Thursday, June 23, 2011

Looking Back on the June 21st Chapter Meeting

The Harmonizers were busy over the weekend again as reported earlier. But the guys came “back for more” and worked hard all nite.

Usual set up was done in time, including hauling in the prop boxes – what a task each week! Chuck McKeever did his class to help guys refresh details of the moves for show and contest songs. Ian Poulin sold afterglow tickets for this weekend. Bob and Maggie Eckman distributed scrip cards that guys had bought to use in paying their Hyatt hotel bills in KC. Bob Rhome passed out the very thorough and complete Intl. Week Harmo Handbook with a special envelope to hold each person’s convention registration/ticket. Thanks to Dixie Kennett for the hard work in making the booklet so complete. Carl Kauffmann passed out BHS Convention t-shirts guys ordered. The FRIENDS group sold cold drinks. Jack Cameron took orders for contest chorus photos. Keith Jones was issuing tickets for the convention week Togetherness Breakfast.

It was great to see Tom and Emily Kraus and new son, Ben, who got his first-time visitor pin! He had on his “My Dad Is a Barbershopper” t-shirt. Great to have Thom Faircloth back and on the risers after the weekend health scare. Bill Sowers and Eric Hughes stopped by to check out the contest package. And Bert Szabo came to see us after being at HCE as a coach. Bert is a long-time friend of Bob Wachter. Bert has done hundreds of contestable arrangements, was a Society staffer and a leading advocate of “keep it barbershop” over the years.

Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and when Director Joe took over, he was quick to thank the guys for their truly hard work on Saturday, “It was a truly beneficial day for us in preparation for International.”

Singing period included songs for the East Coast Harmony Show this coming weekend – “In Harmony” which we will sing with other performers, and a drill of “Stars and Stripes” which we will use in our portion of the show.

For work on the contest songs, Joe invited the section leaders to use a few minutes to spot clean some things. Then everyone worked to retain all they had learned over the weekend.

Before break, Steve White conducted the chapter meeting time as he was substituting for K12. He recognized special forces guys Bob Wilson and Pete Frank with us tonite. Membership guy, Phil Ashford, introduced the guests (as listed above).

The goodies supply this week was a class project of the Class of 2011 -- including the homemade cherry pie by Nick Leiserson. Other guys in the chapter also responded to the “empty cupboard” plea. Thanks to all.

Our meeting time resumed after the break. Secretary Buechler presented Edris Qarghah his three year membership renewal.

After the break, Geri Geis was on hand to help recapture the visual points made over the weekend. She offered just a couple suggestions to make things look better or work easier. Steve White thanked her publicly for her very sincere letter after HCE. Music and performance vp, Terry Reynolds, also thanked all the work crew it took to pull off the HCE class, coaching event, and show.

Shows vp, Ken White, and producer, Brad Jones, provided many details for Sunday’s show. For sure, we need to sell a lot of tickets – including for the afterglow! Watch for a complete email with reporting times, parking info, and uniform plan. SELL TICKETS.

Then back to work on the contest songs. We used the closed eye drill that Geri is famous for to get more of the emotion to come out in the ballad. It also helped the guys know themselves and their feelings for the song.

Then work, work, work til 10 pm. The electric fans helped a little after the 9 pm shut off for the AC!

YeEd or the Mother Hen offers more ideas for planning your trip to Kansas City in July. Take a swim suit – the Hyatt has a nice outdoor pool on a deck area. Plan ahead for travel into the city on July 4th – some huge firework displays will be going on. In fact, some places will be closed on the 4th around town.

Then just as we put it all up before the meeting, we had to take it all down. Bob Blair managed to grab some strong guys to load the props. And a good crowd came over to the Hilton for the afterglow.

See you at George Mason Concert Hall on Sunday.

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. —YeEd.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Looking Back on the Chapter’s Participation at Harmony College East June 18

It was quite a day for the chorus. Many of us got up about 4 am Saturday in our homes around DC, met some other chorus members to form a carpool, and headed to Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD. The chorus warm up call was for 8:15 am.

The guys from Alexandria joined other student enrollees at the Harmony College East (HCE) weekend event for the daily warm up session led by a faculty member at the school. We were welcomed by dean of the weekend school, Ron Knickerbocker, gold medal bari of THE REGENTS. Some Harmonizers actually were already there in classes on Thursday and Friday including DA CAPO. Quartets that will be competing in the International contest in July were invited to come for coaching with prominent Society coaches.

The chorus then took the risers on the stage of Halloway Hall on campus. Will Cox extended the warm up in Harmo style including the physical moves. When he turned things over to Director Joe Cerutti, Joe introduced our morning vocal coach, Rik Johnson, from the Ambassadors of Harmony. He is also a singing judge in the Society.

