Friday, July 30, 2010

Looking Back on the July 27th “Summer Camp” Chapter Meeting

(Many thanks to Alan Wile for this great coverage of our second “summer camp” session this year. YeEd.)

As members and guests gathered, Carolyn and Dick Hall took up positions to sell gift cards and 50-50 "opportunities"; Sandy Stamps prepared to sell White House Ornaments (WHOs); Bruce Lauther took medal engraving orders; Chuck Harner and Bob Rhome set up the chapter's historical panels; Ellen Dellert brought some edible goodies, Music VP Terry Reynolds set up the big screen on the stage and laptop and projector down below; Dennis Ritchey made it possible to fill the room with sound; and a team set up about 80 chairs. What a team!

At 7:00 p.m. (or slightly before), Assistant Director Will Cox warmed up all comers. Terry followed with an explanation of the night's program. And Assistant Director Tony Colosimo really rehearsed the well-known Barberpole Cat, "Shine On Me."

Terry provided an historic overview and an explanation of the presentation judging category, which is all about mood generation and the overall effect of the performance and its impact on the audience. He identified the five major elements of the category as entertainment value, audience rapport, artistry/expressiveness, vocal/visual agreement, and from the heart/believability. As with the singing category (discussed last week), scoring levels are: A = 80 & above; B = 60-79; C = 40-59; and D = below 40.

Will tried his best to teach a tag to the multitudes -- the end of "Melancholy Baby." Evidently there is more than one barbershop arrangement, as there was some discussion whether he had the correct notes. But not to be dismayed, Will stuck to the way he learned it ... and that's the way we sang it.

Terry, Tony, and Master Director Joe Cerutti (back from a week on the bounding main) fielded questions during a segment called, "Ask Your Music Team." Questions included (1) what's the difference between choir and chorus? (nada), (2) repertoire selection? (to create a balanced repertoire); (3) contest package considerations? (top groups generally want to do new arrangements or songs that have not been sung by like groups on the international stage); (4) comedic songs? (elements in some songs and in swan songs); (5) considerations when picking contest songs? (we try ("Summertime" and "Lazy Bones") but mostly concentrate on selecting songs that are strong to the categories, as singing/performing well is more important than relationships); (6) jazz songs? (tried but the chorus didn't take to them so they were dropped; may try again sometime -- to add one song to the repertoire).

THEN Terry gave a geek's eye view of the question that was asked last week about musical half-steps, tuning, barbershop, the piano, etc. You had to be there, 'cause no explanation I might give could possibly do his exposition justice. Suffice it to say that the relationship 4-5-6-7 will produce the best barbershop chord .... I think ... and if I didn't get it right, Terry can clear it all up for you next week.

Will briefly rehearsed the "Harmonizer Welcome Song" to correct a couple of notes. After identifying the chords in need of attention we sang through the song a couple of times ... and moved on to membership.

Membership VP Ken White introduced the five guests, none of whom were there for the first time: Adam Bradley (who came after seeing us at Fort Ward Park); Rob Hartley (director of the Sounds of Aloha Chorus from Honolulu, HI ... who claims to be a friend of Joe Cerutti's); Jim Kirkland (here for the third time); and Chris Clark (chapter member Bill Clark's nephew). Hoping we'd perfected the song during the previous segment, Will then directed the "Harmonizer Welcome Song." And we took a break, which included popsicles obtained by Jack Pitzer and carried in by Lew Klinge (and all the time we thought he had martinis in the cooler ... sigh).

After the break, Alan Wile briefly spoke about the "Harmonizer Hero" program, drew (with some difficulty) the names of six Harmonizers actually in the room, and announced he'd be taking their pictures and asking them to submit information about themselves that may be shared with the membership.

Immediate Past President Brad Jones distributed tickets to the Washington Nationals game on Sunday and briefly made some comments.

Joe Cerutti then presented a program he'd given at the Youth Harmony Camp entitled, "Under The Barbershop Umbrella." His presentation was sprinkled liberally with musical "clips" of various songs, arrangements, artists, etc., to illustrate what is and what is not barbershop. Clearly barbershop is four part a cappella vocal music. It must be homophonic, with the melody in the second (lead) voice. and capable of being easily sung. He covered what is and is not contestable and made clear that virtually any type of song (Elvis, pop, Beatles, Michael Jackson, ragtime, classical, punk, jazz, Broadway, swing, and even a march) can be arranged in the barbershop style and, therefore, would qualify as barbershop. He concluded by saying that barbershop is not a musical genre but is a style of arranging music. The point made to those who attended the Youth Camp was that barbershop songs are not just "My Wild Irish Rose," etc., as almost anything can be arranged to be under the barbershop umbrella, 'though not all will be contestable. [Sure hope I got most of this right; if not, I'm sure to hear about it!]

Joe explained that he returned from his week's cruise (sharing directing/coaching honors with Cindy Hansen) with just time enough to shower, wash clothes, and repack before heading to Category School on Wednesday morning ... to be followed by a week at Harmony University (at Missouri State Western University in St. Joseph, MO). A quick survey indicated about six Harmonizer will be joining him there (only 6? seems a bit low). New songs will be introduced upon his return as will preparations for our show at Market Square (Friday, August 13th).

Visiting from Damascus, Syria, former Assistant Director Chuck Hunter was asked to teach a tag. He did -- to the song "I'd Love To Live In Loveland." Good job, Chuck ... hurry back!

Another Harmonizer we don't see very often was with us tonight -- Jerry Kindred. We love to have our inactive members visit with us ... and hope more will chose to do so in the weeks and months ahead.

Ken White won the "50-50" and took us out by leading us in "Keep The Whole World Singing." Chairs and tables and our own equipment were put away before members departed for home ... or the afterglow at the 815 South Washington watering hole and late night eatery.

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.)