Saturday, March 17, 2012

Looking Back on the March 13th Chapter Meeting

The hall was a buzz right from 6 o’clock on.  There was another swap of old risers/new risers.  Bob Blair shared with YeEd that we have rented our risers for a couple other events locally.  Thus the need to get things on the truck.

Also we were happy to meet and greet and sign in about 15 fellow barbershop singers from the Germantown, MD, chapter for the evening.  They came to see how things go with us on a chapter meeting/rehearsal nite.  Great to have them on the risers part of the nite too. (They got quite a work out singing thru the “Jersey Boys” medley and the new tag!)

There was also a meeting of the FRIENDS IN HARMONY  tonite! 

Sean Devine was in town representing the Harmony Foundation and he made a presentation for our chapter. First he thanked the Alexandria Chapter for its leadership in giving and promoting the Foundation.  We received a Gold Certificate at this past weekend’s House of Delegates meeting during the prelims convention for averaging $242.17 per man giving (considering this is based on our total membership of 200, this is quite an accomplishment).

Two guys in our chapter are regional helpers for the Foundation – Alan Wile and Chuck Harner (who also is on the Foundation’s board of trustees).  They helped Sean pass out brochures explaining the Ambassadors of Song giving program.   A member can pledge to give monthly amounts and also designate up to 30% of that donation to go back to the chapter or district (known as “donor choice”). Quite a few guys filled out a pledge before the nite ended and they got a free DVD of the Foundation’s concert featuring four gold medal choruses held during the Anaheim convention in 2009.

Currently the chapter receives about $5000 a year back from the Foundation based on giving levels of our chapter members who choose the “donor choice” option.  Many men and their partners are Presidents Club members which is another giving program that has special perks for the donor such as special seating at the International contest.

Also Sean spoke highly of the recent Carnegie Hall show with the No Borders Chorus directed by Joe.  He also shared the video footage shot by Mike Kelly of that event.  The Foundation had provided a chunk of support for that Dec. 26th event.

And then Sean got up on the risers in the lead section to join in the singing fun.  This was his first time to be at a Harmonizer meeting/rehearsal. We hope to see him often as he is now the Foundation staff rep for our district and this part of the U.S.

Assistant director Will Cox did the vocal warm ups before turning things over to musical director Joe Cerutti.

We used the screen and projector for “Jersey Boys” and worked hard and made even more progress on this really fun but long arrangement.  Kudos to our own Dan O’Brien for the new tag he wrote and arranged for this one!  Good job Dan O! Our section leaders – Rick Savage, Tony Colosimo, Ken Ives, Mike Kelly – worked out front to help us catch ourselves on spots  in the medley and also to learn the new tag.

We also sang thru last year’s contest songs for the first time in ages and the music on the screen surely helped all the many new guys and guests.  Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted this week’s barbershop craft session – Every Breath Counts. Joe then had us put the techniques and lessons to use in our singing

Operations vp Scott Kahler conducted the chapter meeting portion of the nite starting with presentations by chapter secretary Chris Buechler of Harmo History Books to recent new members.  Then Chris gave membership renewal cards to the following: Clyde Crusenberry, 2 years; Andrew Havens, 3 years; Bob Rhome, 11 years; Scott Kahler, 14 years (Scott’s Dad, Ray who lives in AZ, also renewed for his 28th year); Tom Kern, 14 years; Calvin Schnure, 17 years; and Will Cox, 34 years.

Membership vp Phil Ashford had a huge list of guests and many first-timers (almost all of the guys from the visiting chapter) who got a first-time-guest button from Alan Wile. We also welcomed a number of returning singers, many of them applicants already; a couple new prospects from the local area; and some frequent visitors from other chapters around the country: David DeSportes, John Greene, Bob Griesemer, Jeeves Murphy, Tom Frederick, Logan Lenhart, Kevin Lynch, and Ali Hauger, guest of Andrew Havens.  She is lead in GQ – they won the Harmony Sweepstakes recently and her quartet will be singing on our spring show. Ali is also lead in WHOLE LOTTA HARMONY, a collegiate quartet that sang this past weekend at the spring convention’s youth adjudication event and earned a superior rating.

Will was up front to lead the Harmo Welcome song and our president and director personally shook hands of each guest.

Then it was break time for coffee and goodies, a chance to sing a tag with the visitors, time to sign up for things and get relaxed a little to get back on the risers.  Thanks to the folks who chipped in a little extra recently for the coffee kitty – helps keep the cupboard filled.

After the break, Scott continued the meeting with a reminder by Brad Jones to give him your payment for the China trip tonite or you will need to mail it to Canada yourself.