M-AD leaders Scott Ward and Dick Powell also welcomed the chapter and thanked us for our support of the weekend and for coming to teach the Masters Class and appearing on the show. District President Dick presented chapter president, Steve Murane, a check for $1000 from the district to support our travel to KCMO. Director Joe also expressed how fortunate we are to have the support of our district.

Chapter music and performance vp, Terry Reynolds, was coordinator of the Harmonizer participation on Saturday. He reviewed the events for the day. And we were off to work singing.

BUT FIRST – a check of blue bandanas for the Class of 2011!

Rik complimented the quality warm up done by Will. Rik and Joe started working on the ballad until morning break time.

Afer the welcomed break, we went back to work on the uptune with Rik and Joe up front.

When Rik had to go coach another group just before lunch, Terry was up front again to explain how we would be conducting a Masters Class after lunch. This class was open for all HCE attendees with the purpose to help them gather ideas and suggestions on how another chapter manages music education, music administration, testing, music selection. Joe alerted our singers how he would be asking them to demonstrate techniques and Tony Colosimo reviewed how he would be asking the guys to demonstrate warm up techniques.

Since it was getting close to lunch, Terry issued meal tickets and explained how to get to the campus cafeteria. In good Harmo style, it didn’t take much explaining to get our guys over there to chow down. We had fun too, sitting with guys from other chapters all around the district.

(YeEd needs to report that late in the morning, Thom Faircloth left the risers, because he felt he was about to pass out. So the guys with some medical training got him stabilized while they waited for respondents to a 911 call. Scipio Garling rode in the ambulance with Thom to the local hospital. Scipio returned after a while with reports that Thom was OK but needed to stay in the hospital for a few more hours. Later in the afternoon we learned that Thom had been released and allowed to go home. He arrived home without incident and will let us know details he learns from his local doctor when we see Thom on Tuesday nite.)

After lunch, the Masters Class was held in the auditorium with the Harmonizers all in their teal shirts and casual uniforms. A couple guys passed out a terrific handout to all attendees. Terry prepared it with a good overview of the music and performance aspects of our chapter. He used a Frequently Asked Questions format. The handout also included statistics about some of our accomplishments in contests and major performances, a flow chart of how the chapter admin team is set up, samples of forms we use to monitor attendance and self evaluation programs. (Hopefully this good document will find its way onto our chapter website. YeEd.)

Speakers during the class besides Joe and Terry and Tony included Scipio, who covered the visual aspects of our performance goals. Chorus manager, Mark Klostermeyer, demonstrated how he keeps the program on schedule by signaling time left to instructors up front. Terry showed the audience the make-up of the chorus by asking for a show of hands for guys by age, by years of membership, by professional work field, by voice part, by visual quad.

At the end, we saved a big chunk of time for a Q&A session. Terry, Joe and President Steve fielded the questions. The chorus started the class with performance of “Great Day” and ended the class with “New York, New York.”

Before we wrapped up the class, we offered two-for-one tickets to our June 26th East Coast Harmony Show to those who attended our class. We made a few sales later in the lobby and passed out a bunch of color postcards.

After the class ended, the chorus took a little break and get ready for more riser work. Geri Geis was present for the rest of the day and used the afternoon to tidy up moves and facials and focals. She spent a huge amount of time with the guys on the risers not just the front row.

A couple times, Joe invited one of the rows to come out into the audience to watch and be ready to return to the risers and contribute more. And at break time, the whole chorus took seats so they could watch the front row perform. Guys got to see what goes on out front so they didn’t have to wonder and try to sneak a look! Then we added all the props handlers for a run thru so all could watch.

And then back to work. Joe kept up the energy and pushed the guys to keep their musical ears on while performing.

We all got to go to the cafeteria for dinner, then take a little time to relax before dressing in the contest uniform for the evening show.

The HCE Saturday nite show started at 7:30 and we were the second performing group. We did our full contest package with all the props and uniforms, including the new black suspenders which snapped in unison during the uptune!! The guys did a great job of singing and entertaining their fellow barbershoppers.

After our performance, a lot of the chorus members headed home. But some stayed for the rest of the show and to hang out with the HCE attendees to sing tags and mix and mingle.

There were some other Harmonizers involved with the HCE weekend – Gary Plaag worked with the Youth In Harmony (YIH) program, Keith Jones and Bob Wachter coached choruses and quartets, Alan Wile helped sell “opportunity tickets” which generated support for the district’s YIH work. Thanks to all the Harmonizers who made a “purchase” on their way to lunch and dinner. DA CAPO sang on the Friday nite show and also on the Saturday nite show.

Now it is back to Durant on Tuesday, June 21st.

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 with the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)