have a closed eye drill. She cautioned several times that guys should not open their eyes during the song, because it would destroy the mood and effect.

Soooo – near the end of the song, Joe signaled a ‘shooosh’ sign with his finger to his lips for all of those watching. And then escorted Scott into the room to stand in front of the chorus.

When Geri released the guys from the closed eye drill, there he was. You should have seen the faces. All the men who knew Scott were beaming and ready to come charging off the risers. And of course their applause and cheering was huge. The looks on the 30 or 35 new guys was also fun – who in the world is this guy and why does he have on the red and black Harmo travel shirt. Joe made the introduction, “Gentlemen, meet the Harmonizer musical director for all four of the gold medals the chapter has earned!” More outbursts and cheers.

Some of you may know that Joe has often mentioned, in a joking way, that he wished Scott Werner could come over and help him with the famous Harmonizer soft singing. So some of the guys in the chapter spoke to Joe and made it happen!!

Right away, Scott jumped in to coach and suggest. And after just a few remarks, the magic was back. Geri was all smiles because much of her work to get guys to sound like they looked happened.

Geri then continued her coaching and Scott offered some more advice. There was a great photo op with Joe and Scott together and then the two of them with Geri. A historical, or Breathless Moment, for the chapter for sure.

YeEd was wondering why so many former members were in the hall, or guys we don’t see often – Everard, Greiner, Abel, Louis, Botts, Levine, Jordan, Galloway. Great to have them all.

As mentioned above, Will Cox took the guys thru a terrific vocal warm up and included some physical movement too. Joe was quick to thank Will for always helping and conducting warm up points that Joe felt were needed. Since Dan O’Brien had a work conflict again, Will was pitchman tonite.

Joe also pushed more on ticket sales and pleaded that if a member has not sold three tickets, he should go buy three himself and give them to Joe to give to youth singers, music educators or other possible supporters.

At the pre-break chapter meeting period, quartet promo chair, Eric Wallen, listed all the quartets that have or will sing in M-AD divisional contests this spring; and as is our chapter custom, presented a check from the chapter to the quartet to help cover their contest registration (the amount based on how many Harmonizers are in the quartet). The line of guys who came up to represent their quartets spread all the way across the building. Congrats to all.

FRiDAYS! sang for the chapter in prep for their appearance this weekend in Roanoke at the Southern Division. YeEd thinks he has the following quartets listed for this weekend: FRiDAYS!, FOUR MAN VOCAL BAND, DOWNTWON, YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT, FOUR IN THE MORNING, BELTWAY BLUES, RING OF GOLD, and SURPRISE! (YeEd hopes we did not forget or overlook anyone.)

Secretary Buechler passed out copies of our 50th anniversary history book, Breathless Moments, to the many new men who have join in recent months and have not gotten a copy yet.

Chris also filled in for membership guy Dan. As mentioned earlier, there were a lot of visitors in the hall and forming an audience for the chorus. Ryan Killean from the BHS Foundation staff in Nashville was with us. And Jack Stonesifer, an applicant, was on the risers working to catch up and be ready for Philly.

President Dick Newton shared about Mark Klostermeyers’ father’s memorial service today. Bill Klostermeyer was one of our early Santa Claus guys for holiday shows – with a real beard and all.

Dick also reported that he, Martin Banks and Jim Lucey, attended a reception at Alexandria City Hall tonite and were given word that the chapter will receive another significant grant from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts. The Harmonizers are one of the major arts groups in the city, and likely the only one that spreads the word of our city around the nation.

And Dick asked the chorus to thank Bob Blair and Bob Rhome for repainting the front of the stage area in Durant, which covers the doors to our riser storage area.

Ken Fess reported on ticket sales for the June 27th fantastic show, as well as the almost sell out of the afterSHOW tickets. He mentioned too that there might be a need for some guys to jump in and help with last minute tasks to make this huge effort continue being so successful.

Then it was back to work musically. Director Joe got the men into “Stars and Stripes” again. Phil Ferguson was projector operator. This song along with the contest package and “Summertime” and “Meeting Here Tonight” will be on that show. So guys should get to work on songs they are not familiar with.

