Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking Back on Sept 11th Chapter Meeting

 There was quite a buzz at Durant last nite from all the members and friends just back from an awesome trip to China.

But it was also a nite to get back to work for the contest package.  So for starters, a bunch of the new guys were on the stage at 6 to learn the SP for those songs. Several of the very newest guys are preparing to sing with us in Ocean City!!  Great news.  They all appreciate the extra efforts from Chuck McKeever in helping train them.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did a terrific warm up session for the 70-plus guys on the risers.  Then he turned over the “ready chorus” to director Joe Cerutti.  Joe presented the huge 15-20 ft. long banner that announced the chorus appearance on the Great Wall in China including with our logo.

Joe started his comments, first with a reminder, that this 9/11 date is a significant one for all of us and how thankful we are to be able to sing and share our music with the world.

He welcomed Chuck Hunter back from his state department service – Chuck will be with us for at least a year.  And Joe welcomed Terry and Ginger Jordan who were in the house early.

Then Joe took time for more stories from China and invited guys to share some too. The stories included the painful reality that some folks didn’t get luggage for 24-48 hours after arrival on ChinaAir.  Every singer was “taken” by the singing experience on the Great Wall.

Word from locals shared that the concert hall in Beijing was sort of like singing in Carnegie Hall.  About 50 Harmonizer singers were there.  We did sing that show with Toronto Northern Lights chorus.  Both choruses were sort of surprised by the calm response of the audience until we learned that the audience had been coached to be calm and very respectful.  But in the end the people in the audience loved our songs and especially the efforts of the North American singers to learn “Rainbow Sister” in Chinese.

The two choruses sang 4 or 5 songs together.  And the chance to sing “Keep The Whole World Singing” was a powerful statement of the joy of sharing our music with others.

At that point last nite, it was time to get to work on the contest songs.  And work we did.  First we had long sectionals.  Then we did a full run-thru so folks could make learning tapes.

Then Joe and the musical team dug in to get the full measure of performance out of the chorus.  This included some important details as to group performance of the visual plan. 

(Thank goodness for the fans we own now, to keep some air moving in the hall.)

Operations vp Scott Kahler conducted the chapter meeting as part of the rehearsal.

First up was Sandy Stamps who serves as chief distributor of the White House Christmas Ornaments for the chapter to sell.  Guys can take some on consignment and sell to family, friends etc. $20 each this year.  Goal is to sell 2,000 ornaments.

Mary Anne Cleaveland offered tickets for the Pride of Baltimore Sweet Adeline show on Sat nite.  Joe is the director of that group too and he promises a great show.  MAIN STREET is the featured quartet.

Scott suggested more guys get tickets for the 50/50 as well as guys get scrip cards – such as Giant, Safeway, Starbucks.  YeEd bought some for Giant to use when buying groceries.  They will be used like cash.  Ian Poulin is the salesperson for the scrip program.  He tells YeEd that if you use, say, a $25 card and buy less than that amount, your card will show the balance for your next purchase.  Just makes sense to all use these cards to buy groceries, hardware and gardening supplies, restaurant orders.

Membership vp Phil Ashford welcomed all the guests up front for introduction.  The long line of guests included several new applicants, a couple guys in town from other chapters including one from England.

Shows vp Brian Ammerman strongly urged all members to buy tickets for the holiday show—especially for their family and close friends. Cause the shows are starting to fill up – Saturday nite is about 50 percent already.  Joe chimed in and told the new guys they should pay attention to this one, as they will be embarrassed if they don’t get tickets for their families.

Also Brian announced that we have agreed to do the show on Friday eve Oct 5 in DC. Thanks to Bruce Lauther, Scott Kahler and Greg Tepe for helping get the contract signed. Chorus members need to respond via Groupanizer that they will do the show – even if you told Brian in another email earlier.  Thanks.

We took a break for 15 minutes for some lemonade and goodies.  And lots of sales at the table, tag singing with guests and guys talking to each other about China.

