Thursday, February 2, 2012

Looking Back on the January 31st Chapter Meeting

There were a lot of Harmonizers at this week’s meeting and rehearsal that we have not seen for a while.  Everyone was happy to see them.

Usual set up and equipment made the meeting go smoothly.  Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted the vocal warm ups. Director Joe Cerutti was en route to England to coach there and staff a director training event. Assistant director Mike Kelly worked thru “Great Day” with Chuck McKeever coaching and refreshing the chorus on the moves. Assistant director Terry Reynolds managed the admin details for the music team including operator of the projector and computer! The music team worked with us on the “Jersey Boys” medley including time in sectionals.

Operations vp Scott Kahler called the evening’s meeting to order.  Secretary Chris Buechler presented Joe Wagovich his second Man of Note pin for bringing a new member.  Bruce Roehm was presented his 11-year membership renewal card and Brian Miller presented his 15-year card.

President Steve Murane reported on the Chapter Awards event held last Saturday and announced the two remaining award winners since those two guys who were not able to attend.  See the previous Looking Back column for complete results.

Membership vp Phil Ashford welcomed a lot of guys we have not seen for a while at meetings: Bruce Roehm who was in town from his duty station in MT; Brian Miller; Will Mudd Simmons; Andrew Plocher; Dean Rust; Bob Eckman who lives now near Charlottesville; Tom Kraus; and Tom Berkey who lives now near Williamsburg.

Guests this week were applicants Doug White, Bob Griesemer and Tom Frederick. A first-time guest, friend of Mike Kelly, was Jon Clunies. Jon directed KTWWS at the end of the nite.

Scott released the chapter for a 15-minute break.  He then used the chimes like we used in the holiday show to get folks back on the risers.

Craig Kujawa announced that our small group TBD will appear at the Regional Harmony Sweepstakes at the Birchmere in Alexandria on Feb. 25th, 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $29.50.  Craig offered to get tickets for anyone who gives him $30 in advance. DA CAPO will be hosting the contest as the past champs and will sing after the contestants to wrap up the evening.

Show vp Brian Ammerman provided important info about some upcoming shows and events. Our Singing Valentines effort has launched sales materials for the Feb. 14th event. All members are encouraged to sell some – at least a couple (don’t forget your own family, friends, office or hangout). Clark Chesser volunteered to help take orders off the phone lines.  More help is needed.  Watch for emails about quartet assignments.

The patriotic show at the Masonic Temple is Wed., Feb. 22.  Tux uniform. Watch for an early chorus call at 5:30 or 5:45. We will be singing with opera singer Alessandra Marc. She will sing with us on “Battle Hymn” and we will sing Verdi’s “La Fortza” with her (in Italian, YeEd heard).  Rest assured we will use music for that one!

Brian announced that we will not be asked to sing/march in the Cherry Blossom parade, therefore, the whole chorus can help with the youth festival that same day.  The chorus will sing that nite at Durant, April 14th.

Nick Lieserson has stepped up to be producer for the spring show at George Mason.

Scott Kahler ended the meeting with notice of the board meeting next Wednesday at Durant.

Tony restarted our singing with another major craft session. The theme this week was “Champions Are Made at the End of Phrases.”

Terry worked on the contest ballad. Scipio Garling worked with the chorus to add the visual part of the performance – feelings, faces, focals.   Progress was great!  We also did some work on the uptune.

Mike reviewed and helped us on two more songs for the Feb. 22nd show – “No More Sorrows” and “Summertime.”

The good singing ended right at 10 and the crew worked to see if they could set a record on how fast the risers and “stuff” could be put away.

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 Chapter Award Banquet for 2010 and 2011

A good crowd of Harmonziers and their guests attended the Award Banquet at Durant Center on Jan. 28, 2011.  This year’s banquet was used to present both the 2010 and 2011 major chapter awards. (The 2010 banquet was not held.)

President Steve Murane and his team organized the event.  The chapter provided the main course, bar b q chicken breasts, as well as stocked an open bar.  The rest of the meal was potluck and thus good homemade goodies and plenty of it.

