Thursday, October 28, 2010

Looking Back on the October 26th Chapter Meeting and Guest Nite

Everyone agreed – last nite was a great Harmonizer evening. The guests just kept rolling in. Ken White, membership guy, had enlisted help from Steve Lingo to coordinate the nite’s activities. Steve and his buddies in the Men of ’10 class did a great job. In fact all the chapter members helped in many ways by bringing guests, bringing goodies, spreading the word about the chapter and meeting guests during the evening and singing tags with them.

Director Joe did an awesome job in conducting an exciting and fun rehearsal and helping all have an enjoyable evening of singing. Even non-singing guests enjoyed it all.

One neat thing Joe did, after he got all the 100+ guys on the risers, was to ask a series of questions to help guests learn about who we are: how many had never sung barbershop before; who drives more than an hour to sing with the chapter; who has been a member over 20 years; who has been a member less than a year; who can sight read music etc.

After warm ups, Joe started work on “Blue Christmas” with members and guests all singing – by using the projection system with Terry Reynolds working the computer mouse! We then sang more of the standard holiday songs in prep for our Dec. holiday dinner shows.

Joe taught the guests “Sunshine is Bidding the Day Goodbye” tag along with the chorus. All evening he worked on good singing habits and didn’t just do gang singing for the guests.

Ken White introduced each guest by name and enlisted Lingo and Klostermeyer to pass out “I Sang With the Harmonizers” buttons. The guest crowd included former members, retired guys, family members of current singers, next generation of kids who will be Harmonizers some day, some folks who found us on the web and just happened to come on guest nite, barbershoppers from other chapters in the great metro area, show customers of some of the guys, and guys who don’t sing now but always stop be to check in and get a dose of Harmonizer pride!!

Secretary Buechler presented new member packets to Clark Chesser, sponsored by Alan Wile; Dave Kohls, sponsored by Phil Ferguson; and Chris Clark, sponsored by his uncle, Bill Clark.

Before we went to break, Brad Jones alerted members that they would be getting an email survey about the possible China trip for the chapter.

Operations guy, Mark Klostermeyer welcome guys to take a 15 minute break and enjoy all the homemade goodies brought in by the chorus members to share with our guests. He also invited the members to find a guest and sing one with him after raiding the chow table.

After the break, the guests all assembled in the main hall of Durant and the members adjourned to Room 2 to changing in to uniforms. The hall was crowded with so many people, all the risers set up back to the stage, the usual sales tables, refreshment area, piles of briefcases (the chorus manger had brought in coat racks for the guys uniforms).

We also put out the history display boards on tables in the lobby for guests (and our members) to review and enjoy.

Steve Lingo spoke to the guests and used a handout to review our history, our contest records, a few words about the BHS, and how singing can get into the chapter. He was brief and highlighted important points. He invited Sandy Stamps to welcome FRIENDS of the chapter and invited them to help support the chapter.

DA CAPO quartet, Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer and Wayne Adams, taught the guests a couple tags to sing for the chapter.

Then the chorus came back from the dressing room onto the risers and did a mini show for all. The guests sand their first tag and then the chorus sang “Ob Li Di Ob Li Da,”
“Hello My Baby” [complete with full contest uniforms and tear away vests and yellow shirt and tie] and “Stars and Stripes.” Between songs DA CAPO sang two songs for us – great to officially welcome the foursome to our show team. MC duties for the mini show went to Scipio Garling, Dennis Ritchey and Steve Lingo.

Lots of guys helped do things around the hall like the usual crew who set up the risers along with tables and chairs, Scott Kahler was doing photo shoots for the PR guys, Dennis Richtey managed sound, Director Joe and some Men of ’10 set up the display boards in the lobby, FRIENDS gave out the sodas and water, and truck driver Bob Blair was load master to get it all loaded up at the end of the nite.

A couple quick things were offered at the end of the nite for all to note. First – Tony Colosimo has tickets for the Sat., Nov. 6th DC chapter show featuring our youth chorus CAPITAL FORCE and DA CAPO. We need to support this show as a way to offer financial support for “the FORCE” and their trip to the BHS midwinter event in Vegas. The tickets are only $15 each. We should fill up the hall.

