Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Harmonizer Year 2013 In Review

We began 2013 with our traditional Alexandria Inova Hospital Holiday Sing followed by the Heat Glow at Jack and Pat Pitzer’s home.  Then later in the month, we acknowledged the great work of our fellow Harmonizers at the annual Presidents’ Awards Banquet at Durant. Alan Wile was installed as president – his fourth year to serve – along with his officer team.

Another special January event was the dinner concert with reigning BHS quartet gold medalists RINGMASTERS from Sweden.  Ken Rub organized the grand evening at the Masonic Temple.

The wonderful all-day coaching session with Tony DeRosa in March was a lot of work to kick-off our contest package work but we laughed and laughed with Tony teasing Joe the whole time. The M-AD International prelims contest was on a snowy March weekend in Parsippany, NJ.  Our quartet DA CAPO, (Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams), qualified to go to Toronto.

In April we hosted the Southern Division Convention in Reston. We had 10 quartets in the contest with Harmonizers in them. Chuck Harner was chairman for us. Our chorus did not compete as we were headed to the International contest in July.

We also had a fantastic coaching session with choreographer extraordinaire Cindy Hansen in April and then came the pre-competition retreat with our hero David Wright at the end of May at McDaniel College in MD. Chuck McKeever was retreat chair again. After working all day Saturday, we had the joy of David giving us a mini-version of his popular Barbershop History class. The 27 members of the Class of 2013 did a great Jeopardy skit led by their president Rich Hewitt.

We held our International Convention Send-Off Performance in June at Bishop Ireton High School.  We are proud of our hard-earned third-place bronze medal at the BHS 75th International Convention. (Our chorus photo forming a 75 on the steps of the hotel made the cover of the Society’s magazine.) The 110-man chorus earned 91.7% singing the ballad “All the Things You Are” arranged by Steve Delehanty, and singing the uptune “Anything Goes” arranged by Kevin Keller. We were pleased to use choreography from our own Carlos Barillo.  Master director Joe Cerutti with his team of associate director Tony Colosimo, and assistant directors Terry Reynolds, Mike Kelly and Will Cox helped us succeed.  Tony’s weekly barbershop craft maxims made us self accountable. We had a killer front row too with great props designed by TJ Donahue.

Our chapter leaders made the Toronto trip a success too: Carl Kauffman with major help from Bob Rhome (who also makes all meeting and space reservations for the chapter) and Craig Kujawa.  Rick and Peggy Wagner hosted a GREAT Harmo hide-away.  We had seven Special Forces (guys who live far away and made special arrangements to sing with us) on the risers. And Ian Poulin sold us scrip to use in paying our hotel bills, which netted the chapter a handsome fee for our coffers.

In the summer prior to Toronto, we sang again for the Jefferson Awards ceremony in DC - this year at Arena Stage – Chris Wallace was emcee. Other performances included singing at John Carlyle Park in Alexandria; at the Alexandria Hospital in July; outdoors at Alexandria's historical Market Square; and a performance with MAYHEM at the wedding of our Master Director Joe and Bridgette Winter.  A huge number of us were on hand to sing for and with 5 other chapters performing at the "Dog Days of August" event hosted by the Prince William Chapter in Manassas.  Frequently, our a cappella ensemble called TBD sang with us on shows. Greg Tepe is our resident show producer for such events like the DC show for the Odd Fellows. In September we initiated “Let Us Entertain You – a Harmonizer Musical Outreach to Senior Living Neighborhoods.”

In October we hosted the M-AD Contest & Convention in Ocean City, MD. Chuck Harner served again as our chair with many helpers from the chapter, their families and our auxiliary FRIEND IN HARMONY.  We also sang in order to qualify for the district contest in 2014 since we could not be at the division contest in ’14 due to our trip to Normandy France. We sang Friday night after the quartet contest. Many members made the trip up after work from the DC area. We sang the same package as Toronto and did qualify. 

Besides the chorus, we were thrilled to have the district quartet champ from our chapter – MAYHEM (Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White). ACME CHORD COMPANY (Dan O’Brien, Chris Susalka, Paul Grimes, Eric Wallen) was fifth. New kids in the contest, THE MONORAIL FOUR (Kellen Hertz, Phil Ferguson, Bobby Seay, Andrew Havens) were 9th – they met while singing in our youth chorus, CAPITAL FORCE.