Steve enlisted a crew of volunteers to set up early that afternoon.  Immediate past president Brad Jones helped with many of the details.  Brian Ammerman and Clyde Crusenberry helped decorate and set up.  Robyn McQueen was bartender. Chapter secretary Chris Buechler helped with ordering the awards.  Bob Rhome made arrangements with the Rec Dept. for use of the hall and obtained the proper permits for our usage. Scott Kahler had the sound set up for the evening. Alan Wile was official photographer. The FRIENDS of HARMONY helped too.  Social hour began at 6, dinner at 7 and awards at 8.   

Steve’s three nephews helped check in all the guests, collected $20 each, and waited on tables as needed. The hall was decorated with balloons and table decorations.  Barbershop music was playing in the background. 

There were some quartets formed during the social time and after the program, as you might expect.  The guys also sang tags with Steve’s nephews too. Before the program got underway, the chorus guys stood in place and sang “Heart of My Heart” with Terry Reynolds directing.

Steve was emcee for the nite and started the program with an installation ceremony for the 2012 board.  Executive Vice President for the M-AD, Bill Colosimo, conducted the ceremony.  He shared that this was a great opportunity for a district leader to ensure the continuation of the grand traditions going of the Alexandria Harmonizers.  Bill and several of our guys had hurried back from a district meeting in PA in order to attend the banquet.

Steve thanked the past presidents for their service to the chapter and recognized those present:  Jack Pitzer, 1973; Chris Buechler, 1995; Alan Wile, 1997-98; Ken Fess, 2004; Ric Wagner represented by his wife Peggy, 2005; Mike Stamps, 2008; and Brad Jones, 2009.

Here are the major Harmonizer awards and who received them for 2010 and 2011:

New Note of the Year Award

 (Nominated by the President, VP-Membership/Chapter Development, and VP-Operations; selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to a Harmonizer who has contributed outstanding service to the Chapter in his first year of membership.  All new members for the previous 18 months prior to October 31 of the current year will be considered.  Attendance, attitude, and accomplishments of duties, both volunteer and assigned, shall be considered.

2010 recipient – Steve Lingo

The 2010 recipient arrived with a bundle of energy and a willingness to dive in and help whenever and wherever he could even going so far as to host the Harmo Hospitality Suite at International followed by accepting the nomination to be the VP Marketing.

2011 recipient – Clark Chesser  (presented on Tues. Jan. 31st)

The 2011 recipient also was eager to help and was there his first week to help with the risers, new member programs and became editor of THE ECHO, our chapter bulletin and important document sent to all friends and customers and members.

Spirit of Harmony Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Presented to the Harmonizer who during the past year best exemplified the fundamental Society membership qualities of congeniality and good character and worked hardest to encourage participation in vocal harmony by Chapter visitors and members.  The awardee must reflect the spirit and ideals of O.C. Cash (Society founder) by his enthusiasm for good fellowship and good harmony and by his unselfish dedication to and obvious joy in barbershopping.

2010 recipient – Jack Pitzer

The 2010 recipient is an obvious choice given his untiring behind the scene efforts to make every member of the Chapter feel welcomed, while constantly seeking to get every member, new and old, involved in Chapter activities. He has also been a never ending source of information and assistance to me personally. 

2011 recipient – Bob Blair

The 2011 recipient is also a behind the scenes kind of guy.  Always smiling and giving encouragement. Always willing to help and above all always ensuring that all the tools and resources the Chapter needs to practice our wonderful hobby arrive safely in the Harmo Truck. 

Ibbianne and Wilbur Sparks Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to recognize the important contribution of Harmonizer family teams to the success and well-being of the Chapter.  The award will be made only to a truly outstanding team which has contributed greatly both in volume and quality of services over a period of time.  The team can be a Harmonizer and any family member or significant other.

2010 recipient – Bob and Maggie Eckman

The 2010 recipients worked tirelessly and consistently over a very extended period to time to support almost every facet of our Chapter’s and the Friends In Harmony financial activities, Scrip sales, and running the Usher program for our performances

2011 recipient – the Colosimo family – Bill and his wife Linda, daughter Catherine, and Tony and his wife Elizabeth

The 2011 recipients could replace the definition we use to determine who will receive this award. They are truly a family team helping out through all aspects of Harmonizer activities. Directing the chapter, coaching, assisting in production of shows and afterglows and shows.

Harmonizer Honor Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to a Harmonizer for service which is above and beyond the usual service expected of members during the past year.  It is not intended as a reward for discharging a single specific duty, but for continuous service in several activities.

