Friday, January 25, 2013

Looking Back on 2013 Midwinter Convention in Orlando, FL


As usual there were a large number of current and former Harmonizers involved and attending an BHS event such as the 2013 midwinter convention.    And it was a wonderful event.


(YeEd thanks Dixie Kennett for her help as reporter on the scene!)


Prior to the official convention start, a number of Harmonizers were seen at Universal Studios, including Chuck Harner, Keith Jones, Allen and Susan Hanenbaum, Sam McFarland and Chris Buechler and Dixie Kennett.


The first major activity was the Society Board Meeting – with board members Joe Cerutti and Gary Plaag.  Chris Buechler served as assistant p0arliamentarian and presented contest related changes to the board.  Marty Monson, CEO, gave a wonderful keynote address to the board.  One of his lines that really resonated was that “When your mouth is open, you are selling.  When you ears are open, you are marketing.”  Bill Colosimo attended the board meeting as MAD District President. He was also elected as moderator of the district presidents’ council.  Congrats, Bill.


Thursday evening was the first show of the convention.  After a “warm-up” performance from a Dutch women’s chorus, the show opened with the chorus made up of singers from past senior quartet champs, with Scott Werner (looking trim and fit) in the front row.  Later many Harmonizers had the chance to talk with Scott and Linda Werner. 


Joe Cerutti also served as a co-emcee for the Thursday evening show, appearing in a Batman suit and as Zorro.  (This was just a preview of his antics for Saturday night!)  Joe also directed the combined youth choruses on Thursday evening in a beautiful rendition of “The Impossible Dream.”


The show included fifth place Society medalist quartet MAIN STREET and fourth place MASTERPIECE.  The evening ended with the premier a capella group from EPCOT Center, Liberty Voices, under the direction of Tony DeRosa.


Friday was the Youth Chorus Festival, with 19 choruses from the U.S. and Canada.  MAD was represented by the Tri-Star Chorus from northern New Jersey and our own CAPITAL FORCE, under the direction of Anthony Colosimo. 


Singers included Andrew Havens, Kellen Hertz, Edris Qarghah, Adam Bradley, Phil Ferguson, Patrick Kim and Thomas Miller (Alan Wile’s grandson).  As reported at last week’s chapter meeting, CAPITAL FORCE received an Excellent rating with only 12 men onstage.  The festival emcee was Dr. Scott Dorsey, Director of Education for the American Choral Directors Association.  Chris Buechler was the contest administrator and Joe Cerutti was a music judge. 


This year the audience was encouraged to send a text message voting for “Audience Favorite” chorus.  THE RECRUITS from Central States District under the direction of Jonny Moroni (baritone of VOCAL SPECTRUM) was voted the Favorite.


Friday night was a special show with CROSSROADS, GAS HOUSE GANG and THE BUZZ (Sweet Adeline Intl. Queens – their champs).


Saturday morning had some classes and a Gold Medal Hour with RINGMASTERS.  This was followed by the Seniors Quartet contest with Chris and Joe back on duty as judges.  BORDER PATROL was the winning quartet with Al Baker (formerly of the MAD quartet FREE TRADE AGREEMENT on bass) and Bob Fuest (Christina Lewellen’s dad on lead).


Our own Mike Wallen’s senior quartet, YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT, placed 13th in the seniors’ competition.


The evening show started with a Michael Jackson “look alike” moonwalking across the stage to “Beat It.”  The “look alike” was none other than Joe Cerutti, and “Beat It” is what his co-emcee Keith Hopkins asked him to do!!  Joe later appeared as Robin Hood, a hula dancer and Mighty Mouse.


THE RECRUITS performed as Audience Favorite and sang “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” and were cheered back onstage for an encore, “Mona Lisa.” 


LEMON SQUEEZY, 2012 collegiate champs, performed a set, followed by medalist quartets from Portland -- A MIGHTY WIND, MUSICAL ISLAND BOYS and RINGMASTERS.


The combined medalist chorus closed the evening with “Once Upon a Time.”  Marty Monson directed “Keep the Whole World Singing.”