Several Harmonizers are board member leaders of the district, including president Bill Colosimo, secretary Keith Jones, treasurer Bob Eckman, at large member Dennis Ritchey. Other members serve on the M-AD Operations Team.  Joe Cerutti and Gary Plaag are members of the BHS board (until Joe accepted a BHS staff position) and Chris Buechler is parliamentarian. Several members of the chapter are certified judges in the BHS too – Cerutti, T. Colosimo, O’Brien, Buechler, Plaag, Devine, Harner, Santora.

In November we sang a Veteran’s Day show for 850 kids at Oakton Elementary; and we launched a full holiday 'push' in early December by singing at the City of Alexandria Christmas Tree Lighting with Mayor Bill Euille,  then performing at three of our own dinner holiday shows December 6 & 7 at First Baptist. The show was “sold-out” in about September thanks to work by the members with leadership from Josh Roots, Scipio Garling and Ian Poulin.

A special surprise was the appearance with us on the Friday night show of The American Boychoir from Princeton, NJ.  One of their staffers, Myles Glancey (and a former Harmonizer), called about their singing with us since their concert that night in DC had been canceled. About 20 boys from 4th to 8th grades making great music, and they loved seeing the men singers having fun too.

Brad Jones launched an online auction with co-chair Randall Eliason.  That auction then became a silent auction at the show.  We netted handsomely from that.  AND we sold tickets for next year’s show and have a good percentage already sold! Some traditions continued – Roger Day and crew making the place look like Santa’s workshop, all the holiday goodies brought in by members, work and support of the FRIENDS group (Sandy Stamps, president), and traditional show characters like Santa Claus (Bruce Minnick), Jack In The Box (Terry Reynolds), Will Cox reciting “Twas  the Night Before Christmas” and the “monks” using cue cards for the words for “Hallelujah Chorus. ” But also ask us about the dancing reindeer and the ice skater!

We closed out a very busy and productive year performing for an audience of children at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial on December 17; then 29 Harmonizers entertained Sunday evening Dec 22nd at the White House during the holiday public tour and finally, several chapter members sang in or helped staff the 3rd annual “No Borders Youth Chorus” concert held at Carnegie Hall.

In September the chapter membership climbed to 238. We held open auditions to bring in new members this year. Besides shows, we raised money for the chapter with our sales of White House Ornaments (Sandy Stamps), Entertainment Books (Chuck Harner) and scrip (Ian Poulin). During the year there were recording sessions (using First Baptist choir room) toward another album.  A number of guys enjoy the afterglow on Tuesday nights at LaPortas on King Street.   And quartet promo guy, Calvin Schnure, organized our annual chapter Put Together Quartet contests that are really fun.

Two members of the Harmonizer family died this year – Dick Weick and Jon Abel.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Looking Back on the Nov. 29th Tree Lighting Sing Out and December 3rd Chapter Meeting

The Harmonizers were honored to sing for the City of Alexandria Tree Lighting on Friday nite, Nov. 29th.  It was mighty cold when we warmed up across the street from the Market Square performance stage.  There were over 40 of us decked out in colorful sweaters and scarves and nifty hats of all kinds.  Associate director Tony Colosimo was up front for us and did a great job welcoming the audience participation.  Shawn Tallant was emcee. Ken Rub and Mark Klostemeyer had admin things under control as to when to go on stage and such.

The city provided some risers – a lot smaller than usual, and so we crunched up and made it work - even the stage presence moves for “Fa La La La La.”

Market Square was packed with people to hear us and to greet Santa and Ms. Claus.  Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille welcomed us and spoke highly of the chorus to the audience.

Many guys ventured out into Old Town after we sang for some dinner and a place to warm up. 

Tuesday nite Dec. 3rd was a BUSY rehearsal and meeting.  First off, the riser crew set up just the number of sections we can fit on the show stage at First Baptist, so we got a feel for how crowded it will be with the huge holiday show chorus we have for 2013!!  It makes our director really proud and Joe expressed it when he started rehearsal.

