Thursday, July 21, 2011

Looking Back on the July 19th Chapter Meeting

Even in the hot and humid DC weather, we had a decent crowd, but we missed some of the guys on the risers. It was a catch up night after our being gone from Durant since June. There were a lot of guys still hacking and coughing – don’t know what has hit us!

But no one was discouraged. And we were all eager to hear Music VP, Terry Reynolds, annual analysis of scores and contest results by the numbers.

After great warm ups by Will Cox, Director Joe Cerutti took the reins and welcomed guys “home” from the battle. And he went right to work on songs for the upcoming shows we have to do for the City of Alexandria. First is Thurs, July 28th at the Ft. Ward Park amphitheater, 4301 W. Braddock, Alex 22304. Second is Aug. 12 at Market Square near the fountain at the town hall market area. This is our chance to promote the chorus, recruit new singers AND to thank the city for their support of the chapter (our meeting space and financial grants).

Joe also had the assistant directors lined up to direct various numbers on those shows too. Joe promises to use the pull-guys-out-front and have them sing the songs next week again. So that is the warning. (Tho the octet he pulled out this week did a good job on “No More Sorrows.”

There was a good crowd of FRIENDS and family and singing guests. Great to see Carolyn Hall back! The meeting hall was set by the usual crew plus YeEd noted some new helpers this week – thanks to all.

Operations vp, Mark Klostermeyer, conducted the weekly chapter meeting and announced this week’s birthdays. He reported that Bruce Lauther is set up to accept the new medals we earned in Kansas City and have them engraved with the singer’s name and the Harmo logo. Only $7. Bring your medals next week. Bruce has envelopes for you to put them in.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented, on behalf of the chapter president, medals to guys who didn’t get theirs at convention. He also has a supply of name tag lanyards that were given to us by Westminster.

Membership vp, Phil Ashford, welcome a good group of guests – two barbershoppers from other countries: Jon from Australia (he sang in a chorus at International in Kansas City and was invited to attend a choral workshop in Alexandria), and Chris from Bremen, Germany (he was visited the USA and DC with his parents – he sings in the chorus that Director Joe will be coaching this fall). The other three guests were barbershop singers from other chapters – a couple having relocated to this area and looking to sing again, others in DC for summer jobs and eager to sing while they are away from their chapter. Did you know you can go on the BHS website and find info about other chapter meetings—locations, times, and contacts. Useful when you are on travel and need to hear a 7th chord.

Break time and the guys raided the kitchen and took a breather.

Then back to meeting announcements: fall show ticket sales news from Brian Ammerman; thanks from Carl Kauffmann for ALL those who did the admin and physical work to make our convention week go smoothly; reminder of chapter board meeting Wed. eve, July 20th at 7 pm at Durant – any member is welcome to attend.

Music and performance vp, Terry, suggested that new guys should learn as many of the songs for the upcoming shows as possible, but both venues allow for easy exit and return to the risers if you need to skip a song. He also announced the plans for this year’s SUMMERCAMP 2011 – Tuesday Aug. 2 and 9, usual time, at Durant. No formal rehearsal, but plenty of singing – tags, push out quartet events, likely a movie or video clip, good snacks, FAQ sessions, and a contest or two. Don’t miss this chance to relax and have fun with your singing buddies. Bring a friend that likes to sing.

While the guys were seated on the risers, Joe took some time to give his reactions and thanks for the hard work and dedication to excellence by our chorus. He shared his pride of the 5th place medal we earned this summer. He endorsed the contributions of the Special Forces troops and the nearly 20 newbies in the Class of 2011. He gave his sincere appreciation to Carl Kauffmann for solving the rehearsal room problem in the Hyatt.

Joe reflected that no chorus had done so much performance and work during their prep for International. He thanked the guys for accepting his contest-week major change of the visual and interpt – which brought applause from all.

Then Joe let Terry take the mic and share the details – charts and numbers to show where we did great, how we are doing in the big picture, how much our singing has improved, how the contest system worked.

Joe then talked about the future. First off – we are NOT TAKING A YEAR OFF. We will be working hard on our music and singing and performance. The hugely important fall show with CROSSROADS is coming up fast. We need to sing well and match the level of our guest quartet. Plus we need to sell tickets and spread the word for the Sept. 24th how at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

The holiday show is on track too with a plan to introduce five new tunes for our audiences who love this show and help us sell it out each year.

We are gonna do something especially fun and bring back our 1995 gold medal package of “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Sweet Georgia Brown” for our package in the Southern Division contest.

Big news also that we are headed to China, AND that Toronto Northern Lights Chorus will go with us. Amazing that two medalist choruses are traveling together to another nation! Joe and their director have been talking and discussing possible joint songs we will work on for our shows there. It is not too late to sign up – a speaker will be at the Harmo meeting on Aug. 30th with specifics. If money is a challenge, Joe figures a guy could put away $5 a week to cover the major cost.

Then finally, we will be working to build up and continue our climb in better singing and performing, for the International contest in Toronto in 2013.

Joe is looking for each man’s dedication and commitment for the growth period ahead.

He also invited comments from all and there were some good ones about audience reaction, about the dead stage. A ground-swell of appreciation and applause went out to Joe for his willingness to help us improve.

There was a reminder to plan ahead to make personal arrangement to attend the fall M-AD contest Sept. 31-Oct. 1 in Lancaster. We will help the host chapter escort choruses, if needed. And we will have a number of chapter reps in quartets in the contest Fri nite. So save the weekend. Make plans to order tickets and get a room via the district website –

And similarly, make plans to go to the International in Portland. YeEd figures we will also have some quartets in the battle that week. And we will be able to have some fun during the week. Won’t hurt to be seen as a chapter supporting others and reminding folks we will be back. (The last time we sat out of International competition in Detroit, we took a huge 50-ft. banner that said “The Harmonizers will be back” and held it up outside the contest venue for folks to see after they came out of the chorus contest. We did what we promised too!)

Back to singing, Joe and his team worked on a few more of the songs for the shows.

We finished a little early and the crew put all of the equipment away.

Our guest from Australia took us out with “Keep The Whole World Singing” and it had a special meaning to have our fellow barbershopper from “down under” to lead us in our singing.

A big crowd found its way to the Hilton for afterglow. The usual Metro riders headed out just in time to catch the last train – thanks to cell phones that give exact times of trains.

YeEd has other news about members.

Did you know Bill Colosimo was in Rome a week before we went to Kansas City. The church choir he directs sang for the Pope and attended the usual events at the Vatican.

Craig Kujawa sent word that he would be gone a couple weeks to be with his family after his step father died on Sunday.

Jim Lucey sent word that his wife, Ruthanne, is still in Kansas City after breaking her hip at International. She will be there for therapy for a week or so more before they return to CO. Cards could go to her at North KS City Hospital, 2800 Clay Edwards Dr. Rm. 1028, N. Kansas City, MO 64116.

Thanks to Catherine Colosimo for her help with flyers for the fall show.

And YeEd also needs to add here a couple items regarding the report of International week – forgot to recognize our own Harmo dog – Tango, who was with us all week to cheer and support the chorus. He was with his family, the Brian Millers. (And not to be out done by FRANK THE DOG!) Also we hear he provided a good bit of doggy therapy to weary Harmonizers in the hideaway!

Plus YeEd wanted to thank contributors/reporters for last week’s column – Dixie Kennett, Chris Buechler, Steve Lingo, Clark Chesser, and Alan Wile. Appreciate the input.

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.)