Other Harmonizers seen throughout the event but not mentioned above include:  Pete Frank, Mike Kelly (video staff), Darryl and Meredith Flinn (youth festival sponsors), Tom and Marilyn Gannon, Alan and Patty Wile, Bob and Betty Thames, Ross Johnson and Susan Williams, John Hohl, Terry Reynolds, Phil Stern, Bill Ward, Richard Lewellen, Joe Kane, Dwain Chambers, Larry Deters, Will Winder, Dale Houser, Lee Hanson, Thom Faircloth and Harold Nance.


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 in the lives of members of the  Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Looking Back on the Jan. 22nd Chapter Meeting

It was a freezing cold nite, but the troops kept rolling in and the riser crew set up all 11 sets of risers for the growing chorus!!  Some guys stopped in for goodies and coffee before the meeting since they come right from their work place.

At the stroke of seven, we started getting on the risers and associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal and physical warm ups. Then he turned the reigns over to director Joe Cerutti.  Joe was fired up, and fresh back from the mid-winter convention, and from hosting a cruise, with Cindy Hansen, after that.  (YeEd heard that Alan and Patty Wile and Ross and Susan Johnson from here were also on that cruise.)

Joe took a couple minutes to tell some fun stories from his time away. And then it was to work singing.  He kicked off the music portion working on “Drunken Sailor” but you could tell he was eager to hear how we were doing on the contest uptune “Anything Goes” – and particularly after hearing good reports from last week’s rehearsal.

When operations vp Bob Rhome and a helper set up the screen for projection, it brought to mind the almost-incident last week when the screen movers lost control and it came down within inches of the director up front.

We also were reminded to use the new riser placement plan – no official spot for each guy, but a general area for basses on the ends. 

Joe was pleased with the work Tony and the chorus had done on the first part of the uptune.  And then he sent us off to sectional rehearsals for the last part of that song. When we returned to the risers we worked a while using non durational doots for the song.

Then it was midpoint in the evening, and vp Bob Rhome conducted the chapter meeting period.  He relayed announcements for Ken Fess that Ken was collecting White House Ornament sales monies, and was collecting payments for the France trip.

Dick and Carolyn Hall sell 50/50 tickets each week.

The Finance committee met during the break.

Bob Blair is recruiting new team members for the Harmo truck driving operation. And he is seeking a member to ride shot-gun in our truck for the drive to Toronto.  It is a way for a guy to get free transportation. See Bob ASAP.

2013 president Alan Wile had a few items for us: he reported the sad news that Bob Hirsh’s father-in-law died recently; Alan asked to hear from any member who might need financial aid to go to Toronto or to France – see him or Joe, as we have a way to help guys in that situation (someone who was helped when he was younger new guy related how much it had meant to him to get the help); and finally, be selling Singing Valentines as well as prepare to sing in a quartet (take time off from work). One more thing – buy scrip cards to use in paying your hotel room in Toronto.  See Ian Poulin right away to get started.  YeEd spoke with Ian and he confirmed he can sell you scrip cards in increments, so you don’t have to put down the whole $1500 at once.

Secretary Chris Buechler offered to sell new guys a Harmo blue jacket – order thru Chris.

He also presented renewal cards to: Lew Klinge for 11 years; Brian Miller for 16 years; Jeremy Richardson for 16 years; Chuck Powell for 19 years; Tom Griffith for 25 years; Vince Cazenas for 26 years; Keith Jones for 35 years; and Rick Savage for 39 years.  Both Tom and Keith received appropriate lapel pins for their milestone years.

Bob Rhome suggested guys speak with past president Steve Murane during the upcoming break in the meeting nite to sign up for the chapter award nite banquet.  It is only $15 each.  Steve announced later that we are just about sold to capacity, so it will be a good evening. He asked for any guys who can come early to set up the tables and chairs and such.

Noah Van Gilder briefly explained the second January Open Audition nite coming up Jan. 30th from 7-9:30 pm at Durant.  Encourage your prospects to go to to sign up for a report time and to get the details.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer invited Ken White to announce the guests this week – another line of applicants and several guys from other chapters interested in joining from Virginia, Texas and Pennsylvania. Assistant director Terry Reynolds, just back from the Seneca Land BHS District, brought greetings from George Azzam.

