Thursday, September 30, 2010

Looking Back on the September 28th Chapter Meeting

The gang worked hard to be ready to start the chapter meeting and rehearsal last nite. The new risers are not as fast to set up it seems to YeEd, especially as the gang tries to be gentle with them and with the new flooring in the Center.

A fun thing that was going on as the guys gathered – finding the owners of the tearaways that were gathered up off the floor in haste to clear the stage last week at the Lawyer show. Fun.

Will Cox did the warm ups and Director Joe put the gang right to work on some serious singing such as the new one, “No More Sorrow.” He said he could give “a little theory lesson on a point, but honestly, the leads are just flat!” It got a good laugh and set the stage for a solid nite of learning and improving.

All those skills were put to use in the work the singers did on the contest package for this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend.

As you all know the Mid-Atlantic District Contest/Convention is this coming weekend, October 1-3 in Lancaster, PA. Besides the chorus contest which we have been working so hard for, a bunch of our guys have been practicing with their quartets to compete. Quartet promo guy, Eric Wallen, reported nine chapter quartets qualified: ON THE ROAD with John Reece and Chris Yates; DOWNTOWN with Drew Fuller, Frank Fedarko and Arthur Louis; FRiDAYS! with Bob Caldwell, Ken Ives and Steve Murane; YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen; BELTWAY BLUES with Kevin Roth; TOUCHSTONE with Steve White: CRUNCH TIME with Eric Wallen; TRIBUTE with Ryan Griffith and Tony Colosimo; and DOWN A FOURTH! with Joe Cerutti, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams and Troy Hillier who sang for us last nite. YeEd won’t spill the beans about their very funny contest set for the weekend. You gotta go to the contest to see it!!

There is an extra rehearsal Thursday, Sept. 30th next door at the Jeff Houston school, 7 pm. Mandatory for singers!!

Bob Rhome, our contest weekend coordinator, prepared a very useful booklet fulllllll of details we all need to know in order to make our contest weekend fun and easy.

Before the break, chapter secretary, Chris Buechler, presented membership renewal cards for 16 years, Ryan Griffith; 33 years, Phil Ashford; and 41 years, Jack Cameron. He also reported renewals received from Mike Geipel, 19 years; and from Bob Ulibarri for 28 years.

Membership vp, Ken White, reminded everyone about the new location for the tonight’s afterglow – Ernie’s Crab Shack, just around the corner from Durant and across from the King Street Metro. Then he introduced six guests – some as applicants and a first-timer. He also welcomed Ian Poulin’s parents who were visitors.

After break (which could also be called the weekly cookie harvest!), we continued the chapter meeting period. Alan Wile extended his work on Harmo Heroes and announced that a hardcopy notebook is on display by the Harmo Photo board.

Last minute reminders came from Bob Rhome in reference to the handbook. The chorus is invited by Joe to attend the judges’ evaluation session after the chorus contest Saturday. He asked for a riser crew at 6 pm Friday.

President Dick Newton held up the traveling trophy that is given to the district chorus champs each year. The actual piece of hardware was donated by our chapter in 1995 in honor of those men in our district who had directed an International championship chorus – Lew Sims, DC Chapter; Dave Mittelstadt, Dapper Dans of Livingston, NJ; Bob Johnson, Dundalk, MD; Fred King, Dundalk, MD; and Scott Werner, Alexandria, VA.

Then it was back to work on the contest set. The evening included some detailed review and drills of the stage presence moves, the focal points, and then combining that with great singing. Joe would not go on until both parts were solidly in sinc! He made special mention of thanks to Chris Buechler and Rob Korsan who were not on the risers in Philly and will be on the risers in Lancaster.

The workout session ended at 10 pm and the hall cleared. Reminder was given about the extra practice on Thursday.

A crowd of 40 or so was at the new afterglow spot.

TAKE NOTE. An important chapter meeting is coming up soon – the annual meeting and election of officers. It will be Oct. 12 at our regular Tuesday nite meeting at Durant. ALL of the 200+ members and FRIENDS are encouraged to attend, have a cup of coffee with the gang, and sing with the chorus. The election will be conducted by current president, Dick Newton. The meeting was announced recently by chapter secretary Buechler and included the slate from the nominating committee. That committee was chaired by past president Brad Jones and committee members were Ken White, Will Cox, Mark Klostermeyer and Dennis Ritchey.