Scott resumed the meeting after break.  He reminded us that the back door is being staffed by Bob Rhome from 6 – 6:57 each Tues. Bob lets in guys who knock.  The door is locked at 7 so entry is via the front of the building. Thanks, Bob.

Tony conducted a major barbershop craft session based on greater explanation of “your voice matters.”

Then we went back to work singing with Joe directing and Tony coaching.  Wow – what a session we had applying the visual and vocal skills we have been working on.

Joe was excited again about the number of guys on the risers – even with about 20 men still in China.  We missed them.

He reminds everyone that our coach David Wright, from St. Louis area Ambassadors of Harmony, will be working with us on Tues., Sept. 18th.  That will be a powerful opportunity for self improvement as well as fine-tuning of our contest package.  New members will have quite an experience learning from this icon of the Barbershop Harmony Society.  David has been our coach several times in recent years and always delivers gold medal advice and easy to implement suggestions.  Don’t miss the chance to work.

At 10 pm we wrapped it up, put all the paraphernalia away, and adjourned until next week.  A good crowd went to the Hilton for the weekly afterglow.

As a way of wrap up for the China trip, here is a note from our member Ray Kahler, Scott’s Dad, who lives in Mesa, AZ, and traveled to China with us.  Scott allowed YeEd to use it:

Hi Scott

I just want to again thank you for including me in an unforgettable vacation. I'll smile every time I think of standing on the Great Wall with my best friend.

Also, the Harmonizers are indeed a family. They have something that my previous seven choruses aren't even close to having. I hope you can share that with them.

Wow what a trip!!!


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.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Looking Back Sept 4th NO MEETING, Many Harmonizers in China

 There was no meeting on Sept. 4th as so many Harmonizers were in China.  See this report from Terry Reynolds to fellow Harmonizers on US soil:

We've had an AMAZING time so far in China including:


Wed - Performing a full 40-minute show ON the Great Wall of China. We faced the length of the wall heading up a mountain, so when our focal went up for “Summertime” or “Great Day,” we were looking up the mountain at the wall and its towers. After the concert, as many of us climbed up, we passed tourists coming down who said they could hear us from the top.


Thurs - Performing our formal show with Toronto Northern Lights at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. It was a rainy night so the crowd was not huge but there were several hundred there. We were disappointed at the seemingly minimal crowd reaction during the performance (e.g., dead silence after the wow move in Great Day), but they went crazy at the end of the performance and excitedly greeted us in the lobby and asked to take pictures with us. Several of our wives and significant others reported that the people around them loved it, they showed it in a reserved and respectful way.


Unlike our expectations, we're not directly touring with our Toronto brethren. They were at a different hotel and are on a different schedule and itinerary. We were able to put together an afterglow after the show so we had a little bonding time.


Fri - After saying goodbye to the 7-day tour group, those of us going on to Xi'an got stuck in a dead-stop traffic jam for over an hour and nearly missed our overnight train. Picture 80 Harmonizers, family, and friends, arriving at a train station several times larger than Union Station, 20 minutes before the train was to depart, rushing double file through the station dragging our carry-ons, our Chinese guides helping us through as the shout to each other in Chinese. We all got on board minutes before we left, with a tremendous group sigh of relief.


Sun - Saw the Terra Cotta warriors. Amazing!


We have sung Rainbow Sister many times in restaurants, parks, and street corners, always to warm smiles and usually to enthusiastic clapping along. Though two of our three remaining Tenors leave tomorrow (end of 9-day tour) so we'll make sure we keep Alan Kousen in good voice for the next several days.


Of course there's tons more, but this email is getting long and we have an early flight to Guilin in the morning.


See you next week.


It's Great to Be A Harmonizer!




And here is brief note about a fun aspect to the trip from Lew Klinge:

Beijing was awsome. Great weather...all went well. Concerts were well received. We took a night train to Xi'An and are in a beautiful hotel. I had to show the bar tender how to make a martini. Everyone is holding up well.

YeEd expects to get more stories from others as they return.

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.)