After a good break for goodies and coffee and visiting with the new guys and guests, Tony conducted barbershop harmony craft – or lessons or classes – to help us improve as singers and thus as a chorus.

Then we worked on some repertoire songs and performance of “Jersey Boys” so newer singers can keep up.

Joe congratulated the chapter guys for taking action and winning a $1000 as the “most liked” nonprofit in Alexandria VA, thanks to Clyde Crusenberry for getting the ball rolling on this and for Scipio Garling and Josh Roots who prodded us all to action..  And he thanked Ken Rub for his leadership and hard work in pulling off the RINGMASTERS fundraiser concert.
At the 10 pm bell, we closed things down and Craig Kujawa helped direct an efficient way to get 11 riser sections and back rails all put away.
A crew of guys did make it over to the Hilton for an afterglow.

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.)


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Looking Back on the 2013 RINGMASTERS Concert  

The Alexandria Chapter had a special opportunity to host the current reigning gold medal BHS quartet champs, RINGMASTERS, in a black tie banquet and concert, Wed. Jan. 16th.

The concert was a wonderful chance to hear the quartet up-close-and-personal at the George Washington Memorial grand hall.  The hall has fantastic acoustics which everyone enjoyed including the quartet.

The champs have been in the USA from their home in Stockholm, Sweden, over seven months.  A big chunk of that time they appeared on a cruise ship. The rest of the time they have been doing shows and concerts and almost every day, a school visit to promote barbershop singing with high school youth. 

They arrived in Alexandria area after having spent a few days hosted by the Atlanta Vocal Project chorus.  Jakob Stenberg, tenor; Rasmus Krigstrom, lead; Emmuel Ross, baritone; and Martin Wahlgren, bass, stopped by our chapter meeting on Tues., Jan. 15th for a couple songs and to say hello.

The next day they made a school appearance at the Winston Churchill School in MD where our chapter member, Carlos Barillo, is instructor in the performing arts department.

Our concert evening was begun with a wonderful catered banquet dinner featuring salmon and great sides.  Shows vp Ken Rub was coordinator for this event including selling tickets, and working with the caterer and the Memorial host team.  He thanked the Mike Kelly and Joe Cerutti Sr. for their help with sound equipment, and Lew Klinge for hosting the quartet at his home.

The quartet sang after dinner and included one song in their native language that they all knew from their youth and from singing in classical choirs. It was awesome.

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.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Looking Back on the Jan. 15th  Chapter Meeting

Well, YeEd says there is a whole new dimension to a chapter meeting and rehearsal with 100-120  people.  We may have to start setting up a coat rack, no more space to pile coats.  Gotta make a larger pot of coffee – the pot was empty after break!!  Gotta get on the risers early to get a space – well not really, but it is full. And it took a couple membership greeters to sign in the many guests, former members and audience fans who came. ALL WONERFUL PROBLEMS.

This week was a good work session on a cold rainy nite. Assistant director Terry Reynolds kicked off the nite with our weekly listening session as the signal for “Harmonizers on the Risers.” Terry helps operations vp Bob Rhome with conduct of the meeting regarding music and performance time.

Assistant director Will Cox conducted the vocal and physical warm ups.

Since our director Joe Cerutti was co-host of a post midwinter convention BHS cruise with Cindy Hansen, he was not back from FL.   So associate director Tony Colosimo was up front the whole nite.  He worked us hard and efficiently and we made musical progress.

There was some news reported from midwinter, and YeEd and his reporters will have a special edition of Looking Back soon. Watch for it.

One comment was to extend congrats to our youth chorus – CAPITAL FORCE.  Several of the guys who sang in FL with the FORCE were on the risers and their director, Tony, thanked them for their hard work.  The group earned an Excellent rating at the convention.  Tony also gave a plug for any other under-30 singers to speak to him about joining too.  Or if you have relatives who are eligible, invite them to check it out. AND if you are over 30 but have some time to offer admin support for the FORCE, also speak with Tony.