It was a nite to run thru the scripted show, so we mostly started and stopped to get the flow.  But of course, director Joe Cerutti would not let us slip back into a lower norm on any of the songs, so we worked hard musically.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds worked with the “monks” on their flip-chart version of the “Hallelujah” chorus before the main meeting began. Early in the nite all the many family members and FRIENDS IN HARMONY who volunteered were introduced. Thanks to all for this extra effort to add some humor and tradition to our show.

Our stage manager for the show, Christina Ammerman, was introduced too. Thanks to her too.

Great to have Steve White bring the sleigh bells his grandfather made for him and play them in our annual show!

As usual, operations vp Bob Rhome took over and conducted the chapter meeting with  alllllllll of the announcements.

He started with word that this week ends the sale of 2014 Entertainment books by Chuck Harner.

Bob thanked Ike Evans and Dave Branstetter for their work in updating the Harmo Photo Board in the hall at Durant.

And Bob reminded members to tell Steve Murane they wanna come to the Presidents’ Award banquet at Durant on Jan. 25th.  All new guys should come too – it is the best way to learn about the chapter and the long-time member/leaders.

President Alan Wile updated us on the families with health issues in the chapter.  And he reported that there had been a donation towards the cost of the Normandy trip – a good idea if you have friends or a company that might wish to help.

Ken Fess reported more on the 2014 trip to France including alerting us that if family members or other non-singers on the trip wanna seat for the barbershop show in Germany, we each have to pay for them.  Be prepared to say how many you want after Jan. 1st.

Scipio Garling reported on all the success we have had in hosting the American Boychoir including a gig at the Scottish Rite Temple, 28900 16th St. in DC on Wed nite.  The choir will be at our dress rehearsal as they will be on our Fri nite show!!  Thanks too for all those who have offered to host one of their singers.

Noah Van Gilder thanked all those who responded to the survey instrument about a possible change in our brand logo.

Josh Roots confirmed some details for the show. There was a list of props requested. He spoke of all those that would meet Wed nite for the Tech Rehearsal. The chorus call on Thrus for the dress rehearsal is 6:30 pm.  The Fri nite chorus call is 6 pm.  Reminder of uniform for third act – black dress shoes and sox, black suit, non-buttondown white shirt, the chorus red tie..

Auction chairman Brad Jones plans to extend the auction online til 11 am on Wed.

And Brad reported briefly on the plans for the singing and desserts we are doing at the store, 10,000 Villages on King Street on Wed Dec. 11th.  Peter Hubbard is helping with the cider and cookie operation.  Brad has lined up a quartet to sing.

Chuck Botts was our only guest for the nite.

Bob Rhome reiterated – two wrapped boxes for the show, four dozen holiday cookies for the show. And get everything out of Durant tonite if you need it before we return to our regular meeting hall on Jan 7th.

Secretary Chris Buechler has Harmo jackets for sale – see him if interested. 

He presented membership renewal cards to Clark Chesser for 4 years and Josh Roots for 15 years.

After coffee and goodie break, there were some instructions given for the waiters and table captains and for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” activity at the shows.

And finally, a reminder that on Dec. 10th we meet at 6:30 at Alexandria Inova Hospital to sing for an hour and then we adjourn to sing our annual Carole Crawl to restaurants in Old Town. If you can’t get to the hospital, find the chorus at Market Square about 8 pm that nite.

On Dec. 17th we sing at the Masonic Temple.  Watch for details.

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 during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Looking Back on the November 26th Chapter Meeting

This week the bad weather (rain and thus traffic mess) slowed down arrival, but the risers were full about 7:30.  Fun to watch the various car pool loads of guys arrive from distances away from Alexandria. 

And our director Joe Cerutti was back on duty after his hospital bout while on his cruise in Hawaii. Joe thanked everyone for their support, including his wife Bridgette who was with him for the ordeal, as well as Rick and Peggy Wagner who were there and able to make sure things moved along for transportation and housing.  Joe is looking good and was full of energy and spirit – and seemed pretty happy about the progress we had made on the holiday show songs.  He thanked all of his musical leadership staff at the chapter for keeping the ball rolling and for the solid musical progress – especially on the new songs.

This week, associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm up exercises. Then we worked on the show songs, had a craft session with Tony – this week about consonants.

