Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking Back on the Dec. 11th Chapter Meeting

The rooms and hallways at Durant were crowded by 6:30 with many quartets working on their songs for the 46th annual chapter Put-Together Quartet Contest.

But first we gathered in chairs to warm up with assistant director Will Cox.  The number of members present was so large, there were almost not enough chairs and so some guys were standing.  Kellen Hertz was standing on his chair so he could see!!

Director Joe Cerutti came to the front and welcomed everyone for an important and fun chapter nite with 95 guys present.  Work continues on the contest package for Toronto in 2013 with learning tapes coming soon for the uptune and soon after for the ballad.

Joe also was still excited about the recent SOLD OUT holiday show and invited show producer Josh Roots to report and express thank you to the many helpers, workers, volunteers that made it such a success.  Plus you can’t overlook the great singing of the chorus and costumes they worked up. Josh’s report was loaded with info and numbers and charts – it was the envy of all of the detail geeks in the chapter!!  In short, we sold all the seats – 1,180 patrons.  Numbers show not as many little kids as first guessed.  And we have a good handle on the numbers of senior tickets sold vs regular adult tickets at each of the three performances. We had 80 guys on the risers and 30 non-singers working in the hall which included members of our FRIENDS group and many of the new guys.

Josh was pleased to report that we more than met budget on income for the show!!! And one lesson for next year is to continue the work at starting ticket sales early.  The ticket sales were supplemented by the $6000 net from the auction and the $2300 donations from patrons. The long list of folks Josh thanked was included in an earlier Looking Back column about the 2012 Holiday Show.

Before break, we had a brief chapter meeting.  It is the last nite for Entertainment books and WHOs since we won’t be at Durant on Dec. 18th and there is not a meeting on Dec. 25th or Jan. 1st.

Remember to pay deposits for Toronto and for Normandy trips.

Package show producer Greg Tepe gave the latest details for the show on Dec. 18th at the Masonic Temple on King St.  Uniform will be holiday sweaters or coat and holiday ties. Singers should be on stage at 5:45.  Plenty of free parking is behind the building.  We will sing the same songs as we did on the show. Greg asked for volunteers to help with risers early since we have to haul into the auditorium.  Greg also reminded us to promote this show for families and children to fill the 400 seats.

Alan Wile, next year’s president,  reminded 2012, 2013 board members and 2014 designates about the retreat/meeting on Sat. morning Dec. 15th at 8:30 am, at Ken Fess office, off Van Dorn by Clydes restaurant.

Alan also announced the Potomac Harmony Show this Sunday, and the Tuba Christmas event at the Kennedy Center at 6 pm on Dec. 13th.

President Steve Murane presented a sizable check to support our CAPITAL FORCE youith chorus program  to their director Tony Colosimo and chapter treasurer Dave Welter.  This financial support came from our Mid Atlantic District. Thanks to them.

Noah Van Gilder reported plans for two more open audition nites at Durant on Monday, Jan. 7th and Wednesday Jan. 30th.  The chorus will not be attending. Audition standards are the same as usual with input from the director and the visual team leader. Last year’s audition was a huge success and yielded several new singers.

For anyone who will need a barbershop harmony “fix” during the holidays,  note there will be the annual barbershop gathering in MD for guys and family members to enjoy some quartet singing and food/drink/and/fellowship. It is hosted by the Dundalk Chapter and held Thurs. Dec. 27th at 7:30-11:59 pm, at Michael’s 8th Avenue, 7220 Grayburn Dr., Glen Burnie, MD  $15 fee. Last year there were a lot of Harmonizers there and many of them sang in quartets in the impromptu quartet contest.  Maybe some of our chapter put-together quartets will go enter.  Oldtimers will wanna come hear ARCADE that is coming out of retirement again this year to sing at the Blast.

Membership vp Phil Ashford welcome a group of guest for the week including some family members, some first-timers, some guys from other chapters in the area, and several more applicants.   Steve White was presented his renewal card for 36 years and Joe Cerutti Sr. welcomed as a new member with his 4 year renewal card.