Before we launched into work on rep songs and contest package, the music team shifted the chorus positions – basically putting the basses on each end of the risers.

One chunk of time was used for musical and visual review of “Jersey Boys” – especially helpful to many new members since we learned the piece.  And we also did “Georgia Brown” with SP.

Then as promised, we were introduced to the 2012 gold medal quartet winners, RINGMASTERS.  They had just gotten off a plane from Atlanta where they had been visiting our barbershop friends there after singing at the midwinter.  They sang two great songs for us and raised the excitement level for the special black-tie fundraiser on Wed. nite, Jan. 16th at the George Mason Masonic Temple, at 7:30.  Shows vp, Ken Rub, has done the yeoman work to pull off this special event. It is also a start at raising funds for our trip to Normandy France in 2014.

A good number of folks came to Durant to get a sneak preview of the champs.  And many of our new members were able to hear a gold medalist, up close and personal. The quartet took off right after they sang to get some rest for a busy day on Wednesday.  They are staying in the home of Lew Klinge and they are making an appearance at Carlos Barillo’s music/performance department at Winston Churchill Hi School in MD.

Before we went to break for refreshments, Bob Rhome conducted the chapter meeting period. There were reminders about getting registrations for the Intl contest and convention in Toronto this summer.  See Bob, cause there have been some members who have ordered more than they will need, so those are available at the lower rate.

Steve Murane extended an invite for all members and their significant others to attend the Chapter Awards Nite dinner evening, Jan. 26th at Durant. 

(This is a message from your Mother – we want the whole family to be there. We might take a family pix!)  It is just $15.  Here are the details:

From 6-10 pm at Durant. It is the nite we honor those who worked hard all during 2012 and we present several long-standing chapter awards. There will also be installation of the 2013 officers and board. 

It is a potluck event – the main course will be provided by the chapter and then everyone brings food to share: leads and basses bring sides, baris bring salads and tenors and Friends in Harmony bring desserts.

The chapter will provide wine/beer/sodas/mixed drinks and coffee.  Dress is casual. Everyone is welcome – especially former members and chapter friends.  Please RSVP with numbers of attendees directly to Steve Murane.

Speaking of Normandy, Ken Fess is collecting the deposits all of us are supposed to get in. It is also key to let Ken know if you have not reported to him of your intentions to go on the trip.  He needs to know this month. He and his Harmo team are going to France next week to clarify details.  You can also help the team by giving emails of all trip participants to Mick Stamps.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to: Jacob George for 3 years; Michael Vlcej for 5 years; Ken White for 15 years; and Chuck Harner for 45 years.  (It is the Harmonizer custom to present membership pins to men who make it to milestones years, and so Chuck was given the appropriate label pin.)

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer, with help from Jeremy Richardson and Ken White, welcomed a huge long line of guests.  Many were first-timers and got the special “I Sang With the Harmonizers” button.  And there was another big group of applicants who are in the que. Many family members were in house too – always great to have family and co-workers on Tuesday nites. It was also great to see a lot of familiar Harmonizer faces – Doug Smith, Bob Caldwell, Craig Odell – back in the hall.

After coffee and goodies, there were a few more announcements.  Community services chair Clyde Crusenberry asked us all to watch for an email about “liking” our group. 

Tony Colosimo conducted a barbershop craft session again and that moved right into musical work on the new contest uptune, “Anything Goes.”

We had some sectionals during the nite too on the uptune, plus some clean-up work on “Stars and Stripes Forever” music.

It was a busy nite, so no major push was made about our Singing Valentines project.  But please consider taking the day off so you can help sing in quartets to deliver them, maybe drive a quartet around, or fill other needed tasks. Calvin Schnure is chair of this event.

At 10 pm we closed the hall after putting risers and AV equipment and coffee supplies and furniture all back into their storage places.  A good crowd made it over to the Hilton for an afterglow too.

Recently results of the 2012 White House Ornament sales was reported. Many thanks to the top salesmen Dave Reyno who sold 398 and Roger Day who sold 203.  Thanks too go to Sandy Stamps who is the honcho for this annual major fundraiser.


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.)