Thursday, March 7, 2013

Looking Back on the Mar. 5th  Chapter Meeting

There was another huge crowd at Durant this week all ready to go at 6pm. The stage was full of guys reviewing the moves for the contest uptune with Carl Kauffmann, filling for  Chuck McKeever who had to go to Indiana for a family funeral.  And like last week, our front row guys were hard at work in the lobby learning and drilling for the uptune package.


Guess we will get used to large crowds with a prospect of over 120 guys planning to sing in Toronto.  We also are having more and more non-singing guests in the “peanut gallery” each week.  Operations vp Bob Rhome has invited Keith Jones to be host for that section of Durant on Tuesday nites making sure there are enough chairs out, that visitors have signed in if needed, and are made welcome. 


Something else YeEd noticed this week – a printer on a table behind the risers.  The music and performance team is using it for reproducing the eval forms used by the evaluators.  And other details they need quickly at chapter.


The setup crew did a good job being ready for start time.  YeEd also noticed that the av crew had a speaker set up behind the risers to improve hearing of announcements and directors who use mics.  The Mylar “mirrors” are being put up at current chapter meetings too and they are a huge help in working on stage presence.


So at 7 pm when the music was played as a reminder to get on the risers, assistant director Will Cox did the vocal warm ups.  He was also busy during the evening doing vocal assessments for several first time guests.


He turned over the ready chorus to director Joe Cerutti who had associate director Tony Colosimo direct “Anything Goes” for us to sing and perform.  We did this several times with Joe coaching and our choreographer Carlos Barillo making notes for points to drill more.


Joe sent us to sectionals to smooth out points of interp and to distribute to each section a handout with dynamics, breaths, non breath points, and such prepared to get us all on the same page.  It was effective and immediate results were noted.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds reports that the chart will be posted soon.


Midway in the evening, operations vp Bob Rhome conducted the chapter meeting. He reminded all of the 9am-5pm coaching session and rehearsal on Sat. March 23rd at Durant. Our coach will be gold-medal quartet guy and a coach we used before, Tony DeRosa.  Knowing Tony it will be fun, and we will get great advice on musical performance of the package.  Coffee and donuts will be ready for early arrivals that day.


Jeremy Richardson extended an invite to guys to come over to LaPorta for the weekly afterglow – at Duke and Payne Streets .  A growing crowd has been attending and there is good tag singing for those who wish to try it. Food prices are good and service is good. Parking is easy in a lot right next door.  Guys who ride the Metro are managing it well since the station is just a 5 minute walk away.


Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer, with help from Kenny White, introduced our guests this week. Several were first-time guests and there were a lot of good singing guests up on the risers!


Calendar items announced include the sixth annual Youth Harmony Festival at Durant on April 6th.  Nick Leiserson is coordinator.  Special guest directors are Richard Lewellen for the boys and Karen Rourke for the girls.  The teaching quartets will be SHAMELESS for the boys and EPIC  for the girls.  Scipio Garling will be choreographer for the singers.


Everyone needs to get out their calendar and using the weekly, and very thorough, memo from Steve White, be sure you have all events posted.  Here are some:


March 15-16 – Prelims quartet contest in Parsippany, NY – (we have 3 quartets singing there)

March 19 – Recording session on Tuesday nite

April 6 – Youth Harmony Festival, Durant

April 16 – Another possible recording session

April 17 – Vocal Studios

April 20 – Show Event at Lincoln Theater in DC

April 26-27 – Southern Division Quartet and Chorus Contest, Reston. We are host chapter.

April 29 – Vocal Studios’


We had a 20-minute break for refreshments, tag singing, personal time to prepare for recording or self-evaluation sessions, meeting guests, and catching up with fellow members. NOTE:  with so many new guys in the chorus, it would be awesome if all of us would wear our name tags on Tuesday to rehearsal.  Put it in your car so you always have it, or in the bag you bring to chapter with music, pencil and such.


After the break, Tony conducted another of his very helpful barbershop craft sessions.  Then the chorus worked a chunk of time on “All The Things You Are” with special emphasis in learning the musical interp Joe has planned and with an emphasis on making it flow – now that many of us have gotten the music down. Chuck Hunter taught us the new tag to add to the ballad.


During the evening we did several runs of the uptune so more guys could sing “live” for their evaluator. That gave the whole chorus several chances to record themselves and/or make personal improvements on their personal breathing plans and dynamics.


Joe gave the chorus a chance to sing thru a couple of the songs we will be singing at the recording session on March 19th at First Baptist Church, 2932 King St. (enter the social hall, and make an immediate left to the door that goes up to choir suite).


Before we left, the chorus sang our farewell, “A Place on the Risers,” to Ross Felker who is being deployed to Germany next week.  He will be missed in the bass section and is sad to have to miss Toronto.


Other Harmonizer news:  the current edition of Alexandria Visitors Guide has the Harmonizers listed in the Theater and Performance section. Copy blurb reads: Internationally recognized men’s a cappella chorus, electrifying audiences with tight harmonies and high-energy choreography from barbershop to Broadway. Public and private performances with youth programs keep the melody ringing for generations.


Currently we have nine men planning to sing with us in Toronto that we call “Special Forces.” All live a distance from Alexandria, are members of the chapter, sing in competing quartets, and have agreed to special attendance criteria to qualify.  They include tenors Mike Geipel, Bob Wilson and Dave Ellis; leads Pookie Dingle, Sean Devine and Kevin McKenzie; baris Pete Frank and Dan Cook; and bass Craig Odell. 

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.)