Thursday, September 29, 2011

Looking Back on the September 27th Chapter Meeting

First off – have you Harmonizers that are 30 years of age or younger seen this announcement about a youth chorus singing at Carnegie Hall? Our director Joe is coordinator for it. So see him or email him if you wanna do it!

For those of you 30 and under who have "a performance at Carnegie Hall" on your bucket list, getting to perform at that famous venue may be as easy as the old adage: "Practice, practice, practice!"

Carnegie Hall will be producing a free USA-Japan Goodwill Concert on Monday, December 26, which will feature a youth Barbershop Chorus comprised of male singers up to age 30 from all over the US and Canada, under the direction of Joe Cerutti of the Alexandria Harmonizers. Also performing will be Prestige, 2011 International Collegiate Quartet Champions, Tim Waurick of Vocal Spectrum fame, plus many other guests. The concert will also feature a joint performance with the youth chorus and a 3-time gold medal 100-piece youth orchestra from Japan. You will also be participating in a worthy charitable cause, since even though the concert is free, Carnegie Hall is producing this show as a fund-raiser for the victims of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan this year, and donations will be accepted.

Bring your collegiate quartet or youth chorus, in part or in full; individual singers are also welcome. The chorus will prepare 5-6 songs (one of which will be back-up for a Tim Waurick solo). Participants will be expected to arrive in NYC the morning of the 26th, rehearse all day, and perform that night. Arrangements for hotel, food, and busing will be made for a nominal cost. Participants must be able to learn songs and choreography without formal rehearsals, and will be tested in random octets upon arrival in NYC (music and learning tracks can be downloaded after registration. Click HERE for details and registration or contact Joe Cerutti by EMAIL, or call 703-401-7114. Make sure your state/chapter/district is represented!

Now back to the report about the September 27th chapter meeting.

Everyone was pumped after the successful fall show the past weekend and there was a standing ovation for our fellow Harmonizer Brian Ammerman for his dedication to make it happen. In the brief time he had to thanks folks, he did recognize his wife, Chris, for her support and all his fellow Harmonizers for hanging in there and making it a good show in every way. He sent out a much more detailed thank you via email.

AND it was guest nite. A great follow up to the show weekend.

Since our director Joe Cerutti was in Germany coaching barbershop groups there, music vp, Terry Reynolds, managed the schedule for the evening. He enlisted help from the assistant directors, Will Cox, Mike Kelly and Tony Colosimo, who did warm ups, taught or ran through Holiday songs and met with the guests to teach them tags and such. Everyone worked hard to help the guests learn about the chapter and its musical program.

Ryan Killeen was in town from Nashville where he is on the staff of the Harmony Foundation. He spoke to his fellow Harmonizers about the great support the Foundation gets from our chapter as well as reported how Foundation dollars are being used to help youth learn more about singing barbershop.

The set up crew put the risers backed up to the stage and a large group of guest and audience chairs facing the risers. We used the computer and projector for all the music for the evening so guests were not without music.

Membership vp, Phil Ashford, introduced the 10 guests for the evening. As usual, some were former barbershoppers from other places and others were brand new to the hobby.

During the chapter meeting period conducted by operations vp, Mark Klostermeyer, Chuck Harner launched sales for the Entertainment books – coupons books for DC, VA and/or MD. We make a good chunk for each book we sell.

Sandy Stamps, FRIENDS group president, also launched sale of the 2011White House Christmas ornaments. They are $20 this year.

She also is helping sell the new CD produced by the chapter from the Concert of the World show in 2010.

And she also reminds us that the FRIENDS group sells sodas and water on Tuesday nite to go with the refreshments.

We did get a 15-minute break this week and so everyone had time to dig in and get some goodies. Thanks to those who brought things. And thanks to those who drop a dollar or two in the jar every now and then to help pay for the cups, creamer and coffee. If you wanna bring some goodies, that would be good too.

After the break, the guests adjourned to another room with Tony, Phil, Steve White and Jeremy Richardson. This was an opportunity for chapter leaders to tell about our history, explain the membership and audition process, help them discover how much fun it is to sing barbershop harmony and to teach them a tag to sing for the chorus.

While they were out, K12 conducted more of the business meeting. Bruce Lauther reported on Bob Wachter health condition indicating he is making some progress but it is slow. Cards and letters to Bob would be great.

Steve White, filling in for quartet promotion chairman,
, recognized the guys who will be competing in the fall contest this weekend in Lancaster and representing our chapter.
Bill Colosimo in ROLL O’ THE DICE
Kenny White and Mike Pinto in MAYHEM
Steve White and Rick Taylor in MAD HATTERS

It is not too late for you to consider going up. Always plenty of tickets at the door. Semifinals round of quartets is Friday evening at 6 pm in Lancaster Marriott. Chorus contest starts at 9 am on Saturday.

Steve also reports that Joe Sawyer and Eric Wallen will be hosts on the webcast of the weekend contest. You can find out about that cast from the district website –

When the guests came back, they sang for us. And then we did a little show for them singing “Great Day” and “Summertime” with TBD doing a spot before the chorus sang “Stars and Stripes.”

Tony invited the guests to the risers to sing with the chorus on the tag of “Great Day” and then we taught them the stage presence for the tag.

Brian Ammerman took us out on “Keep the Whole World Singing.”

We adjourned and put things away with plenty of time for auditions, tag singing and then a big crowd went over to the Hilton for an afterglow. Since we were outside, there was plenty of space for more tag singing.