About 8 pm, Bob Blair took charge and conducted the weekly chapter meeting.  He was filling in for operations vp Bob Rhome. Bob B. thanked those who are getting it together and wearing their Harmonizer name tags on Tuesday nites!  Bob suggested guys stop for 50/50 tickets, White House Ornaments, scrip cards, and 2014 entertainment books (next weeks is our last chance to get them from Chuck Harner).

Shows producer Greg Tepe reaffirmed details about our gig Fri. eve, Nov. 29th to sing at the Tree Lighting Ceremony for the City of Alexandria at Market Square.  We are to report at 5 pm for a half hour show that should end at 6:30.  Wear holiday sweaters and scarves.

Noah Van Gilder made a power point presentation about a new public brand logo for the chapter.  He explained how he and a committee had gotten to this point offering 4 samples.  A survey document seeking feedback from each member is due out on Wednesday.  Joe was key in helping the committee seek professionalism with some ties to music and such.  Everyone should respond.  Thanks to Noah and all for the behind-the-scenes work.

Many announcements were made about the show weekend including reminder to bring two colorfully wrapped large gift boxes and four dozen holiday cookies. Both can arrive on Thurs. evening at the dress rehearsal at First Baptist, 2932 King St., Alexandria VA 22302.

Volunteers are needed to haul risers and equipment on Wed Dec. 4 at 6 pm in time for the tech rehearsal that eve.  Volunteers are needed on Friday morning at 9 am on Dec. 6th to haul decorations in and all the food and paper products, with others to come help decorate and set up the dining room and hall.

Music and performance vp Brad Jones explained the flyers about the Dec. 11th event at the retail store, 10,000 Villages, 915 King St. 7:30-9:30 pm.  That store will donate a portion of sales that eve to the chapter. Brad has invited some quartet men to sing in the store. Others of us will help serve cider and cookies to their customers.  If you are not singing and wanna come shop, see you there.

Scipio Garling thanked all those who stepped up to the plate to provide housing for The American Boychoir that will be with us for the dress rehearsal of our holiday show and then sing on our Friday nite performance.  Seems the chapter leaders have helped the Boychoir also get a gig with the Masonic Lodge in DC.

President Alan Wile announced the Tuba Christmas event on Dec. 18th. David Hood will be playing there too.

Alan reported on health issues for Tom Frederick’s wife and John Pence’s wife.

Alan thanked our a cappella group, TBD, for their appearance and the check they turned over to the chapter after singing at the Alexandria Arts Festival sponsored by the Alexandria Arts Forum. Alan alerted us to expect an email about a survey regarding the arts in the community.

Finally, Alan confirmed the importance of guys signing up to attend the Presidents’ Award Banquet on Jan. 25th at Durant.  Cocktails and main course provided by the chapter.  Potluck for sides and desserts. Email Steve Murane if you have not done that yet.

Assistant director Terry Reynolds announced that the projected show on Dec. 14th for the Knights of Columbus in Alexandria has been canceled for this year. But don’t forget the Dec. 10th caroling at Inova Hospital followed by the Carol Crawl in Old Town.  A fun nite for all. Then we will do a holiday sing at the Masonic Temple on Tues. nite Dec. 17th.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer with help from Rich Hewitt introduced guests with us for the evening.

After coffee break, we worked on the rest of the holiday show music, and we ran thru the script to get a feel for the flow of the show, when chorus will respond to Jack-in-the-Box and what to expect from the various actors and characters on the stage while we sing.

Tony was most complimentary of all the men who tried out for the solos for the show and thanked them for their extra efforts in the recent weeks.  Soloists announced for “Ave Maria” will be Rich Hewitt, Edris Qarghah  and Josh DesPortes.  Soloists for “Do You Hear What I Hear” will be Drew Fuller, Mike Kelly and Don Dillingham.

Show house manager Jeremy Knobel alerted all members that an email on Wednesday would make assignments for waiters, table captains, ticket helpers, auction helpers, and more.  That email arrived for all to note!

In other chapter news, Ken White and Jeremy Richardson are visiting Chuck Hunter in Istanbul during this holiday week.  Jeremy arrived there after a month-long backpacking trip in Europe.

