Friday, July 20, 2012

Looking Back on the July 17th Chapter Meeting

This was busy week for the Harmonizers.

Since our last report, a group of us attended The Music Man performance at Arena Stage in DC on Sat.  July 14th.  The show was great and everyone had a good time.  The Harmonizers who attended were joined by other barbershoppers from the DC area for this performance as part of a special group barbershop nite at the theater.  Many guys dressed in period costume or wore quartet outfits.  A good sized group of Fairfax guys were there and their SHAMELESS quartet sang in the lobby before the show started.  This event was first coordinated by Steve Lingo with the group sales staff at Arena Stage.

Also, several members and former members came to the funeral home to support Bruce Minnick with the recent passing of his wife, Ginny. The picture of the two of them as Mr. and Ms. Claus were prominently displayed.

This week’s rehearsal was a hot one – both in temperature and in successful workouts.

Our listening session was an amazing four-part track of Tim Waurick singing all four parts.  Talk about breath control.

Assistant director Will Cox conducted the warm up session. Chuck McKeever was on the stage teaching contest stage moves for a bunch of our newest members before the meeting.

Then director Joe Cerutti took the reins.  He first spoke briefly about his judging assignment for the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, OH, last weekend. He was also elated with the huge crowd on the risers for a summers’ nite. After some good natured teasing, Joe welcomed and congratulated Andrew Havens for his successful work in TOP SHELF and his first appearance on the International quartet contest stage. Plus Joe welcomed Dan Cook who earned a gold medal in the chorus contest with Ambassadors in Harmony. Dan has moved to VA and is looking to sing with us. Joe tried to tease Dan for not wearing his gold medal, but like all modest but proud barbershoppers, Dan had it in his shirt pocket and pinned it on for all to see. Congrats to both of Andrew and Dan.

We worked on the songs we will do in China – many guys are off the music for “Circle of Life” and then we took a stab at “Rainbow Sisters” in Chinese.

We also sang several rep songs we will be using in the several upcoming summer shows.

Operations vp Scott Kahler conducted the weekly chapter meeting.  He reminded everyone that half of the 50/50 goes to the M-AD Endowment Fund.

Any outstanding show ticket sales monies should be turned in to Michael Gilmore.

Brad Jones continues passport matters for the many folks going on the China trip.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presently membership renewal cards to Tom Berkey for 15 years and Greg Tepe for 21 years.  John Greene received his new member packet.

Membership vp Phil Ashford introduced our guests for the nite – a long line of them this week again.  Some from other chapters around the nation, some family members in town for a visit, some first timers and a bunch of guys who are applicants already.

The chorus took a 15 minute break before resuming the chapter meeting.

Noah Van Gilder reminded everyone of the Audition Nite on Wed., July 25th at Durant from 6-9 pm.  He asked members to assist in announcing the event by using Facebook, getting out flyers and making personal contacts. Current chapter applicants and guests are welcome to come and speed up their audition process. 

Tony Colosimo announced an upcoming rehearsal this Sat. from 1-3 pm at Charles Houston Rec Center for our local youth chorus, CAPITAL FORCE. He directs that group and invites any and all singers under 30 to come join them.  They do not need to be members of our chapter or any chapter. Center is at 901 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314.

Shows vp Brian Ammerman reminded all that it is important for all of us to promote our shows to friends and customers – even those when we don’t sell tickets ourselves.  It helps keep supporters informed about our programs, helps get people to come out to free concerts, helps get future customers to see us perform, and helps us get in front of prospective members.

Related to that is the need for all of us to suggest to friends and customers in the Lancaster PA area that they attend the show we’ve been hired for at the American Music Theater.  Shows are scheduled for 2 and 7 pm, Sat. Aug. 11th. Tickets available at All tickets are $18 each. We need to help boost the sales of tickets.

Also get friends and neighbors to come out and see us for the Twilight Concert at John Carlyle Square Park, 7:30 pm Thursday July 26th. (YeEd learned that this show replaces the City of Alexandria Rec Department sponsored show we have done for years at Ft. Ward. There are some construction things happening at Ft. Ward.)  Chorus should plan ahead for getting there with friends, planning ahead by those who take Metro, and giving yourself extra time since parking is limited.

Harmonizer show producer Greg Tepe reminded guys about the list of upcoming shows and promised another email blast with report times, uniform and song lists, and such details.  Stay tuned for those emails.

Market Square show in Old Town Alexandria is Fri. Aug. 17th at 7:30.  Invite your friends – have them bring lawn chairs to make it more enjoyable. Plan ahead to get a group of the chorus family to go out in Old Town for dinner after the show. This is another concert sponsored by the City Rec Dept. outdoors by the fountain on King St.

Dog Days is our annual sing for and with other barbershop chapters in No. VA hosted by the Manassas Chapter at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 12975 Purcell Rd. in Manassas. Everyone should go to this one – it’s fun, it’s important for us to be there, the host chapter makes it easy for us, the church has A/C and plenty of parking, and there are lots of good eats. That’s Tues Aug 28th at 7:30 pm instead of our regular meeting.

Again, watch for emails from Greg Tepe about all these summer shows.

And mark your calendar for the Holiday Show Fri. Nov. 30th and Sat. Dec. 1st at First Baptist on King St. in Alexandria. Josh Roots and Scipio Garling will produce this one.

Brian also announced that Ken Rub has agreed to be show producer for the 2013 spring show.  Thanks, Ken.

Another show matter – some guys going to China with us and planning to sing with us need some uniform parts (word is that our bright blue silk-like shirt is out of supply, etc.).  So some guys who are not going to China may need to loan some items.

President Steve Murane reminded board members of the meeting Wed July 18th at Durant.  Their agenda includes reports and discussion about our trip to France in 2014 to Normandy, and our plans for the fall M-AD contest in Ocean City.

Next associate director Tony Colosimo did another great barbershop craft class and as usual made sure we could implement the concept with a song.

We also worked on our contest songs with the great combo of Tony directing and Joe coaching.

It was hot, the risers were packed, so at 10 pm we got things put away, some quartet guys worked on some matters, and a big crowd went over to the Hilton for the afterglow.  As usual it was fun. Tag singers outside on the Hilton patio didn’t seem to mind the heat tho.

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, 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.)