2010 recipient – Brad Jones

Our 2010 recipient is another obvious choice among all the obvious choices we’ve presented awards to so far.  It seems that no matter what the Harmonizers are doing this individual has his fingers involved in it.  Probably though, the most important activity he is known for is his nearly single handed running our annual Youth Festival.

2011 – Scott Kahler

Our 2011 recipient is also a guy who is always everywhere when it comes to Harmonizer activities.  Helping out in running our weekly rehearsals, involvement in show production, hosting extracurricular social activities, ensuring that our Chapter leaders can be heard at all times and even occasionally singing a solo at our Holiday show. 

Oz Newgard Memorial Award

 (Nominated by the President, VP-Music & Performance, and Musical Director; Selected by  the Board of Directors).  Presented in memory of Oz Newgard (Musical Director 1962-70).  It is given to the Harmonizer who has made a significant contribution to the musical program of the Chapter during the past year.  The awardee's contribution need not be highly visible or of a technical musical character, but it must be related directly to the musical program. It should show the intent to make the musical program superior and enjoyable for all members.  The awardee should be a dedicated Harmonizer who has endeavored to improve the Chapter image in the Society and in the Alexandria community through musical excellence.  Any Harmonizer who has been a chapter member for more than one year shall be eligible for the award.

2010 recipient – Tony Colosimo

The 2010 recipient came to the Chapter somewhat recently and has grown to be an integral part of the Chapter’s music team. From filling in as director when needed, leading the chapter through technical warm ups to improve our overall sound and always imparting his knowledge of good vocal technique.  

2011 recipient – Ken Ives (presented on Tues. Jan. 31st)

The 2011 recipient is a long time baritone section leader, advocate for learning your part, learning quartet and audition quartet singer, and often a member of a registered quartet representing the chapter.

Harmonizer Memorial Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Presented in memory of those men who died while members of the Chapter.  It is the highest recognition which the Chapter can bestow on a member.  It is given to the Harmonizer who, during his entire period of chapter membership, has devoted himself most unselfishly in rendering outstanding service to the Chapter.  The award is made only to a truly outstanding member who has regularly attended Chapter activities and who has contributed greatly both in volume and quality of services over a long period of time.

2010 – Mark Klostermeyer  (presented on Tues. Jan 24th)

The 2010 award was presented to the recipient at our Chapter meeting last Tuesday because he was not going to be able to make this evening’s festivities. For those of you who were not in attendance and did not get a chance to hear who that was I am pleased to tell you that it was a very obvious choice for a guy who kept the wheels of the chapter oiled and everything moving forward in lockstep.

2011 – Bob Rhome

Our 2011 award recipient is also somebody who plays a very key role in keeping this organization moving forward.  I know that once I start listing his accomplishments you will probably guess immediately who I’m talking about so I’ll try to do this quickly and hopefully some of you will have had enough to drink tonight that I can get through them before you catch on.  Our 2011 recipient is known for his administrative skills and attention to detail in the tasks he does for the chapter.  And at times although he might sound a bit gruff when reminding folks when he needs to get certain information from them in order to get everything done on time he always ends up smiling about it.  He is good at ensuring the Harmonizers Board always has a place to meet, the Harmonizers always have a place to rehearse not only in our own backyard but also during our competitions and also keeping the liaison with the city of Alexandria cordial when we start worrying about air conditioning in the summer.

This year’s banquet ended early enough for a good bit of tag singing and still time to pack up and be gone by the 10:30 closing. Everyone pitched in to help.

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 as part of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —Ye Ed.)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Looking Back on the 2012 Mid-Winter Convention in Tucson

(Thanks to reporters Dixie Kennett, Chris Buechler and Alan Wile for this news.)

A great time was had by the fifteen current and several former members of the Harmonizers family.  Joe Cerutti was there for board meetings, as was Gary Plaag. 

Joe also emceed both the Friday and Saturday night shows, (he did do some costume changes, but reporters tell YeEd nothing crazy like last year’s shocking costumes!) featuring the top five International medalists from Kansas City, along with current collegiate quartet winner and the Association of International Seniors Quartet Champs chorus and quartets.  Chris Buechler attended as the board's assistant parliamentarian. Chuck Harner attended as Harmony Foundation board member.

The judging panel for the seniors quartet contest had three members of the Harmonizer family with Dwain Chambers serving as contest administrator and Mike Louque and Richard Lewellen judging presentation and singing respectively.