The remainder of the evening was used to polish more of the uptune for Philly. Visual team was hard at work helping. New uniform tests were conducted and worked great!

We worked hard til 10:10 pm and then hurried to get the hall back in order and get off to the afterglow at 815 S. Washington. Nice crowd again tonite including Royall and Geri, and Ryan. Fun to see the guys outside singing tags.

Recent report of Men Of Note guys in our chapter is interesting. (When a guy brings in a new member or serves as his sponsor, the Society presents the sponsor with a small 1/8th note pin, or Man Of Note pin.) Several of our guys were in the listing of those with 10 or more: Buechler, 59; Werner, 17; Adams, 14; Everard, 14: Plaag, 13; Wachter, 12; Flinn, 11; Witmer, 11; Harner, 10; Pitzer, 10, Sutton, 10. Good work men.

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, May 24, 2010

Looking Back on the May 18th Chapter Meeting and Mic Test at Atlantic Division

Here is a nice report by Alan Wile (thanks Alan - YeEd) regarding the Harmonizer appearance this past weekend in DE at the Atlantic Division contest. We were asked to be mic testers for the chorus contest on Saturday, May 15th.

“While most Harmonizers arrived at the Wilmington DoubleTree Hotel early Saturday morning, a fair number came up Friday afternoon, battling a variety of traffic delays, rain and hail storms.

The Friday night quartet contest began at 6:00 p.m. with Harmonizer (and District Board Member at Large) Dennis Ritchey as Master of Ceremonies. Quartets appearing on the contest stage included CRUCNH TIME (Eric Wallen) as the mic testing quartet. As this quartet will be competing at the international quartet contest in Philly, it performed here for score and evaluation, only). Other quartets with Harmonizer members included MUSIC THERAPY (Don Farrell, Dean Martin, Steve Mateuszewski, Chris Yates), TRIBUTE (Tony Colosimo, Ryan Griffith, former Harmonizer Joe Eckert, and Ryan's father, Steve), DOWN A FOURTH! (Joe Sawyer, Joe Cerutti, Troy Hillier, Wayne Adams). Unfortunately PHIL ‘N THE BLANKS (Rick Savage, Phil Ferguson, Joe Cerutti, Terry Reynolds) had a conflict and had to scratch. In all, 21 quartets crossed the stage before the contest concluded at 8:00 p.m.

TRIBUTE, with a score of 76.4%, won the contest and was named Atlantic Division Champion. Competing out-of-division, DOWN A FOURTH! wowed the audience with a great parody which "addressed" each judge by name and, feigning ignorance of his identity, identified the contest administrator simply as "that guy," and MUSIC THERAPY, which sang for us last Tuesday, gave a very creditable performance. Had they been ranked with the Atlantic Division quartets, these two quartets would have finished fourth and ninth, respectively. Well done to all the Harmonizer quartet singers!

By 8 am Saturday, the Harmonizers were on the stage for warms up with Tony Colosimo, rehearsal with Joe Cerutti, herding by K-12 (Mark Klostermeyer), and visual reminders by Chuck McKeever. We first worked the up-tune, took a break for another chorus to have some pre-arranged stage time, and then hit the ballad and both songs. We were reminded that "softs win contests" and Joe worked to get us to sing softer and softer. Much emphasis on attitude, energy, and focus. K-12 also explained how and when we would be leaving the stage following our performance.

The Harmonizers never left the stage until the start of the chorus contest at 10:00 a.m. As there was no curtain, we were asked to remain in our beginning poses while the audience filed in, took their seats, housekeeping announcements were made ... and we were announced. The package was performed nearly flawlessly (well, OK, that was my take). Once over, we left the stage and were on our own until the evaluation, which began at 1 pm. Those with registrations were permitted back into the auditorium to enjoy the rest of the chorus contest; those without were free to do ... whatever.

Following the contest, district vice president Dick Powell presented certificates to seven chapters in recognition of their financial contributions to Harmony Foundation. The Alexandria Chapter received a gold level certificate for an average contribution of $188.20 per member. If you'd like to know how this works (and about opportunities to support the Society ... and the chapter and/or district), see Alan Wile.

