Monday, March 18, 2013

Looking Back on the Mar. 12th  Chapter Meeting

(Many thanks to new reporter, Peter Hubbard, for taking notes and doing the write-up for this week’s meeting – YeEd.)


Once again there were many Harmonizers already gathered at Durant by 6:00. Chuck McKeever was busy leading approximately 25 guys in a review of the choreography for the uptune. The front row congregated in the lobby to drill the highly aerobic visual routine. Vince Cazenas and Sandy Stamps set up refreshments in the kitchen while Jack Pitzer was away for the week. Meanwhile, several guys pitched in to help set up the risers, tables, and other equipment by 6:30 for the rehearsal, including the now familiar cameras used by Chuck and TJ Jones for review and individual evaluation. This week also saw several guests, both new and old, join us in the audience and on the risers.

Associate Director Terry Reynolds played “Ob La Di” as the Harmonizers gathered on the risers.  Next, Assistant Director Will Cox did the vocal warm ups for this week. Will then handed the chorus over to Associate Director Tony Colosimo for an important lesson in “Your Voice Matters.” Tony re-emphasized concepts that we all need to be working on each week, including that the Harmonizer Standard for pitch is “two onion skins” above the pitch pipe. 

After Tony’s lesson, Director Joe Cerutti got to work right away with a review of a very important song to the Harmonizers, “A Place on the Risers for You.” This song was written and arranged by former members of the Harmonizers and is the traditional send-off for departing members, as we did last week with Ross Felker. We also reviewed ‘Ob La Di’ and ‘Summertime’ for the upcoming Recording Session next week, Tuesday, March 19, at the First Baptist Church (make note!).

The chorus then broke off into sectionals to work in smaller groups on the uptune. Yours truly was with the baritones where Chuck Hunter asked for volunteers to form a quintet, then had them sing the first minute or so of “Anything Goes.” Both the quintet and the other baris then offered helpful pointers on what they liked and what they would like improved. The baris agreed that the sectional really helped to improve unit sound, pitch, and technicality. No doubt the other sectionals were equally as productive.

Everyone reconvened for three or four run-throughs of the uptune during which evaluators were busy assessing the learning progress of their assigned Harmonizers while individuals recorded themselves. Assistant Director Terry Reynolds has been our fearless leader, shepherding us through the review and qualification process for international. Joe reminded all of us of several important things to remember such as: (1) the chromatic scale in the uptune – “…now only use four letter words” – has to be clearly articulated for the effect to carry out to the judges and audience, (2) learn your cue sheets, and (3) make every syllable exciting and rounded.

At the break, Operations VP Bob Rhome conducted the chapter meeting. President Alan Wile and Calvin Schnure asked the quartets that will be participating in the upcoming M-AD Spring Prelims –DA CAPO in the 8th slot, HANDSOME REWARD going 16th, and MAYHEM at 19th – to come forward so that they could announce that the Harmonizers will be providing financial assistance toward their participation. Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler had six renewals to announce for a total of 83 years barbershop experience.  Among the renewals were Bob Griesemer with 2 years, Nick Leiserson with 3 years, Doug White with 6 years, Kevin McKenzie with 13 years, Calvin Schnure with 18 years, and Chuck Hunter with 41 years. Ben Roberts invited everyone to a free and very funny improv event this Friday, March 15 at 7pm at West Potomac High School put on by his Theater Sports Team. Chuck McKeever reminded everyone that he still has black leather shoes from District – and then Steve White promptly claimed them (finally!).

Other announcements included:

·        see Dick Hall for 50/50 tickets;

·        see Ian Poulin for scrips (only $18k have been sold thus far);

·        see Mick Stamps and Ken Fess for questions about Normandy;

·        see Ike Evans to pick up your District competition photos;

·        Afterglow at La Porta on Duke Street;

·        there is a Board Meeting on Wednesday, March 13 at 7pm at Durant;

·        there is an All Day Coaching Session with Tony DeRosa on Saturday, March 23 at Durant;

·        we will be meeting at First Baptist Church for a Recording Session next week on Tuesday, March 19, upstairs in the choir rehearsal area; and

·        check Groupanizer and sign up now for the May 4 Visual Studio.

We had several guests in attendance this week, some new and some returning. Ken White and Membership VP Mark Kostermeyer introduced seven gentlemen to the group. Among the guests were Duncan Woodbury (applicant), Joseph Krzysko (applicant), Ross Orvik of the Tuscon-based Voices of Harmony, Leonardo August Robert all the way from Brazil (heck of a commute on Tuesdays!), Harold Wineberger (applicant), Samuel Glad who sings bass, and Harrison Priehle. We closed out the chapter meeting by singing to our guests in true Harmonizer fashion.

The second half of the rehearsal saw the front row split off to practice with Carlos Barillo on their choreography while the main chorus worked on their respective parts of the uptune. At the end of the evening, everyone came together for a run through of the whole uptune with choreography. By the end of the night, we had all worked up quite a sweat from the effort – keep up the good work! At 10:00, several guys pitched in to help get all the equipment squared away and the Durant Center back in shape. Another successful rehearsal!  Remember, keep working on your individual part!  Your voice matters!

Don’t forget as well – next week we meet at First Baptist Church!

(Now here are some other items YeEd wanted to get to you for-the-record.)




Many thanks to all the guys who are doing the vocal assessments as we prepare for contest:

Bass – Ike Evans, Jim Lake, Ken White, Steve White

Bari – Jack Cameron, Joel Golden, Chuck Hunter

Lead – Frank Fedarko, Phil Ferguson, Jacob George, Tony Colosimo, Dick Dangel

Tenor – Rick Savage, Dan O'Brien


And in case you missed it, there is the info that the BHS has published about Joe Cerutti’s new book being sold from the Harmony Market Place.  Congrats to Joe.  YeEd got his copy this week from Nashville: VISIONS OF EXCELLENCE – a dialog with the finest directors from the Barbershop Harmony Society This book goes beyond just choral conducting and rehearsal techniques and provides a practical resource for all directors in need of ideas and inspiration. It gathers together thoughts and insights from the minds of 25 of the Society's most accomplished directors. We believe that it can become a valuable resources from which to gain inspiration and motivation.


Visions of Excellence is more than just interviews with our most recent directing heroes, like Jim Clancy of the Vocal Majority, Jim Henry of the Ambassadors of Harmony and Justin Miller of the Westminster Chorus.

This book serves as an inclusive reference to the history and evolution of the choral art of barbershop, featuring unique perspectives from some of the giants who paved the way, like Scott Werner of the Alexandria Harmonizers, Ray Danley of the Scarborough Dukes of Harmony, and the late Jim Miller of the Louisville Thoroughbreds, and many more


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.)

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