Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looking Back on the May 22nd Chapter Meeting

We had another barbershop performance to listen to as our meeting opener, but guys were fired up about the show, contest, many friends in the hall, so there was not much “listening” this week! Also a big crowd of members were on stage for the stage presence review at 6 pm with Chuck McKeever.

Assistant director Will Cox conducted another great warm up and got the chorus ready for a hard workout.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds invited all new chorus members since July 2011 to join Will for another orientation session helping them prepare for their role as a Harmonizer on stage, at rehearsal and in the community.

Right away, director Joe Cerutti took over director duties. He congratulated Noah Van Gilder and Kellen Hertz for their recent college graduation; Craig Kujawa for his plaid shorts and Jack Pitzer for his special hairdo to match the guys around him on the risers!!

First singing was work in prep of our major performance on June 13th at Constitution Hall.  We worked on how we will introduce the award winners with “Climb Every Mountain” and how we will enter the stage singing a simplified version of “God Bless of America.”

Next associate director Tony Colosimo conducted a review of recent barbershop craft axioms and better still, helped us see how to apply them to our contest package – breath the vowel, champions are made at end of phrases, and awesome breath yields awesome tone.  Incredibly helpful.

Then we worked long and hard on our contest package – with reviews by Tony when we forgot, by Scipio or Chuck when we needed to tighten up some moves, and by Joe when we didn’t keep the pressure on both musically and facially.

Before our chapter meeting, our show organizers announced a surprise guest quartet – GQ.  They will be on our show June 9th, and this was a teaser for guys to get a hint at the top-notch show we can expect for our customers.  GQ just won second place in the Harmony Sweeps in California. Members of GQ are Katie Gillis, Katie McDonald,  Amanda McNutt and Ali Hauger. They were fantastic.

Ops vp Scott Kahler conducted the meeting period. Nick Leiserson followed up on the show theme with a push for ticket sales, and alerted guys to watch for detailed email about the show for singers, and info about the afterglow.

Membership vp Phil Ashford welcomed a huge line of guests including GQ quartet, three young men who were sent to us by Vienna Falls Sweet Adeline chapter (YeEd heard that all three submitted applicants for membership), and Shelly DeMarco who was in town.

We continued our meeting time after break when guys got goodies, picked up consignment tickets for the show, got scrip cards, bought 50-/50 tickets (cause last week’s money was not won), and a lot of quartets practiced in corners and other rooms,

Steve White spoke briefly about work and support of the FRIENDS OF HARMONY as our cheerleaders and Rah Rah team.  The FRIENDS had a display out for guys to see all the many, many creative items they have made for the chorus over the years and presented to singers just before they went on stage. Thanks FRIENDS.

Jack Pitzer alerted the contest chorus and friends that we will be cheering for the 16 quartets in Roanoke, and that we will have a ribbon to wear with the quartets listed.  So join in the fun.

President Steve Murane asked again for guys to tell him how many tickets they have sold.  So far the top number is 32!!  Steve is offering a $250 incentive award to the top salesman.

Steve also announced that he recently picked up our official grant monies from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts of $11,975. Thanks to those chapter leaders who filled out the application and managed this matter.

Next Steve called up the 35 Harmonizers singing in the 16 quartets listed below at the contest this weekend (current Harmonizers in boldface):

ACME CHORD COMPANY (Dan O’Brien, Chris Susalka, Paul Grimes, Chris Yates)

BECAUSE YOU ASKED  (Drew Fuller, Brian Ammerman, Jeff Salino, Steve Murane)

BLARNEY BROTHERS (Gary Bibens, Mike Calhoun, Bob Johnson, Tom Pearce)

CHORDWORX  (Doug White, Tim Buell, Don Thompson, Edris Qarghah)

FOUR IN THE MORNING (Mike Geipel, Ron Nichols, Gene Thompson, Emmitt Totty)

FAST & SHARP (Scip Garling, Josh Roots, Jeremy Richardson, Chris Clark)

GOOD GUYS (Jim Lake, Frank Fedarko, Joel Golden, Don Dillingham)

HANDSOME REWARD  (Mario Sengco, Mike Edison, Vince Lynch, Mike Gilmore)

INTERLUDE  (Bob Wilson, Gene Schwilke, Rich Montgomery, Warren Strandberg)

M INT CONDITION (Bob Rodriguez Jr., Kevin McKenzie, Drew Fuller, Arthur Louis)

OLD TOWNE (Carl Kauffmann, Roger Day, Brad Jones, Calvin Schnure)

OLD TOWN SOUND (Alan Kousen, Bob Caldwell, Bob Mattes, Dave Welter)

SHADES OF HARMONY (Edris Qarghah, Clyde  Crusenberry, Phil Ashford, Sam   McFarland)

WHISTLE STOP  (Dan O’Brien, Randy Eliason, Phil Ashford, Calvin Schnure)

WITH  HHONORS (Doug White, Edris Qarghah, Phil Ashford, Scott Kahler)

YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT  (Hardman Jones, Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpy, Vic Owen)

Music and performance vp Dan O’Brien introduced CHORDWORX to sing for us.  They already have matching shirts!!!

