Monday, July 16, 2012

Looking Back on the 2012 International Contest and Convention, Portland

The Alexandria Harmonizers did not compete at the 74th annual BHS International convention for 2012 having officially declined the opportunity in order to make the September trip to China.

But yet there was a huge presence of the Alexandria chapter all week.

First there were many of us there and all cheering for some of our chapter members who were in quartets for this major contest battleground.

MAYHEM with Matt Fellows, Neil Dingle, Ken White and Mike Pinto were 36th after the quarter finals round.  TOP SHELF with Brett Thomas, Fred Womer, Jay Butterfield and Andrew Havens were 35th.

DA CAPO with Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer and Wayne Adams. made it into the top twenty and ended up 15th in the semi finals round.

We were proud of all of them and cheered like crazy to welcome them to the stage.

Other quartets from M-AD:  WHEELHOUSE were mic testers for the top ten finals contest, or 11th; ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT was 12th; UP ALL NIGHT was 44th. MAD HATTERS with Steve White and Rick Taylor also qualified for Portland but later withdrew from the competition, as did FRANK THE DOG from Bryn Mawr area.

Contest winner was RINGMASTERS from Sweden; second was MUSICAL ISLAND BOYS from New Zealand; third was A MIGHTY WIND; fourth was MASTERPIECE; fifth was MAIN STREET. This was the first time a quartet from an affiliate organization, Society of Nordic Barbershop Singers, won the gold.  Another quartet from Sweden, LEMON SQUEEZY, won the collegiate contest and sang in the regular contest and ranked 19th. Three of the top 20 quartets represented overseas affiliates. 

Besides the quartet contest, there was an explosive chorus contest won again by the Ambassadors of Harmony from St. Charles, MO at 96.8. Second was won by Great Northern Union from MN at 95; third was Kentucky Vocal Union at 92; fourth was zero8 from Stockholm, Sweden at 90.3; fifth was Salem, OR at 89.1. As in the quartet contest, this was the first time an affiliate group had medaled in the chorus contest.

There have been quartets and choruses from Canada win gold.

Our brother M-AD choruses Voices of Gotham from Hell’s Kitchen, NY, directed by Larry Bomback, came in 18th, The Big Apple Chorus from Manhattan, directed by Justin Miller, came in 24th.

Talk to some of us who were there about some of the wild things that happened on stage: the Alliance, OH, chorus did the Peter Pan package that we started working on (on the Webcast they mentioned that another chorus was considering it, but since they (that’s us) didn’t do it, Alliance took up the challenge.)

The Salem chorus was a riot: cavemen singing in the first chorus contest including starting fire, learning to speak, then getting coached by the Dallas director Jeff Oxley, dance lessons from three guys from Westminster, and singing helping from AOH director, Jim Henry. The dinosaur “ate” Jim and then the chorus sang “there goes Jim.”  Makes YeEd laugh just writing about it.

KY Vocal Union did a passionate ballad with very meaningful staging – simple and touching. Only two choruses were over 100 – first place had 145, second place had 118.  KY had 39, Stockholm had 34.

All during the week you would see fellow Harmonizers – we counted more than 40 current and past chapter members. Gary Plaag served on the official panel as a presentation judge.  Gary and Joe Cerutti are members of the Society board of directors.  The Society Board of Directors met early in the week. Chris Buechler serves the board as assistant parliamentarian.  Chuck Harner serves on the Harmony Foundation board of trustees.

Bill Colosimo, chairman of the Society’s music and performance committee, presented the annual Dave LaBarr Award to a great emcee – this year’s winner was Judd Orff. Speaking of emcees, the lead from STORM FRONT, Jim Clark, did a great job on the first half of the chorus contest with a running list of “you might be a barbershopper, if….” He kept us laughing.

Anthony Colosimo sang with the past collegiate quartet champs chorus on the Harmony Foundation show during the week.  He earned his gold with ROADTRIP.

Steve Tramack, chairman of the Society’s director recognition committee, presented Master Dierctor certificates to several prominent directors. Our own Master Director Joe Cerutti was one of the first men to receive this certification several years ago.

Mike Kelly worked during the week to help with video work – helping the judges get a video from the judges area vs far back in the hall, and making tapes of guys who paid to Sing with the Champs.

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DA CAPO had ads on the Jumbotron during the week to promote their new CD being distributed by TimTracks – Tim Waurick’s company. They were also in the Harmony Marketplace autographing CDs.

It is amazing how many current and former Harmonizers come to convention.  Here is YeEd’s attempt to list all the others not mentioned above in this article. (Thanks to Dixie Kennett, Keith Jones and Alan Wile for keeping a list.) Apologies for missing someone!

TJ Jones

Sam McFarland

Kevin Kaiser

Greg Tepe

Terry Reynolds

Craig Kujawa

Jim Lake – with his new bride of about 10 days

Bruce Roehm – who flew in from his military assignment in Montana

Ross Johnson – a Harmonizer that never misses an International

Chuck Hunter, Jr – in the US from his State Department post

Jim Herrick – from Pennsylvania

Kyle Blomgren – on the front row of La Jolla, CA, chorus which was 22nd

Ron Rich – from South Carolina

Ryan Kileen – sang in TNS quartet who ranked 10th, sang in Nashville chorus which was 7th

Larry Deters – sang with Nashville chorus

Paul Wietlisbach – sang with Nashville chorus

Darryl Flinn – from Ohio

John Rettenmayer – from Montana

Denny Malone – sang in IGNITION who ranked 18th

Mike Louque – from California

Dwain Chambers – from Tennessee

Bill Ward – from Florida

Ray Johnson – sang with Masters of Harmony who did their swan song at convention

Bill Power – sang with the Masters of Harmony too

Bill Curtis – from Colorado

John Rettenmayer – from Montana

Bob Thames – sang with Jacksonville, FL

Glenn Williamson – from Virginia getting a 50 year pin

Joe Cain – sang with Sunrise, FL

Dan Cook – prospective member moving to our area, sang with champs chorus

There is no doubt, “It’s Great To Be A Harmonizer!”

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.)

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