It was nice to see long-time members Darryl Flinn, Tom Gannon, Larry Deters (interim Society CEO) and Fr. Joe Witmer, who no longer live in this district.  This was Darryl's first trip since his recent heart surgery.  It is always great to see friends we don't see weekly in the relaxed atmosphere of a midwinter convention.

The weather in Tucson was a perfect 74 during the day and a few of us arrived early to do some sightseeing.

LEGACY and YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT (with Mike Wallen) represented our Mid-Atlantic District in the Seniors quartet contest.  LEGACY was the fifth place bronze medalist quartet and YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT finished eighth.

 There were fifteen youth choruses with 420 youth singing on Saturday, providing an exciting day.  All received either superior or excellent ratings -- with at least one standing ovation per chorus.  If you haven't experienced a youth chorus festival, you have missed one of the best events the Society offers.  President Alan Lamson hosted a reception Saturday night following the show to which all attendees were invited.

Next year's Midwinter convention will be held in Orlando at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, which has a ballroom holding 3,500 seats.  All attendees will stay at the resort, which boasts fourteen restaurants.  Go early and experience Disney World or Universal Studios during the season of smallest crowds.  Convention dates are January 8-13, 2013.

Others in the Harmonizer family not mentioned above who were at the convention were Ryan Killeen, Harmony Foundation staffer; Bill Colosimo, district vp; Ross Johnson; Sam McFarland; Ray Kahler, Scott’s dad; Bob Hirsch; Paul Wietlisbach, BHS staffer; Will Winder; Lee Hanson, in outgoing seniors quartet champ; and Ellen Dellert.

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 as part of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —Ye Ed.)

Looking Back on the January 24th Chapter Meeting

Amidst the great singing on Tuesday nite, there was a lot of new news about plans and events coming up.

Associate director Tony Colosimo led the vocal warm ups and some fun hand clapping and foot stomping routines.  Director Joe Cerutti, back from Tucson, went right to work on the “Jersey Boy” medley to pick up on our work from last week.  He also invited some guys down front as an octet, had them sing about 8 bars and then surprised everyone by asking those guys (who he figured would know their music anyway) to go up on the risers and tap someone else to come down front.

We are moving into the third song of the medley but the av screen was useful for all to be more accurate and to expand upon their work at home.

Joe also broke the fun news about the patriotic show at the Masonic Temple in Alexandria, Wed. Feb. 22nd.  We are the entertainment for a large conference of General George Washington scholars. AND we will be singing with a leading opera singer from the DC area.  Tentative plans suggest she will sing “Battle Hymn” with us and we might do an opera piece with her.  Stay tuned for final details.

So we worked on “Battle Hymn” and then worked on the visuals for “Great Day” with Joe up front and Chuck McKeever coaching and reminding us.  Joe and Chuck drilled the moves so the many new guys on the risers could catch up.  Chuck is doing his 6 pm review sessions on the stage on Tuesdays now with emphasis on these songs for the patriotic show.

Tony taught another barbershop craft session – a repeat of “tall on the inside and small on the outside” with some new facts and details.

Operations vp Scot Kahler conducted the weekly chapter meeting.  First up was secretary Chris Buechler who invited Tom Kraus, who was back this week to say hi, to help present a pile of plaques and awards.

First, Ross Felker got his new member packet. Randy Elliason got his new member packet and dual member card. Michael Vlcej got his new member materials and Joe Wagovich, who brought Michael, will get a Man of Note award later.  Shawn Tallant got a new member packet last week, with Brian Ammerman getting his first Man of Note pin.

Chris also presented Mark Klostermeyer his 31 year membership renewal card.  Then as a surprise, Chris and chapter president Steve Murane, presented Mark a plaque as 2010 recipient of the Chapter Memorial Award.  The men of the chapter gave Mark the traditional standing ovation for recipients of the major chapter awards.  (Chris explained that the 2010 awards are being given now in addition to the 2011 awards on Sat nite, Jan 28th. Mark is unable to attend.)

Chris and Steve also gave Joe Cerutti the traditional framed photo of the chorus appearance as the past international contest.  Joe will be coaching in Ohio at their district event and was unable to change that date to be at the awards banquet on the 28th.

Next up was membership vp Phil Ashford who welcome more guests – two guys who were first timers and three applicants who are back and working on their auditions. (YeEd heard one of them rehearing in the chapter store room before the meeting.)