Later in the evening SHADES OF HARMONY sang for us also.

Also during the evening we worked hard on performing “Jersey Boys” with drills on better singing and stage presence execution.

Before closing we went back to the contest package.  Joe and Tony worked as a team to help us improve.

Closing went fast as guys were busy with their quartets for contest, loading things to take to Roanoke (a riser crew is needed there at 4 pm), quartets singing with applicants for membership, equipment put-away.  TJ Donahue won the large 50/50 this week!

A big crowd was at the Hilton for the afterglow where talk of contest travel continued, quartets worked on their songs in the back room we use for singing at the Hilton, and GQ was working with Tony out on the patio.

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.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Looking Back on the May 15th Chapter Meeting

The stage in Durant was packed with guys brushing up on contest package stage presence and getting in some drills on the moves for “Jersey Boys.”

Assistant director Will Cox did a terrific warm up session.

Before chorus singing, music vp Dan O’Brien reminded everyone about the large number of our fellow chapter members singing in quartets at Southern Division in Roanoke on Fri. nite May 25th, starting at 6 pm.  We got to hear the first of three for the nite who came to sing for us – GOOD GUYS with Jim Lake, Frank Fedarko, Don Dillingham and Joel Golden.

Director Joe Cerutti started the singing time with a woodshedding exercise in prep for the June 19th show at Constitution Hall.  We will provide background music singing two part harmony while a U.S. Senator reads a poem.

Before we working on the contest package, associate director Tony Colosimo presented another barbershop craft axiom.  This week’s topic was a repeat with more lessons – Champions are Made at the End of Phrases.

Joe introduced our coach, Geri Geis, who went right to work on the ballad, following many of the principles Tony taught. We worked hard til about 8 pm with a Geri helping us set the stage better in order to help the audience get into the music with us. Just in case, she had the fourth and fifth rows come down front and be first and second rows. That allowed she and the sp team to make sure everyone was together.  The package felt great!

Mark Klostermeyer filled in for ops vp Scott Kahler again this week in running the evening’s schedule and meeting.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented new member materials to Rich Hewitt and Dave DesPortes. Chris also presented membership renewals to Steve Murane for 10 years; Michael Gilmore for 20 years; and Bruce Lauther for 26 years.

Membership vp Phil Ashford introduced our guests – several first-timers and four applicants: Stan Quick, Sina Kazemi, Logan Lenhart and John Greene.  

Mark gave the chorus a short 10 minutes for break so we could get back to singing and the rest of the chapter meeting.  Bob Blair asked for some new truck driver volunteers to help get the risers to Roanoke. Brad Jones stressed the importance of all those going to China to get in their materials on time, or plan to drive them to MD to give them to him.

Nick Leiserson reminded us that the copy deadline for show program ads is next week.  And of course, WE ALL NEED TO SELL TICKETS!  Michael Gilmore and Ian Poulin helped Nick issue tickets on consignment.  This is a great way to help sell tickets.  When you ask folks to go, you can sell’em a ticket on the spot.

Assistant director Terry Reynolds pledges to get out an email with complete details for those competing in the chorus contest on Saturday in Roanoke, May 26th. Likely the chorus call will be for 8 am, as we sing first up when the contest starts at 10. All will be expected to be there for that call with uniform. We will dress later in the morning.

Dan O’Brien introduced a second quartet contestant from our chapter – BECAUSE YOU ASKED with Jeff Salino, Steve Murane, Brian Ammerman and Drew Fuller.

Next the chorus worked on “Music of the Night” with Geri offering ideas for making it a more show-biz style performance.

Ken White announced our third quartet contestant – ACME CHORD CO. with Dan O’Brien, Chris Susalka, Chris Yates and Paul Grimes.

Then back to chorus work on “I’m the Music Man” with Craig Kujawa teaching more stage moves for this new opener.  It is fun to sing. And then we used the rest of the evening to drill thru “Jersey Boys” including displaying how much progress we had made on learning the moves (much of this from the 6 pm review).

Evening wrapped up with usual work and rush to get things put away so there was more time for tag singing and for helping applicants prepare for audition, and there was another audition.

Great to see Pete Frank in the house (YeEd heard Pete is new chorus director in Erie, PA, and they just won the spring chorus contest and were named most improved chorus!)  Also good to see DC Chapter’s assistant director Sheryl Berlin early in the evening. 

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.)