Steve Lingo emailed YeEd with news of his long-standing holiday season ski trip this December.  He will be at our show to say hi before they take off.

Dean Rust is helping a local community garden club with their holiday event at the Sunrise facility in Springfield.  He will lead carols for the residents there.

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 during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Looking Back on the November 19th Chapter Meeting

Everyone knew this was “for sure” gonna be a busy rehearsal and chapter meeting with the holiday show coming up soon.  Everyone was concerned about our director Joe Cerutti who is recovering from his operation in Hawaii. Early word at the meeting was shared that he had made it back to VA and was resting after a really rough return flight from HI.

Assistant director Will Cox did the warm ups, and assistant Terry Reynolds outlined plans for some other holiday season gigs.  All the directing staff was up front for the many songs for the show. Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted a craft session to keep us sharp.

Producers Scipio Garling and Josh Roots, with help from the actors, ran thru the first act of the show with script, pitch pipe cues – all to give the chorus a hint as to what the theme is all about.  It is funny and crazy as ever with Jack-in-the-Box carrying things along. TBD was present as they also have a part to play in the Pirate theme!! You just gotta join us to figure how they used the shoe-horn to fit Pirates into a holiday show.

Operations vp Bob Rhome was back from HI and conducted this week’s meeting. President Alan Wile reported more on Joe and told us that Cindy and Dave Hansen and Rick and Peggy Wagner were in HI to help Joe and Bridgette.

Burt Stueve has been back in the hospital and Jon Abel is slowly recovering from a stroke. The viewing for Dee Paris was Monday nite and some of our members attended and sang with other barbershoppers including guys from the DC Chapter.

Scipio Garling had a surprise announcement for the chapter.  The American Boychoir will be in town and sing on the Friday nite show.  One of their teachers is Myles Glancy who was Harmonizer for a couple years before pursuing more education. The Choir will do a 15-minute set. An email with complete details about chorus members hosting the choir members was sent on Wednesday by Scipio. 

Mike Gilmore and Mike Edison sing in HANDSOME REWARD quartet and they will be on the Heart of Maryland Sweet Adeline show.

Randall Eliason plugged the need for more auction items and encouraged everyone to check out the auction website.

Josh Rosh reminded us all that we are bring two wrapped boxes for the show – colorful, shinny paper.  Bring them to the dress rehearsal.  Jack Pitzer confirmed that each member is also to bring four dozen decorated holiday cookies for the dessert portion of the show.  They can be brought to the dress rehearsal or when you arrive for the first Friday nite show.

Ken Fess covered details about the Normandy trip – if you wish to make extended travel plans, speak with Ken.

Steve Murane is eager to hear from all members if they will attend the Presidents’ Award banquet Jan. 25th.  Email Steve.  President Wile also asks members to offer their nominations for winners of the chapter’s major awards that will be announced that nite.   (A list of those awards and who has received them in the past is in our chapter directory. Check it out.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer with help from Rich Hewitt welcomed this week’s battery of guests.

Bob Rhome wrapped up announcements with an invitation to the Heat Glow, January 4th, hosted by Jack and Pat Pitzer – a social event for the whole chapter and their significant others, Saturday evening, January 4th, 2014. 7 pm at their home - 7801 Suffolk Ct., Alexandria, VA 22315. Casual dress. Tag singing in the basement. Everyone bring hors d' oeuvres or holiday goodies to share. Wine if you wish. We will make the traditional Heat Glow Grog recipe that has been served at a similar Harmonizer event for over 50 years!! The recipe has been passed down from previous generations of the Harmo family.


Bob alerted board members of their meeting this week on Wed at Durant.


During the refreshment break, there was lots of activity with ticket distribution, White House Ornament sales, 50/50 sales, and such.


Earlier in the week, John Pence offered some great advice to members about selling more WHOs.  “I send a White House Ornament email message to all my friends and family (about 130 total) every year. Here’s another idea... several Harmo salesmen have arrangements with consignment vendors that sell the ornaments at a price THEY choose (usually $25-30). We provide WHO on consignment and charge them $20 for any they sell. Gives them a risk-free sale with a good price markup and a mail-order-hassle-free option for their customers.”