Second – our chapter meeting and rehearsal will be in the Jeff Houston School adjacent to Durant on Tues Nov 2nd as it is election nite, and Durant is a voting place. Plan ahead for parking.

Third – YeEd got a note from Geri and Royall Geis. They recently spoke with Congressman Jim Moran. They reminded him of the time the Harmonizers gave is new baby boy a Harmo t-shirt. He says that son is 21 now, 6’5”, 300 lbs. and playing football for Yale. Congressman Moran did express his appreciation to our chapter for doing so much for the Alexandria community.

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, October 25, 2010

Looking Back on the October 19th Chapter Meeting

(Thanks to Alan Wile again for preparing the column this week while YeEd is in Indy.)

Risers were magically erected by Bob Blair and a team of others. Mike Kelly worked the sound. Carolyn and Dick Hall and Sandy Stamps greeted and sold. Dixie Kennett took attendance. Ken White manned the membership desk ... and the guests (and the four who recently passed their auditions -- Clark Chesser, Chris Clark, Thom Faircloth, and Dave Kohls) kept coming in!! All this while an artist reception was taking place in the lobby.

Assistant Director Will Cox took us through a variety of warm-up vocal and hand-slapping gyrations before turning the chorus over to Master Director Joe Cerutti (who headed off to the SAI convention in Seattle the next morning). Joe introduced “Blue Christmas.” Next it was the two sections of “What Do I Need With Love” (would you believe he actually picked on the baris!). He then turned the sections over to their leaders to work mainly on the latter song. [For the record, Joe picked on the baris a second time later in the rehearsal. What is the world coming to?]

Following, the chorus went rapidly (and not so) through a number of holiday songs (with help from Music VP Terry Reynolds at the projector): “The Chipmunk Song,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Ave Maria” ... with seven remnants of Cameron Station out front singing the counter melody.

At the break, VP Operations Mark Klostermeyer announced two birthday boys -- a pair of Jacks -- neither of whom were in the house: Jack McKendree and Jack Pitzer. Scrip-man Bob Eckman announced that chapter members purchased over $10,000 worth of scrip to pay hotel bills at the district convention in Lancaster ... netting over $800 for the chapter! Huzzah!

Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership cards to Kyle Blomgren (5 years), Thom Faircloth (12 years), Rob Korsan (5 years), and Josh Roots (4 years). Membership VP Ken White introduced six guests, including Dick Hall's brother Bob (from the Ambassadors of Harmony) and former member Will Mudd-Simmons (who'll likely be in the area for the foreseeable future and intends to re-join). Also welcomed was member Joe Wagovich, whom we've not seen for a while. Joe says he expects to be back full time now, too! Will Cox led us all in welcoming the guests ... and then it was time for refreshment (overseen by Victor Hills and his mother ... many thanks!).

The next round of Harmonizer Hero names were pulled from the boater: Chris Buechler, Brad Jones, Mike Kelly, Chuck McKeever, Brian Miller, and Alan Wile.

Chapter President Dick Newton announced that Noah Van Gilder had been hit by a car while riding his bicycle the previous night. He spent some time in the hospital for tests but they found nothing (you should take that as encouraging, Noah). Steve Lingo whipped up the crowd in anticipation of next week's guest night. Some changes in uniform requirements and other details will be out soon.

Back on the risers, Joe took the chorus through (or over) more holiday music, together with much uncharacteristic levity, including “Let It Snow” (WATCH OUT FOR THE TRIPLETS which Joe insists is the most difficult construction in music ... and wants us to get it right!), “Let All Mortal Flesh” (Joe's admitted favorite carol), “Jingle Bells,” “Do You Hear What I Hear” (for which there are two breaths in the entire song), “Caroling Caroling,” and “Silent Night.” Joe reminded us that our audiences come to the holiday shows to hear music they know and love and it is our responsibility to make each and every performance of every song memorable for them.

Scott Kahler was brought off the risers to take us out with “Keep The Whole World Singing.”

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.)