Scott reminded all members about the Youth Harmony Festival at Durant on Sat. April 14th.  A set up crew is needed the nite before.  The chorus will sing on Sat. nite for the students, their parents and guests.  Scott also asked for some guys to step up and help with food and such for the day. AND he encouraged us to help market the Festival to any young male or female singers under the age of 30

Shows vp Brian Ammerman reported on the very successful meeting with him, community services vp Clyde Crusenberry and the arts departmetn faculty leaders at TC Williams Hi School. They found mutual ways to work together for shows, involving youth, helping the teacher and his department. Good work guys!

President Steve Murane honored and recognized the chapter guys who qualified with their quartets to go to the 2012 International contest in Portland in July.

DA CAPO  – Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams

MAD HATTERS  – Rob Seay, Scott Disney, Rick Taylor, Steve White

TOP SHELF  – Brett Thomas, Fred Womer, Jay Butterfield, Andrew Havens

MAYHEM  – Matthew Fellows, Neil Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White

Now that we know how many of us will be singing out there, maybe you wanna go too.  Call asap to get a room and order a ticket. 

Then it was back to singing.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds helped us find our new risers positions and added all the new guys and returning singers to the chart.  Then the mini-choruses were given about 10 minutes to work on the contest package. Each one was assigned its own director for the work session. These minis will continue to sing together since they all stand in the same general section of the risers.  A couple front row guys were assigned to each mini. Word is that this is where and how singers can expect to show their proficiency on the package vs submitting tapes and such.

The music team concluded the evening with the contest package including stage presence work.  Chuck McKeever reminded us of the details of the moves and TJ Jones offered to help Chuck be demonstrator for each side of the chorus. Coach Geri Geis will be with us next week.

Scott ended the meeting with an invite to the afterglow at the Hilton. Our youngest member, Victor Hills, was home for spring leave from West Point, and won the 50/50!  And then Sean directed KTWWS.  There was a lot of singing in the hall as a number of our guys have formed quartets for the Southern Division in Roanoke.  Have you gotten a room yet?

NOTE:  the next big special guest nite for the chapter is March 27th.  Start now in getting your candidate for membership lined up, offer him a ride, take him to dinner before the meeting, take off an hour early yourself so you can get there.  If you ride Metro, ask some of us to come get you both.

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.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking Back on the March 9-10 2012 MAD Intl Quartet Prelims

Well as you have likely heard from emails or phone calls or visits with fellow chapter members, the Alexandria guys and their quartets were right on top of the heap.  AND we will have a lot of friends to cheer for at the International convention in Portland in July.

This past weekend was the M-AD International Quartet Preliminary contest.  Our district will be sending more quartets to the contest this summer than we have done in many years.  (YeEd heard that we might even have more than these six, as some prominent quartets are competing in other district prelims to try to earn the 76% score that qualifies a quartet.  Quartets are allowed to do this if they have a conflict and can’t attend the contest in their own district.)

Here are the results of the contest with Harmonizer names in bold face.

1. WHEELHOUSE - 84.8% - Brandon Brooks, Rich Gray, Jeff Gray, Dan Van Wetering

2. DA CAPO - 83.0% - Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams

3. MAD HATTERS - 78.3% - Rob Seay, Scott Disney, Rick Taylor, Steve White
4. TOP SHELF - 78.1% - Brett Thomas, Fred Womer, Jay Butterfield, Andrew Havens
5. FRANK THE DOG - 77.3% - Tim Knapp, Tom Halley, Ross Trube, Steve Kirsch
6. MAYHEM - 76.8% - Matt Fellows, Neil Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White

One of our Harmo family guys who lives in NY state competed in M-AD this past weekend.  George Azzam, whose name most guys recognize from the annual Put Together contest, is now singing bass in THE GENEVA CONVENTION and they made the finals on Saturday nite.

In addition to the quartets from our chapter who qualified, YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen, made the finals; and MINT CONDTION with Drew Fuller and Arthur Louis were the mic testers for the Saturday nite finals round.

Harmonizers were working all around the convention as board members, operations team, judges and emcee.  The Fairfax Chapter was hosts for the weekend in Reston.

DOCKSIDE HARMONY from Richmond won the district seniors quartet award. 

John Hohl was honored to have a few of  his arrangements sung this weekend by quartets including “The Unicorn Song” sung by MAYHEM at the Jamboree Sat. nite along with gestures done by some of the contest judges they invited up onto the stage.

Saturday morning there was youth quartet adjudication for high school and college students.  Gary Plaag was in charge of it.  Erin Odell had a guy’s quartet in the mix, KINGS OF CHORDS, from the school where she teaches near Richmond.

Saturday afternoon there was a two-hour session to help M-AD barbershoppers improve their success on individual membership recruitment.  The session was hosted by the district membership guy, Christian Hunter, with guest presenter, Paul Ellinger, from the Pioneer District.  It was well attended and the program was full of great ideas.  It will be on the internet for all to review and use.

YeEd recorded 33 Harmonizers there this weekend, in addition to the quartet singers and all the guys in leadership positions.

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 Harmonizers. —YeEd.)