At tonight's meeting, Bob Rhome touched on the fact that Ike Evans had come up with a source of  custom cases for smart phones and had had one made which utilized the photograph that was conceived by Phil Ashford this past summer in Toronto. Ike sent an email to all since the deadline was Wed. 20th.

After break, there was continued work on the show music with some time set aside for Carlos Barillo to tweak the fun and entertaining moves for “FA LA LA LA LA.”

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 during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Looking Back on the November 12th Chapter Meeting

(First off – YeEd appreciates the help from Dave Branstetter who was reporter for this column for a couple weeks, and help from Todd Rystarsyk for making coffee and such while YeEd was at National FFA Convention in Louisville and home on the farm in IL.)

On Monday, Nov. 11th, about 30 Harmonizers sang for the Oakton Elementary School’s annual Veteran’s Day all-school program.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds was up front.  Greg Tepe organized the event with the school staff.  Bob Blair and a crew of guys brought three risers for us. Many of our men were in uniforms – as retired members of various branches of the military or as active duty guys.  (Some retirees admitted being a little worried about breathing in their former uniforms.)

It was great to see the 850 enthusiastic students in the school gym watching and listening to us sing  and cheering for the military guests who came to spend some time with each class in the school. Gotta admit it was touching to see some kids in the school talk to their parents via Skype in Afghanistan.  We sang a couple songs for the students and they sang along with us on one.

After the singout, many of us went to the nearby Applebee’s for a Honoring Our Vets luncheon.

Congratulations to Martin Banks who was honored at Walt Disney World on Nov. 11th as “Honorary Veteran of the Day” in the Magic Kingdom and participated in the Flag Retreat at 5 pm in Town Square, Main Street USA.  Tho he was randomly chosen, Martin confesses it might have helped that his cap for the day had a large Navy emblem with “retired” lettering on it.  Martin and Nancy especially appreciated the honor as he was a WDW original cast member from 1971-78; retired after a naval service career, and had a great visit with the barbershop quartet in the Park, DAPPER DANS.

 Last Thursday, Terry Reynolds hosted a come-if-you-wish rehearsal for holiday songs for the many new members since last year’s holiday show.  The group met at Durant.  Great idea and thanks Terry.

Our FRIENDS IN HARMONY auxiliary group met Tuesday nite while the chorus rehearsed. They are busy preparing for their many fund raising activities as part of the holiday show weekend.

The “Monks” also practiced before the chapter meeting at Durant on Tuesday.

But at 7 on the 12th, associate director Tony Colosimo held the warm up session for this week.  He reported that director Joe Cerutti had an emergency appendectomy operation in Maui, HI.  Joe was on a cruise with his new bride but left the ship for the operation.  Reports are he is doing great and was due to rejoin the cruise on Wednesday or so.  Good luck Joe!

Tony shared some pre-riser time music in honor of a great choral director who died today.  He also announced his plan to continue solo auditions tonite for the show. And we worked hard on songs for the show including a good review of the stage presence added recently for one of our new songs. Since Carlos Barillo was in Germany coaching a chorus there, Scipio Garling and Chuck McKeever helped us drill the moves and routines.  We also were introduced to some of the ”shtick” being performed by actors during the show.  And we met one of the actresses for the show – Jess Quick, daughter of Stan.  Welcome to the show cast.

Mid evening, Bob Blair, filling in for operations vp Bob Rhome, conducted the chapter meeting.  First up for announcements was Roger Day, long-time chairman of the holiday show decorating team.  He made his annual request for every man to bring two large boxes (like copy paper comes in) wrapped with shinny or colorful papers – bow or no bow.  Bring them to the dress rehearsal at First Baptist on Thursday, Dec. 5th.  The decorating crew for Friday Dec. 6th should bring their uniforms, as they might not have time to go home to change.

Every member is also asked to bring four dozen decorated holiday cookies for the show dessert offering.  They should be brought Thursday nite or Friday nite. Give them to Jack Pitzer.

Next was a reminder to speak with Ken Fess if you are planning to do extra travel in France in 2014 around the chorus trip.

Ben Roberts extended an invite to his high school’s production of “Avenue Q School Edition” which he is appearing in at West Potomac HS, Nov. 14 and 16 at 7 pm and Nov. 18 at 2 pm.  Go applaud Ben and his pals on stage!  It is a fun show.