YeEd reports it was great to see Chris Clark, Andrew Havens and Andrew Plocher up on the risers. As a reminder, the chapter annual meeting and election officers is October 11th. Be sure to attend and cast your vote. See the recent email from chapter secretary, Chris Buechler, with the slate submitted by the nominating committee, and details about self nomination or further nominations.

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.)

Looking Back on the Fall Show Road to Harmony Sept 24th 2011

This one has gotten go down as one of the best shows in years for the Harmonizers. Huge credit goes to Brian Ammerman, who seemed to be working for months on every detail to make it a success. Besides the admin and planning tho, the singing and performing was great by the chorus and the quartets were a big WOW!

Thanks to Brian for his comprehensive thank you email to all.

What treat for all of us to hear and see CROSSROADS, the 2009 BHS gold medal winners. It was especially fun for us since we had worked with baritone Brandon Guyton as our coach, and most of us knew bass singer, Jim Henry, as director of the Ambassadors of Harmony. Their show set was awesome and their afterglow set was even better. Again – WOW.

YeEd was proud of our own quartet guys who also had terrific hits for our audiences. MAYHEM (with Ken White and Mike Pinto) was fun and had a good bit with Joe Cerutti. We wish them well next weekend at the district contest. And DA CAPO (with Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams) keeps getting better. Also fun to have all four of them in the chorus and on the risers for shows, and to help with musical leadership and front row duties.

Can’t believe all the uniform changes the chorus made! Looked good tho and all made sense and added to the entertainment and surprises. As usual, it was funny to watch the email exchanges about missing uniform parts and watch guys meeting family members or friends who brought out a missing shirt!! Kudos to Tom Kern, unsung hero as Harmo uniform chairman.

The script was just corny enough to bring a laugh and for sure, it allowed us to work in some really diverse songs. Sure fun to see the audience get into “That’s Amore” every show. Terry Reynolds makes it happen.

Big thanks to Scott Kahler who was stage manager and did a lot of voice over emcee work. Good amount of humor for those of us in the audience. Thanks to Craig Odell who worked most of Saturday morning with a steamer to take the wrinkles out of that huge American flag we fly during “Stars and Stripes.” He was assistant stage manager and had his own walk on part as maitre d’ for the restaurant scene. Appreciated the classy emcee intros by Scipio Garling for two special numbers during the show.

Also great to have such fine props for the show. Thanks to Tom Griffith, props manager and the many Harmonizers who contributed.

Actors Mike Kelly and Mary Anne Cleaveland were great at carrying off the theme of the scripted part of the show. Fun when Bob Blair’s grandsons, Cavin and Jackson Collins, came running on stage to be the children of Dez and Molly.

As usual it takes a lot of helpers to pull off a big show like this. The staff at the new venue, Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas were great including the tech folks and the ushers and the box office. Seems the audience liked being able to get a coffee or beer in the lobby too.

Our FRIENDS group was pressed into service to sell the CDs for CROSSROADS as well as the new Harmonizer CD. Be sure to get your copy on Tuesday nite from the FRIENDS table. (ASLO their president, Sandy Stamps tells YeEd she will be selling sodas and 2011 White House Christmas ornaments too.)

Chorus manager, Mark Klostermeyer, kept the troops in line and provided classy signage for the guest quartet rooms. There was also a room for Master Director, Joe Cerutti. He and his musical team did good work to keep us singing well and having fun. Nice to see the assistant directors, Tony Colosimo, Mike Kelly and Will Cox, out front for songs during the show. Gotta also give credit to the visual team and the way they helped the chorus keep the performance level so high. Music vp, Terry Reynolds, helped show producer Brian keep the songs and script flowing during warm ups and rehearsal/stage time. You knew things were clicking along when he had his clip board out!

Emcee for the show was Bill Colosimo who handled important announcements including a couple plugs for our guest nite, Tuesday, Sept. 2th at Durant. All the singers need to be on hand for this one, as we expect a big turnout of guests in response to our recent membership drive. Actually YeEd recognized a number of recent guests in the audiences at the show. Also fun to see our fellow barbershoppers from neighboring chapters in VA and MD and DC.

Thanks to the riser crew who put up and took down and loaded back on the truck - Bob Blair was truck captain; John Pence for making the song boards for the stage; Sam McFarland and Keith Jones for getting the water and snacks for the cast backstage. The printed program for the show and its collection of advertisements was the work of Nick Leiserson. Great job on that task for one of our new guys.

The afterglow was a huge success. Thanks to Cheryl Wallen for her hard work getting the great bar-b-q meal for us along with desserts and drinks. The room right there in the Hylton Center made it easy for everyone to get there. Ken White, Eric Wallen, Jack Pitzer, Kevin Kaiser, Patrick Kim, Catherine Colosimo and Scott Kahler helped too. Noah Van Gilder was emcee for the glow and got us all laughing.

There were a number of familiar faces in the audience from the Harmonizer family – present and past (these are just the ones YeEd saw – no doubt there were others): Chuck Botts, Martin Banks, Don Harrington, Edris Qarghah Larry Silva, Tom Yengling, Bede Bender, Gary Mankin, Jim Shoenhard, Tom Griffith, Dean Martin, Royall and Geri Geis, Doug Smith, Bill Sowers, Glenn Williamson, Mike Schwartz, Brian Miller, Mike Geipel, Jerry TePaske, Terry Jordan, Jack McKendree, Bruce Minnick, Chuck Harner, Bob Caldwell and Larry Fagley.

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.)