Chapter meeting emcee Mark Klostermeyer announced a 30-minute break for quartets to warm up and for all to get coffee and help eat some holiday cookies left from the show!

After the break, contest chairman Calvin Schnure called the audience to take their seats and contest emcee Lew Klinge outlined the order of appearance for the 25 quartets – that’s right – 25!

Judges for this event were Steve White, Ken Rub, Paul Grimes and Chris Yates – all top quartet men in their own right.  Jack Pitzer served as contest administrator.

Lew gave some interesting history about how one of our chapter icons, Wilbur Sparks, organized the first Put Together Contest for the chapter and launched the concept for all these years of guys signing up to sing, and if they didn’t have enough parts, the chairman would “put them together” with other singers interested.

There were two categories for prizes – comedy and regular quartets.

Top comedy quartet members got a trophy for their success.

First place comedy quartet was CRAFT MAXIM FOUR with Terry Reynolds, Chuck Hunter, Gary Fuller and Steve Murane.  They sang original lyrics to the tune of “Heart of My Heart.”  Chuck took time to share the words with YeEd. For those who have been in touch with the chapter, these are the craft lessons Tony Colosimo has been teaching each week all year.

(Sung to the tune of "Heart of my Heart")

Listen first, then audiate;

Be sure to raise your soft palate. [pronounced with a long a]

Your voice matters always;

Be a champion at the end of the phrase.

Small in the front and in back tall;

Awesome breath, awesome tone and that's not all:

Pitch revisitation too!

Al- ways new. [top 3 parts]

And don't forget: breathe when you need to (always new). [bass]


Second place comedy quartet was WE HAVEN’T PRACTICED with Dan O’Brien, Edris Qarghah, Drew Fuller and Joel Golden.  They sang revised words to “Jezebel” about the crunch to get ready for the chorus contest in Toronto.

Third place comedy quartet was BLACK FRIDAY with Rick Savage, Randall Eliason, Jack Cameron and Jeremy Richardson.  They sang a parody to “My Wild Irish Rose” about spending and shopping during the holidays and were decked out with winter gear and many packages and shopping bags.

Trophies to members of the top three regular quartets were given by chairman Schnure too.

First place was WITH A LITTLE HELP with Doug White, Jacob George, Joel Golden and Calvin Schnure. They sang a nifty arrangement of “Jingle Bells” – not the one our chorus sings.

Second place was ACCOUSTIC COUNTERMEASURES with Kellen Hertz, Craig Kujawa, Steve Szyszka, and Chris Clark.  They sang a haunting and tender song called “MLK. “ Ask Craig about it. 

Third place was SENIOR SENORS with Rick Savage, Joe Cerutti Sr., Ken Fess and Mick Stamps.  They used a little dialog to set up a trip to Normandy and then sang “Sentimental Journey.”

The judges did recognize Joel Golden for singing in the most quartets – five. He got a trophy too.

The judges did have to DQ one quartet for being total ringers and then not singing a whole song!! The chorus musical team members in that quartet will go un-named and they are asked to return the trophies they snagged!!!  It was a fun gag.

The top three quartets ranked then by score were CRAFT MAXIM FOUR, WITH A LITTLE HELP, and WE HAVEN’T PRACTICED.

The contest went great, Lew kept us laughing while there was a wait, the technical guys had mics and speakers just like a BHS event! Also got give a plug to the many brand new guys who sang in a quartet in the contest this time, and some old timers got up there and participated too.

One quartet, FOUR FROM THE HEART, dressed in their tux outfits and brought Ellen __ on stage and sang a special Valentine song to her, and presented her with balloons and flowers.  Some guys had not heard that song tune, so maybe it will become a popular one for Singing Valentines events in February. Bruce Lauther has been in a version of FOUR FROM THE HEART for since1991.  He reports 112 guys have sung with him over the years – mostly to present Valentines, birthday gigs and make hospital calls. 

Not sure what happened regarding the afterglow.  Some went back to the Hilton just cause it was close to the Metro.  Some guys will be gone home to see family so there were some holiday farewells too.

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.)

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