President Alan Wile had a long list of announcements: 1. He reported on the Sweet Adeline’s convention in Hawaii. 2. He reported on his email from Joe about the operation and he reported that chapter member Darryl Flinn has a 6-hour spinal surgery recently and is facing an extended period of bed rest; and he reported that Bruce Roehm is recovering from a tonsillectomy in Montana. Tough operation Bruce – take care.

Alan reported on the breaking news of the death of 98-year-old Dee Paris, a revered member of the DC Chapter, past president of our District, and an instrumental barbershopper in the founding and growth of countless chapters throughout our Society. He was the last founding member of DELASUSQUEHUDMAC.  All barbershoppers are invited to join the DC Chapter to sing at the viewing Monday evening, Nov. 18, at the Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Blvd. West, Silver Spring, according to Bill Colosimo. 

Alan thanked all the men who helped make the Veteran’s Day singout so successful.  He also mentioned that our friends in the Mount Vernon Chapter did a Veteran’s Day gig at the Mount Vernon Estate on Monday too.

Over the past weekend, the DC Chapter annual Harvest of Harmony was held and their guest quartet was GIMMIE FOUR.  Those young men will be clinicians for our Youth Harmony event in the spring.  Well – seems the tenor got sick and couldn’t sing, so Tony Colosimo learned their package and helped them do the show.  Way to go, Tony. 

Assistant director Terry Reynolds announced that there is a possible repeat of the White House holiday gig of last year. So stay tuned for emails and details, if it materializes. Our sales guy, Bruce Lauther, is working on it for us.  It will be for about 30 people this time.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented a new member name tag to Reed Livergood, and a 25-year membership pin to Roger Day.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer with help from Rich Hewitt introduced our guests.

Since Mark helps organize it, he announced a new take on a couple popular holiday traditions of the chapter – we will combine the hospital sing and the Carol Crawl in Old Town on Tuesday, Dec. 10.  Plan to attend – great fun. And we end the eve in Old Town at a local watering spot.  Last year there was a lot of tag singing and good eats as well.

Bob Blair suggested that everyone keep an eye out for emails with details of the many many holiday singing events in December – such as the Matinee and Evening show on Sat. Dec 14th at the Knights of Columbus hall on Rte. 1 just above Ft. Belvoir.

After coffee and refreshments, we were back on the risers for more holiday music review.

(Speaking of refreshments, some guys have brought in goodies in recent weeks to share – or to get rid of left over candy or cookies –  thanks all. They are are greatly appreciated.  Any more gifts gladly accepted since the petty cash container is getting a little low.

In other news outside the chapter meeting, secretary Chris Buechler sent word that he had recently received renewal membership cards for the following Harmonizers who we don’t see too often on Tuesday nites:


Rick Taylor  45 years! Along with a 45-year lapel pin.

Ed Allen  39 years

Karl Glasbrenner 29 years

Roger Day  25 years

Ken Jodoin  18 years

Dave Reyno  14 years

Wayne Adams 10 years


Former member Mark Rodda was in the district champ quartet that won in Myrtle Beach in the Carolinas District this fall – ZERO HOUR.  His Dad, Brian, was a bari in the NOVA CHORDS years ago.

There were several guys in Hawaii for the Sweet Adeline International contest.  Our director Joe Cerutti and his chorus – Pride of Baltimore – placed 16th with 83 on stage in the chorus competition. Harbor City Music Company was 17th. Vienna-Falls was 21st.

Recently one of our members, Gary Plaag represented the BHS at the SoJam Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Gary is a Presentation judge and Society board member.  He reports that he will join Matt Woodward, Matt Gorman, and Dr. Bill Adams to present an hour-long session that includes vocal production, chord theory/structure, some presentation things.

For those with access to Sirius radio, Channel 4 and Channel 17 are playing holiday music as of Tuesday noon.  And YeEd heard the Ambassadors of Harmony today on Sirius singing “Carol of the Bells.”

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 during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Looking Back on the November 5th Chapter Meeting (as reported by Assistant Scribe, Dave Branstetter)

The Harmonizers met in the Music Room of First Baptist Church due to Durant Center being used as a polling site. Any inconvenience was more than outweighed by the knowledge that we will finally get a respite from the campaign TV ads!! Sandy Stamps staked out a spot for herself and the White House Christmas Ornaments.