Our evaluations -- 20 minutes per judge -- were conducted in the auditorium and although we began sitting down, we quickly moved to the stage. First we heard from Music Judge Dylan Oxford (from the Dixie District (DIX)). Next, we heard from Singing Judge Larry Deters (also from DIX and a former Harmonizer) and candidate Mark Stock (from the Johnny Appleseed District (JAD)). Last, we heard from Presentation Judge Mike Louque (from Central States District (CSD) ... and a former Harmonizer) and Candidate Mark Kettner (from DIX). On average, we were scored a solid 85% (some higher; some lower). Specific comments and will be covered in more detail at a Tuesday night chapter meeting. However, we received a number of complimentary comments and, as expected and valued, several areas which, if addressed/mastered, will improve our performance even more.

By 2:10 p.m. we were released. While most headed home, some remained behind to take in the Show of Champions at 7pm with Harmonizer (and District President) Gary Plaag as Master of Ceremonies.

Tuesday nite, May 18th was a hard work out session. All the usual Tuesday nites aspects were in place – room set up and volunteers in place, Will Cox did the vocal warm-ups.

Director Joe welcomed Michael Gellert who was on hand to provide voice lessons for those who want them. He will be present now and then as needed. Some guys had individual sessions, other guys met with Michael as a small group of 5 or so.

And Joe announced the recent passing of Mark Klostermeyer’s father. Steve White filled in for Mark as program mc for the nite.

Dan O’Brien had to miss the meeting too for work, so Tony Colosimo was pitchman for the nite and YeEd welcomed the guests.

YeEd also noted Ike Evans working to post new member photos on the big Harmo picture board and he was trying hard to squeeze in the bios he posts there too for all the many new members we are adding.

When the singing got going, Joe and team worked more on “Stars and Stripes” and then he welcomed again our coach Brandon Guyton. Brandon worked hard on sound production and immediately made a huge difference and the guys were able to continue it thru out the nite.

Joe made a surprise gift certificate give away to a guy on the risers really going the extra mile to include emotion with the singing. Nick Aiuto was honored this week. The certificates are donated by a fan of the Harmonizers.

Ken Ives was proud to shout out that 100 % of his baritone section was present again this week!

The pre-break business session included reminders that guys could order a competitor t-shirt for Philly – see Cark Kauffmann; get your uniform parts from Tom Kern; watch for detailed emails about vocal studios in the coming days.

Secretary Buechler offered to take orders for Lands End clothing items with Harmo logos. He also presented membership renewal cards to Edris Qarghah for 2 years; Steve Murane for 8 years, Tom Berkey for 13 years, and Bruce Lauther for 24 years.

Speaking of Chris – you may not all know that he will be working as a contest administrator with the judges in Philly. Thus he can not sing with us.

YeEd and Director Joe welcomed our college students back for the summer – Kellen Hertz and Edris; Max Kieba back after becoming a new dad; and Craig Kujawa back from a several month temporary assignment in Europe. All three will be singing in Philly. There were several other singer guests present too. Al Hanenbaum, who we don’t see often, was in the hall too.

After break, the meeting time continued. (Thanks to those who have brought in goodies to share, we can always use them. And thanks to those who drop a buck or so in the container by the coffee!)

Ken Fess stressed ticket sales for the June 27th show with Westminster. Our director is out to break the record of number of tickets sold. We can’t let him take the lead!!!! But thanks for the enthusiastic sales effort, Joe.

Also it was announced that we do have some afterSHOW tickets left to sell. They are $28. See Steve Murane for these tickets as well as taking show tickets on consignment. Remember that money or tickets must be turned back in to Steve by end of the meeting on Tues. May 25th.

Craig Kujawa reported interim results of the 10for10 weight loss program. Some guys have made quite an effort to loose weight.

Then the chorus went back to work, right up til a little after 10 pm. The troops worked fast and hard to put all away, sing a tag, help new guys try out with a quartet and get guys to pay the $50 for their room and board for the chorus retreat (and $24.50 if they are coming up on Fri nite). Pay to YeEd on Tuesday nite. Give rooming requests to retreat master, Chuck McKeever. Retreat is June 5-6 at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, again.

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.)