President – Steve Murane
VP Chapter Development – Phil Ashford
VP Operations – Mark Klostermeyer
VP Music & Performance – Terry Reynolds
VP Shows – Ken White
VP Marketing and PR – Steve Lingo
Secretary – Chris Buechler
Treasurer – Dave Welter
Member At Large 2010-2011 – Noah Van Gilder
Member At Large 2010-2011 – Phil Ferguson
Member At Large 2011-2012 – Ken Henderson
Member At Large 2011-2012 – Ian Poulin
Immediate Past President – Dick Newton

There may be others of you who have an interest in one of the board positions. If so, please notify our chapter secretary no later than the October 5 chapter meeting. All nominees must agree to serve if elected. Per Society rules there can be no nominations from the floor on the night of the election. Proxy or absentee voting is not permitted in chapter elections. These are Society rules and not local ones that can be waived. The 2011 board takes office January 1, 2011.

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, September 27, 2010

Looking Back on the Sept. 23rd Rehearsal and Show

Well the Harmonizers were in tall-cotton last nite as they prepared for their show at the incredible National Building Museum in DC. (More about that later in this article.)

The show was actually for the 60th anniversary meeting of the American College of Trial Lawyers. YeEd calculates there were about 1,500 attendees in tuxes and banquet finery.

But for the Harmonizers, it was a challenge to work around all the security and back-stage conditions since four justices of the Supreme Court were attending. Director Joe was teasing that the “supremes” would probably be expecting “God Bless the USA” since we have sung that several times for them. But this time they got “Stars and Stripes Forever” as the finale number.

Chief Justice Roberts attended as did Associate Justices Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayer.

We had a great chorus of 80 (some of the early-in-the-week worries about numbers were unfounded). We actually started rehearsal at 7 after everyone found a parking place or walked from the Metro. Joe was really tickled by that and thanked the singers over and over for working hard and making this show.

When YeEd arrived, he found the front row huddled in a hall way and being moved about by the security team. Eventually they went outside and practiced by the Metro station (which of course attracted a bit of a crowd.) They were eager to practice the contest set as it has been a few weeks since they have been able to do it with the chorus.

We shared a dressing room with the Herald Trumpets who actually did fanfares as each dignitary arrived at the dais. One of them told YeEd, “Wow, you guys are really a great singing group.” And I of course suggested he come join us!

Tony Colosimo and Will Cox had warm up duties. Director Joe had trouble containing his excitement and pride of doing this gig for one of the top audiences in the Nation. You could tell the guys were under pressure from the crowded dressing/rehearsal room, competition of sound when the trumpets warmed up, security guys everywhere wired for sound, and a certain amount of being starstruck.

Joe worked thru each song from the bottom of the show up and decided to drop the ballad since the crowd was so huge and spread so wide they would miss the emotion.

YeEd and Keith Jones left when the rehearsal ended and the guys started getting into the black suits with yellow shirts under the tear-aways.

Word is that the show went just as planned. Hard to see the audience because of bright lights and the huge hall. Many audience members congratulated the guys when the chorus exited the dining area.

Loading the risers in the truck was hectic as we had to compete with the caterer for space on the loading dock. But in true Harmo fashion, we worked around it. Thanks as always to the riser crew and truck crew, chorus manager K12, and our MC guys. Congrats to Greg Tepe, show producer, for another successful show.

Another Moment in Harmo History for the record books.

About the building. For many many years it was known as the Pension Building in DC. It was built to house the Veteran’s records from the Civil War. One myth about the place is that those wide steps up from the first floor were designed so solidiers could ride a horse into the building and up onto the upper floors to check on their benefits. You might have noticed that the stairs are wide and low and have evidence of being used a lot. Who knows if that is true.

DON’T FORGET: we are gonna try a new Afterglow spot next Tuesday nite after chapter. Ernies’ Crab Shack – across street from King Street Metro and Joe Theisman’s, next door to the Hilton – AND close enough to leave your car at Durant and walk around the corner. They are staying open for us with no other noise to fight. Should be fun. Easier for us all to hear. Maybe a place for some tag singers. Guys who use the Metro can walk across the street to head home. And guys who have a long drive to get home can come over for a while and still get home before breakfast. Thanks Ken White for finding the place. Let’s all go next week to show the owner/manager we appreciate his staying open for us.

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 with the Alexandria Harmonizers. —Ye Ed.)