Friday, November 16, 2012

Looking Back on the Nov. 13th Chapter Meeting

First off – some related news from the chapter family.

First – we got a nice thank you note from dual member Bill Colosimo, who also directs the DC Chapter, expressing his appreciation for those of us who went out to the DC show right after the big storm hit the DC Metro area. ACME CHORD COMPANY was their guest quartet.

Second – we had a wonderful sing on Veterans Day at Oakton Elementary School. We have done is for a few years now and is a heart-warming event to see the youngsters so intend in listening and smiling and trying so hard to be quiet.  Producer Greg Tepe reports that there were 30 of us on the risers.  A big riser crew helped set up four sets in the gym at the school. Each class had a VIP Veteran to host and all the Veterans and active duty guys in the chorus were also introduced by the school staff.

Staff at the school shared with us that the kids have been asking since September if the Harmonizers were gonna come sing again. YeEd must report the laughs we had when even our director started singing the wrong song, even after the emcee said the title!!!! Oooops.

Bob Blair and Howard Nestlerode drove the Harmo truck. Assistant director Terry Reynolds did the warm ups. Shawn Tallant debuted as emcee – good job too.  Director Joe Cerutti was in rare form getting us to sing our best – even tho so early in the morning.  It was Gary Fuller’s first performance with the chorus.

After the risers were reloaded into the truck, Craig Kujawa helped organize a lunch outing for all that had time.  Many of us who were former or retired military or are still active took advantage of TGI Friday’s offer of free lunch for those folks.

Third – got a replay after last week’s Looking Back from Kirk and Dana Riffer: “Let everyone know that Kirk and I had a little girl in October 16. Her name us Chelsea Elizabeth. We are thinking of you all and miss you all.  Take care – Dana”

Fourth – YeEd heard that a number of our members were in Vegas for a Society leadership event.  Bob Eckman reports the following: “We were there from Friday, Nov. 9 to Sunday morning, the 11th. The Society board met during the day on Friday. The district leadership teams arrived during the day and things kicked off with dinner Friday night, followed by a general session and then each discipline had their first meeting together. Saturday was a full day of meetings until about 5 when we all got together for a wrap up session with our outgoing president Alan Lamson, incoming president Shannon Elswick and new CEO Marty Monson.”

“It was at Green Valley Ranch Resort, just outside Las Vegas. The following Harmonizers in attended – Chris Buechler,  secretary class instructor; Joe Cerutti and Gary Plaag, Society Board members; Bill Colosimo, incoming district president; Chuck Harner, district vp; Keith Jones, district secretary; and Bob Eckman, district treasurer. The Leadership Forum brings together district and society leaders once a year to help align plans for the coming year. One of the great aspects of the event is that each district officer gets to meet their counterparts from across the Society.”


“Some of us arrived in Vegas early and/or stayed late for a little sight-seeing. There were many jokes about district treasurers seen sitting at the slots. This one managed to break even (with his own money).”


Fifth – our own MAYHEM quartet sang on the Kilmarnock, VA, show this past weekend.  Lew Klinge drove them down there in his antique Cadillac, with their four bright color top hats in the back window. They were a huge hit for the packed house at the chapter show.

As you can imagine, our meeting on Tuesday nite, Nov. 13th was totally used to prepare the chorus for their singing duties at the Holiday Shows coming up soon.

There was a lot going on in advance of the singing time.  Basses came at 6:30 to work on a new song with bass section leader Mike Kelly.  Chuck McKeever was helping new singers with the SP for “Jersey Boys” and such. Terry Reynolds was working with some volunteers who will do the comedy “monk” routine for the show. And there were long lines at the admin/sales tables for show tickets from Ian Poulin, White House Ornaments from Mick and Sandy Stamps, Entertainent (coupon)  Books from Chuck Harner, scrip sales from Ian, and raffle tickets from Dick and Carolyn Hall.

Assistant director Will Cox did the vocal warm ups. Then director Joe Cerutti took us right into songs for the show. Several times during the nite, he “invited” a section to go clean up a passage of a song.

So we worked hard on songs til mid evening break, using the screen and projector as needed during the first half.  Mark Klostermeyer conducted the chapter meeting portion of the nite.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds reminded any singers interested to be ready to audition for show solos tonite.  He also introduced chapter librarian Bob Mattes to the new guys and suggested that Bob had the caroling books if they wanted one.

Secretary Chris Buechler reminded all that he was collecting contributions to send to NJ for repair of the grand Ocean Grove auditorium after storm damage (the Harmonizers have sung there several times over the years). He then presented a Man of Note Award to Martin Banks for bringing us Stan Quick; presented a new name badge to Dave Hood; and a renewal card to Shawn Tallant for 6 years.

Membership vp Phil Ashford welcomed a group of guests including a couple first timers, an applicant, and some State Department friends of Chuck Hunter who sang with him in Bagdad.  Terry Jordan and Michael Calhoun were in the house for part of the evening too.

After a long but busy break, there were announcements about the show that guys needed to hear. Roger Day asks for two big boxes wrapped in shiny gift wrap from each guy.  Bring them on Thursday to the dress rehearsal. Jack Pitzer asks each man to bring four dozen colorful holiday cookies to the show when they arrive on Friday.  These cookies are needed for the dessert platters for the dinner shows. Tom Kern needs to get back any red ties from guys who went to China but who won’t be singing in this show.  Brad Jones thanked guys for the support of the auction, but asked for continued efforts to tell others about it being online. Bob Mattes is also coordinator for waiters and table captains for the dinner part of our shows.  Watch for important emails with details!

Co-producer of the show, Scipio Garling, asked guys to use Facebook to get more folks buying Friday nite tickets. We have about 75 to sell.  Joe stepped up to the mic and asked us to really work to sell out the show – it will mean huge demand for future years.

Speaking of numbers, Joe also reminded everyone to get in their deposit to go to France for the show in Normandy in 2014.  We need 80 singers for this one. Give your deposit of $50 per person to Ken Fess before the show.

Ben Roberts announced his high school production of “Oklahoma” and offered flyers for all.  Ben has the lead in the show and some who have seen it report he is great!! Go to for info.

Terry Reynolds clarified some important plans for the Tuesday nites after the show:

·        Dec. 4 we will meet as usual at Durant, sing some and then head into Old Town to stroll on King Street and sing in restaurants there.

·        Dec. 11 we will get some new music (hint: maybe our new contest pieces) and then second half is this year’s Chapter Put Together Quartet Contest.  Start forming quartets now. Songs can be funny, serious, chapter songs. No time limits.  There will be judges and trophies to best comedy or regular quartet and an overall prize too. Calvin Schnure is chair this year.

·        Dec. 18 we will do a show at the Masonic Temple on King Street for a children’s program.

·        Also stay tuned for a small group performance at the White House.

In answer to a question from the risers, there will NOT be a show at Market Sq in December.

President Steve Murane reminded the members of the board about their meeting on Wed nite at Durant. And he solicited nominations for chapter awards that will be given at the annual awards banquet Sat., January 26, 2013.  We will also install the officers at that event.

It was a busy nite for chapter business, but not unusual with the show so close.  So it was back to singing, but first a barbershop craft session taught again by associate director Tony Colosimo.

Nearer to 10 pm, assistant directors Will Cox, Mike Kelly and Terry Reynolds (actually he will be directing as Jack-in-the-Box) directed show carols while Joe auditioned soloists for the show.

Before we closed TJ Donahue invited guys to the Hilton for tonite’s afterglow. There is movement to relocate the afterglow, so watch or listen for details next week.

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.)