Assistant director Will Cox conducted the warm up session, which led to chorus work on “O Holy Night”. The chorus then split up for 25 minutes worth of sectional rehearsals, giving us all a chance to fine tune some of the holiday music. As a side note, I must say the “Women’s Robing Room” might not have been terribly conducive to rehearsing, but its amenities rivaled those of any Country Club locker room I’ve seen!

The chorus reconvened in the Music Room, with Associate director Tony Colosimo leading. Director Joe Cerutti is in Hawaii this week with his Sweet Adeline’s chorus, The Pride of Baltimore, for their International Convention. As they say, good work if you can find it!! Best wishes to them and all the competitors (including quartet Shades of Jade who have their own ties to the Harmonizers). Tony started off with “Drunken Sailor”, urging the chorus to be mindful of the dynamic markings for the different sections of the piece – they’re not all the same! We then ran through “Little Drummer Boy”; basses and baris have to remember to apply the “pitch revisitation principle” for their parts. Tony wrapped up the first portion of rehearsal by working “Fa La La”, focusing on contrasting the different sections of the piece by changing our “vocal color”, not the volume, all while not sacrificing quality. He also hammered on the visual presentation plan for the song, both scripted choreography and facial expression (including the introduction of the “scared Dachshund” face – see Tony for a demonstration if you missed it!)

Membership VP Mark Klostermeyer started off the business meeting, filling in for Operations VP Bob Rhome. He referred the chorus to Greg Tepe’s email regarding the Nov 11th performance at Oakton Elementary School. Chorus call is at 8:30 and active duty or retired military may wear their uniform if they choose, suit/sport coat and tie for all others. He announced that Tony would be conducting auditions for the “Ave Maria” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” solos tonight and on Nov 12th. Mark noted there would also be a rehearsal for “the Monks” on Nov 12th and closed by reminding the chorus that assistant director Terry Reynolds would be leading an informal rehearsal on Thursday, Nov 7th, from 7:00-9:00pm at Durant.

Josh Roots took a moment to introduce Jeremy Knobel, who will be serving as the House Manager for the Holiday Shows.

Chapter President Alan Wile provided updates on several current and former Harmonizers and spouses. He also noted the Sweet Adeline’s International convention was available for viewing via webcast (there is no charge, although viewers are asked to make a donation). Alan reminded everyone of the upcoming President’s Awards Banquet to be held on Jan 25th at Durant and asked everyone to get their RSVP to Steve Murane as soon as possible to ensure everyone has a seat!

Calvin Schnure reported that Harmonizer Chuck Hunter is settled and doing well in his new posting in Turkey.

Rich Hewitt introduced the evening’s lone guest – an applicant (aaaaaahhhh!!!), and mentioned that this is a great time of the year to invite others to rehearsals (hint, hint).

After a 15-minute break, Tony led an excellent craft session focused on a deeper understanding and application of the maxim, “Champions are made at the ends of phrases”. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting louder, it means the end of a phrase leads into the next phrase without “dead space”. Tony mentioned a few ways we can bring excitement to sustained notes – lifting the pitch, spin (increased air flow through a lifted soft palate), and by swelling and/or receding in volume – all of which require breath! He had the chorus work on using the breath in as a way of cutting the note off, which improves synchronization and prepares us for the next phrase. Great session!!

Tony then turned the chorus over to assistant director Mike Kelly, while he took candidates for the holiday show solos off for auditioning. Mike led the chorus through “Jingle Bells”, with the modified road map to allow for the added verse TBD will be singing. He also led us through “Feliz Navidad” and “Little Saint Nick”, reminding us to emphasize the “push” beats while giving the notes their full value. Terry Reynolds took over to direct “Ave Maria” and wrapped up the rehearsal by running through the three pieces the chorus will be performing at Oakton Elementary School on Nov 11th – “Stars and Stripes Forever”, “God Bless America” and “The Armed Forces Medley”.

With that, I end my two-week tenure as Assistant Scribe and return my pen and paper to Jack Pitzer!! - Dave