Ops vp Scott declared a 15 minute intermission which was used by the guys to meet and greet, sing tags or songs, grab some goodies and buy things.

Scott gathered the troops back on the risers to continue the meeting.

First he reminded all to bring in old uniforms in the next couple weeks.  Special emphasis is being placed on recall of the following items: Brocade vests / bowties / armbands; White / Ivory tux coat; White / ivory tux trousers; Red / black vests; and Gray tearaways. Give them to Tom Kern.  Be sure to include your name on them.

Speaking of uniforms – all those who plan to do Singing Valentines need to see Tom for the black tux outfits and all of the parts to that uniform. 

Singing Valentine chair Ken Henderson had display materials for all to take, and info sheets for quartets to know what to expect on that day.  He promises a detailed email for other matters for the Feb. 14th event.  Be sure you have taken off for that day so you can sing, help drive quartets, take messages or deliver materials.  President Steve also alerts us that the chapter needs someone to take phone orders.

You should also sell some Singing Valentines  – at the office, your carpool, your neighbors, your golf buddies who need to make amends for being gone so much, for your mom or sister or aunt or secretary or waitress or nurse or dental assistant or Starbuck’s worker.  Here is what we are offering – all to be delivered some time on Tues., Feb. 14th:

Love on the Line -- $30 Singing Valentine sent by telephone

The Heartthrob -- $60 Singing Valentine with a personalized card and a single rose

The Romeo -- $75 Singing Valentine with a personalized card and a dozen roses

The Be-My-Valentine -- $90 Singing Valentine with a personalized card, a dozen roses and a box of chocolates.

Valentine hotline is 571-969-1379 or

Scott reminded guys about putting quartets together for the Southern Division contest in Roanoke May 26 and 27.  YeEd knows of three new quartets formed for this purpose in the last week or so – one was a finalist in our put together contest last month.  Contact Eric Wallen or your section leader if you wanna sing.  See Tom Kern to be sure you have uniform parts.  And be sure to see music vp Dan O’Brien or secretary Buechler about getting those quartets registered and entered.  There are forms and stuff to submit.

Scott also followed up on the test of the emergency notification system that sends an email to each member of the chapter.  If you did not get one the other day, you need to be sure you are signed up on Groupanizer.  It is a safety net if we have a serious emergency or cancellation to alert all members about.

Brad Jones gave a brief update on the China trip and announced the good news that more folks can sign up – friends, family and all the new guys who have joined recently.  Up to March 1st.

Membership vp Ashford launched his membership drive for the year.  He announced that Steve White is our lead in the Operation Harold Hill campaign – we participate in the BHS program.  “I SING” buttons were given to each guy to wear as a method of grabbing attention of others and giving Harmonizer members a chance to tell their 30-second elevator talk about being a member of this chapter and the fun and experiences. Shawn Tallant is helping Steve and Phil and he spoke briefly about the passion and attitude of One Heart, One Mind and One Voice. Our goal is to add members to the roster and reunite former singers with the chorus.

Our next guest nite is Tues. March 6th.

President Steve shared how he told a friend about barbershop and after a few years of staying in touch, that man is starting a chapter in Nevada.

Steve also reported on his meeting a Chinese delegation in town and how they received his message about our trip there.

Finally Steve reminded all about the award banquet on Sat nite, Jan. 28th at Durant starting at 6 pm.  There will be drinks from 6 -7 then a potluck with the chapter providing the main dish.  Members are to bring dishes to pass that will serve about 10: basses and baris bring sides like veggies, potatoes, mac and cheese, rolls, etc; leads bring salads; tenors and Friends of Harmony bring desserts.  If you have not told Steve you’d like to come, email him and come join us to honor our fellow Harmonizers for their work and extra effort.

After this meeting period, director Joe went to work on the contest package for Southern Division, and mostly on “Sweet Georgia Brown” to  help us own it both musically and emotionally.

In other news, the Barberpole Cat Program is off to a rousing start and after the first couple weeks of meeting before chapter, a bunch of guys have qualified on singing various parts to those songs.  Come out to meet with Dan O’Brien and crew to get some songs under your belt to sing when you are around other barbershoppers.  We now have learning tracks for all the songs, courtesy of Tim Waurick.

We ended on time and got the hall cleared so guys could go to the afterglow at the Hilton.

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.)